Friday, June 3, 2011

Gelatin Bow and Butterfly

A few weeks ago I took this awesome gelatin class from my wedding cake designer, Heidi, over at Envy Pastries. During the class she taught us how to make these beautiful, fully editable, gelatin bows with butterflies on top. Now, I wouldn't really recommend eating these little guys, but you COULD if you really desired. It kinda tastes like plastic.

This is the finished product

And here is a small one that I made using some leftover material

The awesome thing about these is that they are SO easy to make! There is a little prep time, but it's not too bad.

So the first step is to make the gelatin. This is your prep work. You'll want to mix 2 1/2 parts water to 1 part gelatin. If you want your product to be a little stiffer, add more gelatin, a little more flexible, use this ratio. VERY IMPORTANT: gelatin is NOT Jello. If you want to use the jello from the store, you MUST use sugar-free jello or buy the small packs of gelatin. The sugar in regular jello will not allow it to setup properly.

In a microwave safe bowl, mix the gelatin and water together and allow it to sit for a minute or two. Then in 10 second increments heat it up slowly in the microwave until it has a nice runny consistency. You want to heat the gelatin evenly and not burn it, so find some patience and do this in 10 second increments, stirring between each one.

Once you have a nice "clear" runny consistancy (it took me about 6-7 turns in the microwave), then you'll want to let it sit for 5-10 minutes and allow the scum to raise to the top. This is the part that you don't want. After it has formed you'll want to take a spoon and scrape as much of it off as possible.

At this point add in any food coloring and/or glitter that you want. Yep, glitter, looks really pretty in these. But if you are going to say this is editable, make sure you get editable glitter (disco dust works great).

At this point you are ready to make your sheets. Take a texture sheet and a cheap but decent soft paintbrush. I get mine from home depot, the kind that is white on the bristles.

Dip the brush into the gelatin, and working quickly and sloppy, just go lightly over the texture sheet (or butterfly sheet, or whatever). If you make it too thick, it will be hard to bend and work with. We're talking a very light coating here. And don't worry about getting it on the counter, if you do, just let it dry and it will peel right up.

Now pick up the sheet and move it somewhere it can lay flat. If you don't move it, it will stick to that spot on your counter.

And wait... and wait... and wait.

Don't touch it!

When the gelatin is setup, it will come completely off the texture sheet all by itself. If you have to peel it off, then its not ready. This could take 6-8 hours. So if you're planning on making a lot of these things, you better plan ahead.

If you only have 1 texture sheet, but you need to make several gelatin sheets, you can let your gelatin mixture settle on the counter, just cover it. (and this is true when you're working too, if you feel its getting too sticky and not runny enough). When you need it again, just pop it back in the microwave or 10 seconds at a time to make it runny again. You can skip the skimming step here because you've already done that. The gelatin mix should hold and be reheat-able for 1-2 days before you should toss it and make new stuff.

Once dry you can do pretty much anything with this stuff. It is very flexible, not really delicate, and lasts forever. You can cut it with a paper cutter, scissors, scrapbooking scissors, whatever you'd like.

For the bow, the strips were cut into 1/2" strips, and 1/2 the length of the sheet (about 1/2" x 6"). Each piece was then curled over and affixed with a small amount of liquid gelatin. Use a paperclip to hold the ends together until the gelatin drys.

Once the gelatin is dry (a few seconds) you can then decorate the edges with disco dust. Instead of using gelatin for this, use piping gel as your 'glue'. Spread a little out onto a plate then dip the edges of the bow into the gel and then into some glitter.

Once they've had a few moments to sit and dry, cut the bottom corners off each loop to form a point. Don't make your point too sharp, or you'll cut off all the 'glue' you used to hold the loop together.

To assemble the bow, put about a quarter size glob of liquid gelatin on a plate. Assemble the bottom row of loops using 6 or 8 to do this. Make sure each tip gets into the gelatin, so it all stays together. Next, add a bit more gelatin, if necessary, and do the next layer of loops. Remember, bows are random, so don't worry about making this perfect. Continue with layers until you fill it all out.


If you've made butterflies, cut them out of the gelatin (making sure not to separate the wings) and decorate them with piping gel and glitter or editable markers. You can make the body out of fondant that is colored black (or whatever your heart desires).

Finally, use some piping gel to affix the butterfly to the bow and hold there for a few seconds while it dries.

Congratulations, you've now made a bow and beautiful butterfly! See, wasn't that easy?

To find out more about making other gelatin items, check out a few other pages that I found.
Country Kitchen


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and art, it is awesome!!

Where can I get the sheets for the butterflies?

Shelley said...

I got mine from a bake shop in Austin called "Make it Sweet" I believe you can order through them if you want, but a quick google of "butterfly gelatin sheets" will get you a few options.