Decorating Sugar Skulls for Dia de Los Muertos in San Francisco

Hot off the sugar skull decorating circuit, a dispatch by Susie Wyshak

The Sugar Skull Gallery packed in a fun hour of sugar skull decorating today at Autumn Express in San Francisco’s Mission District. The mistress of this time-honored Dia De Los Muertos tradition, Michelle described how she makes the skulls and owls (and in Spring, sugar easter eggs): She packs in sugar mixed with dried egg whites and a little water into a mold then hollows them out a little for faster drying, which takes 12-15 hours.

She makes the brightly colored royal icing we used on the skulls for decorating and as glue for all the shells, features, glitter and other accoutrement the students used to bling out their skulls.

Traditionally, foil is often placed across the forehead where you write the name of the loved one the skull honors. We all were too busy jam packing decorations to use space for foil.

Taking care of your skull: Keep them away from moisture and direct sunlight and they will last for years. I advise you don’t take them on BART with a bike while they’re wet. They bang around like a bag of bones.

Check out upcoming Sugar Skull Gallery 2012 classes at Galeria de la Raza and Autumn Express’ upcoming gingerbread decorating classes and other seasonal edible – decorating workshops. Yummy fun!

My handiwork

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