Another Structure Question - Tapering 3D Cake / Arms

Decorating By fruitsnack Updated 29 Sep 2010 , 2:46pm by SugarFiend

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fruitsnack Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 1:36pm
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Weird title, but was trying to be specific.

Here's a pic of what I'm making:

I'm making a 3D standing version of a figure for my son's 6th birthday. I'm making a wooden structure for the cake to sit in. I'm going to have two dowels at the bottom for the legs to wrap around, followed by a base for the main body, with a wooden dowel coming up from that. Four inches higher, I will have another base for the head portion of the cake.

See how the bottom of the figure (right above the legs) is smaller than the middle? I was going to make the first base about 4" round then taper the cake up to about 6" around in the middle. I'm using a variation of the WASC - I'm worried that the weight of the cake will make it fall off. It will be buttercream with fondant accents, if that matters, and it won't have to travel anywhere. Do you think the cake would be sturdy enough for that?

Second question - how do you attach the arms to a 3d figure? I'm going to be making them out of rice krispie treats covered in fondant. Do I need to have some support coming off the main dowel to attach them to? I would love to be able to have the arm coming out straight in front of the cake, but I don't know if that's possible.

Any advice?

6 replies
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fruitsnack Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 12:15am
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. . . hoping for a response.

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fruitsnack Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 1:11pm
post #3 of 7

Anyone who can help? I'm getting desperate. icon_smile.gif

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fruitsnack Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 9:24pm
post #4 of 7

Helloo? Is there anyone who has any advice? Please?

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kkbritt8 Posted 29 Sep 2010 , 5:13am
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I recently made a giraffe that was 3 1/2 feet tall. He had a neck that curved a bit and was not directly standing straight up, but at an angle. I used PVC pipes (washed and covered in plastic wrap) for the structure. I found them extrememly easy to shape how I wanted the structure of my cake to be using the different angled connector pieces. Then I wrapped the pipes with RKT, then buttercream and then fondant.

Instead of using wooden dowls, you might want to try the PVC pipes instead. To attach it to the (wood) base, you get a floor flange (or two for two legs) with a connector piece. Use two separate pipes for the legs, use connector pieces to angle them and join at the body and work your way up, including making arms. PVC pipe is definitely less expensive than wooden dowels.

All I did was tell the guy at the hardware store what I needed and he got it all for me. I was amazed at how sturdy the piece was. In fact, the giraffe was actually too tall to fit in the back of my van and we had to tilt it to get it in. The structure held perfectly! Good luck!

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fruitsnack Posted 29 Sep 2010 , 1:41pm
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Unfortunately, I already bought all of the dowels and wood bases. We live in the middle of nowhere, and I won't be able to go to town to get PVC pipes. I will definitely try to use PVC if I need to do another 3D structure. I may see if my husband can screw the arm dowels into the center dowel to make a skeleton of sorts.

Anyone have any idea on the tapering? How much difference can there be between the bottom of the tier and the top without having the cake fall?

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SugarFiend Posted 29 Sep 2010 , 2:46pm
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The arms: I think it's a good idea to have a dowel support structure for them, if you can. I had a lot of RKT tearing with arms I tried to make without internal support for them. I managed to have them sticking out a bit in front of the main body, but I think that was due to a lot of luck more than anything. If I did it again, I would definitely give them a skeleton attached to the center dowel!

Regarding the tapering: I would *guess* that you'll be fine, especially since you're only talking about 4" and 6" tiers and you don't have to transport the cake. It's hard to say without really seeing the angle you're speaking of. I've tapered a cake from about 8" at the bottom to 10" at the middle, and while it was top-heavy, nothing seemed in danger of falling. My 2" taper took place over about a 4" rise in height, if that makes sense. It sounds to me like that's about what you're trying to do...?

It looks like such an ambitious project! Good luck, and don't forget to post pics when you're done!

BTW, kkbritt8, your giraffe is awesome! thumbs_up.gif

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