Confetti (the singular form is confetto) is a multitude of pieces of paper or metallic material which is usually thrown at celebrations, especially weddings (and game shows, following the end of a milestone or the occasion of a big win). Confetti is made in a variety of colors, and commercially available confetti is available in imaginative shapes. A distinction is made between confetti and glitter; glitter is smaller than confetti (pieces usually no larger than 1mm) and is universally shiny. Most table confetti is also shiny. While it is called metallic confetti it is actually metallized pvc. The most popular shape is the star. Seasonally, Snowflake Confetti is the most requested shape. Most party supply stores carry paper, metallic, and plastic confetti.
The simplest confetti is simply shredded paper (see ticker-tape parade), and can be made with scissors or a paper shredder. Other confetti often consists of chads punched out of scrap paper. A hole punch can be used to make small round chads. For more elaborate chads, a ticket punch can be used.
The English word "confetti" is related to the Italian sweet of the same name. Also known as Dragée, Italian confetti are almonds with a hard sugar coating. It can be translated from Italian to mean "confit", as in Confiture. The homophony very often leaves Italians startled since by throwing their "confetti" one could easily injure those on the receiving end. The Italian word for paper confetti is coriandoli.
By tradition, the Italian confetti (sugar coated almonds) are given out at weddings, often wrapped in a small tulle bag to give as a favor to the guests. They are said to represent the hope that the new couple will have a fertile marriage.
In recent years the use of confetti as a cosmetic addition to trophy presentations at sporting events has become increasingly common. In this case, larger strips of paper (typically measuring 20mm x 60mm) in the colors appropriate to the team or celebration are used. For smaller volumes of confetti, ABS or PVC "barrels" are filled and the confetti is projected via a "cannon" (a small pressure vessel) using compressed air or carbon dioxide. For larger venues or volumes of confetti, a venturi air mover powered by carbon dioxide is used to propel significantly larger volumes of confetti greater distances.
A recent innovation at weddings is to use natural petal confetti. This is made from freeze-dried flower petals and is completely biodegradeable.
Confetti also has a listing in the book of Guinness World Records, the current holder of the largest collection, based on some 1,700 unique shapes being Casey Larrain of California.