In the 1960s, EVERYONE knew EVERYTHING there was to know about gelatin and they could make ANYTHING with it! I mean, check out this glorious masterpiece:
And since we’re talking halloween, I think I’d rather eat the meatloaf stuffed inside a fake skeleton with ketchup rather than the above “meal in a mold”.
I had no intention of going THAT far, but I perused the aisles of the Dollar Tree looking for inspiration and when I saw an LED and a brain mold. I knew what I had to do.
This project was never about the gelatin, it was about the special effects!
This isn’t what I set out to make though – not at all. It started with an idea for a jello brain. Here’s how I, a mid-twenty year-old with zero gelatin experience, decided to go about making a jello brain from the dollar store.
The brain mold, strobe light, and tray were all from the Dollar Tree. The Jell-o, gummy worms, and fruit (not pictured here) were all from the grocery store. The two different boxes of jello are two different colors to make the brain more dynamic.
Step 1: Make Jello Box #1
I used the quick-set instructions off of the Jello box – strawberry first, the darker color. Instead of making it with just water, you make it with a mixture of water and ice. Using this method helps for the next step.
Add a bit of the first jello color to the brain mold, then dump the rest in another tray for later. Put the brain mold in the fridge and let it sit and start to firm up while you do the next step:
Step 2: Cut up the Fruit Salad
This is pretty self-explanatory. The flashing jello is fun, but people are more likely to pick out some of the fruit salad.
The lemon juice is my tip here – once you make the fruit salad, spray it down with some lemon or lime juice. That keeps it from browning!
Step 3: Make Jello Box #2
Fill up that brain the rest of the way with the other jello color! Pour slowly and over a spoon (like bartenders tend to do in order to layer drinks), that will make it so there’s a gradient of color. Letting that first jello color firm up a bit before pouring the second one on also helps with keeping the colors separate. Then dump the rest into the pan with the rest of the jello. I didn’t worry about mixing here.
Step 4: Let it Firm Up Overnight
Unless you want pictures of my sleeping, I got no images for this step.
Step 5: Sanitize and Waterproof the Light
Give the light a wipe with some soap (don’t submerge the light – it’s not waterproof) then cover it in saran wrap. This light has a press button for turning it on and off which was perfect because it was easy to do under the saran wrap!
Step 6: De-mold the Brain!
FAILURE. And at this point I had about 10 minutes before I had to leave for the party. I was SO EXCITED for this!!
Step 7: Pivot
Welp, I made the jello and the fruit salad so I still wanted to bring it to the party. Bye-bye jello brain, hello jello brain goop!
I ended up just dumping all of the jello (including the stuff from the second tray of extra jello) into the glass bowl, but the original plan had been to cut up the secondary jello into chunks and add it on top of the fruit salad for people to grab – like little finger jello bites.
Here’s What YOU Should Do
I got some tips from my mother and grandmother, who I should have gotten advice from in the first place!
- Add Extra Gelatin: Use the recipe 3 small boxes Jell-O, 4 envelopes (1 box) (1 oz) unflavored gelatin, 4 1/2 cups water or some ratio of it. The extra gelatin will make it FIRM.
- Spray the Mold: Use Pam cooking spray or a paper towel with some oil on it.
- Break the Seal: Not THAT seal. Before trying to get your Jello out of the mold, slide a knife around the outside of the jello between it and the mold.
I fully intend to give this a try again once I get my light back! Wish me luck 🤞
If you try this send me a picture! I’m dying to see how it works out WITHOUT the fails!