Corn Starch Candy Molds

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 Intro: Candy Molds from corn starch

On my first attempt to make hard candy I discovered that the selection of molds available locally was pretty limited. Either the molds were not for high temperature or they were teddy bears or lollypops. So I decided to make my own. 

I have seen corn starch mold used for industrial candy production so I figured it was worth a try.
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Step 1:

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What you need:

1/2 sheet tray - to hold the mold
1/2 sheet size cooling rack
Full Sheet tray - help to contain mess
Tape measure
Hot Glue gun
Corn starch - 4 lbs for 1/2 sheet tray
Powdered Sugar
Square dowel to hold the positive shape
Some kind of positive shape that can be attached to dowel. I used 1" jewels from hobby lobby. I'll call them a die as you can use any shape that you can find to make the mold.
Calipers - if you are really a geek

Molten Hard candy - you can find multiple instructables on this topic

I measured the 1/2 sheet tray. It's inside dimensions are 17.25"x12.25".
The dowel is 36" long. I need it to be at least 13" long so it can be used as the 'stamp'. To make it easy I cut the dowel in half to 18"

Step 2:

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 After cutting the dowel I now have 2 dowels. One will become the stamp and the other will be used for flattening the mold.

Measure out 12.25" in the approximate center of the down and mark with a pencil.

I arbitrarily picked 13 dies for the stamp. This was the quantity in the pack.

Since the width of the tray is 12.25" and there will be 13 jewels that means there will be a spacing of 0.942" between each. This is where the caliper comes into play. Open the calipers to 0.942" and place one tip on the pencil mark. Since the dowel is made from soft wood it's easy to make a dent in it with the caliper. Make a dent each 0.942" distance along the dowel. Then draw a line at each dent mark and you'll have a perfectly spaced guide for the dies.

Step 3:

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 Using the glue gun add a small drop and attach the die between the marks you just made. 

Step 4:

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 Make sure your dies on the stamp will clear the edge of the tray.

Step 5:

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Add your corn starch to the tray. For this size tray 4 lbs seems to be perfect. Keep adding until the tray is full.

Using the dowel gently smooth out the starch so that it completely fills the tray. You don't want any gaps or holes in the surface. As the starch falls off the edge into the full size sheet tray you can pick it up and use it to fill in the gaps. Repeat this process until you get a smooth even surface.

Step 6:

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 Now press the stamp into the starch to make a row of molds. The edge of the tray will stop the dowel from pushing into the starch. So you will only get what is sticking out from the dowel, your dies.

Step 7:

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 Gently pour your liquid sugar into the molds. 

Place tray in the fridge for at least an hour. This will harden the candy.

Step 8:

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 After allowing the candy to cool place a cooling rack upside down on top of the tray. 

Quickly flip the tray over. If you do it right the starch will stay in the tray until it's face down in the full size sheet tray.

Take the tray off and set it aside.  Shake the cooling rack to allow the starch to fall through the grate. 

After shaking off a bulk of the starch knock each candy with the back of a spoon to get even more off.

Note: You should be able to recover about 98% of the corn starch so that you can used it next time.

Step 9:

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 I have found from previous experience that if the candy is not coated with something it will tend to stick together if there is any increase in the temperature or humidity.

To help prevent this from happening I coat the candy in powdered sugar. To make sure they are coated evening I used my marinating tumbler.

Add about 2 cups of powdered sugar and add the candy. Set it to tumble for about 20 min.

After tumbling, place the candy on a cooling rack on a fresh tray. This will let you recover the powdered sugar for later use.

As you did before, shake the rack to knock off the sugar.

Step 10:

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 After knocking off most of the sugar place the candy in a colander and shake vigorously to remove the last amount of lose sugar. Don't shake too hard though as you may start shattering the candy.

Step 11:

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 Weigh and bag your fresh homemade candy and give to friends and family.

See the follow up for this ...


WendyB101 month ago
Ok so in theory couldn't you take a chocolate mold and push it into the cornstarch for the same effect? If you found a chocolate mold you really liked? Or use it with melted paraffin wax to create wax versions then press then into the cornstarch?
Msjcali3 months ago
Can you please help me? I've never done anything like this before! I'm making tiny tiaras for the top of cake pops and would like to make tiny edible diamonds to use for accents. I was wondering if I can use this method Bc obviously the diamonds need to sparkle so the powdered sugar won't work. Any tips?! I cant find edible ones that are small enough! Thanks for the help! :)
SinAmos2 years ago
Great stuff!
matstermind5 years ago
use legos!
i was thinking the exact same thing. I pictured a bunch of little leggo guys.
that'd be cool too, I was thinking lego bricks. (maybe with the holes on the underside for stackable ones)
These are jellies but close enough.
if i remember correctly, i was thinking of that when i posted the comment
You'd probly be able to use the mold for hard sweets.
perezm310683 years ago
Why does the corn starch not stick/mix with the liquid candy and stay mixed when it hardens?
beehard444 years ago
what if you turn the cornstarch into a non Newtonian fluid, put it in the tray, dio your die in, wait 'till it hardens and use that?
maybe it'll be sturdier but the problem is when you remove the candies from the mould...
sandds (author)  beehard444 years ago
The only way I'm aware of to allow a water/cornstarch to 'harden' would be to allow it to dry out completely while the mold is still in place. This would take a long period of time, unless, just a guess, you put it in an oven at 200F for a long time to drive off the water.

My experience with water/cornstarch mixtures is that they will go bad after a couple of days out in the open...and that's not Good Eats.
Well done instructable.
ammazur4 years ago
Fantastic! I was having the same problem finding a decent mold, and this will work great. Thanks for posting it. :)
shortone5 years ago
Would this work for gummy candy as well? I saw below someone mentioned gummy worms.... would this technique work? Thanks :)
danlab shortone4 years ago
it should work for gummy candy, as this is the method most commonly used for industrial production of gummy candy, pouring the molten candy into the mold would just be a bit harder because of the increased viscosity of gummy.
I was wondering if you could use melted chocolate in the mold instead of melted sugar
sandds (author)  btheskullcrusher5 years ago
I would think that this technique would not be ideal for chocolate. The ability to knock off the corn starch helps a lot with the look of the candy. I would think that the corn starch would really embed itself into the chocolate and you would get lumpy, dusty looking globs. Most hobby or confectionary stores have tons of chocolate molds. The temp of the chocolate is in the low 100's whereas the sugar (hard crack) is over 300. Sugar molds have to be made out of special plastic to withstand the heat. The selection of shapes available locally is usually not very good. That's why I use this method. If you have anything made from foodsafe plastic you can use it for a chocolate mold. I saw on a cooking show the other day a bakery guy use small plastic takeout containers to make 'chocolate boxes'. He just coated the inside with melted chocolate and popped em in the freezer. Made a very nice looking product.
Doctor What5 years ago
 Great!  Could you use powdered sugar instead of corn starch for the molds?
Powdered sugar won't work if you are making hard candy.  The heat of the syrup will melt some of the sugar and will distort the original shape.
I would think that the powdered sugar would might, just a bit, and alter the shape of your mold. I've seen this on one of those 'How it's made/Do it' shows and they use corn starch and after it's sifted they use a little 'food grade' mineral oil and tumble the 'candy' (was gummy worms on the show I saw) and that gives them a shine (and slime).
sandds (author)  Doctor What5 years ago
 In theory I think you could but I'm not certain that it would hold the shape as well. Powdered sugar is usually a mix of sugar and corn starch to help prevent clumping. Not that powdered sugar is expensive but starch costs $0.78 per pound at the store.

Also when you clean up you won't have the potential of a big sticky mess in your vacuum or when you are wiping up the counter or floor. 

Olivia5 years ago
I've seen cornstarch used in industrial candy-making applications in a factory and always wondered if it could be done at home.

Apparently it can! You've saved me a lot of my own experimenting and mess making. ;)
CADMan645 years ago
 This is a great one.  I make hard candy over the holidays the old way scoring by hand.  I'm definitely going to try this.

In step 7 you show a store bought mold.  Where did you find this?  I've search for a plain square mold like you show but haven't found one.  Also, how does the store bought plastic mold hold up to the 300 degree candy? I've been leery of using a plastic mold.

sandds (author)  CADMan645 years ago
 I found it at Hobby Lobby. They seem to have very limited stock of the square ones. It was about $3. It says on the mold that it's rated for high temp. All the high temp ones that they have are opaque white. They have lots of other molds there but they are for chocolate or other under 200F applications. These tend to be the colorless transparent ones. 

The lack of availability for something (high temp) other than teddy bears, rememberance ribbons or lollypops, is what made me want to do this in the first place. 

Hope this helps a little in your quest.
Sunbanks5 years ago
I am so glad you posted this instructable, it will come in handy very soon! :D 
frollard5 years ago
I saw this technique being used to make jelly bean jelly centers - makes total sense now that you show it in detail :D

I LOVE making candy.  This is next on my to-do list.
>> the next step is making a heated manifold to pump the candy into each mold cavity without letting it harden too much.

Very in an original way.

Bandaids5 years ago
would this help when making peanut brittle when i have troble getting it off a non stick pan such as using that as a base and then laying the peanuts then pouring the carmlized sugar
sandds (author)  Bandaids5 years ago
 I would recommend a Silpat with a little cooking spray on it for a tray liner. If you want to go with something a little (or a lot) cheaper you can try parchment paper as a tray liner. It's built for the high heat and should be very 'non-stick' but flexible so you can peel it away after cooling the brittle.
implaxis5 years ago
Excellent!  Just what I needed.  Thanks!
Rintintin5 years ago
Don't you need to dry the corn starch before using it?
By the way, nice instructables.
sandds (author)  Rintintin5 years ago
 I did not find that necessary. However, when you are making hard candy you need to have the humidity pretty low in the first place or everything will end up sticky and gummy. 
Ninzerbean5 years ago
 Wonderful 'ible!
RobFS15 years ago
Wow! Very nice. I have always thought this would be cool to do but never knew how.