I have a road of life cake coming up this summer and I would like try using gumpaste to make the signs. I've never used gumpaste before so practicing beforehand is on my list of things to do.
What tips do you have for me? What recipe do you use?
I only buy mine premade. The only tip I've learned (I don't use it a lot) is that it dries out fast - so keep it covered while you're working - and have a plan of attack - because I feel like you have to work quickly. Signs aren't too hard though. I made a sign for a construction cake - and after it was completely dry - I used a food marker to draw on the lines and whatnot. Good luck.
I too purchase Wilton GP premade and use my 40% off Michael's coupon. I mean, nobody's going to eat it, so who cares how it tastes.
My one tip for road signs would be to remember to put your support (toothpick? What will you use to hold the signs up) into the gp before you set it out to dry! Sounds obvious but it can be easy to forget. I like to go in while it's drying and rotate the toothpick several times to keep it loose in there, so that the toothpick doesn't stay stuck in the piece. Why? In case it's too short/long/whatever...I can remove it and replace it.
Also gp dries best on a porous material; I use a wood cutting board rather than a plastic mat or glass dish when I set it out to dry. I shake a little cornstarch on the back to help prevent sticking. I like to dry mine in the oven (heat OFF, light on...with a sticky note on the oven door that says "Do Not Turn On Oven!!"), but wherever you choose to dry them, make sure it is away from any sunlight as the colors can fade.
The advice LeckieAnne gave about gp drying out quickly is valid, but don't get into a panic about it like I did the first time! It's not like it will dry out in 64 seconds. I do always take any excess and place it under a small glass, or even tuck it in plastic wrap first, to keep the excess from drying out while I work with the main piece. You certainly have several minutes to form your shape, and if you mess up you can knead it back together and try again.
You will find it quite easy to work with. If you've ever played with clay or Play-Doh it's similar! Allow at least 24 hours for any standing pieces to dry properly; once your piece is dry it will be very sturdy and easily supported by above-referenced toothpick (or whatever you choose to use), or if you are just propping them on the cake they won't wilt if they've been amply dried. I usually like to allow 48+ hrs just to make sure the deco's are rock-solid.
Good luck and have fun!
Using gumpaste isn't too different from using fondant, except that it dries faster and has a little more body to it.
I use Nicholas Lodge's recipe because I don't like the way the Wilton stuff smells.
Since no one will be eating it, you're not limited to food color markers...those non-toxic crayola markers work great on gumpaste after it's dry and they come in tons of colors.
I also buy Wilton gumpaste w/ a coupon. You can also use a blend of gumpaste and fondant. This is helpful if you are going to need a little more time to do any "shaping". The fondant buys you a little more time before it starts to crust in case you want to rework something. Also, by using a blend, you won't use up your GP as quickly, so it's a little more economical.
If it does start to dr out a little rub some white shortening on your hands (small amount) and knead it into your gum paste..... cut each piece individualy and then put the acess back into a air tight bag or under a glass.....dont worry.... its easier than you think... just have fun!!!!
Thanks for the great advice everyone. Now I'm even more excited about giving it a try. I may have to pick some up this week
Thanks for the tip about the Crayola markers...wouldn't have considered those.
My one tip for road signs would be to remember to put your support (toothpick? What will you use to hold the signs up) into the gp before you set it out to dry! Sounds obvious but it can be easy to forget. I like to go in while it's drying and rotate the toothpick several times to keep it loose in there, so that the toothpick doesn't stay stuck in the piece. Why? In case it's too short/long/whatever...I can remove it and replace it. [quote]
Would using popsicle sticks work? I was thinking about painting the popsicle sticks brown to look like old wooden signs posts. Do you think they would be to heavy?
Popsicle sticks would be fine. I doubt you'd want insert those inside of your signs though unless your signs are really thick; in that case I'd recommend gluing the signs to the sticks with some royal icing. Again, be sure to allow plenty of time for it to dry nice and solid!