Celebrating the Day of the Dead

September 29th, 2011 by Lisa Deszcz

Day of the Dead or All Souls’ Day is a cheerful and colorful holiday where the death of loved ones takes a lively, friendly expression. Family and friends gather together in joyful remembrance of loved ones who have passed on. Brightly decorated sugar skulls are a common part of this celebration and are a way to memorialize loved ones.

We recently held a focus group to see how a few Wilton employees would decorate their sugar skulls using our products. These women did such a wonderful job and the results were simply amazing! You can learn how to make one of these too at the end of this blog!

Undecorated Skulls

Several blank sugar skulls just waiting to be decorated.

Color Mist Skull

Color Mist™ looks fabulous on the sugar skulls!

Sparkle Gel Skull

Sparkle Gel works well for making eyes!

FoodWriter™ Skull

FoodWriters™ provide the perfect detail for intricate designs.

Bandana Skull

A Sugar Sheet bandana and EK Success Jewels for teeth! Since Sugar Skulls are for decoration (not eating), it’s OK to use non-edible mediums like stickers and jewels!

Candy Eyeball Skull

Candy eyeballs and sprinkles are also fun to use!

Decorated Skulls

And here is the whole group. They turned out great, right? So what are you waiting for?

Here is how you can make your own Sugar skull:

Sugar Skulls

  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Wilton Meringue Powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons water

In a small bowl, stir together granulated sugar and Meringue Powder. Add water and stir until mixture is evenly moistened and feels like wet sand.

Press firmly into both sides of the mold, using a spatula to pack the mixture as tightly as possible all the way to the top. Place a cake board on top of the mold and invert to remove the skulls. If some of the sugar stays in the mold, the mixture is too wet. Pack it full again and repeat.

Let the skulls dry for 24 hours. Makes one skull. Ingredients can be doubled or tripled successfully.

Royal Icing

  • 3 tablespoons Wilton Meringue Powder
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 tablespoons warm water, plus additional for sealing the skull
  • Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer).

Makes about 3 cups.

Spread a thin layer of royal icing on one side of the skull. Sandwich the skull together, wiping away any excess royal icing that seeps out with your finger.

Return remaining royal icing to mixer and thin to a painting consistency by adding 1 tablespoon of water at a time and beating until the icing is wet enough to paint on the skull without being gloppy or leaving brush marks. (I added about 5 tablespoons of water to my remaining royal icing, but if you sandwich more than a single skull before thinning down the icing, you might need less.)

Apply the thinned royal icing all over the skull with a brush to seal the sugar. After the coating dries (between 30 minutes and 1 hour), the surface will be smooth and ready to decorate!

Then the fun begins! Sugar skulls are easily decorated with Color Mist™, Sparkle Gels, Ready-To-Decorate icing, sprinkles, FoodWriters™ and many other Wilton products.

Lisa Deszcz Lisa began her career on the Wilton food team as the Associate Product Manager for Sprinkles. In that role, she brought her boundless creativity and sharp eye for packaging to the development of many fun new items. Now as the Product Manager for Candy, she continues to utilize her talents as she develops exciting new candy molds and kits. In addition to indulging in her crafting side, Lisa enjoys spending time with friends and family.

17 Replies

  1. Nicole says:

    What a fun idea. I love the use of a sugar sheet as a bandana. Great work ladies!

  2. Joe says:

    Looks like something fun for both kids and parents to do on Halloween.

  3. Scottie Snyder says:

    Love these ideas…fun…perhaps a girls night in the making, creating halloween decorations. We have a relatively new Walmart in Myrtle Beach and their Halloween section has two full isles of Wilton Halloween and Fall themes decorating tools with assorted candies and sprinkles. Delighted to find the product so easily.

  4. Andrea says:

    Maybe this year I will finally make and decorate sugar skulls. Thanks for the reminder! I might have a cookie/pumpkin decorating party and might have to make some of these to decorate too!

  5. Carlene says:

    They looked better in the top picture – plain.
    Is Wilton employing 5 yr olds?

  6. Did you use the Wilton skull cake pan? Or was it some other skull mold?
    Thank you for this fun Halloween project.

  7. Penny says:


  8. Noemi says:

    Hi my name is Noemi i´m from spain and i make a cakes for my friend´s and family and i´m very interesting in this skuls mold for halloween is posible you sendme this mold to spain? soory for my bad inglish thank´s

  9. Sarah says:

    I was looking for something to seal my sugar skulls with. Is there a product that is safe to spray on it that won’t disintegrate the sugar?

  10. Sarah says:

    I was looking for something to seal my sugar skulls with. Is there a product that is safe to spray on it that won’t disintegrate the sugar?

    • Lisa Mikolajewski says:

      Hi Sarah,

      That’s a great question! We have listed the recipe above for priming your sugar skull with Royal Icing. This makes it a lot easier to decorate without the sugar coming off.

      I have never tried to seal the sugar skull after it has been decorated. The one I have with me is still in great condition after a month!

      However, since the sugar skulls are not intended to be eaten, I’d recommend asking at a craft store for some sort of spray glaze that you could use.

      Hope that helps!


  11. Lyle says:

    Quite imaginative decorating.Wilton scored big time with you.

  12. LAUREN LEE says:

    Hi Lisa,
    When convenient, will you please give more specific information on the teeth you decorated with from EK Success? I have been to their website and am unable to find anything close to what you used. Your assistance is greatly appreciated. Have a great day and a beautiful weekend.

  13. Kat says:

    Thanks fr te decorating ideas I am doing sugar skulls for a school project and me and my partner got stuck on how to decorate them. Thanks for the ideas and I’m a big fan of Wilton products thanks.

  14. Kat says:

    Haha I meant thanks for the decorating ideas. Stupid keyboard.

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