Go Figure: Using Molded Fondant to Make People and Animals

August 12th, 2010 by Jenny Streicher

As a decorator in the Wilton decorating room, I am always thrilled when I get a sketch that involves fondant animals, people, or any project that uses molded fondant. Fondant is my favorite medium to work with because of its smooth clean look and the countless ways to use and be creative with it.

A lot of people are intimidated by fondant, but believe it or not, with a little practice and a few tricks it is actually easy to work with and will always leave people impressed. There are different degrees of difficulty when molding with fondant, from very simple to more complex.

Bathtime Buddies CakeA good example of a very simple and slightly more difficult molding technique is a baby shower cake I did, Bathtime Buddies from the 2010 yearbook. The ducks around the bottom border are as easy as pressing the fondant into a candy mold and tapping it out. The ducks in between and on top of the cake are made using our globe pillars. They are simply wrapped in fondant and trims are added by cutting out shapes and attaching to make them come to life.

A good way to give each character their own unique personality is in the positioning of the eyes. I have done many characters on cakes using the globe pillars and they all turned out so cute. They include, and aren’t limited to, pirates, a wedding party, babies, spiders, penguins, and bears. There is so much you can do with the globe pillars, use your imagination and see what you can come up with.

Perfect Attendants! BrowniesAnother simple way to mold fondant figures is by using a brownie pop as the base, like the cover cake of the 2011 Yearbook and also the Perfect Attendants from the 2011 yearbook. The characters on the cover have brownie pops covered in fondant for the bodies and a ball of fondant for the heads. By adding facial features and hands/feet these adorable animals and people will be a big hit. The Perfect Attendants project is a little bit more lifelike in that the proportions are more realistic. By sticking a lollipop stick into the pop, it gives a secure base for the upper body and head. To make things easier, by adding a flower you don’t need to worry about making hands (which can be pretty tricky). The faces are drawn on using FoodWriters™. You can brighten them up by adding “blush” using our Orchid Pink Pearl Dust™. You will have so much fun personalizing the characters to your wedding party.

Diva's Debut CakeI loved working on the cake Diva’s Debut in the 2011 yearbook. This project may take a little more creativity. Mold the legs by starting with a rectangular shape and cutting a slit. Let dry with lollipop sticks in legs. Once they are dry, just attach the mini doll picks and let the fun and creativity begin. I really enjoyed coming up with the outfits, so use your imagination and have fun. Add some sugars, cake sparkles™, and pearl dust™ to really jazz them up.

Birthday on the Bounty Cake<br /><br />
My favorite way to mold things out of fondant is freehand, no base, like the parrot on the Birthday on the Bounty Cake on the cover of the 2010 yearbook, and the food on The First Thanksgiving Cake. One of my all time favorite things I have molded, as little as it may seem, is the corn from this project. I really tried to make it realistic looking. Most foods are not one solid color, so by marbleizing different colors of fondant, it gives it more dimension. My favorite tool to add small details is an exacto knife, which is how I created the lines in the corn.

So remember, with some practice and creativity, you will be able to mold all kinds of fondant characters that are sure to impress. With fondant, the possibilities are endless.

Jenny Streicher Jenny has been a cake decorator in the Wilton decorating room for almost five years. She worked at a bakery while working on her culinary degree. Though she was experienced decorating with buttercream, she hadn’t had much experience with other mediums but was very eager to learn. She has been a quick learner and continues to learn every day at work. Her favorite projects to work on are wedding cakes, anything with fondant, and she always loves a challenge. In her personal time she really enjoys traveling as much as possible with her husband.

40 Replies

  1. Carmelo says:

    What a great post! I’ve been doing a lot with butter cream and have steadily been moving more of my design and decorating with fondant. We tried to make some figures not that long ago, but they didn’t come out as good as I hoped and left them off the cake.

    I really like the idea of using the lollipop sticks and the brownie pops.

  2. Suzanne says:

    Thank you!! It does scare me to use fondant! But I am excited to try!!

  3. Racine says:

    How do you become a cake decorator in the Wilton decorating room? I’ve taken two cake decorating classes, the third and final one that they offered was working with fondant and that got cancelled! I was very dissapointed. I watch all of the cake shows on tv, cake boss challenges and dc cupcakes. i really want to learn more! can someone let me know what i need to do? thanks

    • Graciete says:

      Hi .Wilton often offers cake decorating classes. I do not know where you live but here in Ottawa ( Canada ) they are offered at Michael”s I have taken a few I even have repeated some because you learn always some thing new I hope you find a place to go because it is a lot of fun. Since I started I no longer need to worry about the gift for my son to take to his friends birthdays.I still have a lot to learn , but if you want to take a look at my cakes please feel free to do so . Go to the face book and look for maridota47@hotmail.com and then my cakes .Let me know what you think for a beginner

    • Jenny Streicher says:

      i just applied and got lucky since there was an opening! most people start as freelance, only working when they are needed, and can become full time if there is an opening, however that doesnt happen too often. some of the other decorators started as wilton method teachers, some took the wilton coarses and got hired after, and several of us have culinary degrees. you can check out all the classes wilton school offers, they are listed on this website. goodluck!

  4. Renee says:

    I am making a Death Star (Star Wars) birthday cake for my son and I am attempting to create “Tie fighters” out of fondant that will be mounted on skewers for the appearance of flight around the death star.

    I am having trouble attaching pieces together and having them actually stick together. Can an experienced fondant figure maker please help.

    I was told by a craft/cake maker to utilize “Wilton piping gel” as a “glue” for this purpose? Is this correct? I need these things to hold up.

    I NEED HELP PLEASE.

  5. Wanda Braswell says:

    I have been decorating cakes now for several years using only buttercream to do my decorations. I have recently started exploring/playing around with the fondant. When you use the fondant with molds, how do you get the fondant to release from the mold without distorting the figure? does it have to air dry and set? just trying to figure out what I am doing wrong….

    • Wanda Fortier says:

      If you mix some tylose powder into your fondant, this will help the fondant become more pliable, hence improving the flexibility of the fondant to be placed into the mould. Also, I learned that, after you’ve filled your mould with fondant, place it in the freezer for about 20 minutes – take the mould out of the freezer and gently pop out the mould – and there you have it – a perfectly shaped figure from fondant – I used this technique with the Baby First Impressions mould and it came out beautifully.

      Good luck!

    • Jenny Streicher says:

      you could also dust the mold with cornstarch or powered sugar and that helps. then just brush them off once you take them out.

    • Esther says:

      All you need to do is put it in the freezer for about 10 to 15 mins.
      And it will come out real easy, just bend the sides a little.
      Good Luck! That should work, I do that all the time with no problem.

    • Jessica says:

      I’ve also let my fondant (in the mold) set in the freezer for a bit. It will sweat when it comes out, then will begin to dry and set as normal. This isn’t something if recommend if your short in time but with the baby molds. It has worked perfectly for me.

  6. Debbie says:

    I just want to ask a question regarding making the TinkerBell Teapot Townhouse cake that is on this site. I’m not sure who to ask but I’m sure someone will be able to reply from here.

    In the instructions it states to melt white candy melts and pout into the half the ball pan then do the same with the other side and join the two halfs together. It then states to cover this with white fondant. My question is why would you cover it with white fondant and wouldn’t it be very hard to cover since the candy melts molds would be kind of fragile. I’m just trying to visualize this in my head and in looking at the photo I can’t seem to figure it out.

    Would appreciate a response from Wilton if I am understanding the instructions correctly.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Jenny Streicher says:

      the reason to cover the ball in fondant is because all the trims(handle and spout) are also in fondant and you want them to match. the color of the candy melts is no the same as the fondant. i actually did this cake and the ball was not to fragile to cover. good luck i hope this helps.

  7. alma says:

    Soy de Mexicali Baja California Mexico me encanta la decoracion de pasteles y desearia que aqui donde vivo hubiera mas productos wilton para poder hacer mas creativos mis diseños si alguien de esta empresa lee mi mensaje espero tomen en cuenta mi comentario y ojala haya alguna manera que yo pueda adquirir sus productos muchas gracias

  8. Sherry says:

    How did you get the hair different colors for the mini doll picks on the Diva Debut cake in the 2011 yearbook? The ones I’ve seen don’t have red or blonde hair.

  9. monique says:

    love the article, decorating with fondant it so popular in my country right now esp the animal and people figurine type. i also love decorating with them since it much more easier and cleaner than icing or butter cream also it taste much better too. i planning to make baby cake for my friend baby shower. and i was wondering for the duck fondant since it a bit big can it be filled with cake ??? if not when the cake is serve/ slice is the fondant taken away/ thrown away?? i just feel a bit a waste if that’s the case since fondant is a bit expensive in my country. can we do something about it?

  10. cathy says:

    A friend had some fondant ladybugs on her wedding cake and she’d like to store them as a display in her home. How would you recommend she do this?

    thanks!

    • Jenny Streicher says:

      it should be fine, as is, unless it is very humid… she can try spraying it with a clear acrilic spray( it then becomes not edible)

  11. Missy says:

    How hard will fondant dry? A lady wants me to make a purse cake with handles that stand upright. Can this be done with fondant or should I use gumpaste?

    • Jenny Streicher says:

      gumpaste would be best. if you want to use fondant you can add gumtex or do a 50/50 mix of gumpate and fondant.

  12. Brandy says:

    I need help please!! I am very new to decorating (have taken the Wilton courses within just the past 3 months), and I need advice. I am making a hunting themed cake, and I need suggestions on how to make the deer, and also how to make it stand. I am trying to use sucker sticks, but I don’t know if there is an easier way. Thank you soooo much!!

    • Jenny Streicher says:

      we currently have a santa/reindeer pretzel mold, so you could use that and just mold the deer, using fondant or candy melts. you can then attach a lollipop stick with thinned fondant or candy melts. if you just wanted to mold it your self, you can wrap the lollipop sticks in fondant and shape the rest of the body using your own judgement and assemble with thinned fondant adhesive.

  13. pearse says:

    do anybody know how to make a man figurine out of fondant/gumpaste? do you know of any website which has instructions to do so. I am making a over the hill cake which needs a man figure.
    Thanks
    Pearse@netamumail.com

  14. Jessica says:

    I am making a jungle-themed baby shower cake with 50/50 fondant/gumpaste animals. When I roll it into a ball I can’t get rid of the cracks and more just appear. Not sure what I’m doing wrong…Also, are there any tips for getting rid of or hiding seams such as when I am attaching the trunk to the elephant? I appreciate any advice.

    • Rochelle says:

      I’m extremely new to cake decorating and I had the same problem with a cake I made yesterday. Little folds and cracks started showing up badly as the fondant started drying. I came here hoping to find an answer to someones question about the same thing. Have you figured it out yet? I’d also appreciate any advice on the same topics. :)

  15. Diane says:

    i have been making cake pops and chocolates for awhile now i recently added candles. if anyone wants any information please feel free to email me.

  16. BUTTERKRAFT says:

    HI, I DONT QUITE UNDERSTAND HOW YOU USED THE GLOBE PILLARS TO MAKE THE MOULDED DUCKS. ARE THE GLOBES THE BODY OR THE HEAD OF THE DUCKS

  17. Michelle Bernstein says:

    I’m trying to make a figure skater out of gumpaste or fondant/gumpaste and am having trouble with the arms and legs and how to mold the body. Also how to do the ice skates? I appreciate any suggestions.
    Thank you,
    Michelle

  18. Angelica says:

    Hello Jenny, I have not try to do figure with fondant they all look so beautiful. I would love to get advice from you I was not able to finish the flower and cake classes. I would love to try something different for valentines day. Thank you.

  19. Imelda says:

    Hi there, I am hoping to make a topsy turvy cake for the first time and will be covering it first with buttercream and then with marshmallow fondant… is this type of fondant a good choice for this type of cake. Also I was wondering if anyone has any nice recipie for the cakes. Can I use 3 different cakes as it will be 3 tiers. Would a carrot cake be ok to use. Im new to all of this so all help and detail would be greatly appreciated :)

  20. naomi says:

    Can you tell me how you get the gumpaste so smooth.I dont get the finish so smooth.it gets cracked and slightly untidy.I do a lot of modelling work but the finish is untidy.thank you.

  21. Heather says:

    I have a question!!! I love working with fondant…BUT I am enrolled in a very demanding program at school right now..so I bought some fondant figurines off of Etsy! Super cute…however, there is one figurine that is not great looking and so I am wondering how I could fix it without ruining the rest of the figurine! The body is way to skinny and tall…I want to make that section shorter and fatter…could I heat this figurine up and just mold that section better and then let it harden again??? or am I going to have add fondant to make it fatter???

  22. Nicole Rodriguez says:

    hello I was just wondering I have seen a lot of videos on fondant people and animals and some of them have a metal wire it looks like that help the fondant arm hold shape what it that material that is used?

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