First of all, let me start by saying I think these figures, animals, etc are as cute as can be. I would love to learn to make them but I have not ventured into that area yet. I just don't understand why people are willing to pay for these things when they can't be eaten....it seems my customers would rather put that money into the actual cake. I know all areas/regions are different but this has just puzzle dme to no end. I know they take a ton of time to make so they are worth theamounts that are charged for them but I just don't get it.....If you have something on the cake that you won't be eating and it is for decoration only, why not buy a cute figurine of something made of plastic/glass, rubber, etc.
its much more impressive to say that the figures are made "all from sugar" as opposed to plastic. as far as not eating them, that's not the case at all. i always tell customers that the figures can be saved indefinitely as a keepsake as long as they are kept in a dry, cool place. *however*, i can't tell you how many times i'm told later that they were eaten...
I have VERY little experience with making figurines, but the reason I started to "learn" (i.e. self teach)is that I could not find any ready made figurines that I liked. They were either not the right size or not in the right position or did not color coordinate with my scheme. By making them yourself or having someone else make them, it makes it more personal and you can specialize it the exactly the way you want. Plus it's unique and one of a kind! (I personally have a lot of fun making them so I'm a little biased)
You can get plastic figurines from a grocery store. You can't get hand-modeled, custom made edible figures though.
I loathe plastic figures. They make me think of Happy Meals. Heh.
I make all of my figurines, and as many of my flowers as possible, completely edible. I substitute edible items (spaghetti, gum drops, fondant, tootsie rolls) whenever possible, avoiding wire, styrofoam, toothpicks, etc. I can then tell people that if they want to, they can eat it.
If I'm making a topper that someone wants to keep, I use wires in the flowers, but I sit it on a dried gum paste plaque so that they can save it--and then dust it.....
I think it's just the customization that makes people willing to pay more for these things. Everyone wants something different or better than the next guy
I gotta tell ya - I am working on my first bride and groom topper for a bride (rush panic job, long story) and I am on my SECOND bride and groom 'cause I am not happy with the first set and for $145 I figure I'd better be happy with them!!
However, next time I am really thinking that Sculpty clay may be my choice! Does not harden on you and start to crack and wrinkle or collapse or sink into itself. I like the idea of all edible as well - but this is just a little too much stress for me. Of course only having 3 days to make them is not much help!