I am on a mission. A mission to spread the word about the fun of cascarones--painted eggshells filled with confetti. Cracked over the heads of unsuspecting friends, the result is giggles, laughter, chuckles, and tee-hees--a guaranteed smile. My mission started with the opening of my Etsy shop, Gracie's Eggies, named for my granddaughter, Grace, who has been a cascarones aficionado since the age of 18 months. There are not enough cascarones in the world for her!
In South Texas, especially San Antonio, cascarones are a big thing--really big. In the spring, you can buy cascarones on just about every corner--literally. Families make the eggies-o-fun and sell them from their front yards. The grocery stores sell them at the check out. The city streets are lined with cascaones vendors at Fiesta events. On Easter Sunday, the largest city park is covered with a blanket of confetti from the families who celebrate the season with the cascarones tradition.
Cascarones are catching on for favors at birthday parties, baby showers and weddings. Wedding cascarones are often filled with birdseed and used to shower the newlyweds when they leave for their honeymoon. With a little imagination, they can be painted to bring merriment to any occassion.
Although I want everyone to visit my shop and buy dozens of my handmade cascarones, I wouldn't be a very good missionary of confetti fun if I didn't share the cascraones secret with the masses. So, here is your complete guide to making cascarones so you can be the "Rey or Reina" (King or Queen) of Confetti Levity at your next celebration.
Before I launch into the tutorial, I must ask that readers heed this warning: no matter how many cascarones you buy or make, you will wish you had more! They are infectious. So make plenty.
food coloring, paint, Easter egg dying kit
tissue used for gift bags
Make sure and read the "TIPS" following the step-by step instructions.
1. Prepare the eggs by creating a hole at the fat end of the egg. To do this, hold the egg, fat end up, firmly in the palm of one hand. Tap the egg with the blade of a knife, making a break in the egg about one inch long. Tap the egg again, perpendicular to the first crack. This will make an "X" in the top of the egg.
2. "Pick" a hole with your fingers where you have made the starter cracks. The hole should be about one inch in diameter. The holes don't have to be perfect--they will later be covered with a round piece of tissue. Empty the eggs into a bowl for future use (see TIPS for ways to use your eggs). Wash the shells and place them hole side down on a dishtowel to drain until dry.
3. Color the shells with paint or by dyeing as you would Easter eggs (see TIPS for drying your painted eggs). Be creative! Decorate your shells with stickers, paint, and other embellishments (see TIPS for making perfect polka dots on your cascarones).
4. After the shells are dry, fill them with confetti (see TIPS for hints to buying and making confetti). Kids love this part. My granddaughters helped me make an order of eggies this weekend.
Gracie chose the "shower" method of filling the shells.
Summer, my littlest granddaughter, preferred stuffing the shells to the brink and patting them down to make room for even more confetti.
5. Cover the hole with tissue paper (see TIPS for tissue paper). Squeeze a small amount of crafter's glue on the rim of the hole you made in the shell (see TIPS for glue suggestions). Place a round of tissue paper over the hole and gently smooth the tissue until the hole is completely closed.
Making cascarones is only half the fun. Now go out and shower your world with confetti (see TIPS for instructions for cracking eggs over heads)!
TIP: Eggshells will probably get into the eggs you have emptied into the bowl. The shells settle to the bottom. If you are going to use the eggs right away, pour the eggs into another bowl, and the shells will remain at the bottom of the original bowl. I learned this tip from Ace of Cakes!
TIP: What are you going to do with all of those eggs? Look at my archived posts for recipe suggestions. I also recommend http://www.marthastewart.com for many other recipes. You can also freeze eggs to use in cake and cookie recipes.
TIP: I paint my eggs and place them on bamboo skewers, then poke the skewers into the ground until the eggs are dry. When I have dozens in the ground, it kind of looks like a stand of tulips! I do this in my front yard and curious passers-by stop and chat. I tell them I am the Easter Bunny's assistant. They probably walk away calling me the crazy egg lady!
TIP: Do you like my polka dot style of cascarones? Here is my secret for the perfect dot: Dip the eraser-end of a pencil into craft paint and kiss the shell with the eraser. Perfectly round polka dots!
TIP: Where do get confetti? In Texas, you can buy bags of confetti in the party goods aisle at the grocery store for $1 per bag. A bag will fill 7-10 dozen eggs. Hobby Lobby also sells bags of confetti during Easter season. You can also go to your local printer and ask them to save the circles produced when they drill holes in projects. Another idea is to shred colored paper in a home paper shredder and cut the strips into little squares. You can also buy small bags of specialty confetti (like baby bottles, hats, bunnies, etc.) and add to the paper confetti for a special touch.
TIP: Don't obsess over clean up. The confetti vacuums up easily. If outdoors, the confetti will soon be absorbed into the landscape and causes no harm to the environment. Months later, you will find bits of confetti under the couch cushions, under a chair, or in a corner of a room and recall the delight of the confetti celebration.
TIP: I use the most inexpensive crafter's glue to adhere the tissue paper to the egg. I have successfully used glued sticks, but found crafter's glue more efficient (although more messy). If you use a glue stick, the "disappearing" kind is too thick and doesn't work very well.
TIP: Everyone is using gift bags these days, Save the tissue in the bags to make the tissue circles for cascarones. Smooth the tissue, then accordian fold the tissue. Each pleat should be about three inches wide. Cut circles large enough to cover the holes from the pleated tissue. This method means you can cut about 5-10 circles at a time. Your tissue doesn't have to match the color of your egg. Anything that looks pretty will be fine.
TIP: This is the most important tip. In Texas, kids love to "smash" the eggs directly on the heads. No tears are shed and there are no hard feelings, because everyone knows what they are. Kids who are unfamiliar with the tradition might be shocked and dismayed by being hit on the head. This is how to create a no-tears confetti shower: Hold the egg in one hand about 6 inches over the head of recipient. Crush the egg in the palm of your hand and sprinkle the contents over the head. An alternative to this is to "clap" the cascaron between your hands over the head and then let the confetti rain down.
To the right, I have featured a number of Etsy vendors who have beautiful spring- and Easter-theme products. Please visit their shops for more Easter fun.