Project Show-and-Tell: Vegan Sugar Skulls for el Dia de los Muertos

Vegan Sugar Skulls

It turns out that vegan sugar skulls are even easier to make than the conventional kind, since you can use the cornstarch from your cupboard instead of searching for that hard-to-find meringue powder.

Exactly HOW easy are they? If I can make these perfect sugar skulls for my kiddos to decorate on my very first attempt, then so can you!

decorating her vegan sugar skull

To make my vegan sugar skulls, I used this vegan sugar skull recipe, and these detailed sugar skull instructions. The vegan sugar skull recipe calls for cornstarch instead of meringue powder–if you’re opposed to animal products AND corn products, then you’ll have to do some experimenting with other gluey starches. Agar-agar, perhaps? Flour and water paste? Carageenan?

For the mold, I used a skull mold that I purchased on clearance from a big-box crafts store after Halloween last year. My giant skull mold took about five cups of sugar mixture, and the two skulls together used up a little more than one five-pound bag of white sugar–I don’t know WHAT craft I’m going to come up with for the rest of that second bag! If you don’t have a skull mold of your own, then surely someone, somewhere must have one that you could borrow for an hour. If you’re really desperate, then you can come and borrow mine!

Royal icing is traditionally used to decorate sugar skulls, but since we’re not going to be eating them, I find so much more scope for the imagination in traditional art supplies–permanent markers, paint-dyed school glue, beads and buttons and sequins, etc., so that’s what I set out for my kiddos to use to decorate their sugar skulls.

I’m perfectly satisfied with our vegan sugar skulls. They’re just as strong as traditional sugar skulls, took all our art supplies well, and gave my kiddos a lot of pleasure in their decoration. My only regret is that I didn’t mold a sugar skull to decorate myself. Next year!

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Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life, and my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties.


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  1. Hello,
    I would love your cornstarch sugar skull recipe. I am an art teacher and normally buy meringue powder for my students! But this year, with Distance Learning, I need a less expensive and easier to find option. The vegan recipe you linked is no longer found. I have searched high and low on internet for days to find it. Do you remember the recipe perchance?

    Thank you,

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