Hey sprinkle-shakers! I’m so excited to share this new project with you. I love sprinkles of all kinds, but my favorite sprinkles of all are those teeny-tiny edible stars that look like confetti and come with a not so teeny-tiny price tag. I just adore them, and I will probably always keep at least one bottle in my stash, but I’ve always wanted to try to make my own at home.
First, I needed a recipe. I analyzed the stars as well as I could without an ingredients list (it is conspicuously missing from the packaging). Taste-wise they are flavorless, and they dissolve easily in liquid. It seems to me that they are made of gelatin. I could be wrong but at the very least, this assessment gave me a starting point. I also drew on the experience of making these gelatin bubble toppers.
I’m really happy with how these sprinkles turned out. They are paper-thin, soft and look like stained glass when placed on white buttercream. Much like my favorite star confetti, they are completely tasteless and they melt in your mouth when you eat them – all you taste is the buttercream on which they are placed. They are larger than the mini stars, too, but that’s more than fine by me!
I’d hoped to sweeten the confetti with some simple syrup, but sugar completely changes the structure of the gelatin. It makes the gelatin rubbery and it will not dry into the thin sheets required for sprinkle-making.
I painted the liquid gelatin onto sheets of acetate, but something sturdier (like flexible plastic cutting boards) would be even better. The sheets need to stand overnight, and may curl a little as they dry. The sheets need to be completely dry to the touch before you remove them from the acetate (or other plastic) backing. If you feel any hint of sticky or rubbery texture on the surface that means the gelatin is not dry and not yet ready to be peeled away from the plastic.
One piece of equipment that you must have is a mini paper punch. You can usually find these super cheap at craft stores in the scrapbooking department, or you can find the ones I used here and here. I can vouch for the ones I used – they have a sharp punch and feel high quality. They even have a locking mechanism to hold the punches closed while they’re not in use.
The punch tools won’t work on the gelatin sheets alone. The sheets are too thin and need something heavier to support them. This is remedied by placing a sheet of gelatin on top of a sheet of parchment paper, then you may use the paper punches to stamp out shapes. The shapes separate instantly from the parchment paper (unlike the acetate).
(Side note: I’m saving the parchment paper confetti to put in birthday cards!)
The gelatin sprinkles can be stored indefinitely at room temperature. They work well on all kinds of sweets – especially buttercream and set chocolate ganache. Remember, they will dissolve in liquid so floating them in a cocktail might not be a great idea.
Here’s the best part about making your own sprinkles: You may color and shape them to whatever matches the sprinkle-dream in your head. I plan to add gold luster dust to my next batch for glittering gold stars!
DIY Gelatin Confetti Sprinkles
- Large pastry brush
- Acetate sheet (14 x 11) or a flexible plastic cutting board
- Mini paper punch
- parchment paper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cool water
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon gel food color
- 1/2 tablespoon unflavored powdered gelatin
- Pour the cool water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Stir in the food color. Quickly stir in the gelatin. Let the mixture stand for 3 minutes, or until solid.
- Cover a work surface with parchment paper. Lay a sheet of acetate or a flexible plastic cutting board on top of the parchment paper.
- Heat the gelatin in the microwave for 10 seconds, or until liquid. Stir the mixture briefly to calm any bubbles or foaming (if foam persists, skim it off the top and discard). Pour the liquid gelatin onto the plastic and quickly smooth it over the plastic with the pastry brush. Try to spread it as evenly as possible. Please note! Don’t tarry with the brushing business – quick is the way to go here. If you’re still brushing when the gelatin begins to set up, your brush will leave visible striations. Not pretty.
- Allow the sheet to stand until completely dry, about 24 hours. If you’re using acetate, the sheet may curl as it dries (I highly recommend using a flexible plastic cutting board, the gelatin sheet separates much more easily). When the gelatin is dry, use a straight pin (or the sharp point of a safety pin) starting at one corner of the sheet to separate the gelatin from the acetate. Run the pin between the gelatin and acetate around the entire edge of the sheet. Peel the gelatin away from the acetate using both hands (see video for technique).
- Layer the gelatin sheet over a piece of parchment paper. Stamp out shapes using the mini paper punch. Separate the gelatin confetti from the parchment paper confetti (you may discard the paper confetti, or save it for your next party!). Use the gelatin sprinkles immediately, or store them in an airtight container at room temperature. They will keep indefinitely.
- Shapes can also be cut from the gelatin sheets using kitchen scissors – or make zigzag confetti with pinking shears!
Dainty! What a great idea.
I am in awe of your ingenuity! This is absolutely gorgeous and beautiful and awesome. WELL DONE!
I bet I try these..too cute to not!
Oh so pretty!! You are always an inspiration!! (PS: Also love love the new site!!)
OOOoooh, Heather… Imagine what you could do with the sheets of those for stained glass! A mosaic topping, perhaps!?
Love this idea…
These look so cool! Thanks for sharing the unique recipe, never seen anything like it but I'm going to try the stars out for 4th of July! (I'm planning a LITTLE ahead, haha)
Your little video is so sweet too.
This is PURE GENIUS and so beautiful!! I'm always in awe of what you do!
This is amazing! What a brilliant idea. I am so impressed. The video is very helpful, too. Thanks so much for sharing this!
Yay, I basically screamed at this! Just completed your gelatin bubble how-to a couple weeks ago and I was wondering what other possibilities there might be with this stuff. So brilliant and beautiful!
Could you be any more clever? Awesome!
You're a genius! The sprinkles are beautiful! It is great that I can customize my sprinkle from now on. Thanks for sharing your ideas.
These are so beautiful! I'm in love with them :D!
Oh my goodness, this is the coolest thing ever! I love these, and I am totally making them for the next birthday cake I make! So neat!
I've been reading and admiring this blog for a couple of years. This is the most wonderful thing! With an easy process and ordinary, inexpensive ingredients, you've made a fantastic, gorgeous decoration with infinite possible variations. Thank you!
WOW! great idea and beautiful too
do these MELT after time ?? if so …how long ???
If stored properly – which means in a cool dry place without exposure to moisture – they will last indefinitely.The sprinkles are still in perfect shape on my test cake (at room temperature) after 4 days. If you add the sprinkles to whipped cream or something with a lot of moisture, they will melt away quickly. I hope this answers your question!
love it!!! what a beautiful cake, thanks for sharing the how-to and recipe! 🙂
You are so creative! This is a fantastic idea. And I cant wait for your new book, I've already pre-ordered my copy!!
Wow! Gorgeous idea! I'm definitely going to make these when my granddaughter comes to visit in July.
Your blog is always the best! I love these. I think they would be cute even bigger too. I have some jumbo paper punches (1"-2") that I would like to try. I am glad to know that adding sugar messes it up. I wonder if you could add a drop or two of extract for an extra punch of flavor. Totally unnecessary of course, but why not? I can't wait to try it.
Hi there from Crete, Greece! I have been reading this blog for a few months now, and it's awesome! I tried these at home, but I had some problems! The sheet of gelatin dried rock hard, was that supposed to happen? And then it was difficult to put it in the paper punch…anyway I managed to make some beautiful sprinkles… What did I do wrong?
The problem may be with the gelatin used. Perhaps it is stronger than what we have here in the states? I'd suggest using less gelatin in the mixture next time. It shouldn't have a rock-hard consistency, it should be fine and thin.
Thanks for trying the recipe, and sorry you ran into trouble!
I enjoyed making these:) Turned out very well..thank you.
These are so cool!
When I first saw the photo, I swore they were photoshopped on, because they didn't look real. After watching the video, they made a lot more sense. They look fun to make.
I tried to make these today but after pouring the mixture on my sheets it kept trying to form together, making it very hard to spread out, I had to basically wait untill it started drying to get it spread out.. It's drying now, I hope it'll still look good..
Just simple, white cake but your sprinkles make them awesome! I love it! I have to do it
I'm having a hard time expressing how much I LOVE this! I must have started my comment a dozen times, deleted, and started over. So much love. SO MUCH. You're brilliant! I know the sugar changes the structure, but I wonder if you could add in freeze dried fruit powder (like raspberry?) to make a natural color and flavor? Now I want to experiment! I just made some pretty amazing (not royal icing) homemade sprinkles recently, and I can't wait to add this technique to my bag of tricks.
Could I use fondant cutters?
Hi Kathy! Fondant cutters won’t be sharp enough. You’ll need a paper punch to cut these. Alternatively, you could draw around the fondant cutters with an x-acto knife.