Paint Choices? Kinda Confused.

Decorating By Trials_N_Error Updated 16 Aug 2009 , 6:29pm by xstitcher

Trials_N_Error Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 1:20pm
post #1 of 27

Hey all!
My name is Jay and I'm pretty new to the cake scene, but I am picking up on things pretty quick because of my history with art and sculpting. I searched around for this topic, but didnt really see anything that I was looking for. (Sorry if this has been answered before)

I volunteered to make a cake for a church young adult ministry. I actually just finished my pastoral internship with them. : ) Anyway It's for a grand re-opening of a building they just finished remodeling and they also have a new logo. I thought it would be cool to incorporate their new logo on the fondant but I am not familiar with the various types of "paints" that are available.

Question: What types of paint options do I have and what typically works best for hand painting detailed work?

I've heard people use the word "Americolor" (is this different than regular food coloring?) Also, "gel colors" and different types of "dusts" that can be mixed with vodka which have a paint consistency.

As far as dusts go, so far Ive heard people mention petal, pearl, luster, highlighter and disco.

Ive noticed that most dusts are glittery or shiny. However, the logo itself is not glittery or shiny but I guess it could be, if it had to be.

Thanks again.

Any help is very much appreciated!

26 replies
Clovers Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 1:45pm
post #2 of 27

I'll take a stab at this, til the more seasoned CCers get here.

Americolor is a brand of dye - it is different from regular food colouring in that it is a gel colour, rather than straight liquid - because some colours require alot of dye to achieve the rights shade, gel or paste colouring is required so that your icing or fondant does not end up with too much liquid in it, which could ruin it. Americolor is a popular choice for gel colour, and Wilton is used by many people too (though many people find they need far more Wilton brand to achieve what Americolor can do with less).

As for dusts - these are just what they sound like, a dust. They go on more iridescent so they wouldn't be helpful for painting something on their own - they are typically used to accent something that has already been coloured. (Think of it almost like adding glitter to something to make it pop). The ones that you mentioned are just different types of these dusts. And they are indeed mixed with vodka or anything clear and alcohol based, if you want to get a certain effect. They can also just be dusted as is.

From the sounds of what you want to do, working with gel pastes would be your best bet. You can use these straight out of the jar, or mixed with a tiny drop of vodka (to speed drying time or to get different effects, like a wash or lighter shades of the same colour if needed, depening on how much vodka is added).

alidpayne Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 1:49pm
post #3 of 27

Americolor is a brand name. They sell both regular colors and airbrush colors. Airbrush colors can be used straight out of the bottle to paint with. Regular colors are typically too thick to paint with directly out of the bottle, so folks usually use a bit of high proof alcohol to paint with them. I use everclear or Golden grain. The higher the proof the better. (some use vodka, I find that it leaves the fondant too sticky). Water degrades the fondant (melts it) so the higher the alcohol content the better results.

The dusts can be mixed with alcohol and used to paint also. Most dusts are NOT shiny. Most have a matte type finish, really just depends on what color you are using.

alidpayne Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 1:52pm
post #4 of 27

Oh! Forgot to mention that a lot of folks use cocoa butter to paint on cakes too. It is much thicker, so you can achieve an entirely different look with it. It requires oil based colors that are made for chocolate though, or you can order precolored.

DianeLM Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 3:19pm
post #5 of 27

Americolor, Chefmaster, Wilton are all brand names of food coloring gels and pastes. They're thicker and more concentrated than grocery store colors, which contain too much water.

You can use these gels/pastes as paint as is, or mixed with clear alcohol to hasten drying. Straight gel/paste can stay tacky for a couple of days, depending on how thick it's applied and how much humidity is in the air.

Gels, pastes, petal dusts (matte), luster dusts (glittery) can also be mixed with confectioners glaze. Although it's labeled 'for display only' it's made of food grade ingredients. My customers, family and friends consume it all the time with no ill effects. I believe it's not labeled food safe because no one has bothered to pay for the FDA's blessing. To me, it's like crayons or school glue. It won't kill ya, but you wouldn't want to pour it over your pancakes.

DianeLM Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 3:21pm
post #6 of 27

Took me so long to post, I repeated a lot of what came before. Sorry about that!

Let me add something about cocoa butter. I've used this technique several times and each time I mixed powdered colors into my cocoa butter. I have never used the oil based candy colors with cocoa butter, so I cannot speak to that.

alidpayne Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 7:00pm
post #7 of 27

never tried powdered colors w/ cocoa butter, but will have to now! thanks!

Trials_N_Error Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 8:37pm
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Thanks so much for all the great information that you have given me so far! I really appreciate it. icon_biggrin.gif
I kinda skipped over all the basics and just jumped right into more technical stuff and 3D cakes. LOL Might be a good idea for me to take a course so I can learn some of the basics of cake decorating.

madgeowens Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 8:50pm
post #9 of 27

I like to use the wilton gel color and luster dusts, and a drop of vanilla to mix it and paint

Trials_N_Error Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 1:09pm
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It's great to see that there are so many variations and other options out there that I had no idea about, thanks! thumbs_up.gif

NYCGiGi Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 1:28pm
post #11 of 27

This information was very helpful - I've often wondered these same questions. Thanks everyone!

Trials_N_Error - are you in the NYC area?

Trials_N_Error Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 6:31pm
post #12 of 27

Not anymore, I did when I was in school in Manhattan. I live a little north or Philly now. (Phoenixville PA)

CakeMommyTX Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 6:51pm
post #13 of 27

You can always pipe it on with Royal Icing, I do this when I need a nice neat logo/name.
I also recently discovered (I might be a bit behind on this) that you can paint with royal icing, much like you would paint with acrylics.
It dries fairly fast but can do almost anything acrylic paint can including blending and detail depending on the consistency.

Trials_N_Error Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 11:41pm
post #14 of 27

Well I just purchased a few items from Michaels just to experiment with.

For now I got -

Wilton - Pearl dust (leaf green)
Wilton - Elegant shimmer dust (Silver, gold and pearl)
Wilton - box of 12 icing colors

I will actually be able to put them to use tonight because I was just asked to do a cake for a Sweet 16 for tomorrow. I'll let you know how everything goes.

Cake MommyTX - I actually thought of doing that. I did that for a NY Giants cake I made.(Didnt paint it on, but piped it on) Came out pretty good. I was also thinking that I may be able to cut out the entire logo in fondant. I think there is like 4 different colors in the logo. It would be a lot more work, but it may look pretty cool doing it that way as well.

Thanks again for all the great tips and advice!

madgeowens Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 2:42am
post #15 of 27

I was stationed at Phoenixville at Valley Forge Gen Hospital in

be sure and post the pic of the cake

SugarFrosted Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 3:08am
post #16 of 27

Welcome to CakeCentral, Jay! You will love it here and it's a great place to learn! So many wonderful generous people are open to answering questions and offering help with most any problem or situation.

I saw on your football helmet cake that you used canned frosting. Pretty good job considering you had difficult materials to work with icon_smile.gif

Taking a basic cake decorating course might help you to feel more confident in using the tools. Michael's offers several Wilton courses. Making your own buttercream and fondant will give you more quality control, and better tasting materials to work with. Lots of excellent recipes for those here on CC.

You already have an artistic background, so that gives you an amazing advantage over lots of people.

Trials_N_Error Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 3:32pm
post #18 of 27

Ok, not very much sleep... was working on this till 4AM to get this done for the sweet 16 party today. Uhg!

Here is the link to my first attempt at hand painting.

madgeowens - Wow that is awesome... Pretty funny because I am actually there as well. Except that it is now Valley Forge Christian College. I'm a pastoral major and this is my last semester. : )

Trials_N_Error Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 3:37pm
post #19 of 27

madgeowens - Pretty funny that you were stationed there because that is exactly where I am going to school now. The Valley Forge General hosptial became Valley Forge Christian College. I'm a Pastoral major and this is my last semester. There is some great history there!

Doug Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 3:55pm
post #20 of 27

well if that is your 1st attempt ----

will your next be the Sistine Chapel?

OMgosh -- that is FANTASTIC!

alidpayne Posted 14 Aug 2009 , 9:38pm
post #21 of 27

I feel suddenly inadequate LOL

Trials_N_Error Posted 15 Aug 2009 , 1:07am
post #22 of 27

I busted out laughing with the last two posts! LOL Thanks! Your encouragment is very much appreciated! : ) The cake was a big hit... she was thrilled with it and was sad to see it cut up and eaten.

BTW.. thank you everyone for the warm welcome to the site. Everyone has been so friendly and helpful. They are SO right when they say that this site is VERY addictive!

SugarFrosted Posted 15 Aug 2009 , 1:17am
post #23 of 27

See that warning to the left? Click it and read the poem. While some of it may not apply to you, I am sure you can identify with other parts.

Great job on that Marilyn cake!

You are going to be unstoppable once you get good frosting and have mastered the tools. Man! We are all gonna be left in the dust!

Trials_N_Error Posted 16 Aug 2009 , 3:11am
post #24 of 27

Just bought some real metal tips, bags and other bakers tools today! Can't wait to try them out.

Watch out world! LOL


xstitcher Posted 16 Aug 2009 , 6:39am
post #25 of 27

What a fantastic job you did on the Marilyn cake. Can't wait to see what you come up with next!

Trials_N_Error Posted 16 Aug 2009 , 4:07pm
post #26 of 27

I just saw that Michaels offers cake decorating classes. I may look into taking some, just to learn some of the basics. Anyone know if those classes are any good?

My 70 yr old mom just informed me that she signed up for cake decorating classes at a local community college. It would probably fun to do that together.

xstitcher Posted 16 Aug 2009 , 6:29pm
post #27 of 27

They're a great place to start. I think it would be a blast going with your mom. In fact my 7 year old has been bugging me for the last year to take classes (he wants go to a class like I did icon_lol.gif ) so I just signed us up for September (the instructor had me sign up as well since he's under 16 even though I've taken the classes before). Should be interesting.......

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