Your Best Off-The-Wall 'not-For-Cake-But-Really-Useful' Tip!

Decorating By CakeDiva73 Updated 25 Oct 2007 , 3:33pm by KathysCC

CakeDiva73 Posted 20 Oct 2007 , 4:11am
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Just figured I would share some stuff I learned this weekend....there is so much we all figure out on our own using stuff that is clearly 'not intended for cake' icon_smile.gif but works like a charm! (P.S. Not trying to open a can of worms with the whole good v.s evil thing regarding 'non-toxic'/'food safe' either......)

So I was doing a tiered cake this weekend and complaining about cutting the dowels when my DH produced a very nifty little tool, straight from the Dollar Store, made to cut tubes and cables.....you put your finger in the loop and twist your finger around & around and a razor cuts the little piece of...well, whatever it is you need cut! Up until now I have always used rose cutting shears and they were at total PITA so when I used this, it was lightning fast and really accurate as well. *If you are willling to spend a couple dollars more, there is an even better one in the home improvement dept made for cutting small PVC pipes.

The other thing I found to be invaluable is the clear plastic sheets sold at Home Depot ( 3 ft. X 4 ft.) for under $10 - these are perfect for rolling fondant.......I put a piece of no-slip rubber underneath so it doesn't slide all over the place and it gives me a nice, sterile & smooth surface for me to roll out all my fondant pieces.

And lastly, a cookie sheet that is flat with a small lip on one end.....I have no idea what it was intended for but I got it at a yard sale for .50 and it has been a life saver doing everything from helping me torte layers to lifting fondant as well as pie dough......honestly, this is one of the coolest things I have ever used.

So if anyone else has come across some off the wall, 'not-for-cake' tools and feel like sharing - go for it! I figure I have learned so much from everyone here, if there is anything I can do to repay you helpful people icon_wink.gif , then I will!

45 replies
CakeDiva73 Posted 20 Oct 2007 , 4:21am
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Oh, I totally forgot about the hand-held cookie shooter (or cookie press). It is a perfect cheapie way to extrude fondant ropes, etc..... I found a hand-held one that is pampered chef for a couple of dollars and also have some old-fashioned electric ones that don't over work your hand icon_lol.gif for a couple of bucks too.... the best ones are made by Wear-Ever and are called the 'Cookie Shooter' or 'Super Shooter'. HTH

amberhoney Posted 20 Oct 2007 , 4:23am
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Great idea for a thread. I was just thinking last night, what would be one tool I couldn't do without. It would easily be the wheel I use for the stitching effects I do on a lot of my cakes, it is apparently for sewing. In fact I just made a sewing box cake which has been loaded today if you want to check out the effect.
Can't wait for other ideas!!

yummy Posted 20 Oct 2007 , 1:44pm
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I haven't tried this yet but I think the magnetic hair rollers ( the plastic ones that come in different sizes and colors) would work great for holding bow loops in shape (two bows) instead of cotton.

Cakediva, thanks for all the great tips, I'll definetely be trying these.

Amandahoney, I love that sewing basket, could you please pm me on how you did the green and yellow stripe fabric; if it's edible of course, it looks so real. I posted a ? about this a few days ago. How do you get the stripes so even. Please share!

amberhoney Posted 20 Oct 2007 , 7:45pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yummy

IAmandahoney, I love that sewing basket, could you please pm me on how you did the green and yellow stripe fabric; if it's edible of course, it looks so real. I posted a ? about this a few days ago. How do you get the stripes so even. Please share!




Instead of PMing you I thought I might reply here as the reply involves another of my favourite tools, a herb cutter! Here is a pic of a few of my neccessaries...
From left to right...
- a small pizza wheel, for trimming edges and cutting out shapes from fondant.
- a parsley cutter. This was originally cased in a plastic handle (which I broke!!), you roll it back and forth and it slices herbs finely. It also is invaluable with fondant! It cuts long strips, about 5mm wide. I used it on my sewing cake for the yellow and green fabric, just cut fine strips of both colours, lined them up and rolled lightly to seal them together. I use it every time I want even strips, you will see them on lots of my cakes too. I also used it for the sewing cake rolled lightly several times across a square of fondant to make the cotton spools. I picked up this marvelous gadget from a thrift shop for 20c.
- fine paring knife. Obviously tons of uses but great for cutting out fondant shapes too.
- my sewing wheel! I'm not even sure what you do with it when you're using it for the purpose it was intended for icon_wink.gif
- wiggly pizza cutter. Again a ton of uses but especially good for zips! I used it for a couple of bags that I've made, people always ask my secret, this is it! There is also a zip on my sewing cake.

That's it! You know all my secrets now I vill have to keeeel you!! ! LOL icon_biggrin.gif

Clare

Edited to add the pic coz I forgot...
LL

yummy Posted 20 Oct 2007 , 8:15pm
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Thanks Amberhoney! Where can I get a parsly cutter? Can you post a picture of what it looks like?

amberhoney Posted 20 Oct 2007 , 8:27pm
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I just googles 'herb cutter' and found they are still being sold! Cheap too! I have never seen them in the shops here but you can obviously buy them online. Scroll down to 'herb cutter' and you will see what mine looked like before I busted it... I saw a couple that are all steeel too, I think if you were buying one for fondant it might be a good idea, you might not break yours like I did!

http://www.cookmatesouthwest.co.uk/acatalog/Chippers_and_Choppers.html

bobwonderbuns Posted 20 Oct 2007 , 8:38pm
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Boy, this sure has echoes of the "okay, everybody answer this question" thread! icon_lol.gif I use Pringle's cans to hold the pastry bag while I fill it with icing, then use it to hold the bag upside down after I've washed it. Works like a charm!! icon_biggrin.gif

crazy4sugar Posted 20 Oct 2007 , 8:35pm
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Thanks for the great tips, everyone! I use the plastic light covers (photo below) as texture sheets. They make really cool designs and they cost about $5 at the hardward store, e.g., Home Depot.
LL

CakeDiva73 Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 3:10am
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Silly me....the first thing I thought of when my husband showed me the tool he used was that I had to share it with my CC friends! Little did I know this was somehow frowned upon...... icon_confused.gif

Won't make that mistake again! Thanks for the heads-up Bob icon_rolleyes.gif

CelebrationCakery Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 3:43am
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I just thought I would add a few too...heck the other day I was mentioning a notched trowel for making details on the sides of a cake, I haven't ever done it myself but the person was asking how we thought a certain technique was done and boy I think that would work great.

I also have an herb cutter...I didn't know what it was suppose to be for when I bought it at Kmart....I only saw it as a tool for my fondant too...

Before I purchased my clay gun I had also purchased a garlic press that can be used to make a bunch of thin pieces of fondant for hair or grass (although butter cream is really much easier)

And I hate to give non edible ideas but I am self taught and honestly did not realize until a few years ago that most of this beautiful work is ALL edible...so in my work you will see of course some silk flowers but also treaded beads, ribbons, crystals and even whatever McDonald's toy is the "in" thing....sooo while I am on that....where do you all get all of this skill?? Are you self taught too??

jcmm1014 Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 3:45am
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You must have been reading my mind! I am in the process of a four cake week (ugh!) icon_razz.gif and my KA has been going non stop. I have little counter space so I am always moving my mixer. It is the professional and those little rubber feet don't like to slide nicely so I have a flexible cutting mat under my KA and it slides like a dream. No more lifting that mixer.
Funny I was just thinking yesterday that I should post this tip for everyone else. Thanks for the tips. Looks like I'll have to buy a bigger tool box. icon_wink.gif

GenGen Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 3:48am
post #13 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeDiva73

Silly me....the first thing I thought of when my husband showed me the tool he used was that I had to share it with my CC friends! Little did I know this was somehow frowned upon...... icon_confused.gif

Won't make that mistake again! Thanks for the heads-up Bob icon_rolleyes.gif




am i missing something here?

amberhoney Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 5:33am
post #14 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristianDonovan

sooo while I am on that....where do you all get all of this skill?? Are you self taught too??




Personally I am self taught. Only because I've never heard of decorating classes where I live. I would love to go to a class or two, I still have a terrible time covering cakes with fondant, my piping is awful and I would love to lear how to make flowers! Everything else I have learned here on good ol' CC!

mezzaluna Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 5:38am
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I am also self-taught.

My scalpel is one of the things I use the most! Perfect for cutting out GP and RF shapes, etc.

AnythingSugar Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 6:13am
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One thing I have bought that is a great help is a water brush. The barrel of the brush holds water so when I need to paint something or to touch up something, I don't have to get water. It works really well for tapping down the little points on stars and writing.

mezzaluna Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 6:17am
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Oh yeah, definately the water brush. I have edible glue in mine.

Charmaine49 Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 7:00am
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Amberhoney, you mention the sewing wheel??
It is used to transfer pattern markings when making or copying a new pattern.

Charmaine49 Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 7:03am
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Cake Diva,

Are you talking about the plastic sheeting one can buy to cover tablecloths with, like in a restuarant??
I have been wanting to buy a piece for when rolling fondant, but wasn't sure if it could be used for rolling fondant.

susies1955 Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 8:54am
post #20 of 46

jcmm1014,
I'm SO very glad you posted your tip of using the flexible cutting mat under the KA. I just go my KA a few days ago and I thought MY GOODNESS this thing is hard to slide around. Great tip,
Susie

prettycakes Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 9:48am
post #21 of 46

I picked up a Herb cutter at wal-mart down the Kitchen gadget isle. I don't cut many herbs, but love it for fondant.

CelebrationCakery Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 11:02am
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I just thought of another one this morning while I was looking at another forum....

I have a book that showed me this one....

Buy a cheapy dollar store wire whisk, use a wire cutter and cut the curves off the end so now you are left with a handle and all of the wire strands....

Great for drizzling chocolate or in the book it was to make threads of hot sugar to make like angle hair sugar or bird nest....(Again something I have not done yet but would really love to at some point)

fiddlesticks Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 12:55pm
post #23 of 46

HI... The WATER BRUSH that you talked about, can you tell me what it looks like? Also where you can buy it ?? GREAT TIPS! I never heard of the water brush !

bobwonderbuns Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 4:42pm
post #24 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeDiva73

Silly me....the first thing I thought of when my husband showed me the tool he used was that I had to share it with my CC friends! Little did I know this was somehow frowned upon...... icon_confused.gif

Won't make that mistake again! Thanks for the heads-up Bob icon_rolleyes.gif




Huh?? icon_eek.gif I'm sure I'm misreading this -- first, are you referring to me? Second, if you are, I certainly never meant to give any impression that sharing tips and tricks for use in the sugar arts was frowned upon, certainly not at Cake Central. I'm sorry if I gave you that idea, although for the life of me I cannot understand where I said anything that would give you this idea... icon_cool.gif Cake Central is all about sharing. It's a very giving community and most people are more than willing to help. Don't ever be afraid to share with us or to ask for help -- that's what we're here for! icon_biggrin.gif

mezzaluna Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 5:40pm
post #25 of 46
missmeg Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 6:47pm
post #26 of 46

I learned this here, but large paint spatulas (4" and 6") for smoothing BC. I use that and then the paintroller method for smoothe tops and sides.

When I was at the paint store getting my spakle spatulas, they also had some "texture" spatulas. I think they're used for mudding and taping drywall. One has square teeth and the other triangle teeth. I bought them and use them to make the side pages of my book cakes. Easier than using an icing comb.

CakeDiva73 Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 6:51pm
post #27 of 46

Bob icon_smile.gif I thought you were irritated because I was asking others to contribute ideas and it was sort of cheesy or lame.....I'm sorry. icon_redface.gif I had a dreadful weekend and was feeling down and clearly a bit oversensitive.....I didn't mean to take it out on anyone here. Guess it was just one of those 'burst into tears for no damn reason' kind of days. icon_cry.gif I am sorry.

The plastic sheets are more of a thick sheet of plastic sold in the flooring section of Home Depot. I was thinking that with a piece of no-slip rubber stuff underneath it would give me a nice surface to roll fondant, etc..... I have used the plastic stuff sold on the big rolls from the Wal-Mart fabric dept. but everything sticks like mad. My kitchen is a bit tragic icon_lol.gif so I am forever trying to find multi-tasking tools since my countertop is so limited.

I am going to have to try that water pen! I was a little too liberal with the water trying to attach my first fondant ribbon - I was using a paintbrush but when they say a 'little bit of water on the back' to attach fondant, they really mean just a tiny bit.......oops icon_redface.gif

am2pm Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 7:09pm
post #28 of 46

I used my PC rice cooker to bake a cake in the microwave for a different shape. I needed something to look like a fishing creel and I didn't know how to bake in a bowl, so I used the rice cooker. (Saw the demonstrator do this at a show - way before I got into decorating cakes). Only 10 minutes and I had the perfect shape for cutting into my creel!

Love these hints.

CakeDiva73 Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 7:14pm
post #29 of 46

ok, just remembered a good one.....I really struggle trying to organize all my decorating tips....I have some of those boxes but they don't all fit in it and it's just a big mess so when I found this sewing spool organizer, I flipped! It has legs on the back so it can stand up when I need it and I attached a hook to the side of the cupboard so I can stow it out of the way (but it won't tip over) when I am not using it.

http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-photo_1151554.html

bobwonderbuns Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 7:28pm
post #30 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeDiva73

Bob icon_smile.gif I thought you were irritated because I was asking others to contribute ideas and it was sort of cheesy or lame.....I'm sorry. icon_redface.gif I had a dreadful weekend and was feeling down and clearly a bit oversensitive.....I didn't mean to take it out on anyone here. Guess it was just one of those 'burst into tears for no damn reason' kind of days. icon_cry.gif I am sorry.




Don't sweat it kiddo -- as my dear sweet hubby would say, "there are pills for that..." icon_wink.gificon_biggrin.gif

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