The Complete Guide To Preparing, Sploshing With & Cleaning Up All Pies
Updated: Jan 23
Preparing Pies For Messy Fun
Pies can be made of so many things, it really depends what effect you want. The most usual in the UK seems to be shaving foam pies, sometimes with poster paint mixed in for colouring or food colouring, or classic custard and cream pies, on pastry or paper bases and topped with squirty cream.
You can use paper plates, foil tins, flan cases or pastry cases as a base or crust.
In the USA, graham cracker bases are often used, but can be very expensive and difficult to source in the UK. Some other common pie fillings and toppings include angel delight, jam, whipped cream, meringue, yoghurts and fruit sauces or syrups. In the USA, cool whip fillings and store bought ‘bakery pies’ seem common, like coconut cream, chocolate and banoffee.
Sometimes store bought cakes, gateaux, cheesecakes and banoffee or lemon meringues are used as pies. I’ll give you advice on ALL of these, so get yourself a drink and a snack and settle in because this is going to be a long one!
One thing about pies for big pie sessions is they take up a lot of space when preparing many in advance. You'll need a lot of flat surfaces like tables and shelves for a big pie sploshing session!
Pie Bases For Sploshing
Paper Plate Pie Bases
Pro = Cheap, good size.
Con = Can be flimsy, very wet fillings will soak through them within 30 to 60 minutes. Sturdier ones are available, but are more expensive.
Best for: Shaving foam pies.
Pastry Case Pie Bases
Pro = Sturdy enough for throwing as long as you get them home in one piece, they look great, they break nicely upon splatting, good effect.
Con = Expensive, can break in transit.
Best for: Custard and cream pies, angel delight, etc
Flan Case Pie Bases
Pro = Sturdy, great size (the large ones) made of sponge so soft and good for smooshing.
Con = Expensive.
Best for: Any filling.
Foil or Tin Pie bases
Pro = Cheap, sturdy, I think they look good - but that can divide opinion!
Con = You need to make sure you get them big enough to fit a face (ideally 10 inches/26cm)
Best for: Fillings that aren't too dense.
Graham Cracker Pie Bases
Pro = Look amazing, perfect size and shatter effects.
Con = Insanely expensive in the UK, very delicate.
Best for: Cool whip, cream, angel delight - things that are not too dense.
Pro = Usually good size and nice effect, no need for extra fillings or toppings.
Con = Have to remove foil base while still frozen, may need a paper plate under it as well, and can be delicate, plus expensive.
Best for: Top with cream for great effect.
Cakes & Gateaux Bases
Pro = Often squishy and nice effects.
Con = Can be expensive. Most are frozen, so you have to let them defrost and remember to take the plastic support off before it defrosts, otherwise it will make the wrong kind of mess and look unappealing.
Best for: Sitting in, or topping with cream before face and body splats. Great for smooshing into faces.
Top tip : Costco does huge ones that are not frozen - they are very expensive but totally worth it for sitting in, not so much for face splats.
Soak cakes (not gateaux) with a little water, 50ml to 100ml or so for softer splatting.
Bakery Pie Bases
eg USA style banoffee, coconut cream, chocolate
Pro = Gorgeous effects, don't need any extra filling.
Con = Expensive, difficult to find the correct ones in the UK (great for USA though)
Best for: Face splats and throwing, sometimes with extra cream topping.
The amazing pies pictured below are from Manderfield’s Home Bakery, Fox Valley, Wisconsin.
Pie Filling Preparation
Now you’ve chosen your base, what will the filling be? Maybe this will help you choose.
Pro = Looks great.
Con = ‘Deflates’ quickly, so you can’t prepare them in advance. Dairy smell (see separate advice here)
Remove the lid, but keep it handy for disposal. Once the can of squirty cream has been used, put the lid back on before you throw it away, as this will avoid piercing your bin bag.
Snap the nozzle backwards to break the little seal for ease of use during preparation or your session.
Remember to always point the can nozzle downwards. You can’t aim it at a person's face or squirt horizontally, it simply won’t spray out and you'll waste all the propellant.
Jam & Syrups
Pro = Can add some colour and fun to plain looking custard and cream pies.
Con = requires a bit of preparation for an ideal consistency.
Empty jars of jam into a large plastic bowl, add a little hot water and stir vigorously to make a more pourable and 'splatty' effect.
You can buy bottles of syrup instead, but it's far cheaper to make your own with jam.
Pro = Nice coverage/effects.
Con = Easy to accidentally make it too runny.
Use cold water instead of milk to mix it up and save money. Use slightly less liquid than the packet says to make sure it doesn’t go too runny.
Use a large mixing bowl with a whisk and chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes to achieve full thickness. If you accidentally make it too runny, you can thicken it with flour (but be careful of getting gluten stuck in your hair - see my separate gluten/flour advice)
Pro = Usually ready made, good consistency and coverage.
Con = Dairy smell (see my dairy smell related advice)
To save money you can make a large pot full of custard on the stove, using a whole tin of custard powder and water instead of milk and 6 litres of water. Just make sure your pot is large enough, start with the water cold, disperse the powder thoroughly with a whisk as you pour it in and keep mixing with a wooden spoon til it thickens. You have to keep it moving to avoid scorching any on the bottom of the pot. On my stove on the highest setting, this takes 15 minutes, so can be time consuming and make your arm ache!
For ready made custard in cartons, have scissors handy to open them with ease.
For tinned custard, open them all in advance and leave plenty of time to do so. Make sure you have some large plastic bowls or jugs to decant them into for safety, as I’ve seen too many people cut themselves on sharp edges of opened tins.
Pro = Looks excellent when prepared correctly.
Con = Time consuming to prepare, and easy to over whip, which makes it too firm and doesn’t look good when the pie splatters.
Also, one of the worst causes of lingering dairy smell. See my specific advice on getting rid of that.
Use very cold whipping cream as a preference - it has a higher fat percentage to make it easier to whip. If you can't find any then double cream or heavy cream will whip, they just take a little longer. Use a large metal bowl, preferably also chilled or sitting in an ice bath, and chill your whisk. This cuts down on whipping time.
Don’t use a food processor or stand mixer as it is too easy to over whip this way. Do it by hand with a large balloon whisk, and stop when it forms ‘soft peaks’
If it won't thicken or you want it to be quicker, add a little instant dessert mix or dream topping mix (angel delight or birds dream topping)
Pro = Ready made, easy to use and good splatter effects.
Con = The number one worst offender for dairy smell. See my specific advice on that.
Use a vegan version like coconut, oat or soy to avoid dairy smell, and get it in a super thick ‘Greek style’ version if possible for best results.
Pro = Looks and tastes amazing!
Con= Probably the most expensive by weight to buy in any decent amount for pie sessions
Messy Supplies Pie Mixes
Slosh Custard Pie FX
Pro = splatty and messy.
Con = expensive and not easy to get the mix right. I've followed the instructions and the video demonstration supplied on the website twice and still found it unusable. If you do get it right, it needs to be used immediately.
Foam Pie FX
Pro = fluffy and longer lasting, good to make in bulk.
Con = similar to shaving foam, not as messy as the slosh fx pies.
Pro = Looks amazing and claims to be non dairy, although it contains sodium caseinate, which is derived from milk protein. I've never been lucky enough to use it so I can't say for sure, but you may get away with no dairy smell from using it. Feel free to let me know in the comments!
Con = Difficult to source in the UK, and can have issues with melting/deflating.
While frozen, loosen the cool whip from the sides of the container with a spatula and put it into large Ziploc bags in the fridge. Wait a day for it to gently defrost and then you can either cut the bottom corner of the Ziploc bag, and squeeze it out like frosting onto your pies.
You can also leave it in the tubs to defrost and then spoon it out into your chosen pie cases.
If it has deflated, try whipping it with a large balloon whisk and 0.5g dissolved gelatin per litre, or a tablespoon of instant dessert mix (angel delight in the uk) and then refrigerate for 20 to 60 minutes.
Pro = Looks excellent if you do the right type of meringue (Italian) then it is stable, soft, silky and creamy.
Con = The work involved in whipping the egg whites and then adding the sugar syrup at the correct temperature. Recipe here
You can buy powdered egg white to make it cheaper and easier to make these pies in bulk. This 500g pack will make 50 to 100 pies (just be sure to allow enough time to whip it all!)
Shaving Foam Pies
Pro - lightweight, easy to prepare, can be prepared in advance, no dairy smell, can add your own colours.
Con - Doesn't taste nice, leaves residue in hair, time consuming to do lots of pies.
Don't use foam pies on anyone who is in bondage with their hands tied. The foam sticks to the face, so the pie won't fall freely away like heavier ones do, and they won't be able to use their hands to free up some room to breathe. This happened to me once and I choked. Not fun, real session killer.
To get the residue out of hair, shampoo twice and then use a leave on deep conditioning mask, massaging it in carefully and then leaving it on for at least 20 minutes, preferably under a shower cap to keep the moisture in. Comb through with a wide toothed comb and then shampoo out the conditioner and rinse.
Splosh Pie Colouring
Some pie fillings are great for adding extra colour to. I recommend non toxic, washable poster paints, as food colouring can stain. The pies pictured above used shaving foam, poster paints and a cake icing bag. Angel delight and cake batter also take colour pretty well.
Other Splosh Pie Fillings
I've made pies with pretty much everything over the years - cake frosting, margarine, beans, mayo, cheese spread, cake batter, porridge and more. Get creative because it can be so much fun experimenting!
Cleaning Up Pie Mess
Body, Skin & Hair
Leftover custard, cream or yoghurt residue can leave that telltale dairy smell. So can angel delight if you made it with milk instead of water.
Shaving foam pies can also leave a sticky/greasy residue (especially in hair) but never fear - follow the steps below and you'll be squeaky clean and fresh smelling again.
Sometimes messy residues on your skin can be difficult to feel by touch alone, so I highly recommend those plastic loofahs or bath puffs, made of scrunched up plastic mesh for removing any mess from skin, or a soft bristled body brush. Add lots of warm water and shower gel or soap.
I also recommend having a mirror within your line of sight in the bathroom so you can visually check for any missed areas. A thin coating of washing up liquid on the mirror will stop it fogging up with steam.
Common areas I used to miss were backs of arms, flanks, backs of legs and ankles. Always check every single crevice of your ears too!
I had waist length thick hair for most of my sploshing life, so trust me when I tell you I’m your gal to tell you how to get anything out of your hair.
For short haired men & women it’s not too much of a problem, just use lots of lemon or tea tree shampoo, and wash three times if you used dairy items in your pies. Massage it in well and leave it on as long as possible, especially if you used dairy items. Do other things while waiting, like rinsing out messy clothes and washing your skin.
Comb through with conditioner (possibly a few times) to get rid of shaving foam residue.
If you used dairy items in your pies, use original source lemon shower gel on your hair neat, and leave it on for as long as possible - Do other things while waiting, like rinsing out messy clothes and washing your skin.
Do the washing and leaving it on step a few times to get rid of the dairy stank. Be careful not to rub it into your hair, rather just keep smoothing down and gently work it in with fingertips. You don’t want to give yourself split ends and a bird's nest! Condition well after the three shampoos, but only on the ends.
For shaving foam residue in long hair, you may need to comb through with conditioner and/or use an intensive conditioning mask. Start with a wide toothed comb and progress down to smaller/tighter ones. Ideally leave it on under a shower cap for 20 minutes before rinsing very thoroughly.
Cleaning Messy Items & Objects
Baths, Showers & Drains
If you get messy in the bath it may temporarily or even fully block the drain if you don't remove it first. Pies and pie crusts etc can be pretty bad for this. Many things are fine to get washed straight down, like custard, smooth gunge and slube. Other items are water soluble, like syrups and treacle and just need warm water to help them dissolve and vanish. Messysupplies instant slime just needs salt to dissolve it. Pies though? You'll need to empty by hand. The way I recommend no matter what the substance is to empty as much out as you can and flush it down the loo instead (unless you're on a septic tank system. I have separate advice for that) To empty the bath you'll need a dustpan or scoop, or just your bare hands, and get everything into buckets. Then see my section on flushing things down the loo or septic tanks, whatever is applicable to you.
Avoid This Situation
I recommend using a different area and a pool, inflatable mat or makeshift mess nest (heavy grade plastic sheets with towels propping up the sides) rather than the bath, as though baths and showers may seem convenient, it then means you have to clean it out first before you can get yourself clean. If you use a different area, you can get yourself clean, get into some comfy cleaning up clothes and then tackle your messy area. If the worst happens and you get a blockage, use some drain unfucker. Otherwise known as mr muscle 15 or 30 minute unblocker. You can pour it through standing water and leave it, and it will eat through whatever is clogging the drain. I always keep some handy, just in case!
Buckets & Tools
To clean pie mixes off buckets you often need a hose or tap with good water pressure to blast the clinging residue off, and/or a good stiff washing up brush. Don’t try to do it with your hand or a flannel, you’ll be there all day!
Microfibre cloths are good to get any last bits and help dry them off, but not for the initial washing. Don’t forget the outside of the buckets, bottoms of buckets and under the rims.
You can also just leave them to soak a while in the bathtub with a little washing up liquid/dish soap and then they will be easier to clean.
If it’s a carpeted floor then use microfibre cloth and a little spray of water or clear antibacterial spray. Make sure you don’t use anything with bleach unless you know the carpet is certified for safe bleach use.
For laminate flooring, tile or stone, microfibre cloths are your friend. Same for any splashes that have got onto a wall or door, or door handles etc.
If any splashes have dried, soak a microfibre cloth or a few sheets of kitchen roll with your cleaning spray and leave it on top of the dried mess for about 30 minutes. When you return it will just wipe away. If anything is still stuck, soak it again and use your stiff brush.
On most ‘washing up’ brushes, there is a flat side on the bristly head that can be used to scrape without scratching. Dry the area afterwards.
If you want to clean and save the pool
My general pool cleaning advice generally applies. Scoop leftovers up into buckets, watering it down and mixing it around to thin it if need be. Then tip it down the drain or flush it down the loo. Then tip a bucket of warm soapy water into your pool, and give it a good scrub around with a brush.
Now scoop all that out and tip it away or flush the water. Keep the pool inflated the whole time, and clean the sides of the pool with a few microfibre cloths, a soft brush and a cleaning spray. Then with it still inflated, stand it up against a wall and use the cleaning spray and cloths all over it.
Dry the pool thoroughly with towels and kitchen roll and then allow to thoroughly air dry, still inflated, before trying to pack it away. If any moisture remains when you deflate and fold it to store it, it will go mouldy.
I recently wrote an even more in depth guide to pool cleaning with step by step instructions from prep to finish, and my thoughts on wet/dry vacuums and lining the pool with plastic. To read that, go here
If you want to throw away the pool
If you used a small pool and a bucket or less of mess in total, you may be able to simply pop it and put it into a bin bag. If you do this, secure the first bin bag and then add another to be sure of no leaking. I often use three bin bags with this method, and with any other messy things that have to be thrown away.
If you used a large inflatable pool and a large amount of mess, you'll need to scoop out and flush everything before trying to bag it, or it will be too heavy. 10 litres is one bucket, and is the equivalent of 10kg. Even if you are strong enough to lift it easily, you risk the bin bag tearing if the contents are too heavy.
Flushing The Leftovers
If you are connected to a normal waste water system You can flush pretty much everything except oil. If you have a septic tank, please see the separate advice. I have never happened upon a loo that can’t handle mess being flushed down it. If any appears to be blocking the loo, use a sink or bath tap to fill a bucket with water and pour the water from a height on top of the blockage… wiggle around a loo brush too, or even your hand if it comes to it. Flush after each bucket, and make sure you give time for the loo tank to refill before expecting it to flush again.
Repeat this as necessary and then check after an hour or two that nothing remains in the bottom of the loo. If you are disposing of very thick gunge, it may be better to only half fill your buckets, and mix water into each one so that it becomes runnier and flushes easier.
Pie and pastry crusts, cakes and cheesecake bases etc can be left to soak in water for a little while to help them flush too.
If you have a septic tank, you won’t be able to flush leftovers down the loo. Instead you will need a series of bags, and absorbent puppy pads, or wood pellet cat litter, as much as it takes to absorb all your leftovers. Triple bag it all with very strong bin bags, securing each layer, and take it all to your local tip, to the general waste area.
Washing Pie Mess Out Of Clothes
If you used dairy, then follow the specific laundry advice in this article
Ideally take them into the shower with you to rinse them off a little and squeeze them out. Be careful with water temperature if any items are dark in colour in case the colour runs. Then wrap them up in a large clean towel or two, or drop them into a clean bucket so they don’t drip on the way to your washing machine.
Be mindful of the weight, wet or sploshed clothes are often heavy, so don't overload your machine. Give them one washing cycle with no laundry liquid, and then another washing cycle or two with the usual amount of laundry liquid and fabric conditioner.
Washing Underwear, Lingerie, Tights & Stockings
Put tights and lingerie items in zip up mesh laundry bags, separate from each other. It's especially important to keep them separate from bras or anything with clasps or fastenings, as they will get snagged and rip and be difficult to untangle.
You could also keep them separate to hand wash on their own.
Bras, teddies, babydoll nighties, basques etc all need their own zip up mesh laundry bags, or like with tights and stockings, keep them separate for thorough hand washing individually.
Cleaning Pied Shoes
If you've been stomping in pies on having the mess drip all over your shoes, you can wash most shoes in the sink with warm soapy water as though you were washing dishes. Some shoes like trainers and flat ballet pumps can instead be put into a zip up mesh laundry bag and washed in the washing machine.
To dry shoes, stuff them with newspaper or kitchen paper and leave them somewhere warm, but away from direct heat.
Cleaning Messy Wigs
For wigs, hand washing is best. Be very gentle and use shampoo twice, rinsing each time. Then liberally soak it with hair conditioner and leave it for at least 30 minutes. Brush it out gently with a wet brush - a wet brush is a great invention and is the name of the brand. It's very gentle and good for head hair too.
Rinse thoroughly and wrap it in a towel, then apply pressure to dry it a little, do not rub it. Then keep away from direct heat to dry it, preferably hanging on something rounded to help it keep its shape, like a mannequin head.
It's fun to experiment with all the different types and see what works for you, and almost anything can be made into a pie and successfully and easily cleaned up again.