October 30, 2010 § 2 Comments
So, I have a Halloween party to show you in a series of blurry pictures, but first there is some very important business to take care of!
THE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST CUPCAKE WRAPPER GIVAWAY!
And the winner is….drum roll….
NIA! Here’s what she had to say:
Okaaaay so, hi, my name is Nia, and I’m a fellow Beauty-and-the-Beast-aholic. (hi, Nia!) My favorite part of Disney’s Beauty & the Beast is…
when Belle yells back at the Beast while cleaning his wounds. also ALL the songs. also the “baroque” joke. also the Beast who is super awesome. I think they did a good job with him. I never noticed before this most recent watching how much he looks like his human self even in beast form. good job, Disney.
I also like you. I want you to be my ghostwriter for my blog, because I’m too lazy/busy to write it myself. sound cool? great.
Hurray! Also I like you too, Nia 😉 Now make sure that I have your address, and these cupcake wrappers will be yours!
October 17, 2010 § 3 Comments
While the Beast was lurking in his castle, being mopey and full of rage, he didn’t pay much attention to his wardrobe. He stuck to the basics: the cloak. It is important that he wear a cloak, so that he can swirl it. There’s a lot of impressive cloak swirling in the movie, and I love a good, swirly cloak, so I had to make a cupcake wrapper for it!
You will need
–maroon scrapbook paper
–maroon tissue paper
–the Beast cloak template
You’ll cut out two pieces, the tissue paper taller than the scrapbook paper. You want the tissue paper to have a ragged edge, like the torn hem of the Beast’s cloak, but if you just tear the paper you won’t get the look you want–the paper will want to tear on the grain, rather than raggedly. Instead, take a damp cloth and dab it along the upper edge of the tissue paper
Then pull the damp edges off with a pinching motion–
Then tape the edges together and voila!
Fortunately the Beast managed to find another outfit in time for the ball
(maybe he was friends with some mice)
To make the Beast’s fancy suit, you will need
–blue scrapbook paper
–yellow scrapbook paper
–a small piece of white tissue paper
–a gold paint pen
–the Fancy Suit Template
Cut the two primary pieces out of your blue scrapbook paper and set them aside. Cut the smaller waistcoat piece out of your yellow scrapbook paper, and cut two slits for the cravat
Fold this center flap back, and put a bit of double-sided tape on it
Crumple your tissue paper a bit to give it texture, and put it into the slot, crumpling and gathering it, and fold the flap back up to hold it in place
Fold it over the back and trim the edges, then glue or tape them down on the back of the waistcoat
Put double-stick tape on the pointed flaps to either side of the waistcoat and attach it to your coat pieces
You’re almost done! Just use your paint pen to add the final details to your wrapper–a ‘v’ on either side of the cravat for a collar, a double row of buttons down the center of the waistcoat….
…and a row of buttons down either side of the coat, and a line around the top and bottom edges of the wrapper
Fancy suits aside, I think we can all agree that there is one dress in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast that outshines all of the other outfits:
Now there is a dress that fulfills all of my childhood fantasies (Off the shoulder? check. Gloves? check. Giant, fluffy, swirly skirt? check!)
For Belle’s ball gown, you will need
–yellow scrapbook paper
–yellow tissue paper
–a gold paint pen
–double sided tape
–ribbon roses (look for these in the button/ribbons/notions aisles of your local craft stores)
Belle’s ball gown has four layers–the smallest one will be cut out of scrapbook paper, and the other three tiers will be cut out of tissue paper.
Use your paint pen to draw swags on the scallops of the tissue paper layers
Now just stack your layers up–apply double sided tape to the back of your scrapbook paper and lay it on top of the smallest tissue paper, then apply double sided tape to the back of the tissue paper and lay it on the next size up, and repeat. Make sure that you put them on in the right order, because it is a pain if you put them on in the wrong order and then have to peel them back off without tearing them and start over. Ahem.
Glue on your roses–I used my hot glue gun, but you could use any craft glue that will dry clear
October 16, 2010 § 1 Comment
I love all kinds of crafts, but I have a special weakness for costumes. Dress-up was my favorite activity as a child, and it continues to be one of my favorite activities now–I always look forward to the renaissance faire and the chance to indulge my interest in historical clothing. In high school and college I spent a lot of time in the theatre departments doing costume work.
So it’s not really surprising that when I wanted to make special wrappers for my Beauty and the Beast cupcakes, my inspiration came from the outfits in the film! I couldn’t help myself. I made six wrappers, four for Belle’s dresses and two for the Beast. Here is how a few of them were made:
The wrapper inspired by Belle’s blue dress is the most basic, and calls for
–bright blue scrapbook paper
–double sided tape
Print out the template and cut it out, then trace around it on your scrapbook paper and cut it out again. Don’t lose the template! You’ll be using it again for the other dresses.
Mark the overlap–
Then tape the edges together, and voila!
Belle’s green dress, which she wears during the library scene (one of my favorite moments, of course–I would fall in love with anyone who gave me that library), is a little more complicated. You will need
–dark green scrapbook paper
–lighter green tissue paper
–double stick tape
You’ll use the Green Dress template for the scrapbook paper, and the Basic Template (the one you just used for the Blue Dress) for the tissue paper
And then just apply double sided tape to the back of the scrapbook paper, and lay it on top of the tissue paper
Then just wrap it around and secure the ends together, and voila!
Belle’s pink dress is more complicated than her other two, but I think it’s absolutely worth it–it’s soft and sweet looking and to make it you will need
–rose pink scrapbook paper
–lighter pink tissue paper
–narrow light pink ribbon
–double sided tape
Use the Pink Dress template to cut out one shape from the scrapbook paper, and then cut the Basic Template out three times out of tissue paper. Use the template to mark the placement of the ribbons on the scrapbook paper
Just make little pencil marks on the edge of the piece–this is the back side, and the ribbon will cover it anyway. Cut short pieces of your ribbon and wrap them around the paper, securing with glue (make sure you use a glue that will dry clear! and I actually used my double sided tape, but glue might be simpler).
Now here comes the tricky part–the ruffle. Apply double sided tape to the back of the wrapper, so that it’s pretty thoroughly covered. Then take one of the tissue paper pieces you cut out, line the edge of it up with the scrapbook paper, and press down about a quarter of an inch. Then fold it back for a bit, and then forward again, so that another quarter of an inch is stuck down, then fold it back a bit, and repeat–this is hard to explain, so perhaps a visual will help!
When you get to the end of one piece of tissue paper just keep going with a second piece, continuing to make your pleats until you get all the way across the wrapper. If you get to the end and you have extra tissue paper, just trim it off–if you’re a little short, just cut another piece. It’s not an exact science…
You may find that the top edge of your ruffle is a bit…uneven. I found that it was much easier not to worry about keeping the top edge even while you were making the pleats–instead it’s much simpler to just trim the top edge after the fact, and voila!
October 15, 2010 § 11 Comments
I’m afraid that this isn’t going to be a very good tutorial, because my methods were mostly an experiment in what Does Not Work (hint: getting your icing wrong Does Not Work). But the end result was still pretty! So perhaps if I tell you all about what I did wrong you’ll be able to do something even prettier.
First I made sugar cookies. From a package, because I am a cheater. Then I made icing from these directions at i am baker and managed to get them wrong. My icing was much too thin, and I used an icing tip that was too big, and the long and the short of it is that my cookies had a rather thicker layer of icing that they were supposed to, and this layer of icing never hardened.
My plan for the cookies was to copy the enchanted rose as it appears in the wonderful stained glass prologue of Beauty and the Beast—
Specifically, I wanted my cookies to look like this:
I had a few ideas about how to copy the image onto my cookies…and they all failed. Because my icing was soft and more like a glaze than icing and the outer crust cracked like a frozen lake if I touched it. What to do?
In the end I did what I do best: I improvised. I eyeballed. I looked at the picture, and back at my cookie, and back at the picture, and back at my cookie, and I free-handed roses onto my cookies in black icing (with the small tip that I should have been using all along, and which much, much thicker icing this time).
I did my best, but I still ended up with some of the ugliest roses in the history of everything–see the lower right hand corner of this picture for evidence–
My lines were shaky and lumpy, my piping sloppy, and my cookies, frankly, looked abysmal. I managed to fix a few mistakes by gently picking out bits of black icing after it had dried, but the real saving grace for these cookies?
The decorating gel. You can buy it in your local craft or baking goods store in a multitude of colors. It’s clear. It’s vibrant. After it sits it doesn’t harden like royal icing but it does firm up enough to handle touching or stacking (although if you’re stacking your cookies in a tin for a gift, or if you made them in advance for an event and they’ll be stacked for a while, I’d separate them with pieces of wax or parchment paper to keep crumbs from sticking to the decorating gel). And suddenly that imperfect piping isn’t even noticeable–the bright colors of the decorating gel made even the ugliest of my ugly roses look good.
Application was simple–I just squeezed a bit of decorating gel into each section of the cookies (not too much! it will spread pretty thin, and you can always add more if you need to–if you put on too much it will flood into other sections) and gently spread it to the edges and into the corners with a toothpick.
A little time consuming, but easy, and the results were so worth it!
If you look closely, you’ll see that I used two shades of decorating gel–both pink and red–to give the rose depth. There wasn’t a science to this, although I tried to focus the pink on the center of the rose and use it on the curled edges of the petals, while I used more red at the bottom of the rose. But it breaks up the color and gives some of the variation that you see in the window.
You can also see the black mark left by a line of icing that I picked off to improve the look of the rose–that smudge was a lot less noticeable in person, I promise!
I also broke up the bright blue background with bits of purple, and some of the cookies had a border of pink and purple, in an effort to match my original concept.
Was this project time-consuming and tedious?
Well, yes. But so pretty!
Would you do it again?
Absolutely, although I would really try to get my icing right next time.
Were they too pretty to eat?
Um, no. In my world, no cookie is too pretty to eat. That’s why I take pictures.
They were delicious!
October 13, 2010 § 3 Comments
The rose looks complex, but it’s really very simple to make! Here is how I did it:
First, most of opening speech from the last two tutorials still applies: I used Wilton’s fondant in white, and Wilton’s icing coloring to tint it. This time you won’t need anything but your fondant, your coloring, and your hands (and a knife, briefly, at the very end). It’s also a good idea to have a container with a lid or a zip-lock bag handy for any fondant that you aren’t using, because it will dry out if you leave it exposed for more than a few minutes. It’s also important to make sure that your hands and your work surface are clean and completely free of lint or crumbs–any bit of dust will stick to your fondant and look vile.
Start by coloring your fondant–you’ll want a bigger piece than you used for your books, but not too much bigger. You can use any color you like, but I chose pink because the enchanted rose in the film is pink (and because the coloring was handy). I thought that the shade was a little bright, though, so I added just a drop of blue coloring to tone it down. Once your color is worked into your fondant, pinch off a tiny piece–
Roll this piece into a short, fat snake, then gently flatten one end and roll it again to form your inner petal. The rest of the rose will be built around this–
Pinch off another small piece of fondant (you are remembering to put the lid back on your fondant in between petals, right? if you don’t then it will start to get dry before you’re finished!) and make a petal shape by rolling it into a ball, setting it on your work surface, and gently flattening one side. You want a rounded triangle shape that’s thicker at the base and thinner on the outer edges–
Gently wrap this petal around your center, letting the wider edge curve back–if the outer edge of your petal flops over instead of curving gently then the fondant is too thin. Just peel it off and start over with a slightly thicker petal–
…wash, rinse, repeat. You’ll want to start making your petals a little bigger, and just keep adding them around the center until your rose is as big as you want it to be–
Now, if you have your cupcakes ready to go then you could stick this rose into a cloud of frosting and be ready to party, but I made my roses about a week in advance and they needed to sit in a container all that time (I left the lid off so that they would harden and be easier to handle when I put them on the cupcakes). So I trimmed the bottom of the rose to give it a flat surface–
And voila! You have everything you need for the tops of your cupcakes.
…but what about the rest of the cupcake, you ask? Be watching for tutorials on fancy cupcake wrappers!
October 12, 2010 § 7 Comments
My second fondant decoration was an open book! I really loved this one–
And here is how they were made:
First let’s flashback to the last tutorial, because all of this still applies–I used Wilton’s fondant in white, and Wilton’s icing coloring to tint it. Other useful and necessary items: A rolling pin, toothpicks, a cutting board, and a sharp knife. It’s also a good idea to have a container with a lid or a zip-lock bag handy for any fondant that you aren’t using, because it will dry out if you leave it exposed for more than a few minutes. It’s also important to make sure that your hands and your work surface are clean and completely free of lint or crumbs–any bit of dust will stick to your fondant and look vile (especially against the white).
Your first step is (shockingly) a lot like the first step in making the closed book–just take a piece of fondant and shape it into a rectangle. Make it thinner and larger than your last rectangle–
Lay your fondant rectangle on your very clean work surface, and gently use the back of your knife to make a deep crease in the middle–this forms the spine of the book. Don’t go too deep! Halfway should be about right.
Then gently press the crease open and smooth the edges to get a nice curve–I used the flat of my knife for this, but you can also just shape it with your fingers. You want the curve to be highest near the middle of the book and to slope down towards the edges. The shape you’re looking for is a bit like a mustache, or an upper lip–
All of that shaping may have made your rectangle less distinct, so you might want to trim the sides to make them even
Now it’s time to trim the edges of the pages–you don’t want to cut straight down for this. Instead, hold your knife at a slight angle and trim the edges so that they have a slant–
Now that you have your basic shape you’re ready to make the lines for the pages! This is the same method that you used in the last tutorial–just use a gentle sawing motion with your knife to make shallow cuts on the slanted edges.
You can even cut a little deeper into the corners and curl them up slightly–I thought that the result was really cute–
Use the tip of your knife to draw lines on the top and bottom of the book–they should start at the center and go out, following the curve of the upper edge–
Set this piece of fondant aside, and add color to a smaller piece of fondant to use for your book cover, just as you did in the last tutorial. This time you just roll out the colored fondant, set the pages that you made on top, and trim the cover to size around them (leaving just a bit of space, so that the cover shows around the edge).
Turn the book over and use a toothpick to make two grooves for the spine–gently rub the toothpick back and forth to get a distinct mark–
Also, try not to make nail marks in your fondant. Ahem.
Turn your book back over–I put mine on top of two toothpicks, to help it keep its shape–
And you’re done! If you leave your book out in a container with no lid the fondant will harden, making it easier to handle when you’re ready to set it on your cupcake.
(Thank you to Angela for taking these pictures!)