Calling all candy wrappers

A bit of sweet inspiration from Times Square in New York City (Photo: Lynn Trimble)

Well, not all of them. Just the shiny, metallic ones you find wrapped around old-style sticks of gum and fancy candies like Ghirardelli Squares. Now is the time to sacrifice for your art. Savers can unload Halloween goodies of years past. Bakers can contribute shiny wrappers from all those candies baked into secret cookie recipes.

Because the Children’s Museum of Phoenix is on a mission to bring a bit of bling to their art gallery while reminding families that recycling can make everyone’s world a shinier place. If you have candy wrappers to spare, or a willingness to indulge for a good cause, just drop your candy wrappers off next time you’re at the museum. They’ve got special boxes at the front desk and inside the art studio.

I’m told that the art studio elves put together a giant bulletin board each year to welcome the new year, and that the 2012 installation will feature one of the museum’s themes for next year — the fine art of mosaics. It’s already got me inspired to dig out all those shards of broken pottery I’ve saved through the years. It’s called recycling, dear. Not hoarding.

Once the bulletin board project gets underway later this month, young museum visitors will get card stock squares measuring three inches from side to side — and fun tools for decorating them to their little hearts content before adding them to the collective work of art ala bulletin board. Metallic candy wrappers will add that touch of sparkle.

Hearing news of the giant bulletin board reminded me of the year our daughter Jennifer (now in college) was so into arts and crafts that her Christmas gift was the transformation of her bedroom into a studio of sorts — complete with a giant crafting surface (a whimsically painted door over two short shelves stocked with supplies) and a huge homemade bulletin board.

We used a dresser with a tall shelf firmly secured on top as a room divider, separating sleeping space from crafting space — then covered the back of the dresser/shelf combo with cork squares. Once she added playful pushpins, Jennifer had a place to display all her drawings, paintings and other two-dimensional works. Had we known of the candy wrapper idea at the time, the cork might’ve been covered in peppermint bark wrappers.

Families looking for affordable and creative Christmas tree bling have a friend in candy canes and peppermint candies sporting red and white or green and white swirls. Candy canes are fun for very little ones to hang on the tree, and no hooks are required. Older kids can tie together candies that have wrapper “handles” on each side, creating garland for trees, fireplaces and other holiday fare.

You’ll find inspiration for lots of other family crafts at local museums — including the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, the Arizona Museum for Youth, the Phoenix Art Museum, the Heard Museum, the ASU Art Museum and many more. There’s nothing quite as sweet as a childhood sprinkled with local arts and culture.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about the Times Square Alliance in NYC

Coming up: Author pearls about thinking girls

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