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Cascarones--eggshells stuffed with confetti--have been popular fiesta favors in Mexico since at least the 19th century, when elaborately decorated ones were often presented as gifts. (Historically, the eggs were also filled with other substances, such as perfume or ashes.)

But today, youngsters don't save them, they bonk a friend on the head with them at fiestas, leaving hair and clothing awash in multicolored dots of paper.

Cascarones make festive party favors for Easter or any other time of year. We noticed some at a Tuscon festival and tracked down their makers, three mothers and their daughters. "It started when we had girls in folkloric dancing," explained Lou Gastelum. "To help pay for their costumes, we'd get together before Tucson Meet Yourself festival, and each of us would make 20 dozen to sell."

"It's fun to make them together," adds Virginia Yslas--so the two of them plus Joyce Garcia and their daughters Cathy, Noel, and Clarissa still meet at a home and set up an assembly line. That way each cascaron can be finished in less than 10 minutes.

To make cascarones in quantity, you'll have to plan ahead by saving eggshells. You'll also need newspapers, two or more packages of tissue paper, and--optionally--egg dye and glitter. Have on hand scissors, craft glue, masking tape, and a stapler.

You start by filling dyed or plain

eggshells with confetti

As you use eggs for cooking, break a smallish hole in one end, use the contents, then wash out the shells and let them dry. If you like, you can dye the eggshells and add glitter.

Buy a bag or two of confetti and fill the dried shells to the brim. Cover the openings with masking tape.

Then encase cones of newspaper

in colorful strips of tissue paper

Cut a newspaper into 10- by 12-inch rectangles. Wrap two sheets at a time into a tight cone as shown in the drawing, making the top opening just a little wider than the egg. Staple to secure. Use scissors to trim the top to fit around the egg at its widest point.

Add a thin line of glue around the inside rim of the cone, then slip the confetti-filled egg, taped end down, into it.

Next, decorate the cone in colorful tissue paper. Any festive combination goes--the wilder the better.

To lend a floral look to the top row, cut long 3-inch-wide strips with scalloped or pointed edges, and affix with glue as pictured at top right.

To make the looped-and-cut strips that cover the rest of the cone, cut the tissue paper into long 6-inch-wide strips. After folding the strips in half lengthwise, snip from the folded edge halfway through to the other side about every 1/2 inch.

Then open and refold the strips in the opposite direction (this puffs out the loops), and glue the unfringed edges together. Wrap and glue the strips around the cone, working spirally from rim to point.

Last, add a tail. Cut 6- to 10-inch-long pieces of tissue into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Tuck them under the looped strip before completing the last wrap.
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Mexican crafts
Date:Mar 1, 1986
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