Transportation themes are always popular designs for children’s parties, from planes, trains and automobiles! Locomotives are especially beloved thanks to classic kids’ stories, such as The Little Engine that Could and Thomas the Tank Engine, among other well-known books, movies and television shows.
You’ve got a ticket to ride with this sweet, step-by-step tutorial for train cupcake toppers!
- Red, blue, light grey and white fondant
- Water/edible glue and brush
- Vegetable shortening
- Fondant rolling pin and 1/8″ guide rings
- Wooden dowels (1/4″)
- Rolling pastry cutter
- Knife tool
- Precision knife
- Medium ball tool
- Small circle tool
- Round decorating tips #1, #10 and #12
- Raw spaghetti
- Small spatula
- Optional: Tylose powder
Roll blue fondant into a ball, approximately 1″. I suggest utilizing a bit of tylose powder kneaded into your fondant to allow it to dry harder. Dip your fingers in some vegetable shortening and begin to shape the ball into a rectangular shape. Flatten out all four sides and use a small spatula to straighten them. Use your fingers to gently pinch the corners.
Roll blue fondant into a ball, approximately 3/4″. Again, add in some tylose powder, dip your fingers in vegetable shortening and this time, shape it into a shorter and fatter rectangle. Repeat the steps above to flatten out all four sides creating the train cab. This piece will eventually sit up vertically, so make sure to allow both pieces to dry sufficiently so that you can stack them and they do not lose their shape. When sufficiently dry, glue them together (refer to next image).
Roll more blue fondant into a ball, approximately 3/4″. Begin to shape it into a fat sausage shape, but use the small spatula to flatten out one end that will lean against the vertical fondant, while rounding out the opposite end, creating the engine body.
With a piece of raw spaghetti, make a hole towards the front of the engine body by gently twisting it downward, where you will later insert the smoke stack.
Roll a small piece of red fondant into a ball, approximately 1/4″. With your fingers, begin to roll only half of the red fondant into a sausage-like shape, while leaving the other half as an attached ball.
With your fingers, begin to flatten out the ball and pinching the perimeter to create a wide circular surface. Then, indent the center of the circle with the medium ball tool, creating the smoke stack.
Gently twist a piece of raw spaghetti (large enough to fit through the smoke stack and have enough protruding through both ends to insert into the engine body and smoke clouds) downward through the center of the smoke stack. Next, insert the bottom piece of raw spaghetti through the existing hole in the engine body and glue it in place.
Roll red fondant with the rolling pin and 1/8″ guide rings. Cut out two circles with the bottom of one of the round decorating tips (the larger end) and two circles with the small circle cutter.
For the two larger red circles, utilize round decorating tip #12 to punch out a circle out of the centers. For the smaller circles, utilize round decorating tip #10 to do the same.
Roll out light grey fondant with the rolling pin and 1/8″ guide rings. Cut out one circle with the small circle cutter, two circles with round decorating tip #10 and two more with round decorating tip #12.
Insert the light grey circles cut out with tip #12 in the center of the large red circles, then the circles cut out with tip #10 into the smaller red circles to create the wheels. Indent the center of each wheel with round decorating tip #1. Allow them to dry enough so that they will hold their shape when turning them vertically.
Roll out additional red fondant with the rolling pin and 1/8″ guide rings and cut out a circle with round decorating tip #10. Glue it over the remaining light grey circle fondant, then when sufficiently dry, glue them to the front of the engine body.
Glue the engine body to the front of the train, then glue the wheels, making sure the larger wheels are in the back.
Roll out red fondant with the rolling pin and guide rings. With the rolling pastry cutter, trim a rectangle wide and long enough to fit comfortably over the top of the train cab. Shape it into a arch, place it over the train cab and allow it to dry a bit. Glue it in place when dry enough.
Roll out light grey fondant with the rolling pin and 1/8″ guide rings. With the rolling pastry cutter, trim a long strip to fit on the back of the train over the original flatter blue rectangle. Make vertical indentations across the length of the strip with the knife tool, then trim it to size (if necessary) and glue it in place. With the remaining light grey fondant, cut out a small circle with round decorating tip #10 and indent the center with tip #1.
Roll additional light grey fondant thick with the rolling pin and 1/4″ wooden dowels. With the rolling pastry cutter, trim another rectangular piece for the front of the train, but this time, trim the ends diagonally, then make vertical indentations with the knife tool. Fit it at the bottom of the front of the train and glue it in place.
Roll white fondant with the rolling pin and 1/8″ guide rings. With the precision knife, trim two small rectangular pieces to form the windows and glue them to each side of the train cab.
Roll a piece of white fondant into a ball, then flatten it out a bit with your finger, creating a more oval shape. With your knife tool, make small indentations around the perimeter of the oval to make a smoke cloud. Repeat this step with gradient sizes (two more – medium and small).
Begin to stack the smoke clouds over the raw spaghetti protruding from the smoke stack by gently twisting them downward. Glue them in place. Allow to dry thoroughly.
Note: If a bottom topper is desired, roll out the fondant (color of choice) with the rolling pin and 1/8″ guide rings, cut out the shape with the desired shape cutter, then glue the train to it.