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Kristen Cumings, the artist behind some of the Jelly Belly Candy Company’s famous jelly bean art, knows her beans. In 2010, Kristen was commissioned by Jelly Belly to produce eight pieces of jelly bean art for a collection titled “Masterpieces of Jelly Belly Art.” This collection includes eight recreations of the world’s most most recognized works of  art, including Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and Vincent van Gogh’s “The Starry Night.” The Masterpieces collection is now on display through June at the Children’s Museum of the Upstate in Greenville, S.C.

 

My kids tell everybody that we meet that I’m a jelly bean artist. I’ve always been into art. My first jelly bean portrait was of Herman Rowland [chairman of the board, Jelly Belly]. It took me about three months to complete.

A typical commissioned piece for me is 4 feet wide by 5 feet tall and includes between 12,000 and 15,000 jelly beans. I now can finish a piece in about three weeks, which is roughly 100 hours.

I sort my beans by color in compartmentalized bead boxes. I’ve dropped one of those boxes on more than one occasion and have actually paid my kids to re-sort them for me.

For pieces that Jelly Belly commissions, the company orders a 10-pound box of each color. I use about 25 to 35 colors per piece, so we have a lot of leftovers in my house. My favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean color to work with is Island Punch. I dyed my hair the same color last year. My hair is now mostly red, but two parts are purple and pink striped. The purple stripes look like Island Punch. The pink stripes are more Strawberry Daiquiri.

I work in the evenings after my regular job. I am a special education classroom assistant and I do a lot of art with the kids. They love the jelly bean projects!

My favorite jelly bean portrait so far was the one I just finished. It’s of my son. My reference image was from when he was 7 years old.

Jelly Belly jelly bean art

Kristen Cumings' portrait of her son, Malcolm, at age 7.

I was bummed when Jelly Belly got rid of Peanut Butter and Caramel Apple jelly beans. They were my go-to colors for mid-range fleshtones. I hoarded them. To get that medium value now, I put two beans together—like Honey Bean and Chili Mango. For a shadow here and there, I’ll throw in a blue or a purple bean.

My favorite Jelly Bean flavor is Sour Cherry. I really like the sours.

One of my biggest challenges is knowing when to add in that odd color to make a piece really pop. I always try to match the tones of my reference images as much as possible, but sometimes the result can look too dull. That’s when I start taking out some beans and add in a bean color to make it livelier.

Jelly Belly jelly bean art

All colors pop in this recent jelly bean portrait by Kristen Cumings. The subject is her son's best friend, Bailey.

I just started a private commission for Lola Salazar who is the owner of Lola’s Sugar Rush. It’s a cute image of her for her candy shop.  I’m really excited about it! My commissioned pieces run about $3,500 to $5,000, depending on the size of the canvas.

My best friend’s son was upset that I didn’t include Harry Potter’s lightening scar in the portrait that I created. The reference image I was given to use from Warner Bros. didn’t include it. On the under-painting that I did, though, the scar is there. You just can’t see it because the beans cover it up.

Jelly Belly jelly bean art


Photo credits: Samuel Levi Jones (top photo), Kristen Cumings (jelly bean artwork photos)

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in Bulk, Candy, Jelly Beans, Jelly Belly Candy Company, News

Sweet! Today, we’ve got a tutorial on how to make adorable Baby Chick Gumballs today from The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle. These baby chicks would be a major hit at a baby shower. (Take a peek at SweetSugarBelle’s Jordan Almond and M&M’s Bluebirds.) Thank you SweetSugarBelle for sharing your sweet yellow chicks with us. Love them!

- – - – -

Want a cute accent for your next baby shower? These baby chick gumballs are adorable and easy!

Baby Chick Gumballs

Here’s what you need:

1. Yellow Gumballs

2. Black Royal Icing {piping consistency} fitted with a #1 tip

?3. Orange Royal Icing {20-second icing} with a #2 tip

4. Yellow Royal Icing {stiff piping consistency} with a #13 or #14 tip

Here’s the how-to:

Begin my packing a cooling rack on a cookie sheet and cover with a towel. This will help to keep the gumballs from rolling around as you work.

Baby Chick Gumballs 2

Make sure to give the gumballs a little space so you can work without bumping into the others.

Baby Chick Gumballs 3

Next use the black icing to add eyes.

Baby Chick Gumballs 4

At this point, I kinda start thinking of this…just kidding.

Baby Chick Gumballs 5

But seriously, at this point use the orange icing to add a beak.

Baby Chick Gumballs 6

To finish up, use the yellow piping icing to add a sweet little puff of feathers to the top of the chickie’s head.

Baby Chick Gumballs 7

Let dry and you’ll have the cutest and easiest chickies you ever did see!

Baby Chick Gumballs 8

For matching cupcakes head on over to my blog, The Sweet Adventures of SugarBelle.

Hope to see you there!

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25 Apr

Sizzling Hot! Candy Bacon Lollipops 0

Bacon Candy PopsSizzling bacon isn’t just for eggs or burgers anymore. Nope.

Bacon’s now being snuck into chocolate bars, cupcakes, ice cream (Burger King just launched a Bacon Sundae) … and now lollipops.

The Melville Candy Company has a new line of translucent Candy Bacon Lollipops shaped like crispy strips of bacon and infused with bacon bits.

These sweet and savory slices of yum are made in the USA (Weymouth, Mass., to be exact), and come in three flavors: Maple, Honey, and BBQ.

How perfect would these amber piggly wiggly candy pops be at a BBQ or wrapped up with a bow for Father’s Day?

Hog heaven!

p.s. Everything’s 10% off at Candy.com now through Sun., April 22, including Bacon Pops! Just use webcode CandySave10 at checkout.

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I’ve got an easy, kid-friendly, and road-tested spring candy craft for you to try: Peeps Garland.

Inspired by the candy crafting book, Peeps! Recipes and Crafts to Make With Your Favorite Marshmallow Treat, I gathered the few items necessary to create this colorful Easter decoration.

The Short-and-Sweet Supply List

1. Peeps Bunnies and Chicks in a variety of colors (I love the little row of Peeps above. Mr. yellow, far left, looks as though he’s warning Mr. Pink of an imminent stringing.)

2. Jelly Beans – I used Jelly Belly’s Kids Mix because the colors are so vibrant … plus, it contains Very Cherry and Berry Blue beans. String one bean, eat one.  String two beans, eat six ….

3. Needle and waxed thread

4. Ribbon for bows at the two ends of the garland


The How-To

- Thread your needle, double-knot the end of the string, and leave about 4 inches of excess thread.

- String Peeps and jelly beans in whatever order you like. (Note: I started with a jelly bean to hold the knot, and kept the number of jelly beans to a minimum because they do add quite a bit of weight to the string. Also, your needle and string will become sticky, so dab vegetable oil on a paper towel and coat the string as needed.)

- When you reach a desired garland length, cut and double knot the thread. Leave about 4 inches of extra thread.

- Attach a grosgrain bow to each end by tying your excess thread around each bow.

There’s lots to love about this edible garland. You can use it as a decoration for your mantel, table, chandelier, mirror, window, back of a parsons chair, or Easter tree … plus it’s a great craft for kids during spring break or on Easter Sunday.

String one Peep, eat one.  String two Peeps, eat three …

 

 

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