For Design and Assembly:

Knox unflavored gelatin
Small microwave safe bowl (glass preferred)
Toothpicks
Food color (gel or paste)
Scrapbook scissors (wavy edge)
Small scissors
Paint brush (soft, any size)
Small paintbrush (5/0)
Water balloon
Shortening
Duct tape
Acetate sheet (or other non-stick surface, a plastic textured sheet will work)
Pastry brush or large floppy brush
Piping gel
Disco dust in black and purple (optional)

I use Knox unflavored gelatin. If a higher grade of gelatin is used, the recipe might need adjustment for the amount of water.  But don’t fret; this is not a fussy recipe so different proportions of water to gelatin will still get the desired effect.

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Use a 2:1 ratio of water to gelatin.  Put 2 T water into a microwave safe glass bowl and add a drop or two of orange food color.  Sprinkle 1 T gelatin over the water.  

 
Let this sponge for 5 minutes so the gelatin absorbs the water.

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Blow up the water balloon to about 2” and knot.  If the balloon is not perfectly round, pull the pointed end around toward the knot.  

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Twist the pointed end and knot together and tape with duct tape.  

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Tape half a toothpick to the knotted end as a handle.

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Coat the balloon with shortening and then wipe off the excess.  If too much shortening is left on, the gelatin will slide off when dipped.

Pop the gelatin bowl into the microwave for about 10 seconds to melt the gelatin (some microwaves require less/more time due to power differences).  Stir and remove any un-dissolved gelatin or foam.    

*Note: The more the gelatin is heated, cooled and reheated, the clearer the gelatin will be.  However, this is not required for this project.

It is important the gelatin mixture is not HOT, or it will pop the balloon.  Make sure it is only warm to the touch, it may be necessary to wait a minute to let the mixture cool before dipping.

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Dip the balloon into the gelatin mixture and rotate around to coat the entire balloon.

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Quickly turn the balloon upright (knot at the bottom) and let the excess drip off back into the bowl.

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Use a soft paint brush to wipe away drips on the bottom around the knot.  Place in a Styrofoam block and let set up.  

When the balloon is no longer tacky re-drip in the gelatin mixture.  It may be necessary to reheat the gelatin mixture for 5 seconds in the microwave if it is too cool.  Repeat until the balloon has three coats of gelatin. Let dry for several hours or overnight.

*Note:  placing in front of a low fan will speed up the drying.

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In another bowl, place 3 tablespoons water and a few drops of black food color.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon gelatin over the water and let sponge.  Repeat using purple food color.

Microwave for 10 seconds to melt the mixture and remove any foam or un-dissolved gelatin.

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With a pastry brush or large soft brush, spread the black gelatin evenly on a piece of acetate. Let the gelatin dry for several hours.  

Repeat the previous step with the purple gelatin.

Save leftover gelatin by placing a piece of plastic wrap on top of the gelatin once it is firm and not tacky to the touch.  Put it in the refrigerator for later use.

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Cut a small triangle out of the black gelatin sheet and form a cone.  

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Use leftover gelatin mixtured that has been reheated to liquid (5 to 10 seconds in the microwave) to paint onto the edges and press together for a few minutes until attached.

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Cut a small circle out of the black sheet using the wavy edged scissors.  Coat the edge with piping gel and sprinkle black disco dust onto the edge.

*Note: Use piping gel sparingly, too much will dissolve your gelatin piece.

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Cut out a purple strip of gelatin with the wavy scissors.  

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Paint the strip with a small amount of piping gel and sprinkle with purple disco dust.

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Cut a small hole in the center of the black circle (hat brim).

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Paint the edge of the cone with warm leftover gelatin and attach to the hat brim.

Paint a small amount of warmed gelatin onto the purple strip and attach around the base of the hat.  Cut the excess off.

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Use small scissors to pop a hole into the balloon at the base of the orange bubble and remove the balloon once it deflates.

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Using a very small paintbrush, use black gel color mixed with a tiny amount of alcohol to paint the pumpkins face (note the hole of the bubble is at the bottom).

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Use white gel color and alcohol paint the eyes.  When dry, outline with black and paint a black pupil.

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Use warmed gelatin to attach the hat to the top of the orange .
Happy Halloween!

Tami is a Multi-award winning cake artist and an ICES approved teacher with over 20 years experience.  She has written articles for Edible Artists Network (summer 2013), American Cake Decorating Magazine and the ICES newsletters featuring her gelatin creations. Please visit Tami at www.sugarartbytami.com.