Friday, May 6, 2011

My first tutorial....Gelatin Sequins

 I have found that you can do so much with gelatin, from the gelatin flowers to gelatin bubbles. I take no credit for coming with the ideas that I mentioned before. Those ideas give birth to what I did. If you want to know how to do the gelatin bubbles you will find the info here and for info on gelatin flowers here and supplies  here .
  I had no idea that the cake that I did for the North Texas Sugar Art Cake Show would get so much response. I am overwhelmed and humbled by the many positive responses and comments when I posted it to CC (Cake Central). Well as I gave my word that I would post a tutorial and here it is. I apologize that it took so long but I didn't realize that photography was so difficult. Yeah you can tell I am not a photographer but I have done my best. I didn't post it on CC because of the glitches with posting pictures. So without further ado I present to you my first tutorial: Gelatin Sequins

The finished cake

closeup of  the sequins

The supplies that you need:
  • unflavored gelatin
  • water
  • airbrush color
  • measuring spoons
  • small spatula
  • 2 hole punchers :1- 1/16 round hole and  1- regular size individual hole punch
  • toothpick
  • acetate sheet (or something that won't melt or bow from the heat of the gelatin) Hint: the backing sheet from your edible images is perfect for this job.                                      
  • microwave safe container

The gelatin to water ratio is 2 parts water to 1 part gelatin. Here I used Knox gelatin and it measured 2 teaspoons of gelatin for each packet, so I used 4 teaspoons of water. For each color that I used for the cake, I used 3 packets of gelatin.

Bloomed Gelatin
I took the water and gelatin and mixed it together and let it bloom. Blooming is where the gelatin gets really thick and you can't pour it out of the cup even if you tried. LOL.

Hint: Put the water in the cup first and then add the gelatin. If you don't you will end up with dry bits of gelatin at the bottom of the cup .

It doesn't take very long, less than 5 minutes. After it blooms put it in the microwave for approximately 30 seconds. This depends on the wattage of your microwave. Be sure to watch it, especially if you are using a small cup like I did. You don't want to have to clean up gelatin off of your microwave turntable, and the outside of the cup where it             overflowed. Take it from experience, it's a mess. But if you do clean it with hot water!!                                

After it comes from the microwave it will have foam on the top of the gelatin.

 You are going to let it sit until the foam is thick enough for you to skim it off of the top. Here is where the toothpick comes in (if you don't want to use a toothpick use a disposable spoon). You are going to take your toothpick and pull off the foamy white gunk off of the top and throw it in the trash. Once you do that your gelatin will be clarified.
The gunky foamy stuff! Yuck

Gelatin has a natural yellow tint so it won't be completely clear. 

Once you have done the previous step you are going to add your choice of color. I used airbrush color because of it is liquid characteristics. It blends better into the gelatin. Paste color can be used but it takes a lot more effort to get the color incorporated. Use less color for more transparency and more if you want it more opaque. 


Stir in your color with a toothpick. After that put your gelatin back in the microwave for no more than 30 seconds. Again watch it to ensure that you don't have any boil overs. 

Hints: Stir your color in gently so that you won't incorporate air bubbles. Also for darker colors it takes more, especially black.

After it comes out of the microwave immediately pour it out on your acetate sheet (or clear plastic sheet) and use your spatula to spread it out.

Hint: You DO NOT have to put any shortning on the plastic.

Don't spend too much time spreading it out because it sets up in less than 2 min

 You don't want it too thin (it will be too flimsy to punch out) and you don't want it too thick ( it will crack when you punch it out. . IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE PERFECTLY EVEN!!! You will notice that it will become ripply but that is ok.

Once you spread it it will become like the consistency of a gummy bear. You will notice that if you touch it, it's cool. Don't ask me what is happening...all I know is it's probably some chemical reaction. Set it aside and it usually takes about 5-6 hrs to dry but that depends on your humidity. As it dries it pulls away from the acetate.
You can see on the left upper corner where it's pulling away.

If it is like the green it's too thick!! You are going to want it flexible like a piece of paper, well not that thin, closer to card stock

This is why you need a lot of black ! It looks black on the picture but it was more purple.

When it is dry it will pull away from the sheet. Again it's going to be ripply but most of the sequins won't show it, and those that do, chunk them in the circular file or keep them for those cut to fit spaces. Now on to the..........


Here is the secret to it all...the hole punchers!!!! I purchased a 1/16 in round hole puncher a while ago for another project and God showed me to use this for the center of the sequins.
1/16 circular hole puncher
This is a "regular" size hole puncher

The hole punchers can be found at Michael's or Hobby Lobby. The ones that are shown in the picture I found at Michael's in the scrap booking section. Although the 1/16 was found at Michael's the "regular" hole puncher can be found at almost any store. They are around $6 but if you use your 40% coupon it saves you some money. Sorry I had to throw that in there, it's always good to save some money!

Warning: This is the most difficult part.....I mean time consuming part of the process.

What you are going to do is take your small hole puncher and punch a series of holes in a line leaving a space between each small hole so that when you go back to use your "regular" sized puncher you won't overlap wasting your punches.

Once you have done your small punches go back and center the small hole against your "regular" sized single hole puncher....

 The last step is to open you catch and dump your sequins out.

 Wallah!! Now you have edible sequins!! 

It's not difficult but it is time consuming.

This is my first tutorial, so if I have inadvertently forgotten something or if you have any questions please feel free to post in the comment section and I will do my best to answer your questions.

Feel free to re post the information but just link it back to me ok!!Thanks


  1. I reposted this link on the CC decorating forum. Thank you SO much for the tutorial! (And I still think you should have charged for it;)

  2. You may link to the photos I took if you like. If you re-post them, just mention the photos were taken by Chris Wingler.

  3. This is great!! It is really easy to understand, I cant wait to give it a try. Thank you again for posting it and sharing your wealth of knowledge.

  4. That is so cool!! Thanks for the tutorial & I agree with the PP you should have charged for it :D.... Beautiful cake!!

  5. thx for the tutorial. Love the cake too.:)

  6. cool idea, looks great on cake, but so much time to do it, great tutorial

  7. dumb question of the day - I went looking for a "regular" size punch but there are a couple different sizes. What exact size did you use for your "regular"?

  8. gjprince,
    Great question. The reason that I put "regular" sized hole punch is because when I have bought them from a store such as walmart they don't usually have the size marked on them.However the one that I bought that I have displayed on the photo is 1/4 in. You don't have to get that from the craft store, I just bought the one's with the grip for comfort but when I did the cake...there wasn't any comfort in punching that many! LOL
    In any case I hope that it helps. If you have any further questions please feel free to ask again!

  9. Two more questions now that I have all my supplies ready.
    1. How far in advance can you make them? (It will be a dummy cake)
    2. Does the humidity make them sticky?

  10. Gj.... They can be made far in advance and I have some in a plastic baggie leftover from the competition and they are fine. I don't think humidity has any negative effects, however they must be kept away from direct contact with water.

  11. Your cake is beautiful! I was looking for a tutorial on how to make gelatin flowers. I am guessing the same way except with shaped wire and dip it in the gelatin. Thanks!

  12. Hi Teesha,

    Gorgeous cake and very helpful tutorial!! I noticed you said to keep the sequins away from direct contact with water and was wondering how you adhered them to the cake? I was also curious what happens if they do come into contact with water--do they melt?

    Thank you!

  13. I Love Your Cake I Do Have A Question I'm Not Sure Where I Can Get The Acetate Sheet?

  14. This is a well written, well illustrated, very easy to follow tutorial. Thank you so much.

  15. Just came across your site from a blog post from Smithsonian's threads blog. :) thanks for sharing this 'secret'!

  16. I know I'll never try this but found it very interesting, thank you. (I, too, found it where Chance did.)

  17. Super clever! I love this. :)

  18. Oh!!! its delicious ...i love your cake thanks for sharing....Plastic cards!!!!!!!

  19. Cool idea Thanks for sharing...

  20. super cool...very creative :)

  21. Awesome tutorial! I'm trying these on cookies :). But a question first: As you said, these are to be kept away from water. So, what can I use to attach them to a cake or cookie. What if the cake is crusting buttercream?
    Thanks is advance.

  22. buen tutorial, se entiende todo muy claro

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