(Figures made for my daughter’s 2nd birthday in July…all using MMF or chocolate MMF…only toothpick for support in the neck because the heads are larger)
I often get PMs asking me what I use to make my figures and how I make them so that they keep their shape or prevent cracking etc. Also, I get asked what medium I would recommend for modelling as well as how to support them etc. So I have compiled some of my answers here:
1/ I use MMF (marshmallow fondant) and have only ever tried that for modelling so not sure if other forms of sugar pastes or fondants would work better or not. Although, it’s common practice to mix 50/50 fondant (or MMF) with gumpaste to get a stronger medium that dries quicker but you do have to work fast.
2/ I do not mix tylose (or CMC powder) with my MMF for modelling because I have never had an issue with the strength of the pieces, so long as you give them ample time to dry which is typically 24 hours or minimum overnight.
3/ I like to make my figures in sections and let the pieces dry for at least a day. You can dry for 2-3 hours and some pieces will be fine to support others, but if it needs to support another piece that is just as large or larger, let dry overnight but ideally 24-48 hrs.
4/ Drying and letting the pieces set, helps to prevent them from sagging or changing their shape which can happen when you put one piece on top of another, even if they are supported by toothpicks.
5/ I rarely use any type of support in my figures. So long as the piece is sufficiently dried, you won’t need to have internal supports unless the pieces are super tall or super thin, or you are standing the figure up (which you might notice I rarely do so I don’t have to worry about supports haha!). In this Yoda, I used a toothpick only in the arm that is outstretched.
6/ Do not push down hard when attaching one piece to another or you will get cracking from the pressure. If you do get any cracking, you can fill in the cracks using edible glue (which is just dissolving some of the same coloured fondant in water until it’s a paste).
7/ To attach pieces, use some water or edible glue and hold the pieces in place until set. This may be at least a few minutes depending on the weight of the pieces.
8/ I always will support the more delicate pieces as they dry with something that is the same height. For example, I put a bottle of gel colour under the arm of Yoda here until it was fully dried (minimum one day to be sure). The bottle was slightly shorter than needed so I just wadded up some paper towel to place in between the gap.
9/ Always add fine details last like eyes, nails or claws, tufts of hair, last. If painting, do that as your very last step as you may smudge something when handling it. If you paint ahead, make sure paint is completely dry before you handle although the sweat or natural oils from your hands may still cause them to smudge.
10/ Look for tutorials done by other artists that you can use as a guideline. It’s SO helpful to see what works for them AND, it may lead to new techniques you did not even consider. For example, the Mickey & Minnie figures I made (above) were done following a Minnie Mouse tutorial by Jacinta of Kidacity from her FB page. I did not do everything exactly as she demonstrated, but definitely I learned things like how she shaded the eyes to bring them out!
Hope this helps – Happy Modelling ALL – Violet =D
Some other examples of my favourite modelled figures: