I want to make a set of giant sized candy cane decorations for my driveway next Christmas consisting of a white downpipe with a red strip painted around it, and a hanger on it for a lantern. Like you might see on a 1980s Christmas special for a children's cartoon, or outside a life sized gingerbread house. They're going to be about 6 feet long.

I would prefer to have the red stripe as a spiral going around the cane rather than just red rings.

Is there an easy\simple way to mark it out or some kind of jig that I can make to mark out the line>

  • what width do you want the stripes? and the gaps between them?
    – Chris H
    Commented Jan 4, 2022 at 11:04

1 Answer 1


You could do it with string (one piece twice or two pieces to mark the outline, then paint). Once you pick the angle and pull the string tight, it will define an even spiral. But there's an easy, one-step solution that gives you a perfect spiral without needing to paint. Use a piece of red ribbon the desired width of the stripe and wrap the tube at the desired angle. As long as the tape isn't stretchy, the starting angle will define a perfect spiral.

If it's not going to be handled, you only need to secure the ends. If you want it more secure, you can tape the ribbon edge. Or after figuring out the angle you want and the ribbon length you need, leave one end of the ribbon secured, unwind it, and use glue or double-sided tape on the back of the ribbon as you rewind it.

If you can't find red ribbon in the needed width, make your own. Cut strips of something weatherproof like Tyvek and glue or tape them end to end to create a ribbon of the needed length (just ensure that the ribbon edge is straight), and paint it red, or cut up a disposable red plastic table cloth.

Another option would be to figure out the angle with a piece of string or strip of paper, mark a starting line on the tube for the edge as a guide, then apply red tape to the tube at that angle. You can get tapes like duct tape or electrical tape in red. As long as you apply the tape flat, it will maintain the spiral. If you somehow stretch it so it comes out uneven, peel up the problem area and reapply it. If you use something like electrical tape, which is a little stretchy, use a paper strip against the previous edge of the tape as a guide to maintain the spacing.

  • It's going outside, so the red will be painted on. Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 20:56
  • 1
    +1 for the ribbon as a marking guide. Simplest answer to implement. Width is unimportant if two ribbons are used for wider stripes or mark one side of the ribbon and move it, although accuracy is at risk in the latter method.
    – fred_dot_u
    Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 21:37
  • 1
    You could always use non-porous ribbon of any colour as a mask and spray paint the red, having already primed the whole thing. Or indeed use masking tape (available in a range of widths easily up to 50mm/2") to keep the white parts white, and spray the red
    – Chris H
    Commented Jan 4, 2022 at 11:03

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