I am going to be doing the barrel of beer cake, but not sure how to get a good woodgrain effect on it. I bought chocolate fondant, but I don't want it to be too dark for 'wood', and not sure how to get the effect I want. I was thinking about using my veining tool to make them, but not sure if it will turn out like wood. I also don't know how to make the panels stay up, use a 50/50 blend? Making this cake today so I need to know!
There is a method I saw once. They used a wood grain tool used for faux finishes with paint (you can get the tool in the paint section at Lowes I know). It has a wood grain pattern on it and you dip it in your food coloring or chocolate or whatever you want to use as your "paint" and then you drag it across the fondant (while also rocking it back and forth - it's an arch shaped tool) and you get a wood grain pattern. I think I may have seen that Laurie lady from Cake Alchemy do it on a cigar box cake a season or two ago on Amazing Wedding cakes.
Anyway, that or even hand painting with food coloring and vodka, combined with some etching and scoring of the fondant could be very effective I think.
I tried the wood graining tool once but it pulled the fondant and tore it. I can see it working best over a dried piece of fondant brushed with either food color or chocolate.
I did a wood grain along the sides of a crate and the base board for one of my cakes using various pointed tools and toothpicks. Marble the fondant then scratch the surface in waves and knots all over the place. You can then brush it with some brown and tan petal dust to get more dimension added.
Here are additional photos and instructions: http://sugarsweetcakesandtreats.blogspot.com/2010/04/wine-bottle-in-crate-cake.html
Any time I've have to do wood grain, I cut strips of medium brown fondant and applied them to the cake. I then took a small paring knife and cut in the lines of the wood onto each 'wooden plank'. Lastly I made a brown glaze in a brown darker than the fondant by using extract, color gel and a bit of water and painted it on. The fondant takes a while to dry a non tacky state because I use a bit of water, but this glaze settles into the lines as you brush, making the wood grain and also a bit of the shine from the water remains after its dried. Really, very simple - 1) Cut planks, 2)apply & cut lines (or vice versa), 3)paint, 4)dry.