Christmas decorating has a few old standards, and this might be considered one of them. However, while this idea is often seen in commercial settings it is not seen nearly so often in home decorating. Part of what makes a home stand out at Christmas time is the level of detail. Displaying strings of lights is great, at night time, but in the daylight it adds nothing to a home. Bright colors, movement, sound, whimsy and themed displays all make a home stand out.
Candy Cane Stripes are bright and whimsical. They draw the eye and they are easy and inexpensive to do. Candy stripes can be added to poles, columns, trees and posts. They don't have to be put vertical surfaces only. Try candy striping railings, tree branches and picket fences.
First off, for a bright red candy stripe use weatherproof ribbon. Typically the ribbon you are looking for is a glossy plastic ribbon made from polyethylene. There is also a similar ribbon that has red flocking which is also waterproof. Both ribbons can be found at craft stores or at Fantastico's in SF. If you want to wrap the surface first in white for a higher contrast with the red, use sheets of white polyethylene, available at home stores. Instead of polyethylene sheeting, you can also use ticking, or various cellophane type wraps.
The first step is to do a quick test wrap. Use a piece of tape to secure the ribbon temporarily at the top of the pole. Wrap the pole from the top down to the bottom. By doing a test wrap you can determine how many stripes look best and also to make sure you have enough ribbon to wrap the pole properly.
When wrapping several objects, decide in advance if they should all be wrapped in the same direction or if some things should be wrapped in the other direction. If you have a large group of objects in your yard that will be wrapped, they may look best if they are all wrapped in the same direction. Mixing clockwise wrapping with counter-clockwise wrapping might look jumbled or sloppy. On the other hand if you have matching columns on either side of a doorway, or a series of posts lining a walkway, they might look best if one side is wrapped clockwise and the other side is counter-clockwise. Take the layout into consideration before you start wrapping your candy stripes.
Candy Cane Wrap
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One of the tricks to a good candy stripe is to keep each loop around the pole spaced evenly. Wrapping the stripe without proper spacing can look sloppy. An easy way to maintain even spacing is to make a measuring jig. Let's say you did a test wrap and decided you want six inches of space between each wrap around. Instead of measuring and marking the pole or holding a ruler to measure each loop, cut a six inch long guide. You can use cardboard or a piece of scrap wood, what ever is convenient. Then as you wrap the ribbon, just hold the jig up to the previous loop and and start the next loop at the bottom of the jig. This will ensure even spacing all the way down.
To get the best looking results, start the wrap at the top at an angle. Place a piece of rolled duct tape behind the ribbon and on a spot on the post cleaned with a little rubbing alcohol. Continue the wrap using the measuring jib and add a piece of tape every few wraps to hold the ribbon in place. Place a piece of tape at the bottom and cut the ribbon. Cut a piece of ribbon long enough to wrap around the top twice and secure it in place with a thin piece of picture hanging wire. Use a small screw driver to twist the wire until it is tight enough to hold the ribbon in place. Repeat again for the bottom of the pole. These top and bottom pieces help to give a finished look to the candy stripe and to secure the ribbon in place.