In this tutorial I'll show you how to make a Mad Hatter's Hat Topper (size: 5 inches high). To make a cake simply substitute the styrofoam with cake.
- 5 x 5 inch round cake dummy
- 88 mm round cutter
- serrated knife
- a piece of sand paper
- large rolling pin
- small rolling pin
- small knife (plain blade)
- pieces of lace (or a texturing mat)
- greaseproof paper
- 2 cake drums (size larger than the diameter of the hat)
- paper towel
- dresden tool
- dusting brushes
- brushes for glue
- a fine painting brush (or a fine edible marker)
- brooch moulds
- #22 wire
- fine marker
- sugarpaste: green - to cover the dummy
- flower paste: pink, light ivory, dark ivory (gold), green, blue - to make the band, the tag and the brooches
- sugarpaste and flower paste mix with added CMC (about 5/6 sugarpaste and 1/6 flower paste): green - to cover the top of the hat and to make the brim
- dust colours (colours given in steps)
- brown or black paste colour (or a fine edible marker)
- white vegetable fat (f.ex. trex)
- a few drops of alcohol or rejuvenator
Use the 88 mm round cutter to trace a circle on the dummy. Make sure it's positioned in the middle.
Place the dummy on a chopping board and use a serrated knife to trim the sides. Cut from the edge of the marked circle down towards the bottom edge of the dummy. Before cutting take a look at the shape of the hat so that you know what shape you want to get. I suggest leaving the marked line (don't cut it off) - it will be easier for you to keep the round shape.
Use a piece of sandpaper to smooth the surface of the styrofoam. Make sure not to lose the bottom edge and the top edge. If you 'cut' into them you will lose the round shape.
Roll the green sugarpaste to about 4 mm thick. Apply a very thin coat of water on the dummy (take excess off with a paper towel if there's need). You can use glue or piping gel if you prefer. Cover the dummy with sugarpaste.
Press with the straight edge of the smoother all the way around the bottom edge as shown in the photo. Hold the smoother slightly outwards (to keep the proper shape of the hat).
Cut the excess of the paste off with a knife.
Use pieces of lace (or a texturing mat) to texture the paste. Since the dummy is light you will need to support the dummy from the back gently with your hand. Place the lace as shown in the photo and use the other hand to press the rolling pin to the surface of the lace (rolling upwards or downwards).
I used the scalpel handle to texture the area near the bottom edge.
Leave the dummy to dry. Best overnight. The paste needs to be firm so that you don't damage the shape.
If you are making a cake don't leave it to dry. Follow the next steps, but be very careful not to damage the shape.
I added some flower paste to the leftover green paste (about 5/6 sugarpaste and 1/6 flower paste). I alwaysadd flower paste to the sugarpaste when I want to strengthen the paste. Add some CMC to the mix. Keep on adding it gradually until the paste gets quite firm. The paste will be much easier to roll out thin and it won't lose its shape when cutting the circle out and flipping the dummy the right side up (see next steps).
Roll the paste out to about 2 mm thick. Texture it.
Place a piece of greaseproof paper on a cake drum. Lift the paste from the board (be careful not to stretch it) and place it bottom side up on the greaseproof (the non-textured side facing up).
Apply some glue on the styrofoam and place the dummy as shown in the photo.
Use a clean, dry knife to cut the excess of the paste off. If you notice that the knife is pulling the paste (damaging the shape of the circle) that might mean that the blade was not clean/dry or that you didn't apply glue near the edges or that you applied too much glue (and the paste is sliding around).
Place another piece of greaseproof paper and a cake drum on the top of the dummy. Flip the dummy around so that it's positioned as shown in the photo.
This is how the top of the hat should look like after removing the board and the greaseproof paper.
Knead some CMC powder into the leftover green paste mix (sugarpaste + flower paste). Keep on adding it gradually until the paste gets thick. It needs to be thick so that you won't have to wait forever for the brim to dry ;) Roll the paste out to about 3 mm tick. Texture it. Cut out a circle. I used a 7 inch board to trace the circle (place the board on the rolled out paste and cut around holding the scalpel straight).
Soften the edge with your finger.
Flip the paste to the other side gently. Be careful not to stretch the paste. If the paste is very stretchy leave it for a few minutes to dry. If after that time the paste is still very stretchy that might mean that you didn't add enough CMC.
Once the paste is flipped to the other side, texture it (there's no need of texturing the middle - it won't be visible - the underside of the hat).
Place the circle the right side up (the fully textured side up) on a cake drum and on a piece of greaseproof paper. Apply some glue on the narrower end of the dummy and position it in the middle of the circle as shown in the photo.
Put some pieces of paper towel underneath the paste to get a proper shape of the brim. Make sure you are happy with the shape before leaving it to dry. If the paste is a bit floppy come back to it from time to time to check if the brim didn't lose its shape.
Roll a thin sausage of green paste and stick it around the top of the hat to mask the joining.
Texture the sausage with a dresden tool.
Leave the hat to dry completely. I left it to dry overnight.
Dust the hat here and there with light yellowish dust (yellow + white + brown).
Dust the hat with dark green dust (green + blue + brown + black). Dust with the flat side of the brush to bring out the texture. Try not to go over the yellowish areas.
Use a darker shade of green to dust the hat (add more black and brown to the previous shade).
Turn the hat upside down (hold by the sides, not by the brim). Dust the areas which will be visible. Go with the brush from the edge inwards.
If you are making a can you can turn the cake around using the same method as in step 14.
Roll out the pink flower paste very thin (about 1 mm). The piece needs to be long enough to go around the base of the hat and wide enough to reach to about 2/5 of the depth of the hat.
Cut a strip which is narrowing down slightly towards both ends but leave one side straight.
The strip that you can see in the photo is completely straight - I changed the shape later and I forgot to take an additional photo ;)
Since the pink paste is thin and the dust underneath is dark, apply glue only in the centre (the dark colour might be visible from underneath in the area where the glue was applied; the central part of the band will be covered with another band).
Stick the strip around the base of the hat. Make sure that the strip joins neatly at the back. Be careful not to dirty the pink band with green dust.
I used a knife to push some paste out in the area where the tag will go (so that the tag could be inserted between the hat and the band).
Roll out the pink flower paste as thin as possible without tearing. Fold it as shown in the photo. I suggest pressing the paste down on the folds at this stage, so that the paste looks flat. I didn't do that and I had to do that after sticking the band on - it was quite difficult to do it on the dummy and the paste was drying out quickly (cracking).
Same as before - apply some glue just in the middle area. Stick the band around.
Dust the band with pink dust (rose + white + brown).
Use the brooch moulds that you have (I used the FPC moulds) to make the heads of the pins. I greased the mould indentations with white vegetable fat and pressed the flower paste inside.
Apply some glue on the end of the wires and attach them when the paste is still quite soft (be careful not to damage the shape of the pin heads). You can insert the wire in or press it in (the back of the pin) as shown in the photo.
When the pins dry out completely paint them with gold dust. I used Rolkem gold dust dissolved in rejuvenator.
I dusted the gems with white satin lustre dust.
Please note: Rolkem gold dust is not considered edible in all countries. In some it's considered as non-toxic, but not edible. If you want to use this dust, check the food safety guidelines in your country. You can use a non-toxic colour on non-edible cake parts f.ex. fake tiers, but not on the surface of the cake which will be eaten.
If you are making a cake: Since the wire shouldn't be inserted into the cake (food safety), use thin wooden skewers instead of wires. The cakes are usually bigger than the topper in this tutorial, so the wires shouldn't look extremely thick comparing with the whole cake.
Paint the hat here and there with some gold paint. I used thick paint (dissolved in a very small amount of rejuvenator) and applied the paint by tapping the brush against the surface of the hat.
Print out numbers 10 and 6 the size you need. Roll out some ivory flower paste very thin . Let it dry from both sides for a few minutes. Place the paste on the printed out numbers. The paste should be thin enough so you can see the numbers through it.
Trace the numbers using a fine brush and paste colour dissolved in a tiny amount of water.
I didn't use a marker to write the numbers, because the marker would damage the surface of the soft paste. If you don't feel comfortable painting the numbers on you can wait for the paste to get more firm and use a marker, but be very gentle (don't press the tip too hard to the surface of the paste) and remember that the paste can't dry out too much (you need to be able to adjust the shape of the tag after sticking it to the hat).
Rip the paste off as shown in the photo. Be careful not to smudge the paste colour.
Don't leave the tag to dry - you need to attach it when it's still a bit soft. Dust the edges with brown and black dust.
Stick some flower paste to the hat where the tag will go. Apply some glue on that small piece.
Stick the tag on. Insert the bottom edge between the hat and the band.
Insert the pins.
All done! :)