What are skittles?
If you asked my daughters they are candy! However, in the crafting world they are an embellishment that is rounded on top and flat on bottom. Skittles are small acrylic discs. They are actually labeled as “Decorative Accents” and are intended for use in floral arrangements, and home decor projects. They are usually found in the floral department of your local craft store. You can also find them on-line often referred to as “Dew Drops”. My understanding is Dew Drops are usually smaller than the Decorative Accents.
I sat down some time back and made “Homemade” skittles for the first time and at the same time taught my 80 year old Mother how to do it. She actually got the technique down before I did.
The following is a tutorial on how to make your own using hot glue (or low temperature hot glue). Items you need:
1. A non-stick surface (aluminum foil, wax paper, butcher paper, or even a cookie sheet sprayed with Pam and then wiped off, etc.). I used my silpat and it worked perfectly.
2. A hot glue gun (go ahead dig them out of your closets or drawers where they have been hiding for years).
3. Glue sticks (any kind, including colored or glitter).
4. A type of coloring agent (Alcohol Inks, Perfect Pearls, nail polish, etc.). You can even put glitter on them while they are still hot and it will stick.
5. Plastic bags one for each color.
In this tutorial I used alcohol inks, but you can use “Perfect Pearls”, or nail polish, or even marks-a-lots. The items you can use to color these skittles are endless and only limited by your imagination. You can color them all over or just put the color on the flat bottom for it to show through.
Tip: If you freeze your glue sticks first you will have less strings to wrap.
1. I used the low temperature mode on my glue gun.
2. The technique has as much to do with trigger pressure, when you release the trigger, and how to wind the glue string around the base of the skittle to prevent “nipples” as it does with how big you make them. Think smaller than you think it should be, slow wrapping and even pressure.
3. I found it easier to make the skittles if I stood up over the mat.
4. Hold the nozzle about a 1/4″ away from the mat and squeeze the trigger with steady pressure holding it in one spot.
5. When the skittle gets to a little less than the size you are looking for start winding the glue around the base of the skittle as you release the trigger on the glue gun.
6. This will cause the strings of glue to melt into the skittle.
Note: The hot glue expands a little bit as you are wrapping the strings around the base. That is why you want to stop just a little before the skittle gets to the size you are trying to make.
The more you make the better you get. It’s like piano or driving a car with a stick shift…..keep practicing.
The next thing I did was take a nail buffer and sanded some of the skittles after they dried. When you color them with alcohol ink the sanded skittles will take on a frosted look. So you can have translucent skittles and frosted skittles.
As you can see the skittles on the left are more translucent; the ones one the right are frosted.
I used plastic bags (one for each color) and made sure all the skittles were down in a corner of the bag. I dropped 3-4 drops (or more if you want a saturated color) of alcohol ink on top of them and then twist the bag. I then just rub the alcohol ink over the skittles until they looked like they were the color I wanted them.
Spread them out on paper (I used wax-paper) and let them dry. You can make various sizes and colors. I store them in baby food containers (the rectangular ones). These containers fit perfectly in the Jetmax Cube drawers that have the slots.
Finally, I decided to free hand a dragon fly, this is called “Spun Glass”. The picture below is my second dragon fly.
1. Build a base of what you are creating, then go back and add more to it. It gives you great dimension and an opportunity to correct an uneven base.
2. Before you color it you can take scissors and clean up any burrs or mis-shapened items you want to take off.
3. If you want light coloring; color the top only. For more depth color both underneath and top.
4. You can put a picture of what you want to create under the mat and use it as a pattern. Just make sure the lines of the image are dark enough to see through the mat.
Thanks for looking at the tutorial and remember you can just click on the picture to see a larger version. Be sure and leave me a comment, I love hearing from you!