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Durham, NC, United States
My name is Veronica and I own Southern Gold Leaf Cakes. I opened my home-based business in 2008. I am a licensed and inspected home bakery specializing in custom cakes. Since all cakes are made to order there are no frozen cakes here, only fresh and only home made. I am a self-taught baker but I have a strong art background with years of baking experience. It is the most rewarding feeling in the world when you can apply your skills to do something you love. To see my cake creations and view our yummy menu visit us at www.southerngoldleafcakes.com!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Final thoughts and Comparisons on Cold Porcelain

While looking on line for some items I came across some figurines that looked interesting. Actually, it was more the name than the figurines but when I began reading about them I became really intrigued in how they were made. All the items were made from cold porcelain. I felt like I should know what this was after going to art school for four years but I had no idea what this was or how to use it. My internet search originally came up with a lot of repetitive information and I lucked into one recipe that seemed easy enough and I figured I could do this.

Cold porcelain is a non-toxic but non-edible medium that dries hard like porcelain but does not have to be fired like porcelain. It can be molded, modeled, painted, and sculpted just like clay or gum paste. It seems ideal for keepsake items, such as toppers, bouquets or figurines, because it can be sealed and is essentially porcelain. It will melt from water or extreme heat, the sealing helps with the water, but so will sugar so you would instruct to treat it like any other type of keepsake item. The paints need to be either acrylic or oil based, not water based, and it can be tinted in small batches. If left alone it dries “translucent” which is kind of an off white appearance. You should use a sealant that can either be brushed on or dipped into and not sprayed on and you can have satin, matte or gloss finish as well.

I have tried and compared two recipes. The first is white school glue, corn starch, mineral oil and lemon juice. The mineral oil adds moisture and the lemon juice uses citric acid to keep mold from forming. This particular recipe has to be kept air tight and refrigerated. You cook these four ingredients together over low heat, stirring constantly for ten or more minutes until it forms a ball, sticking to itself, and then turn it out onto your work surface. Then you add a bit more corn starch, keeping your hands greased with mineral oil, and you need it until it’s workable. Wrap in plastic and then put in a Ziploc baggie and refrigerate.

The second recipe is white school glue, cornstarch, glycerin and cold cream. I liked this one a bit better because it smells a little better, thanks to Ponds cold cream, and it cooked really fast. The first recipe just tired my arm out so much. This recipe has you cook the glue, glycerin and cold cream for a few minutes on med-low until the cold cream is smooth and then add the corn starch a little at a time mixing really well. By the time you’ve added the last of the cornstarch you’ve got a pretty well formed ball. It took all of about five minutes. This one does not refrigerate but still needs to be wrapped and kept air tight. Both recipes make approximately half-a-pound of cold porcelain.

Truth be told it is easy to work with but it took some getting used to. I decided I really wanted to give it a go mostly because I have so many brides who want some portion of their flowers to be keepsakes or a monogram. When it comes to smaller celebration cakes I’m often as to make some sort of figurine. This seems like the perfect solution.

It is much softer than regular gum paste and requires a very light touch to work with. I’m pretty heavy handed and can use a very thin skewer as a rolling pin and get it as thin as paper with little effort. All the items I’ve attempted with it so far seem to dry very quickly, most over night, and fairly evenly. It is very sturdy.

I’ve painted in acrylics, which dry super fast, and oil which takes a lot longer. If using to create flowers you should definitively tint it first and then work into your shapes so that you don’t have to over handle the finished product too much. Since I don’t know if it will airbrush or not pre-coloring seems like the better option if you need large patches of color. Figurines and other modeled items will probably yield better results from mixing both tinted and untinted pieces and applying paint in detailed spaces.

All in all it’s an item I think I am going to enjoy working with. It’s inexpensive to make. It seems, so far, to go quite a long way. It looks as though it will be a better option for items that are meant to be keep sakes and not just decoration and its non-toxic so it can still be placed on the cake. It’s not a piece of flotsam that you buy in the store that will get tossed. It took me back to my college days working in the ceramics studio learning about clay. I enjoy a medium that makes me use other creative parts of my brain that may have been asleep for a while. I am breaking out my acrylics and oils again, remembering the basics of working in ceramics and getting to create more lasting pieces of art to go along with my edible creations of art.

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