How To Make Patterned Fondant and Gumpaste For Cake Decorating

I’ve had the Patterned Pastes book by Geraldine Dahlke for quite a while, and I never really had a reason to use it.

But it was always interesting, and since I recently started looking at polymer clays the techniques in patterning fondant and gumpaste came to mind.

When you work with clay it obviously behaves differently than fondant and sugarpastes do, and you can’t keep the same level of detail with the fondant as you can with clay.

But it still produces some interesting effects that can be used for fabrics, cobblestones, animal skins, etc on cakes.

Here are a couple of ways to do it.

patterned fondant photo tutorial for cake decorating

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How to make striped paste for flower petals.

This first one was done using gumpaste so that I could make flower petals.

The first step is to roll out a piece of gumpaste and cut it in half.

Paint red food coloring (or whatever color you want to use) on half of the paste. It should be sticky but not super wet.

Sandwich the color between the two pieces.

patterned gumpaste

Keep cutting, painting and sandwiching the pieces until you have a piece that’s about 1/4 – 1/2″ thick.

You can also make this a lot thicker and cut pieces off of the block. 

If there are any slivers that aren’t stuck together on the white sections, use some water or gum glue to attach them together.

Notice that this is very messy…

patterned gumpaste

patterned gumpaste

patterned gumpaste

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Wrap the paste and let it rest.

This needs to be wrapped up in plastic to give the sugar time to meld together, for lack of a better term.

The key here is patience. If you can leave it overnight that’s best, but you should give it at least an hour or two.

Once it’s set, roll it out carefully to the point where it can fit through a pasta roller, then you can cut out pieces that have the stripes on them in the positions on the petals that look good to you.

Here’s a rose that I threw together using the striped paste.

You could use this kind of thing to make flowers with striped petals like carnations or parrot tulips, or leaves that have multiple color in them if you use multiple colors when preparing the block.

patterned gumpaste

Making a patterned sheet of fondant.

The next example is a block of fondant that you can then cut up to make a sheet.

The sheets can then be used for effects like fabrics, animal skins, leaves, cobblestone patterns, and other natural patterns.

I started by rolling out tubes of white fondant and using food color to brush on them to get them sticky, but now too wet.

They need to be able to stick together without sliding around.

patterned gumpaste

 Cover the top with white rolls to keep the color on the inside.

patterned gumpaste

 Cut the long roll into pieces and put the smaller pieces together to form a thick block.

patterned gumpaste

patterned gumpaste

patterned gumpaste

This is a messy process, as you can tell.

Wrap the block in plastic and let it sit for at least an hour and longer if possible, so that the moisture in the food coloring can meld with the fondant.

I also put it in the refrigerator to make the block stiffer and easier to cut without distorting the pattern.

You can also make a block by rolling out a sheet and painting the whole thing, then layering strips of it.

This will make a different pattern than the rolls will.

patterned gumpaste

patterned gumpaste

When the block is ready, you’ll need to roll out a backing panel to put the pieces that you cut off of the block onto.

Use a piece of parchment or waxed paper so that you can move it around without stretching it.

Dampen the sheet so that it’s sticky.

patterned gumpaste

Cutting the block.

You need a very sharp blade to cut the pieces off of the block, since they need to be pretty thin.

I got a razor that’s used for polymer clay and it worked really well on a cold block of fondant.

patterned gumpaste

Looks like bacon! This would be a good way to make fondant bacon, too.

patterned gumpaste

Cut some thin slices and layer them on the fondant backing sheet.

patterned gumpaste

When the sheet is full, cover it with waxed paper and roll it to adhere the top pieces to the backing.

patterned gumpaste

Be aware the if you roll it too hard in any one direction you can change the pattern or distort the edges.

See the left and right sides of this piece?

The stretch in the pattern is where I rolled it against the stripe pattern and it stretched out.

patterned gumpaste

You can use this to cover an entire cake if you make a piece that’s large enough, or cut it into smaller pieces to make ruffles or whatever you want to make.

This piece kind of looks like fringe, so you could layer the pieces as you apply them and leave the bottom row loose to give it some dimension and make a fringed skirt.

You can change the pattern when you layer the strips on the backing piece by turning the design when you place it to create a checkerboard effect.

You can also change the pattern depending on what side of the block you cut, so shave off an edge on a couple of sides to see what pattern you like best.

These two were from the same block that was made with the rolls:

patterned gumpaste

patterned gumpaste

Here’s a sheet of fondant with the pieces of the roll block on it:

patterned gumpaste

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