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Whether you call it candy floss, fairy floss, or pashmak, no one ever thinks of cotton candy as a delicacy. But back before the ubiquity of small motors, this poofy dessert was not something the average person could enjoy. It was only for the rich. In fact, it’s often overlooked that when Marie Antoinette uttered the famous phrase “Let them eat cake,” she finished by saying, “because I know those poor bastards can’t afford cotton candy.”
So cotton candy should be a symbol of technology facilitating the pleasures in life, and when we eat those puffs of inflated sugar, it behooves us to recall a time before we had the luxury of making our hands and faces really, really sticky and then smearing the residue on the handrails of carnival rides: an expression of true freedom. And if you want to take this celebration of liberty a step further, you can make your own cotton candy machine. It’s pretty simple if you’ve got a little bit of technical knowhow, a bunch of sugar, and mild embarrassment of shopping for pastel colored sweet things in public.
Feeling creative? Let’s do it. Let’s make some freaking cotton candy.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Two small metal bowls
A surplus fan motor, 1500 RPM
A thin poly carbonate sheet
A propane torch
To start off, drill a small hole into the bottom of one of the metal bowls and a larger hole into the bottom of the other. Weld these two bad boys together in at least four places going around the rim of each bowl. This will be the spinning receptacle for the sugar.
Drill a bunch of small holes into this little spinner so that sugar can shoot out of them when it spins.
Fasten the smaller hole to the small motor. You might need some nuts and bolts to hold this thing together.
Once it’s all put together…
Surround it with an enclosure made of the polycarbonate sheet.
Enter the propane torch, the heat source for this shindig.
Fill the spinner with sugar and turn everything on (the motor and the torch). Wave a stick in a circular motion around the spinner as it shoots out wisps of heated sugar.
And finally, hand a stick of cotton candy to your mom. Look how happy it made her! Everyone can tell she’s really proud of you. Or maybe her expectations of you are so low that a partially formed stick of cotton candy is beyond anything she honestly thought you were capable of. Either way, look at that smile! You done good, kid.