Saturday, April 4, 2015

I Want (Fake) Sprinkles!

About a year ago John and I spent the better part of a week working on another of my crazy craft ideas... which we never quite got to work. (This happens pretty often, which is why I don't like posting works-in-progress!) I really loved the project, though, so I kept our failed prototypes and vowed to SOMEDAY find a solution.

Silly as this may sound, one of our main hangups was finding or making the perfect faux candy sprinkles. The few options I found online were either too labor-intensive, imperfect, or both.
Real sprinkles can bleed their colors when wet, and are brittle and prone to crumbling. Not to mention the sugar content, which could attract critters if left unsealed. 

 Fake sprinkles, however, can be used in all kinds of fun endeavors, from jewelry to faux cupcake ornaments to be-sprinkling your cellphone case. They're flexible but still hard, so they won't crumble, and you can make them any size you like (for larger props) and any color you want. 

So last night, John and I made these:

It turns out that making fake sprinkles is dead simple, but I had to learn a few tricks the hard way. So get ready to learn from my mistakes!

You Will Need:

- Sculpey or Fimo clay (we used some of both to get the colors we wanted)

- A clay or fondant extruder, like this:

- With an inset disc with lots of tiny holes, like this:

(If you want larger sprinkles, go with larger holes.)

There are cheaper versions, too; just check the cake decorating section for something like this:

 In fact, this one with all the tips is only $10 over at Amazon. And that's got at least 3 different sprinkle sizes, right there!

- A razor blade, preferably in a holder (you can find razor blade scrapers in any hardware store)

- A cookie sheet & parchment paper


Ok, like I said, dead simple: first, squeeze your clay out in a long rope from the extruder:

 We found Sculpey was easier to squeeze out than Fimo, but both still work fine.

Work in small batches, so your clay strands aren't any longer than your baking sheet.

Arrange the individual strands on parchment paper on the baking sheet:

Try not to have any touching, since they'll stick together.

Bake at 270 for approximately 8 to 9 minutes. (Too much longer, and you risk burning the clay.) The clay will still be a bit floppy when it comes out, but it will harden more as it cools.  It will never get rock-hard, though, so don't worry if it's still flexible.

Gather your strands into bunches of 10 or so, and chop 'em up with a razor blade:

You may choose to sing "Choppin' Broccoli" at this point. That's up to you.

Note: If your clay is crumbly when you go to cut it, that means you either haven't baked it long enough or hot enough. (I accidentally set the oven at the wrong temp one time. Ooops.)

Now, you may be wondering: why chop with a razor, not scissors or a knife? Here's why:

 Not the best pics, but see how the pink strands on the left have bright white tips on the cut ends? Both scissors *and* sharp knives left that white discoloration, and trust me when I say it looks terrible on the finished sprinkles. A razor blade, however, cuts cleanly with no white edges, as you can see on the red strands on the right.

Make sure you chop your sprinkles in a variety of sizes, and include lots of tiny pieces. Anything too perfect and uniform will scream "fake!"

I decided to keep my colors separate, so I can mix the sprinkles in small batches as needed. I'm storing them in this nifty $4 container John found at JoAnn's:

Now, a word about colors:

Most of the clays - both Sculpey & Fimo - baked up a little darker, so you might want to err just slightly on the lighter side. The Sculpey blue, however, threw us for a loop:

Believe it or not, the container on the far right is what you get from that blue clay after baking. SO DARK. We had to mix in some white to get the other two, lighter shades.

We also had to add white to the purple, pink, and yellow, all of which were much too dark for bright happy sprinkles.

The green, red, and orange are straight out of the pack, though. 
(Green & orange are Sculpey, red is Fimo.)

You'll have to do some experimenting with your colors, since not only do they look different after baking, they can also look very different after chopping them into sprinkles!

I highly recommend googling "rainbow sprinkles" for a good color reference. I printed out my favorite, and then we did our best to color match it. In fact, here's the image I used, so you can see how well we did:

Our yellow is more pale, and our pink isn't quite as fluorescent, but otherwise I think we did ok!

 I hope this sparks some crafty ideas out there! And cross your fingers for me as I keep trying on the Failed Project; now that I have the sprinkles, I'm that much closer to success! Just have to experiment with some more different clear coats, and then maaaaybe I'll have something sweet to show you guys.

And now one for you pinners:

Btw, thanks for pinning my stuff, guys. With Facebook continuing to strangle out Page reach, Pinterest is one of my best ways to reach both new and existing readers. Plus I'm still addicted to it. :) 

I pin the same kinds of stuff I post here - cosplay, art, crafts, etc -  so if you're not already, follow me over there for more goodies! (If you're new to Pinterest, though, get ready to lose some serious time. SO MANY GOODIES.)

Happy Weekend, everyone!


Come see ALL of my craft projects on one page, right here!


  1. If you have an old fuzzy pumper barber shop, you might get the same effect as those extruders.

  2. I've been using the same technique to make sprinkles for a while now, but I haven't invested in an extruder yet, so I meticulously hand roll a bunch of little snakes.
    I've also chopped up the finished "sprinkles" super super fine and worked them into un-baked clay to get different textures in my ice-cream miniatures- like mint chocolate chip!

    I've experienced the blue sculpey woes myself as well! I baked up a bunch of charms, only to have them turn out the completely wrong colour and I had to scrap the whole lot of them! :(

  3. oooh this would work well with 2 projects i occasionally like to do:

  4. Those are so pretty, I want to eat them.

  5. Could plastic string (like Spaghetti String or S'getti String) work? I have to admit that when you first described your delimma, my first thought was cutting up a Koosh Ball!

    1. We were thinking of that, too, but it turns out S'getti String is hollow inside. :/ Plus the plastic is soooo shiny, I think it ruins the illusion. (Good thought on the Koosh Balls, though! Could work, though they'd be so floppy it might be hard to sprinkle your "sprinkles!")

  6. Those look great! I'm impressed. Now I just need an excuse to make some...

  7. Holy cats, that's hilarious; whatever it is I'm chopping, I ALWAYS sing "Choppin' broccoli! A-choppin' broc-o-lee-heee!" The Vulcan and I saw that bit again recently, and he'd either never seen it or totally forgotten, so it was a revelation to him to hear it; "Ohhh, OK! THAT'S where that's from! You're always singing weird little songs to and about everything, so I thought it was one of yours!"

    It's weird how very different some colours turn out once they're baked. When I made my Fifth Doctor Celery (for my DoctorsDonna costume), I used a shade of green Sculpey that looked pretty much "grass green" in the funkyass lighting at Michael's, but when I baked it up, that bugger came out a screaming chartreuse! I ended up going over it quite a bit with acrylic paints to tone down the florescence and give it more detail.

    I can't imagine what the sprinkles are for at the moment, but still, well done you! Quite authentic.


    Storm the Klingon

  8. Awesome! I'm thinking/hoping your project has something to do with resin. Can't wait to find out!

  9. Cue the current Progressive commercial, "Sprinkles are for winners!"

    I follow you on Pinterest! (in a totally crafty, non-stalkery way of course...)

  10. I'm not a crafter, so I can't imagine a project standing or falling on the existence of plausible fake sprinkles... but these are totally convincing!

    1. Ahhh, Alicia. Had you seen the project fails caused by bad sprinkle choices, you'd sob. Seriously, real ones bleed all over and ruin the life-size 'cake' you spent hours crafting with expensive Styrofoam 'rounds' and caulk. Now I am sobbing. Again.

  11. I've never heard the "Choppin' Broccoli" song... I think a "tutorial video" is needed :-)

  12. I totally want to make the bracelets, but don't want to make fake sprinkles. Nothing that you can buy online comes even close to the beautiful sprinkles you did! You need to start another side business and sell these babies!

  13. I absolutely love them.. I am inspired!!


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