Fun with Fondant: 5 Top Tips for Modeling Fondant Figures

We often get asked how we create our fondant and gum paste figures or cake toppers, what tips we can offer and where to even begin. With this in mind we thought we'd share the most important things to consider when creating fondant figures or toppers.

Here are our 5 top tips and tricks for modeling fondant figures & cake toppers:

Star Wars Themed Cake

All photos via Juniper Cakery

Creating fun cartoon-style characters to sit on a cake can be a really rewarding job, especially when the time to attach them to your finished cake arrives! Discover some great tips and advice on how to make fondant figures with Anne Heap's Cake Topper Techniques: Figure Modeling class.

Tip #1: Be your own worst critic!

One of the first things you need when you begin creating any project is self-criticism and a good analytical eye. We're both terrible critics of our own work and will begin afresh if we don't think a cake or cupcake topper we've created is up to scratch — even the slightest crack in the fondant can lead to a re-do.

An eye for perfection and desire to constantly improve will help you build a stellar reputation. Also, always evaluate your figure(s) as you work: Are the limbs out of proportion? Why does that well-known cartoon character you've just created in fondant look a little "off"?

Easter cupcake toppers

Tip #2: Patience is a virtue!

Another top tip is that patience is a virtue: You should take your time when creating fondant or gum paste toppers! Plan well, make sure you have time and don't rush the job. A lot of people who ask us how we create certain toppers end up revealing that they've put together a less than recognizable Hello Kitty figure in 15 minutes. A few minutes just won't cut it. We spend, on average, 1 hour - 3 hours on a figure depending on its complexity. We custom color all of our fondant and gum paste, then sit down with a few photographs of what we are required to copy and keep working until we're 100% happy.

Adorable antique bear cupcake topper

Note: We created this adorable antique-style teddy bear cupcake topper tutorial (so it's totally free!) to help introduce those not familiar with working with modeling chocolate! When mixed with fondant, it can be a great material to work with. Check it out and make your own adorable chocolate bear!

Tip #3: Keep cool!

Warm hands can prove to be quite unhelpful when it comes to working on almost any stage of a cake and fondant toppers aren't an exception! If you're in a warm climate or you naturally have hot hands, make sure you're working in a cool environment, keep a fan close by or even chilled towels and a bag of ice!

A little sprinkling of tylo or CMC powder in your fondant can also help make it a little more stable to work with in hotter conditions. Some decorators even swear by working with modeling chocolate mixed with fondant 50/50 to be a great medium in warmer weather.

Lovely Pink Champaign cupcake toppers

Tip #4: Plan ahead!

Keeping a diary and planning your time around a particularly detailed cake is really helpful. At the beginning of each working week we have a meeting to discuss what cakes are due, when, how big, what the details are, etc. We write what duties the both of us need to take on and when. When it comes to fondant it helps to color what you need the day before, so that on the day planned for modeling, you can sit down and get to work. Work can pile up if you don't plan out your responsibilities!

Easter egg basket fondant cupcake topper

Tip #5: Practice makes perfect!

It sounds cliché, but it's true. If you keep practicing you'll grow more confident in your abilities and more adept at creating impressive figures and cake toppers! Why not design and create a character cake or fondant decor adorned cupcakes if you're facing a quiet week. Not only will this keep you occupied, better your skills gradually, and help you grow more creative, but it will also add to your portfolio of work!

Birthday animal fondant cake topper

Bonus tip: Perhaps another great tip when creating fondant or gum paste models and toppers is to be playful and always have fun! Getting to create these tiny designs should be reward, fun & most importantly, sweet!

We hope our top tips for modeling fondant figures and characters got you excited to sit down and work on your next cake design!

Did you Craftsy's YouTube Channel is full of free, quick video tutorials?

Check out this one on how to make a cute princess cake topper from Craftsy instructor Anne Heap.

See more on Craftsy's YouTube Cake Decorating Channel.

12 Comments

Henrietta Beecher

I wish I could do even a few of those figures. you are all great.

Reply
janice walker

hi

i hope you can help a desperate beginner to the world of modelling for cakes. i bought renshaws fondant and one of the sleeping newborn moulds but even after leaving in the freezer the model cracked and stuck in the finer details. so as this one had been a cheap one i bought a more expensive one and gumpaste and tried again with both molds and the same thing happened. so i molded them again last night but left them in the molds and they were even worse. do i have to buy the really expensive (£10+) to get them to come out? i checked that the fondant had been worked enough and it seemed okay.
can you please help?

cheeers

janice

Reply
sandra

I bought a cheap one of Ebay I dusted it with cornflour with a Childs we paintbrush pressed in the fondant leveled it of put in freezer for 10 minutes it came out easy looked fine left it to harden before touching it

Reply
Chris

yep, cornflour should do the trick! Make sure you bang the mould to get out the excess cornflour. Knead paste to make sure it is pliable and soft then maybe push small bits into ‘fiddly details before filling the whole mould. Press firmly. This should make sure the ‘fiddly bits are attached to the main body. GENTLY unmould bit by bit. If one bit starts to stick then try unmoulding from a different angle ‘wiggle it bit by bit until it is unmoulded. BEWARE trying too many times with the same piece of paste might find your paste going stiff and cracking due to the cornflour. DONT use too much.

Reply
Billy

I’ve just signed up! I am a digital artist and website designer and I want to create a modelled element for a website illustration. The theme is cooking I am trying to create a dessert featuring 3 sailing boats on the River Nile. Those beautiful lateen rigged boats leaning over on the crystal green waters are my inspiration.. My plan is to create 3 boats containing 3 chocolate dipped strawberries (with white iced eyes and smiles) Each boat will leave a long curving cream wake on a sea of green coloured with creme de menthe. The inverted triangular sails will be made of sugar paste (although I had originally thought of using a sugar tuile). The boat hulls will be of pate sucre and I thought to bed the strawberries in marzipan. But whatever it all must be edible. I would appreciate ideas on making the masts and perhaps waves on the water or any other comments.

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Trudie Coetzee

I watched your video, how to make a figure, but could you tell me with what do I put the arms, legs and head to a body, so that it doesn’t fall off. Please help me.

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Patricia Staley

I have read where sweet dreams have a new fondant, between modeling chocolate and plain sugar fondant recipe, that there Chief’s have put together and they say you don’t need tylos. Corn starch. Or powered sugar on counter too work with. Would you know of this recipe?

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