Looking for an adorable rainbow-themed party favor? Check out these DIY mini gum-ball machines. They’re petite, colorful, and can be lined up in a range of hues to create a vibrant display on your party table. (They’re easy to make with little ones, too!)
These mini dispensers hold gum balls like a traditional dispenser, but I’ve added my own colorful spin: a watercolor wrap with a brushstroke pattern, done in an array of rainbow hues (printable patterns available below). Line these little gum-ball machines up and you’ve got a perfectly prismatic party table. And don’t be afraid to think big! Rows of 10 or more make an eye-catching rainbow effect on the table.
• Dubble Bubble gum balls (large packs here)
• Standard 9 oz. paper party cup
• Clear plastic fillable Christmas ornament (these are easiest to use)
• Charm to use as dispenser detail (I found these in the jewelry section at the craft store)
• Printable cup wrap in rainbow patterns
• Tape and glue gun
1. Begin with a paper cup, clear plastic ornament, and dispenser embellishment. To trim the cup to size, wrap a string or a rubber band about around the cup (about 2.5″ to 3” from the bottom) and trace a line. Cut along the line, keeping the scraps for step 2.
2. Decorate your gum-ball machine’s base by printing and trimming the downloadable watercolor wraps (they’re designed to perfectly wrap around a 9-ounce party cup). Secure the wrap to the cup with tape. For a more finished look, use the rolled-paper edge from your earlier clippings: gently bend it in a circle, trim it to fit the base of the cup, and glue it to the inside on the bottom of the base.
3. Cut a hole in the base of the cup; make sure the size of the hole corresponds to the size of the top of the Christmas ornament so the ornament fits snugly in the cup.
4. This is the fun part! Separate your gum balls by color, divvying up the colors to match your cup colors (I ate one too many of the castoff colors!). If you prefer to skip this step, you can order presorted gum balls from Candy Warehouse.
5. Fill your ornament with gum balls.
6. Insert the ornament into the base and secure with glue. After the piece is assembled, glue on the metal dispenser embellishment and it’s complete!
• Get creative! Let your little ones paint directly on the cup for a more personal touch.
• Need more inspiration on incorporating these into your party? Check out how I used bubble-gum machines for Luke’s first birthday.
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