Making sugar figures for cake toppers is a fabulous way of adding character and personalisation to a cake.
Whether it is a representation of the birthday girl/boy or a wedding couple on top of their wedding cake.
This is perhaps the MOST IMPORTANT tip I can pass on to you!
Too often, I hear of cake decorators struggling when making sugar figures, and the majority of the time it is because the paste is not suitable for the job.
Whilst you can use sugar paste (or fondant) with added CMC/Tylose powder, it just won’t be quite as good (or easy to work with) as a purpose made modelling paste.
Advantages of using modelling paste:
There are many commercially made pastes on the market and they all work really well. You may have to try a few different brands to find out which works best for you.
My personal preferred choice is Saracino Modelling Paste. I find it really good to work with, you can colour it yourself with gel colours, but they also have a range of fabulous ready coloured pastes.
It comes in 250g packs or 1kg tubs. You can also buy the white modelling paste in a 5kg bucket, for those (like me) who make a lot of models!
There are a huge variety of different tools on the market to choose from these days.
Below are a few of my favourites that I use when modelling
Such a simple looking tool, but totally versatile and an absolute must for all cake decorators. You can buy these for around £3, so they don’t break the bank either.
Perfect for texturing hair for models with the thin end or blending seams with the wider end, plus many other jobs besides!
Again, a simple, relatively cheap tool, which comes in a variety of sizes. It is a good idea to have at least a couple of different sizes for different purposes.
I prefer the metal ball tools, as the plastic ones have a ridge around which can make marks in your work.
These are fabulous for making very clean, precise cuts when modelling sugar figures, where the scale you are working in is fairly small.
Achieving the correct proportions when modelling sugar figures is one of the areas that can be difficult when first starting out.
A couple of ways to avoid this are…..
Using a chart like this will give you a guide to the proportions for both adult and child sized models.
Usually measured in ‘heads’, the chart helps you to keep your sizes in check.
You can use these guides to draw yourself a template for the correct height of the model you wish to make.
There are many different versions of these guides available online.
Wooden artist mannequins such as these are available in different sizes, and can be used to help with proportions for figures.
They are also really useful for re-creating different poses that you may want your figure to be in.
Trying to make sugar figures without any support is not a good idea.
Even for the simplest of figures, you will need some kind of support, for example, to keep the head in place.
For more complex figures, you will need internal armatures, which give you plenty of scope for creating different poses.
For fairly simple figures, such as a sitting figure like this, a single support, such as a wooden skewer or cake pop stick, inserted down through the body, will support the head in place securely.
Some people like to use dried spaghetti when modelling, however I find that for figures, you need something a little sturdier.
My preferred choice is a plastic cake pop stick, as it is food safe and will not splinter when cut to size.
More complex figures:
Figures like these will need a more solid internal support system, almost like a skeleton frame for the modelling paste to be moulded onto.
These can be made from materials such as armature wire or strong florist wire (18/16 gauge is best).
The internal armatures can be bent into different positions, enabling your sugar figure to be posed in any way you choose.
If you are going to take anything from this blog, I hope it will be this:
My first attempts at sugar figures were a little dodgy to say the least! But with patience, practise and trying out different pastes, tools and techniques, I found the right materials/equipment to suit my style.
I hope this has left you raring to get going with your own sugar figure modelling adventure, so why not start by trying out some of my FREE PDF pictorials, to make these simple, cute girl and boy sugar figures?
Using basic tools and simple techniques, the step by step instructions and full colour photos make these ideal starter projects.