Thursday, May 15, 2014

Make Your Own Gelatin for Molds

I have used a commercial gelatin product to fill my bead molds. It was excellent and very easy to use. I needed to re-order the product for a cake I was making and the company was out of all of the colors. Their product was on back-order, but that did not help me because I needed the product immediately. I researched the internet for a recipe and found several. I made the different recipes of gelatin, but did not have very good results. The beads I would make looked fine at first, but would dry out and shrink up. I was not able to use any of the recipes I had found. I started experimenting and developed this recipe. It is very easy to make and very economical.

Here are a few cakes showing what can be done using the gelatin and a mold.

The gold bead work on this cake was made with the gelatin. I added a little gold color to the gelatin and then dusted the finished beads with a gold highlighter.
The red border was made using a border mold and the gelatin was colored a dark red.

The yellow top and bottom borders are a "smiley face" border. The gelatin was colored a bright yellow. 
The pink bead borders made using a pink colored gelatin.
You can use any mold you have. The flexible molds work the best, but even a solid hard mold would work. It just may be a bit harder to remove the gelatin once it has set.
It is easy to make this product and this recipe will make 3 pounds of product. I store my extra in a zip lock baggie in the freezer. It will last a very long time and can be used immediately out of the freezer.
I suggest you use the Great Lakes Beef Gelatin. If you use the Pig Gelatin it will have a very bad odor! It also makes a tall foam when cooked. So, buy the Beef Gelatin. I do find the Great Lakes brand works the best, but you can use the Knox brand. It is important to weigh the gelatin. It must be the exact amount. Use very cold water and regular sugar. Use glucose, not corn syrup. I get the 8 ounce containers so I don't have to worry about measuring it. If you cannot get all of the glucose out of the container, put the container in the microwave for 20 seconds to warm up the remaining glucose. It will pour out of the container.

Your ingredients

6 ounces of gelatin
Add to 2 1/4 cups of very cold water in a large sauce pan.
mix well
Let this sit for 5 - 10 minutes so the gelatin can "bloom",
this will be very thick.
Cook on a medium heat until the gelatin is dissolved.
When the gelatin is completely dissolved, add the sugar and mix well.
Add the glucose and continue stirring the product.
Add your flavoring.
Add 3/4 cups of glycerin and continue stirring.
Cook the product for about 10 minutes, be careful to not over-heat the gelatin.
Let the finished product rest in the sauce pan until it firms up, or you can speed up this process by putting the sauce pan in the refrigerator or freezer. When the product is firm, lightly score around the top edge.
You can now pull the harden piece of gelatin out of the sauce pan.
Cut the gelatin into 4 sections. A pair of large scissors will work.
Cut thin strips of the gelatin, and then cut the foam off the top.
Cut the gelatin into small pieces and store it in an air tight container. Zip lock baggies work great for storing the extra gelatin.
Put the amount you will need into a small container and melt in the microwave. Usually 20-30 seconds will work. Do not over heat the gelatin, it just needs to be liquid.
you can add any color you want. The liquid gel colors work the best. If you want  solid color, start with a white base. Then add the other color you would like. If you want a more translucent color, just add the color you want.
The gelatin on the left had red color added, the gelatin on the right had white color added first. Then the red was added. The gelatin ion the left would be translucent and the gelatin on the right is opaque.
Use a syringe to suck up the gelatin from the bowl. You can find large syringes at a farm animal supply store.
Carefully squeeze the gelatin out of the syringe and into the mold. When you are finished put the mold into the freezer for about 10 minutes to firm up. It will be very easy to release the gelatin from the mold. Be sure to immediately empty the excess gelatin from the syringe and wash it out. Otherwise, it will harden in the syringe and be difficult to clean.
You can dust your beads with any type of luster dust for a very pretty effect.
 Store your finished beads on a cake board and cover with Saran Wrap. I usually store all of my pre-made pieces in the freezer until I am ready to use them. This product will dry out and shrink a bit, but if stored properly, the pieces will be fine for a few days on the cake.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

As you can tell I have not added any new posts in awhile. Right now (Jan 2014) Jeff and I are busy getting ready to make a new, up-dated video with all the new techniques using your Silhouette. I will be posting more about this soon. Our video will contain the techniques I have shared on this blog and other new techniques. I am really excited to share what I have been doing with printing on gum paste.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Creating a Wrap Design

This blog post is from the Bonus section of the book that accompanies the Silhouette Cameo and accessory package sold at
You can use what you have learned about pattern design and create a wrap to go around the entire side of the cake. This technique makes quick work of decorating the side of a cake. You can cut out the entire length of the design and easily apply it to cake.

This process begins with the inspiration for your cake. The cake we are designing has a chevron pattern, ruffles and dots. Each tier of this cake is quickly created in the Silhouette Studio program and the designs are cut out of gum paste.

This is a 9”, 7” and 5” cake. My bottom tier measures 29 “. I want my finished design to be the exact measurement of my cake. I like to make my designs early in the week, before my cakes are baked. I keep track of my finished cake measurements and have a good idea of the finished circumference of each size. If my measurement must be exact, then I will wait until the cake is covered in fondant before I cut the design out of gum paste. I can have the design work finished and saved so all I have to do is measure my finished cake, make any adjustments to the finished size of the design and then cut the design.

Open the Silhouette Studio and size a mat to fit your finished project. If the design is longer than 24” then you need to select NONE under CUTTING MAT. Since the circumference of my 9” round cake is 29” I need to have a cutting area of about 36”. This will give me plenty of design space.

I use the drawing tool to draw the rectangle. My cake will be about 4 ½” tall and I need my design area to be 29” long.
Decide how wide and long you want each section of the chevron to be. You may need to experiment with different lengths and widths of rectangles until you achieve the look you desire. I am working with a ½” x 2 ½” rectangle.

  With the design selected, go to OBJECT and click on ROTATE. Then click on ROTATE by 45* clockwise.

Now click on the knife tool and draw a parallel line at the top of the rectangle.
Do the same thing for the bottom of the rectangle.
Delete the sections you have just cut off. Open the color window and add black to the design. It is easier to work with sections of the design when they have color added to them.
I have added color to the base rectangle. Click on the REPLICATE window and go to the ADVANCE OPTIONS. Choose the option for the duplicates to go to the right. The number of duplicates will depend on how wide your final measurement is.You may need to add or take away duplicates.
Select the second duplicate to the right and go to OBJECT and click on TRANSFORM. Then click on FLIP HORIZONATALLY.
Do this for every other rectangle until you have created the chevron pattern.
Delete the last section of the chevron. The first and last part of the chevron must point in the same direction.
It is time to make this chevron fit the length you need. Select the entire chevron design and pull it out to the length you need. When you select your design you will see the height and length.

Separate the design from the colored section. Go to the TRACE window and trace the design.

 You may need to increase the THRESHOLD. You want a good trace around the entire chevron.

Separate the traced design. You can delete the original design because you will be working with the traced design.

Move the design to the bottom of the mat.

Go to the DUPLICATE window and open the ADVANCE OPTIONS window. Click on ABOVE and select the number of duplicates you would like.
If you add color to each chevron it will be easier to see the design.
Click on each chevron and move them until they line up. Use the arrow on the computer keyboard to keep the designs lined up. When the design pieces fit together select the entire design. Go to OBJECT and select GROUP.
Move the design to the colored rectangle. This gives you a chance to see how the colors work together and if the design is the correct size. You can re-size your design to fit the area.

For this design I will need to cut 2 black, 1 white and 2 gray sections. With the entire design selected, go to OBJECT and click on UNGROUP. Separate the chevrons from each other.

Now that my design is sized and correctly positioned I am ready to cut my design out of gum paste. I can also save the design at this stage and cut the design at a later date. It will be easy to make any minor adjustments to the width and length so that the design will fit perfectly around the cake.

My longest cutting mat is only 24” long. I tapes 2 mats together to give me the length I needed.

I use freezer paper for my carrier sheet. I can get white freezer paper from the grocery store and it is very economical to use.
Cut the freezer paper a bit longer than the length of the finished design. If your mat is not very sticky, you may need to use tape and tape the edges to the mat. Have the shiny or wax side of the paper down.
For this project I cut my paper to 35”. The paper is wider than my cutting mat, so I needed to trim the width.
For this demonstration I drew the grid lines onto the freezer paper. This will help me line up the gum paste on the paper with the design on the computer.
You need to put another piece of the freezer paper on top of the first paper taped to the mat. This paper needs to be a bit wider than the finished design. If my cutting area is 4-5” wide, I would probably have a piece of paper cut about 8” wide and the length of the base paper. Apply a thin coat of shortening to the base paper. This is the glue that will hold the top paper to the mat. Place the top paper on top of the shortening covered paper, making sure it is in the correct position. Put the shiny side down. You may need to put some tape on the top edge of the second piece of paper to help hold it in place. Be sure to rub the paper with your hand to make it stick to the bottom paper. The shortening does a good job holding the paper in place.
Using a brush, apply shortening to the top paper. This is the adhesive to hold the gum paste in place.
 You need to roll out the gum paste with your pasta machine. I use the attachment to my Kitchen Aid mixer. Roll out the gum paste just like you would for any project. The only difference is the length. Be sure to roll a piece several inches longer than you need.  For this project I would roll my gum paste to about 36”. This way I am sure that my gum paste will fit in the cut area.
If the gum paste is soft and really fresh, you may need to let it sit out for a few minutes. The amount of time depends on your humidity and also how soft the gum paste is. You should be able to easily pick up the piece of gum paste to place it on the carrier mat.
When the gum paste is ready, carefully place it on the carrier mat. Make sure it is straight and in the correct position.
I need to make sure that my mat will feed correctly and that my design will cut where the gum paste is placed.
I have added 4 small circles just past my design.
My first cut will be just the circles, so I select my entire design and delete it. I will bring it back to the mat when my practice cut is finished.
Load the mat into the Silhouette and cut the circles.
It is very important to load the mat correctly. If it is slightly off, it will feed through the Silhouette in a crooked manner. I watch the mat feed through the machine to the bottom of the gum paste. If it does not feed through in a straight line, stop the process and re-load the mat. If it did go in straight then let the Silhouette cut your spacing circles. This example shows that the 4 circles were cut in the gum paste. Do not un-load your mat. When I removed the circles I could tell that I got a nice, clean cut. So now I know that not only will my design fit on the gum paste, but also that my pressure setting is correct.

Use the back arrow to restore the design to the computer screen. Delete the circles at the end of the design. You are now ready to cut your design.

Remove the excess gum paste. The design is perfectly cut.
Now repeat the process for the other colors. You do not have to cut out one color at a time. You can put multiple strips of gum paste on your carrier mat. You need to make sure that the design will cut out on the gum paste. Add circles to the end of the design.

Delete the design from the computer screen but not the circles.

For additional cuts you need to replace the freezer paper that the design is cut on. Make sure it is wide enough for you gum paste. Attach it with shortening, and brush shortening on the top. Apply the gum paste to the top paper.
Load the mat into the Silhouette. Make your practice cuts. If the circles cut in the correct spot on the gum paste you will know that the design will cut correctly. If the circles are off, you can easily readjust the design on the computer. You may need to move it up or down. The important thing is for the design to fall where the gum paste is placed.

Do not un-load the mat from the Silhouette. Use the back arrow to restore the design to the computer screen. Delete the circles and cut out the remaining chevrons.
  The chevron strips are cut and ready to assemble.

You need to keep the bottom black chevron on the freezer paper. It is properly spaced and the base of your completed design. Carefully remove the next color and place it in place on top of the black chevron.

Continue building the chevron design by adding additional strips.
If you are not ready to use the design, it can be stored in the freezer. Carefully roll it up.
When you are ready to apply the design to the cake, take it out of the freezer. It will thaw quickly, but will be brittle at first. Be careful to not crack or break the design. As it thaws out you can un-roll it. Be sure the design stays attached to the freezer paper.

 Carefully trim the excess freezer paper. The freezer paper will keep everything together as you apply the design to the cake.
Pick up your design and hold it up to your cake. You will get a good idea for placement on the side of the cake.
The top of the design is going to be touching the cake. Lay the design down and brush a light coat of shortening on the top. You may also want to brush a light coat of shortening on the cake, in the area the design will be.
 Match up the center of the design with the center front of the cake. Position the design and press lightly to start attaching it to the cake.

Continue wrapping the design until it meets in the back.
Carefully remove the freezer paper.


Use a soft, clean brush to wipe away the excess shortening on the top of the design. Brushing the design will help it attach to the cake.

If you measured correctly, the design will meet up perfectly at the back of the cake. There are times, especially when you cut your design out ahead of time that it does not match up. This is why we have a front and back to our cakes.

If your chevron design does not meet, and there is a small gap, it is easy to fix.

Cut a filler strip, and match the cut. Attach the strip to the cake covering the gap.
The second tier of our cake is covered in ruffles. You need to mark the placement for the ruffles. Decide how far apart you want the ruffles to be placed. I use my Agbay cake leveler to do this job for me. More information here:

Carefully and lightly press the blade of the leveler into the side of the cake. Go around the cake. Re-position the blade and mark another row. I am marking my rows at 1” intervals. If I need to add more than 4 rows of ruffles, I can still use the marks as a guide.

My cake with the imprinted marks.
Your ruffle can be a straight cut ruffle or you can create a fancy ruffle in the Silhouette Studio program. Start with a scallop shape. Trace the shape and add black color to it.
In the PAGE window, make the mat the size you will need for your ruffle. My 7” tier measures 22 ¾” in circumference. A 30” mat will be long enough.
Duplicate your design. Add more than you think you will need. You can delete any extra later.
Move each design to the left and slightly over-lap.
Instead of working with all of the design elements, try working with a small group.

Select the 3 elements of the design and group them together.


Replicate each group, and over-lap


Continue until you have the length you need. If the design is longer than you need, simply un-group the design and delete any extra elements.

You can make slight adjustments to the ruffle length after you have the basic design.

Trace your design.
Delete what you have traced and add black color to the ruffle.

The ruffle needs to be wider. Draw a rectangle box the length of the design. Make it as wide as you want the ruffle to be.

Select the entire design go to OBJECT and click on MODIFY. Now click on WELD.

 Use the knife tool to straighten up the ends.

You can fine tune the length and width of the ruffle now. Duplicate the ruffle to fit the width of your gum paste.

Add the circles to the end of the design as a guide for cutting.
Use the freezer paper on the cutting mat. Add a second piece of freezer paper, shiny side down. Be sure to put a light coat of shortening on the paper. Apply the gum paste to the paper and load it into the Silhouette.

If the circles cut correctly and the placement of the design to the gum paste is good, then cut the design.

There are several ways to work with the ruffle. You can use your ball tool to ruffle the edges, you can use a floral veiner to add detail or you could put it on flat. You decide the look you would like.  For this project I used a deep floral veiner to add detail to each section.

 Start at the back of your cake. You will attach the ruffle to the cake with a thin line of shortening. Apply the shortening to the top edge of the ruffle and along the guide mark on the cake.
When attaching the first row I like it to slightly drape over the tier below. The second row of ruffles should over-lap the first row. Use the guide lines on the cake so the ruffles go on straight. Add as many rows as you want, making sure they are evenly spaced.
You can add as many rows as you need for the look you want.

The top of the tier is finished with a fondant border.

The top tier of this cake is very simple. I cut several small circles from the gum paste and attached them to the cake. I added a small ribbon border with a bow.

The Finished cake,
Other cakes with a cake wrap.