Art, Art activities, decorating, DIY, food, Make, Create, & Share!

Food Art

Most of you know I’m into art, some of you know I’m into food……if I can mix the two together – I will 😉 I enjoy cooking and making meals but I like baking most, and especially have fun with cake making. Specialty birthday cakes have always been a thing in my family and I can remember getting an awesome cake each year on my birthday as a kid. We’ve kept the cakes going…..and luckily I have decently sized family so there’s a fair amount of cakes to be made every year for birthdays and gatherings! My siblings also get in on the action to help with the cake creations so these cakes are definitely a collaborative effort – and it’s always nice to be able to get creative with them!

Most of our cake endeavors are purely trial and error mixed with a bit of research. And there have definitely been some cake fails over the years but they’ve only made us more creative with “cover ups”!

We use cake central a lot for recipes and tutorials, my favorite, quick, recipe for cake building and stacking is the original WASC cake. It’s easy, delicious, dense enough to carve, and it’s simple to make various flavors. This is typically the buttercream I use but it varies depending on what it’s being used for!

We “cheat” and use pre-packaged fondant & gum paste! – Fondant is what we’ve used to cover our cakes and create some of the sculptures with. Most fondant sculptures require an armature of some sort to support the fondant, while it does firm up some after setting out, larger pieces need some sort of support to keep it’s shape, and sometimes even with that we run into issues – humidity doesn’t help! For smaller, more delicate decorations, we use gum paste. You can make this paper thin to create flowers, cover armatures, and make toppers. The gum paste will dry out and become hard much faster than the fondant. Wilton brand is what what we use for both. Their fondant comes in large blocks of white and you can create your own colors or they have smaller blocks of various colors! The gum paste comes in a smaller tub of white and we mix our own colors. You can use regular food coloring but gel coloring works best! We use corn starch to keep our fondant and gum paste from sticking and a very small amount of water applied with a paint brush to stick pieces together.

Gumpaste Flowers
Buttercream covered cake with fondant decorations
Gumpaste flowers with petal dust coloring

Some additional cakes that use fondant…….

Armatures are created out of rice crispy treats or tin foil – depending on how edible we want our cake to be! As well as tooth picks, skewers, dowels, foam, & wires have all been used to make some of our armatures. Smaller creations don’t really need an armature but it’s nice to have a toothpick or dowel on toppers to make them easy to attach!

This guy was made from rice crispy treats and covered with fondant
For this cake we used a piece of plywood as the base and attached a length of wire covered with tin foil and fondant create the gravity defying effect!

Recently we’ve upgraded with an airbrush for some of our coloring techniques but for the longest time we used Wilton color mist and still do for some projects 🙂 We also use gel colors and petal dust for some of our decorations.

Gel coloring painted on a gumpaste cutout
Airbrushed background with buttercream succulents!

Decorating or using candies and other food for cakes is also a fun way to get creative – the one below was inspired by Roy Lichtenstein’s pop art style that uses Benday dots and is an easy one to try at home – frost a sheet cake with white or light colored frosting. Create an outline of what you’d like to be on your cake with black string licorice, black fondant, or black frosting……since this style represents comic book art, some simple ideas would be a thought bubble, a word (like “ZAP”, “POW”, etc. in bubble letter form, or inside a thought bubble). This was a cake for my sister, so we did a portrait of her – comic book style 😉 Then use m&m’s and/or skittles to to create the Benday dots. You can see some areas where we had to cut the m&ms in half to fill smaller spots!

Cookies, cupcakes, and gingerbread – or really any desserts are just as fun too!! 🙂

In any case, definitely play with your food and turn it into a work of art 😉

Art, food, Happenings, Make, Create, & Share!

Put a fork in it!

While I really enjoy drawing and painting, sometimes it’s nice to take a break and get into other mediums. Put a Fork in it, is a little series of bookmarks I like to create out of polymer clay. Based on some favorite or classic foods I add these little sculptures to a fork, spoon, or knife, that have been flattened out – making the handle of the utensil a perfect bookmarker!

I’m not 100% sure how I got started with these but they’re a lot of fun to create and tie in my love of food 😉 I use Sculpey products – usually Sculpy III & Premo clays, liquid Sculpy & sculpy glaze. If you haven’t used or heard of Sculpy before definitely check out their site – there’s products for kids, adults, amateurs, professionals and endless ideas of projects!

Here’s a look into how I make my bookmarks…….

I first mix up my colors and prepare my liquid sculpy (which acts as my milk) and start to sculpt!

Ever wonder why I keep all those old paint brushes? Texture. They make the perfect cereal texture 🙂

I use some chalk pastel dust on a soft brush to add a little depth to the Sculpy pieces.

For the cereal I bake the marshmallows and plain pieces slightly and then place them in the liquid sculpy “milk” and bake the whole piece. I have a little craft oven I use (like a toaster oven) but Sculpy can be baked in a regular oven as well.

Pickles & Pancakes in progress!

The snack that smiles back 🙂

I have some polymer clay tools that I use but really a toothpick is one of my favorite tools. Texture & color are really important when making clay food look realistic – they can both take a lot of practice so sometimes it’s fun to get started on something like a piece of cake – which can come in various colors, shapes & textures! Once I’ve baked my pieces I use the glossy Sculpy glaze to cover areas that should be shiny – like the milk, pickles and syrup!

It’s a bit of a mess, but I like to keep my Sculpy clay colors separated in this box from Harbor Freight . It’s perfect size to hold the blocks of clay, and the bins within the box are removable, so I can re-arrange the colors, or pass a color bin, rather than the whole box if I’m teaching a class.

The process of making the food sculptures with polymer clay is not too complicated and if you’re interested in learning more, my favorite book on the subject is The Polymer Clay Cookbook by Jessica & Susan Partain. Even though their directions are for mini pieces of food you can use their methods to apply to larger food sculptures – or any polymer clay sculpture!

Check out the shop section of the site to purchase your own Put a Fork in it bookmark!