I want to practice new techniques and decorate some cake dummies. Is there anything less expensive, or something I don't have to make up that you have used for practice? Doesn't have to be edible, but I would like to be able to remove it from the dummies after awhile. Thanks for any experience you have in this area!
Use shortening instead of butter. If it's non-edible, then you can't use the same tools with it that you would use with edible stuff. I've heard of people using stuff like instant mashed potatoes, bean paste, etc.
Yes, using all shortening and no flavoring - basically just shortening and powdered sugar - is the best alternative. Using other foods as the other poster mention won't give you the right feel - they handle differently.
We used to use an all-shortening buttercream with water for the liquid instead of milk in culinary school. You can scrape it off and re-use it since there's nothing perishable in it.
I've heard lots of people say that you might want to cover the dummy with Glad Press n Seal so that you can simply peel it all off when you're done and you don't have to worry about washing the dummy later. Also, if you want to save money on cake dummies, flip cake pans upside down and use those for practice (if you have the right size cake pans).
Joshua John Russel said he used to practice piping with toothpaste :) rather than royal
Yes, cover a cake dummy or even a plate or piece of foam-core, you could even use a ruler and add lines like we used to practice handwriting
Thanks for your tips y'all! Sure I'll be using them real soon.
If you want to go the toothpaste route it can be bought at $ stores - a fair sized tube but then some of them might be much too soft - that's why I mentioned not using things like mashed potatoes etc. It just isn't the same consistency and will through you off when you go to use the real thing :(