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I was asked the other day whether I knew anyone who did cake decorating. Well, I had a few hours to spare over the weekend, so I volunteered the fact that I do a little myself.
The lady in question was making a birthday cake, and whilst she was happy baking the cake and doing the basic icing, she wasn't confident about making a person and sofa.
Well, that sounded achievable, and it's always good to keep in practise, so I agreed to help her out.
I started off by colouring the icing, then built up the sofa one piece at a time. Note the cocktail sticks for structure.
I then built the figure straight onto the sofa:
I could probably write several posts full of sugarcrafting tips, but for the moment, here are some points to keep in mind when colouring your own sugarpaste:
- Colouring a large block of sugarpaste takes quite some time if you want an even finish. It's impossible to rush. (It is, however, possible to cheat by purchasing pre-coloured icing.)
- Mixing deep colours is particularly hard. If you want black, you should almost certainly just go and buy some which has been professionally coloured by machine.
- Never use liquid colours with sugarpaste, or you'll ruin the consistency. You can buy special gel colours - a small pot is expensive, but will last for years.
- Start with a small amount of colouring and add more gradually until you reach the shade you're after. On the other hand, if you do go too dark, you can rescue almost anything by adding more white. With gel colours, dipping the end of a cocktail stick into the dye is an easy way to pick up a starting quantity.
- Always make up more than you think you'll need of any given colour. Similarly to when you're buying yarn for knitting or paint for your bedroom, you need to work with a single 'lot', because you'll never get the exact same colour twice.
- The marbled effect of half-mixed colours can be beautiful. Particularly if you're in a hurry.