• Nene Bilingüe Mami

Día de Muertos

Making Sugar Skulls at Home


It's that time of year...we are getting ready for Día de Muertos! Let's talk about how to make homemade sugar skulls.


Sugar skulls are easy to make, and can be made by anyone. This is a perfect family activity from start to finish.


Ingredients:

To make sugar skulls you'll need three simple ingredients: Water, Sugar, and Meringue Powder. Water must be cold. Choose white granulated sugar. Choose any sugar brand, it doesn't have to be (and shouldn't be) high quality. On the other hand, be sure to purchase quality meringue powder. This is what helps the mix stick and harden. Sugar skulls are edible. In our home we choose not to eat them and only use them as decorations for our yearly ofrenda or alter.





Molds:

There are a variety of molds available for sugar skulls. You can choose molds by size and/or how elaborate you'd like the features. Our mold is only the front and considered to be medium sized simple design. We purchased this mold years ago and it's still holding strong. XL molds tend to have the front (face) and the back, where you'd have to combine the two halves with icing.



Other Materials:


Large Bowl: You'll need this to mix the ingredients together. I choose to make small batches to make sure the mix maintains a good amount of moisture keeping it not too wet or letting it dry out.


Parchment Paper or Cardboard: If you have parchment paper great! If not, an economic option is cut up cardboard. I personally like using the cardboard option because it serves as a plate for drying and decorating.


Spatula: This is optional. I enjoy getting my hands dirty and so do the kids. If you'd prefer to keep things cleaner you can use a spatula to mix and pack the molds.





The Process:


  1. In the bowl mix together the ingredients: 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp meringue powder, 1 tsp water

  2. Mix until the consistency feels like fluffy sand and looks like fresh snow. If you press a handful together it should keep its form.

  3. Take the mix and pack it tightly into the mold.

  4. Take your cardboard piece, place it on top of the opening, and flip the mold

  5. Let your sugar skulls dry for at least 24 hours

  6. Decorate!

Note: The above portions makes 3 sugar skulls using our mold. This may vary depending on whichever mold you have.


Decorate:


We have decorated our sugar skulls two different ways. We have used frosting or icing and glitter gel pens from the children's craft area. We always use non-edible gems and flowers to decorate, but it all depends on how you'd like to use your sugar skulls.


You can purchase frosting or icing either pre-colored or you can add food coloring yourself. If you have piping bags and points great, we stick to a plastic zip lock bag and cut a small opening on the corner.


In recent years we have chosen to use glitter gel pens to keep the kids from eating the supplies. I must share that this method may cause part of your sugar skull to melt where you choose to decorate because of the high volume of water found in the gel. We don't mind it and find that it gives our sugar skulls some added dimensions.


Adding gems, flowers, pipe cleaners, and feathers allows for lots more creativity.


Enjoy and have fun. Feliz Día de Muertos!


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