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How to make a giant Google Jelly Bean sculpture

Peek behind the scenes at the making of Google's latest Android OS sculpture, a giant jar of Jelly Beans created out of Styrofoam on a short deadline.

Jellly Bean sculpture
The giant Jelly Bean jar stands guard at Google.

Google's latest sweet tooth obsession has been unveiled on the Google campus in the form of a giant jelly bean jar shaped like the Android mascot. It's a multicolored homage to the next rev of the Android OS -- version 4.1, Jelly Bean.

The sculpture didn't just download itself into place. It had a remarkable journey from conception as chunks of Styrofoam in New Jersey to its current spot among the pantheon of dessert-inspired Android operating system yard art.

The Jelly Bean sculpture was built by prop-building company Themendous over the course of one action-packed week during a heat wave that left workers covered in sweat as they churned out 160 individual beans to go into the Android-shaped jar.

Each bean was hand-carved from Styrofoam, coated in plastic resin, and painted to match a rainbow of different flavors. "We found out that we could sculpt each jelly bean in literally six minutes. That's moving fast," says Giovanni Calabrese, owner of Themendous.

Themendous also sculpted Google's other giant Android desserts, such as Gingerbread, Froyo, and Honeycomb. Calabrese was constantly under pressure from journalists looking to confirm the Jelly Bean name, but secrecy is part of the process. "We have to keep the project quiet," he says. "Google has to be the one to launch. They don't want to be scooped."

Calabrese has certainly suffered for his art. "We sprayed the plastic resin and that was a killer. The day I was spraying, we were hitting a heat wave in New Jersey. I was working at about 140 degrees in my suit," he says. The end result was worth the toil.

The giant Android Jelly Bean jar now sits with its kin on the lawn at Google headquarters. It almost took a slightly different form. "Initially, I was thinking we would do five or six 4-foot-tall jelly beans and then some small Androids mountain-climbing the jelly beans. They wanted something see-through like a jar," Calabrese says.

Calabrese is willing to share his secret to creating massive Google sculptures on tight deadlines: "It takes a lot of insanity, a lot of energy, and we drink a lot of espresso."