What Is Your Favorite Design "rule Of Thumb?"

Decorating By Bellatheball Updated 19 Aug 2008 , 2:37am by dee-lite

Bellatheball Posted 17 Aug 2008 , 6:09pm
post #1 of 14

I've noticed some people just seem to have knack for making beautiful color combinations or chosing the perfect scale for their polka dots and stripes or for choosing the perfect size cakes for tiered cakes etc. If you have some tip, can you share it?

13 replies
Toptier Posted 17 Aug 2008 , 10:44pm
post #2 of 14

Well, for color selection I like to use a color wheel for possible combinations, also I like to use some interior design/painting rules of thumb such as using 3 colors in combination/proportion ("body, trim, accent") - just like the exterior of a house! I think a nice effect is to keep all your colors in the same value range (light-dark) such as all pastels for example or all brights. I do this by weighing the fondant and adding the same number of drops of gel coloring to each amount.

Also good to remember is contrast - if you want something to stand out, a nice detail for example then do it in a contrasting color or dark against light or vice versa. If you want a more subdued, subtle effect choose tone on tone.

I also try to think about the scale a lot and I think most people do. It's really important, especially if you are duplicating someone else's design that is on a large cake..you have to remember to scale it down on a smaller cake or the overall effect will be different.

Great topic, I'm looking forward to reading everyone's replies and tips too.

All the best

bobwonderbuns Posted 17 Aug 2008 , 10:51pm
post #3 of 14

I take a much simpler approach -- I like working in color combos of two or three and I mix the colors and hold them next to each other to see what works. Sometimes I get ideas for other color combos and sometimes I stay with the minimum. I've found it's one thing to say that say blue, green and purple look good together, but if you don't have the right color combos they may not look good together.

HannahLass Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 8:03am
post #4 of 14

I'm still learning but I've always been in to what I call "messing" with making things. I like to be creative but Im not very artistic I dont think. I like to go with shades of colours (which I hadn't realised until recently lol) Or what some would see as clashing. I love bright colours as well as pastels but dont really mix them Unless they are just shades of the same like bright green down to pastel in some way or another. My Faves together are Purple and red though I havent managed to put them togather in a cake yet though Im working on it. I just see it in my head and go for it. Especially on ones for my family and friends they let me do what I want and trust me to get it right Im a perfectionist with slight ocd tendancies so they know it isnt going out the door til Im happy with it.
Just go with what you think will look good trial and error i think is the best way go with your gut instinct, I've looked at your cakes and it hasn't led you wrong before they are fab!!
Han X

varika Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 8:32am
post #5 of 14

My one big rule of thumb in pretty much ALL my artistic endeavors is, "If it looks wrong, it probably is."

So far, it hasn't failed me yet...

Also, "when in doubt, get a second opinion. It doesn't matter whose." Overall, I've found that perfect strangers are more likely to give me suggestions for improvement than family and friends--aside from the friends who are ALSO artists, but.

playingwithsugar Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 11:56am
post #6 of 14

Sometimes, less is more. You can get caught up in the zeal of doing something special, and end up over-decorating a cake.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

cakedout Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 8:28pm
post #7 of 14

Ah yes, the "less is best" rule! thumbs_up.gif That's one thing I always tell my students: avoid "overdecoritis"! icon_lol.gif

Another for me is to have a cake board that is at least 2" larger than the size of your cake. (an 8" cake on a 10" board). I may definately do larger than that...4" at the most, but no smaller.

Bellatheball Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 9:22pm
post #8 of 14

Great replies everyone! Thanks. What about doing stacked cakes? Is there some rule of thumb about which sizes look best together?

Petit-four Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 9:25pm
post #9 of 14

Some design ideas....

...use or at least envision the color wheel as Toptier explained

...keep swatches of printed fabric or gift wraps that have color schemes your really like

...try to think of one word to describe your cake (elegant, fun, funky, delicate, cheery) and make sure all the colors and styles "go" with that word. In other words, a "romantic" cake would tend to have drapes, classic scroll borders, and soft florals (like roses), but you probably would not want to add polka dots and bright gerbera daisies.

A "fun" cake would have polka dots and the daisies, but a reverse scroll border would look too formal -- go with a snail trail or something else instead.

Using the "one word" method is also helpful with clients who may have a hard time make the verbal/visual leap. I'll ask them, "what's one word to describe the 'look' of your wedding/party/, etc.

sweetcravings Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 9:39pm
post #10 of 14

wonderful thread! You all are sharing some great tips.
Where do you find a color wheel?
The problem i tend to have is i find a color combo i love but i can't figure out what colors i need to mix them up. I tend to end up with the wrong color in the end. Any tips?

playingwithsugar Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 9:44pm
post #11 of 14

Color wheels can be found online by doing the old google search, but the one I use most often is

http://www.colorschemer.com/

It not only gives you the basic primary color wheel that we were taught in elementary school, but also gives you pre-made palettes and a tool to make your own.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

MacsMom Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 9:45pm
post #12 of 14

Stacked cakes rule: place one dowel, mark it, take it out. Cut the rest of the dowels using the first marked dowel as a guide before placing them in the cake.

I've seen too many crooked cakes because of dowels that were cut while in the cake, using th top of the cake as a guide. If one side of the cake happens to be 1/4" lower than the other... On dowels of the same height, you can get by with a border to hide an uneven cake

Polka dots: Here is a cake I did that I regretted. I initially planned to do stripes on the bow, but at 2am I was tired and dots are easier so I did this for the sake of sleep... ick icon_sad.gif

I should have left the bow plain and added white dots to the top tier, but my brain just does not function well when tired!
LL

ShopGrl1128 Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 9:47pm
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by varika

My one big rule of thumb in pretty much ALL my artistic endeavors is, "If it looks wrong, it probably is."

So far, it hasn't failed me yet...

Also, "when in doubt, get a second opinion. It doesn't matter whose." Overall, I've found that perfect strangers are more likely to give me suggestions for improvement than family and friends--aside from the friends who are ALSO artists, but.




Totally agree with you Varika.

But my main rule of thumb when designing/ working on any cake: âIf itâs 3:00am and you are tired, hungry and you feet are swollen, and youâve been working on that cake the whole dayâ¦DO NOT make any irreversible design decision...STOP, go to sleep and finish tomorrow morning because those decisions you make under those circumstances will most likely end it up in a disasterâ.

I learned this the hard way.icon_cry.gif

As for sizes: for round cakes 3â increment between tiers (6â, 9â, 12ââ¦etc.) for square I normally have 4â in between.

dee-lite Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 2:37am
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by varika

My one big rule of thumb in pretty much ALL my artistic endeavors is, "If it looks wrong, it probably is."

So far, it hasn't failed me yet...

Also, "when in doubt, get a second opinion. It doesn't matter whose." Overall, I've found that perfect strangers are more likely to give me suggestions for improvement than family and friends--aside from the friends who are ALSO artists, but.


I have found my 6 and 10 year old are my best critics and are painfully honest....

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