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How to Color Your Own Sprinkles

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Ice Perfect Cakes every time!

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Full video and easy buttercream recipe inside!

Ready to color some?!

So now that you know all about sprinkles I’m going to show you how I color the three main types of sprinkles: Sanding Sugar, Non Pariels, and Jimmies. Here’s the tools you’ll need:

different sprinkles

The one disclaimer that I NEED to make about coloring your own sprinkles is that there is a learning curve and you will inevitably mess up a few batches…I certainly have!

Pick your colors

You may have a specific cake or baked good that you already know the colors for…so that makes this process easy. But if you are just looking to make a super fun and original sprinkle mix, I recommend turning your attention to pinterest. There are so many awesome color pallets on pinterest for inspiration. Here are a few of my favorites that I’ve actually turned into mixes

pineapple sprinkles mix
Want to just buy these adorable sprinkles? You CAN, click on the image!
treasure trove sprinkles mix

Color your Sprinkles

You’ll need a separate bowl for each type of sprinkle and also for each color. So, if you are doing Jimmies and Non Pariels in 4 colors, you will need 8 bowls. I’m typically working with 12 bowls or more at a time…so you can imagine I run short on counter space real quick! Ha! It’s easiest and most time efficient to work with one color at a time. I recommend you start sparingly, as you can get very dark colors very quickly.

You may be wondering why vodka is on the list of materials. I use vodka to help with coverage. You may be going for a light purple, but the amount of airbrush color you need to achieve the right color may not have enough liquid in it to thoroughly coat your sprinkles. This is where the vodka comes in. It allows you to use color sparingly and also get solid coverage. And, no you won’t taste it, and it won’t give you a buzz (no matter how many sprinkles you shove in your mouth), it evaporates leaving only color behind!

Color your Sprinkles

Ok, so you’ve put your color in…how do you distribute? Well you may think…duh! I stir it….and you’re partially right. The trick, however, is to fold and spread. I think of the motion the same as icing a cake. You want to rub the sprinkles against one another to distribute the color evenly. I use the flat side of my spatula in a tilted bowl to “spread” the color back and forth on the sprinkles.

distribute color

Another color distribution method is to place your sprinkles in a small container with a lid and shake. This works pretty well for small batches of sprinkles, however I find the color distribution isn’t quite as good with this method.

If you find your color isn’t distributing evenly, add more vodka in small increments until it’s spreading better. When you do this, it may appear like it’s taking color off your sprinkles. Fear not, keep mixing…it will redistribute. The process is the same for all three sprinkle types.

colored sprinkles

Notes by sprinkle type

  • Sanding Sugar – requires very little color, be sparing. (These are the easiest to color.)
  • Jimmies – requires the most color/liquid and typically the most mixing.
  • Non Pariels – Pretty easy to color with moderate amount of liquid.


Once you’ve mixed all your colors, you’ve done the hard part…the rest is patience. You need to let your sprinkles air dry until they are completely dry. Stirring occasionally is essential. You don’t want a giant block of sprinkles. I.e. this isn’t something you want to do right before bedtime, or you’ll have sprinkle bricks in the morning☺.

There is an additional step you should take with your non pariels after they are dry. Non pariels will form small clumps as they dry no matter how vigilant you are at stirring. To combat this, I pass them through a colander once they are dry. This separates them perfectly.

strain sprinkles
sift non pariels


Your sprinkles are dry and you are ready to combine them. Throw them in a bowl, add your metallics (if you like that sort of thing) and stir to combine. And if you are feeling adventurous….get someone to video you while you are mixing them together….because if there is one thing I’ve learned since launching Sprinkle Pop, it’s that people LOVE to watch a sprinkle mix come together! This particular batch was for my Milky Way Sprinkle Mix.

sprinkle mixes

And there you have it!

…a not-so-short explanation on how to make your very own sprinkle mixes.

And….if DIY isn’t your thing…or maybe you just want these babies ready-to-go..head over to Sprinkle Pop!

sprinkle mixes selection

Where you can find a super fun slection of sprinkle mixes you haven't seen anywhere else! Including fun & unique shapes and gorgeous colors!

Ice Perfect Cakes every time!

Learn Avalon's secret hack for creating perfect iced cakes every time - for free!

Full video and easy buttercream recipe inside!

 Published: 08/18/2017

Last modified on December 28th, 2022

meet the author

Liz Butts of Sprinkle Pop

Avalon Yarnes is multi-award winning cake artist and educator. Her work has been featured on tv shows, in magazines, books and more. She has been named one of the top 10 Cake Artists in America by Cake Masters Magazine and Dessert Professional Magazine. She's always cooking up something innovative that she can share with her students. Learn with Avalon here inside Avalon Cakes Online School of Sugar Art, where her (and her friends) teach you how to make incredible art with of cakes, cookies and more!

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I'm Avalon -- and I'm not your typical cake decorator. I'm obsessed with fusing the world of ART and CAKE. Sugar is my canvas. If you're down to get messy and dive into a whole new level of cake, take my virtual hand, cause I've got so many secrets I want to show you! learn more>>

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