I colored gumpaste to make some letters, but as it dried, it got a lot lighter and didn't look anything like my original color. Do you recommend to always use a 50/50 mix of fondant and gumpaste? Even when making flowers?
Was it sitting in the sun or under a flourescent light while drying? Both of those light sources will fade the colors. The good news is you can boost the color by brushing with luster dust or by painting.
I usually paint after it dries. I mix a little gel color with clear vanilla extract. I have heard of others using alcohol (because the alcohol evaporates quickly), but since I don't keep any in the house I use vanilla extract.
It wasn't under a flourescent light, but maybe it ended up in the sun (they were on my dining room table). I did try to brush it with "watered down" (I used vodka) gel colors. I didn't like the way it looked. I couldn't get it back to the original color and it looked streaky, you could tell it was painted. Maybe I should have tried luster dust. My next cake I am making some gumpaste decorations, and I just want to make sure it doesn't happen again! Does a 50/50 mix get hard enough to stand up straight? Thanks!
What colour were your letters? If they were pink or purple they will lighten in colour fairly quickly. I usually dust my flowers, leaves, letters and embelishments to prevent fading.
This happened to me before with gumpaste that I had colored red. Once the flowers started drying (within a few minutes) they looked pink! I did them over and colored the gumpaste darker so that when it dried it stayed red. That's the only color I've had problems with, though.
Here's why red/purple and sometimes orange will fade: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-653200-red.html+dye
I use Wilton gel colors and they were bright green, pink, purple, and yellow...all faded!
Wet things always look lighter after they dry. Wet clothes, paint, tinted cake batter, sidewalks. Everything lightens when it dries. And any color that contains red,as has been mentioned above, will also fade over and above the normal lightening that comes just from drying.
I make my gumpaste darker in anticipation of this, or I dust after, or both, depending on the situation. If you dust, you can also steam them to set the dust and intensify the colors even more.