how-to-make-edible-glitter-for-cakes-cupcakes-cookies-easy-tutorial-at-home-diy

Glitter…. that you CAN EAT and MAKE yourself? That’s right, learn how to make homemade edible glitter. Not pulling your leg! And, to top it off, it’s EASY peasy! Now, now, pick your jaw up off that floor… chin rug burns are not attractive 😉

Ah, the holidays, where trails of glitter lead you to magical eye candy utopia! When it’s not being used on every ornament, tree and mantle, it’s the sparkle in every a little (and big) girl’s eye. There is something extremely nostalgic about glitter, and yet applied in the right way, very sophisticated and chic. Those little sparkles catch the corner of your eye every time, face it, you love GLITTER.

Sure, you can buy glitter for you cakes…or wait….can you? That is the question most of the time, isn’t it? It can be very confusing. Disco dust (non-toxic, but NOT edible) commonly sold alongside edible products, should not be used on food that will be consumed. It’s more for those items that are show pieces only. It’s essentially non-toxic craft glitter… it won’t hurt you if you eat it, (so they say) but never gets digested. By the way, ever wonder how much glitter you inhale? Bits of plastic in my lungs… meh, I’m good, no use for glittery lungs. 

This tutorial will how you how to create your own out of gelatin! Now, I’m not saying your going to want to eat spoon fulls of glitter (unless you always go around eating pure gelatin).. but you can feel secure in sprinkling some on a cupcake or putting it a cake without feeling like you’ve contaminated a cake with plastic, I mean, disco dust.

So, here is the alternative to all that confusing non-sense! YOU know what goes into it and you get to customize it to your liking! AND it’s….3 ingredients! 

1

 

 Ingredients (better sit down, it’s a long one *insert sarcastic tone here*)

  • 1 TBS -or- 1 Packet of Unflavored Powder Gelatin (Knox brand is great, NOT talking about Jello here)
  • 3 TBS of cold water
  • A good squirt of food color (I prefer using airbrush colors, they mix well and you can get the beautiful shimmery ones, but you can use gel color too!) Note: Stay away from non-edible dusts, that would in fact make these, non-edible. 🙂

Yields: This yields approx 2 TBS of glitter.. if you need more, adjust accordingly. Remember, 3:1 ratio water to gelatin.

Equipment

  • Surface for drying, either a plastic cutting mat (smooth side) or texture sheets (find here) Note: You can not use parchment, wax or any other kind of paper. A silpat/silicone may also work, but I have yet to try it.
  • Large paintbrush or small cake spatula
  • A coffee/spice grinder (I ended up investing in a cheap one JUST for this, didn’t want my glitter tasting like coffee, or glitter in my coffee)

Flavor? Nope, these really just dissolve in your mouth and are flavorless. Adding sugar and flavor can create crystallization problems later on.

 

SLOWLY (*important*) sprinkle gelatin EVENLY over water. A wide-mouth bowl is best, allowing more surface contact for the gelatin to dissolve properly. Do NOT mix.

If you just pour the gelatin in, you will most likely have very large chunks of gelatin that will not melt down. Take your time and do it right.

2

Place in the microwave and heat in 10 second increments (very important) for about a total of 20-30 seconds.

Gelatin heats VERY quickly AND when gelatin starts to boil, it breaks down the proteins, which essentially means your gelatin will no longer serve it’s purpose. 

4

 

There will be some white foam that gathers on the top, just skim it off with a spoon.

 

6

Mix in your desired color and shade! (I did red and silver airbrush, owwww, ahhhhhh)

 

7

Pour gelatin onto surface of choice (cutting mat or texture sheets). The two surfaces come out with different results. The cutting mat has no texture, thus creating an airy, flaky glitter. While the texture sheet creates curves that can allow for a more reflective glitter. Either way, beautiful results.

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8

You want to paint the gelatin with a larger brush, thin (but not TOO thin). It DOESN’T need to look perfect, it’s just going to be ground up anyhow… so put your perfectionist self away for this one! You can also use a small cake spatula to spread if you’d like.

 

9

Now… the hard part….. let it sit for 6-10 hours (depending on humidity). You can put a fan on them to speed up this process.

10

You’ll know they are ready when they have released from the surface and are dry to the touch. Like I said, not perfect… but who has time for perfect when there is glitter to be made?

 

11

Cut the gelatin sheets down into smaller pieces.

 

12

Mmmm pretty, organized piles. *swoon*

 

13

Alright, time to stuff that gelatin in the grinder and make magic happen!

As we know, glitter has that oh-so-true reputation of being, well, messy. This case is no exception. So be prepared to get glitter… here and there, probably everywhere! Don’t say I didn’t warn ya! Totally worth it. It will in no way harm you, but might irritate your sinuses. A simple dust mask or handkerchief does the trick.

Tip: gelatin melts with contact with water, so try to collect with a dry cloth first. 

14

Because the gelatin is so light, I found it best to grind in small bursts to allow the gelatin to come back down to the blade. At this point, you can grind it as coarse or as fine as you like.

15

TA DA!!! The pile on the left is the gelatin from the cutting mat surface and the right is the textured surface. Dorthy would be SO proud of this pile of ruby red, don’t you think?

 

17

Pardon me, I now must skip around and sprinkle glitter on EVERYTHING…

 

Hope you found this as helpful as I found it fun… now go adore everything with GLITTER!

TIP:

Added tip from Kara Andretta, use a sifter to separate the smaller flakes and larger flakes! This way, you can have a much finer, consistent glitter! Then put those larger chunks in and re-grind. Or use them for something else!

karaglitter

She also came up with a version of gelatin glitter (using gelatin leaf!) if you want to check out her tutorial >> http://www.karascouturecakes.com/edible-gelatin-glitter/

 

Storage: keep in an airtight container at room temp. I’ve never seen them go “bad”, but I’ll say 6 months for the safe side.

Tips and words of caution:

  • Gelatin can wilt when in the presence of A LOT of moisture. Most climates don’t have a problem, but be cautious and try not to get gelatin wet or leave in a humid environment for too long. If you are in a very humid environment, be sure to apply the glitter last and right before event if possible.
  • When applying glitter to fondant, a thin layer of shortening works great. You can also use piping gel or a corn syrup/water blend. Try not to use straight water.
  • This is NOT a vegan/kosher option. However, you can try this method, I have yet to try it myself, and Gum Arabic can be a little bit more difficult to source. Try this method Vegan/Kosher method >> Lindy’s Cakes Ltd.

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30 Comments
  1. Judy 4 years ago

    This is very nice. however, do you have any suggestions for a vegetarian option? Gelatin isn’t vegetarian. Thank you.

  2. rachana jain 4 years ago

    Is there any other option for gelitan caz its not vegetarian, reply pls.thank you

  3. lara 4 years ago

    this is really amazing God bless u

  4. Lolly Kilber 4 years ago

    Would using a metallic (silver, pearl, etc) airbrush color alone or with a color give it any additional shimmer, or will it basically stay the same?

    Thanks!!

    • Avalon Cakes 4 years ago

      Absolutly will give it a bit more shimmer! Also, EDIBLE (they do have them) luster dusts will work too 🙂

  5. Rae 4 years ago

    Fabulous, informative tutorial!

    I try to educate decorators about not adulterating food with plastic craft glitter, but many seem to have no standards on the issue and make up bundles of excuses about why putting plastic scrapbooking supplies on food is a fine practice.

    This gelatin glitter is beautiful and offers so many options for use. And, it’s CHEAP–a whole lot cheaper than little 5g pots of plastic!

    If decorators would just wake up and realize that it’s WRONG to sprinkle plastic on food–and educate customers to that effect–it would be wonderful. How someone can brag about their gluten free, free range egg, organic ingredient cake and then sprinkle plastic glitter all over it is just beyond me.

    Thank you, thank you!

    • Avalon Cakes 4 years ago

      Amen sista! I won’t go near it… I honestly don’t even like breathing near it (I have thoughts of it getting in my lungs and creating havoc, haha)!

  6. Beth V 4 years ago

    Do you have any suggestions for doing this project on the stove? Have you tried it that way? I’m definitely going to try this, but I don’t have a microwave. I figured I’d ask to see if you had any pointers. If not, it’ll be an adventure for me and I’ll let you know how it goes. 🙂

    • Avalon Cakes 4 years ago

      I’d say slow and steady! lol Never tried gelatin on the stove, but it does dissolve and burn quickly, so as soon as you see it dissolve, you should take it off and be good to go!

      • Beth 4 years ago

        Thanks! I’ll stop back to let you know how it turns out.

  7. balasuk 4 years ago

    Wow!! Simple..easy and achievable? I would definitely give it a try. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Angelica 4 years ago

    What is the shelf life after making the glitter when using powdered gelatin and sheet gelatin?

    • Avalon Cakes 4 years ago

      As long as it’s completely dry, and kept in a dry sealed container, about 8 months.

  9. Connie Miksits 4 years ago

    Will this work on a buttercream cake? Thanks so much for the instructions! I will be trying this next month!

  10. Sarah 4 years ago

    Thank you for this! I made a test batch using the stove on the lowest heart and it turned out beautifully. Going to be making cupcakes for my daughter’s birthday next week and I’m so excited to be adding this glitter to them.

  11. Serena 3 years ago

    Thank you for the tutorial! I am wondering if this will work on a buttercream cake? I’m thinking I would need to sprinkle the glitter on as I’m piping before it dries. I’ll have to do a trial run to see if it melts on the buttercream! But if anyone has tried it let me
    Know!

  12. Rachel 2 years ago

    Thanks for the recipe! I do not have a silicone mat though, so I was wondering if I could just spread it on my granite countertop. It is great for working dough, very non sticky, do you think it could work?

    • Avalon Cakes 2 years ago

      Yeah I think that’d probably work! As long as it’s super smooth it should dry and snap off it overnight 🙂

  13. Astrid Maduro 2 years ago

    Thank you for the tutorial…

  14. Maria Howard 2 years ago

    Wow….. let’s see… let me find the proper words…. YOU ROCK!!!!! thank you, thank you… muchas gracias 🙂
    Really, very generous… I love your work, your recipes…. I have used them and I will make this glitter Oh Yeah!!!! you are my star 🙂

  15. Shahana 2 years ago

    i did as directed..but my glitter sheet
    wasn’t hard enough…i have waited 6-10 hours.
    what could’ve possibly gone wrong?

    • Avalon Cakes 2 years ago

      Shahana, what sort of climate do you live in? Is it very hot and humid?

  16. Jaci 1 year ago

    I was guilty of using luster dust thinking it was editable until a customer asked me about its safety. I then called the company and sure enough it was not editable even though i was told at the cake supply store that it was. Shame on me for taking there word. Thank you for sharing this, I have posted on a few blogs that are putting it out there that disco dust is food safe and my posts are taken down almost immediately. Sad

  17. Maxinne 1 year ago

    Hi! Thanks so much for sharing this tutorial. Edible glitter cost so much at the store so i’ve been looking for a way to make them myself to save money. I did your recipe but my sheet turned our rubbery and much like a deflated balloon, it wasn’t as stiff as cellophane like yours. I live in a humid country so i also did a test batch that i let set in the refrigerator but it turned out the same. Do you have any tips to remedy this? Much appreciated!

  18. Sam 1 year ago

    Vegans, use agar instead of gelatin. It works the same way. You can get it in powder form or you can get it in dried whole form. Essentially, it’s clear sea weed. Melts the same way.

  19. Adrienne 9 months ago

    Can this dissolve in drinks if I mixed it in a cocktail?

    • Avalon Yarnes 9 months ago

      Hey Adrienne, since it’s Gelatin, it will start to break down as soon as it hits liquid.

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