Friendly Fondant Figures

Okay, so this guide is more than a few weeks late…and really isn’t the best I could’ve done considering that I put it together out of sheer boredom while in the throes of a head cold…but hopefully some of you out there will find it handy!

When it comes to fondant, I’m hardly an expert. I’ve only dabbled with it a teensy bit, and have had to mostly rely on my experience with Play-Dough as a kid to figure out how to make these. Which really brings me to a point – if you haven’t tried playing with fondant, you should! It’s a legitimate reason to make cute, crazy and whacky figurines – which can be used to decorate cakes or cupcakes, and are entirely edible!

Now, since this guide will show you a step-by-step of how to make all five figures above (bear, puppy, pig, bee and giraffe), it’s quite long so I’m going to put it behind a cut. If you read through it and have any questions, just send me an email and I’ll do what I can to help! :)

Onwards to the guides!

First of all, the things in my fondant play kit:

1. A decent little knife for cutting fondant

2. Fondant/clay modelling tools (the fondant ones work better, but the clay tools work almost as well and cost a fraction of the price!)

3. Clean, small-tipped paint brushes

4. Colouring pastes and gels (avoid working water watery dyes as they will give you GRIEF)

5. A small rolling pin for rolling the fondant

6. Fondant stamp-cutters

7. Wilton grass icing bag tip (it’s what I used to make the grass in this picture)

8. Frangipani petal cutters – I have these in a range of sizes and use the smallest to cut mouths and bee wings

9. Vegetable shortening – if your fondant becomes too hard or dry, working a little vegetable shortening helps it to become soft and pliable again

10. Tylo ‘glue’ – an edible glue I purchase at my cake supplies store, which is marvellous for sticking fondant pieces together. If you can’t get access to any, you can use natural vanilla extract in a bind (do not, however, use water as I find it doesn’t really wor and just gives you sticky fondant)

11. Gum Tragacanth – a very fine powder which can be kneaded into fondant to thicken it and make it more stable and pliable to work with. Not necessary, but I find that fondant is much easier to handle when I add a little of this in. The down side is that it dries the fondant faster than normal, which means you do need to work quicker and that mistakes are not as easily rectified.

12. Icing sugar or corn starch – the natural heat from your hands will make the fondant sticky, so having this on hand to dust your working surface and your hands will help make the whole task more manageable!

13. Fondant! Whether self-made or store-bought, it’s up to you! I don’t have a mixer strong enough to mix it up, so I buy blocks of premade from my baking supplies store which suits me just fine :)

In this picture, we have:

1. Barry the bumbly little bee

2. Porky the rather pink pig

3. Percy the playful pup

4. Bernard the bashful bear

5. Gerald the gentle giraffe

Barry the bumbly little bee

1. Dust your hands and working surface with icing sugar or corn starch (icing sugar MUST be used if the fondant will be laid over marzipan as corn starch will cause fermentation). Cut off a small block of fondant and work it between your hands till it becomes a soft and pliable dough. If you are using Gum Tragacanth, it is a good idea to add it at this stage, making sure it is kneaded in thoroughly.

2. Use the handle of a teaspoon, chopstick, toothpick etc to place a SMALL amount of dye on the fondant (there’s a fair bit on mine since I know how yellow it will be and how yellow I want it), then begin to stretch and fold to work it. I find the best way to work my fondant is to roll it between my hands till it becomes a long sausage, then fold in half and repeat.

3. Continue working the fondant until it has developed a smooth finish and even colour. If you want it darker, then add a little more dye. If you want it lighter, work in more plain white fondant.

4. Break off a small amount, then roll it between your palms till you have a perfect little round sphere with no cracks in the surface.

5. Then, place it gently between your palms and roll it into a stumpy sausage shape – this will be the body of your bee! Use a chopstick or skewer (or the pointy fondant tool) to poke eyes in your shape, then add a small smiley with the round end of your frangipani petal cutter if you wish!

6. Make up some black fondant (this is a pain in the ARSE, if you can buy pre-coloured black, then do it! Otherwise, do not attempt this without some serious colour like Wilton’s black colour paste), roll it out flat then use your knife to cut it into small strips. Use one of the paintbrushes to paint a small amount of Tylo/vanilla extract onto the ‘back’ side of it.

7. Carefully place this onto your bee body and try and glue it on straight. I failed in the example photos – but hey, fondant + icing sugar + big expensive camera do NOT mix! (especially when there’s cold & flu meds thrown in the mix!!). Repeat to give your bee a second stripe.

8. Put a little Tylo/vanilla in the eye-sockets that you created earlier, then roll two tiny even-sized balls of black fondant and carefully place them into the hollows to make the fondant bee equivalent of boggly anime eyes ;-) Then, grab a little more white fondant and knead it till smooth.

9. Use your frangipani petal cutter to cut two petal-shapes – these are your wings. Lightly paint the backs with Tylo/vanilla, then flip over and carefully place them on the top of the bee. Let it dry, then you’re set to go a-buzzing :D

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Porky the rather pink pig

1. Dust your hands and working surface with icing sugar or corn starch (icing sugar MUST be used if the fondant will be laid over marzipan as corn starch will cause fermentation). Cut off a small block of fondant and work it between your hands till it becomes a soft and pliable dough. Add some pink dye and work it till it is evenly coloured, then break off a small piece.

2. Roll the piece into a round ball which has no cracks and lines in the surface, then place your finger halfway across the ball and start to apply very gentle pressure while rolling your finger backwards and forwards – this creates the snout.

3. Once the snout is formed, grab something pointy to make the eye and nose holes with – if you have a clay or fondant working kit, you’ll know which tool you need.

4. Poke holes for the eyes and nose, then use the small frangipani cutter to make the indent of a mouth.

5. Right – that’s the head almost complete! Place the head down, and grab two small bits of pink fondant and try to make them as similar in size as possible. Roll these between your hands till they are smooth balls.

6. Use vanilla extract or tylo glue to dab a tiny amount where you will place each ear on the head, then grab one of the little balls and pinch it to the side so it becomes like a teardrop in shape.

7. Slightly flatten it, then grab it by the tip and press it against the first section of glue on the head and hold for a few seconds to give the vanilla essence/tylo glue time to fuse the two pieces together. Repeat with the second ball to make the second ear.

8. Roll two small pieces of black fondant of similar size into small little balls – these are our eyes.

9. Add a little vanilla extract/tylo glue to the eye sockets, then gently place one of the ‘eyes’ in each socket, pressing them a little bit flat. Try and keep the appearance of them to the same size. And that’s how you make the pig :)

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Percy the playful pup

1. Create some brown fondant (either purchase or make your own – see step 1 of the bee tutorial). Break off a small ball, then create the snout by placing your finger across 2/3 of the ball and gently applying pressure while rolling your finger backwards and forwards (step 2 of the pig tutorial). You should end up with a small head and huge nose – think of Snoopy :)

2. Use your fingers to slightly pinch the head to make it smaller, then push the nose back towards the head – making sure to push the fondant slightly up as you push back. This will give you a nice, defined snout.

3. Use your fondant tool (or something equally pointy, like the end of a chopstick) to create eye sockets, and the small frangipani cutter to cut either a smile or a more doggy mouth. Don’t worry too much about marks up near the nose – any mistakes will most likely be covered by the dog nose we put on. Grab another piece of brown fondant and roll it into a smooth sausage – this is for the ears.

4. Cut the sausage evenly in half, then roll each half into a smooth ball (I advise the sausage method as this will make it easier to end up with two pieces of fondant which are almost exactly the same size).

5. Pinch the tip of one into a raindrop shape, then gently pinch it flat. Repeat with the second ball.

6. If the end is too pointy, gently pat it down with a fingertip, then paint a little vanilla extract/tylo glue onto each side of the head and gently place each ear down – moulding the ears to the shape of the head and making sure they’re placement is as even as you can make it.

7. Pinch off a piece of black fondant and roll it smooth but into a slightly elongated ball which will make an oval-shape when you pinch it completely flat. This is the puppy’s nose.

8. Paint the top and a little of the front with your vanilla extract/tylo glue, then place half the nose on top and gently fold down. Pat it gently into place, then add more vanilla/tylo to the eye sockets.

9. Roll two tiny balls of black fondant of even size, then place carefully in each socket and gently press down. Ta-da – your puppy head is complete!

The puppy actually looks ADORABLE with paws (as seen in the photo at the bottom of this post. I forgot to document the making of these, but it’s very simple! Roll two small balls of brown fondant of similar size so they are smooth, then use a sharp knife to press two indents into one end of the paw to create toes. That’s it :)

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Bernard the bashful bear

1. Create some brown fondant (either purchase or make your own – see step 1 of the bee tutorial). Break off a small ball, then create the snout by placing your finger across 1/3 of the ball and gently applying pressure while rolling your finger backwards and forwards (step 2 of the pig tutorial). This is the opposite of the dog – your bear should have a large head, and a small snout!

2. Poke in some eye holes, then pinch off two small pieces of brown fondant and roll into balls with smooth surfaces – keep a careful eye out for any creases or cracks that cannot be fixed once the fondant is dry.

3. Slightly flatten each ball, then paint some vanilla extract/tylo glue onto the head where you want each ear to go, then place and hold till they have fused together. Yes, these are reminiscent of Mickey Mouse ears :)

4. Using a ball-ended tool, press a small indent into each ear to make them more ear-like (?!)

5. Add your mouth using the frangipani petal cutter, then roll a small ball of black fondant into a smooth ball, then pinch it flat so it forms a black circle. This is the bear’s nose.

6. Place a little glue on the top and front of the snout where the nose will go, then gently place it on and fold it over, patting it into place.

7. Place a little tylo/vanilla in the eye sockets, roll two tiny black fondant balls for eyes and gently press one into each socket to complete your bear :)

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Gerald the gentle giraffe

1. Dust your hands and working surface with icing sugar or corn starch (icing sugar MUST be used if the fondant will be laid over marzipan as corn starch will cause fermentation). Cut off a small block of fondant and work it between your hands till it becomes a soft and pliable dough. Add some yellow dye and work it till it is evenly coloured, then break off two similarly-sized pieces and one smaller one.

Roll each piece into a round ball which has no cracks and lines in the surface, then place your finger halfway across the biggest ball and start to apply very gentle pressure while rolling your finger backwards and forwards – this creates the snout (step 2 of the pig tutorial).

2. Poke in eye sockets and nostrils, then break the smallest ball of yellow, split in half and roll into smooth balls. Use vanilla extract or tylo glue to dab a tiny amount where you will place each ear on the head, then grab one of the little balls and pinch it to the side so it becomes like a teardrop in shape, then glue into place (step 6-7 of the pig tutorial). MAKE SURE you leave room for the horns.

Cut a mouth using the small frangipani petal cutter, and that’s most of the head sorted!

3. Roll the second large piece of yellow (the only pre-rolled piece you have left) smooth, then roll while applying pressure gently to one side to create a ‘bell’ shape. Press the larger end flat onto a surface dusted with icing sugar – this is your neck.

4. Paint the top of the neck with vanilla/tylo glue, then use a curved, flat tool to mould the top of the neck to the head so that the join is less obvious.

5. Once that’s done, make up some brown fondant (or use any you have left over from making puppies or bears) and grab a small piece.

6. Split it in half, then roll each piece into a smooth ball before gently squeezing into a sausage with one end left bulbous. Dab a little vanilla/tylo where you want to place these between the ears, then place and hold until they are fused together.

7. Grab more little bits of brown fondant of varying sizes, roll them into smooth balls then glue randomly all over the neck and back of the head to create random-sized spots!

Add two black fondant balls for eyes (making sure to add vanilla/tylo to the sockets first), and your giraffe is complete :)

As for how to add these to the top of a cupcake like this – you MUST use a Wilton grass tip - I make up a batch of bright green ROYAL ICING (buttecream will not stand in such lovely stiff peaks), place my fondant figure on top and then pipe green ‘grass’ all around them on top of the cupcake/buttercream swirl. Make the scene sweeter by adding fondant cut-out flowers of varying shapes, colours and sizes :)

[tags]buttercream, royal icing, fondant, cupcakes, cute, cupcake toppers, cake decoration[/tags]

Comments

  1. mallinee naidoo says:

    First of all let me say thanks for an awesome website. You have so many fun ideas and tips for beginners like me. You definately make making cakes look easy.

    Now for my questions.
    Firstly: On my cake, before covering with fondant, can I use a stiff fresh cream icing instead of the usual butter cream topping?
    Second: My second batch of fondant is very crumbly. Not as elastic as the one I made using glucose. The second one I made using homemade corn syrup in place of glucose.
    Please help.

    Thanks

    Mallinee

    • Hi Mallinee,

      Thank you for the lovely comment! As for your questions – I would very highly doubt that you could replace buttercream as a crumb layer with stiffly whipped fresh cream as no matter how dense your cream is, it will still not be as dense as a buttercream and could collapse or be pushed out when layering the fondant on top. If a traditional buttercream is too sweet for you, try using a Swiss or Italian meringue buttercream instead.

      As for your home-made fondant, unfortunately I’ve never tried making it myself as I don’t have a standing mixer strong enough, but from my experience with storebought fondant and boiled sugar, I’d say that it sounds like the sugar was cooked too long and therefore has lost too much water from the mix. I would say that the best way to try and rescue this would be to heat the fondant in a bain-marie (not on top of the stove as this will cook it further) and try and knead in some vegetable solid, something like Copha (not butter or any animal fats). Good luck!

      Cheers,
      Ellie

  2. Very nice! This is a lovely idea for my daughter’s birthday. Thanks for the tutorial.

  3. Made the bees last night using store-bought fondant…so easy! Instead of making a fondant stripe, I painted them on using black food colouring…the wings were a little harder, as I don’t have the cutters you use, but had fun playing until I got them how I wanted – I even painted on small veins!

    Perfect for the lemon cupcakes I’m taking in for the SPCA cupcake day fundraiser tomorrow!

  4. Thanks so much for the tutorial. Its lovely. Will definitely try them out on my daughters birthday cake

  5. Thanks for the tips on how to do these figures. Very cute! I am just learning how to create figures with fondant myself. I have a few questions for you about storiing the fondant figures two or three days before placing them on a large cake. I placed a few figures that have sucker sticks up the legs on a piece of wax paper and put them in a plastic airtight container, the next day I find that they still look good but are soft and I need them to be able to stand upright on the cake with out falling over or apart. (These figures are little boys that are about 4″ tall with guitars in their arms) Do I let them dry out the day of the party or what? Help !!!! The party is in just a few days. Thanks for any suggestions.

    • Thanks Jeannie – unfortunately if you want them to stand upright then you need to use more tylo powder and dry them out for at least a week :/

  6. Hello! I love your figures, follow your instruction but made the mistake to put them on the refrigerator :-( and now my figures are soggy and sweaty, how can i fix them? should I add powered sugar or cornstarch? please help!!!

    • Definitely don’t add powdered sugar to wet fondant as that will just make it sticky. I’d go with cornstarch but the best option is leave them out to air-dry.

  7. Hi there!

    Are these intended to still be soft when eaten, or are they supposed to dry out (and harden) a little?

    Many thanks!

  8. i am using powder colour and was told to use quick dry essence with it. how do i do this?I was also told to let my fondant stand for 48 hrs after i’ve mixed the tylose powder in. is this correct and how much should i add per 500g fondant?

  9. Thank you for all the details with the step by step instructions. Can’t wait to make them. I have a question. I am trying to obtain a hot pink color and my fondant keeps turning out with an orangy color to it. Any thoughts? Thanks.

  10. thank you for a beautiful webside
    i want to make a cake with a sleeping baby on top , how long before use can i make the baby , i only have succer fondant to work with ;-) thank you

  11. The way you did this figures it looks so easy, thank you for the detail explanation. however I would like if you have done Elmo from Sesame Street, I am trying to do it but it is giving me a lot of hard time, so maybe you have any idea that can help me ;-)
    Thank you again for share your knowledge with others. This is a valuable personal quality that not everyone has; even though they know a lot.
    Pilo

  12. bree harnett says:

    Hello there
    Im just wondering what sort of fondant do you use, what brand name and where do you buy it from. I want to start getting into fondant figures but just dont know where to start. So please any tips would be great.
    thank you

  13. Wow these are so amazing, thanks for sharing these step by step tutorial.I am going to book mark and try them.
    simply.food recently posted..Man’ooshe Lebanese Flat bread

  14. thank you. great ideas and really simple steps. definately gonna try them :)
    if possible, could you post how to make a cow? many thanks

  15. Hi I wanted to make a nemo fish my sons birthday cake . I got ready made fondant . I am having problem as I stay in Singapore it’s really humid temperature so my fondant fish figure kept melting and becoming sticky . I tried dusting it with corn powder . Is there any way to make it like play dough . Where it is easy to make the figure.

  16. ojo bukola says:

    I love ur work nd they re very explainatary I wouldn’t mind if u send me some of your modelling works or videos so I can learn more thanks nd God bless

  17. Angelique says:

    Hi,
    I made a lady figurine out of gumpaste & its completely dried. Unfortunately, I made a mess of the eyes (smudged the paint and it looks like she has “black” eyes ugh). Should I try the vodka? Could I just paint over the black with ivory paste?
    Thanks

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