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Every Little Detail with Aproned Artist: Valentine’s Balloon

 

[EDITOR'S NOTE: To those of you who watch eagerly for our every tutorial, you may be wondering why you're seeing two Aproned Artist tutorials in a row without one from Manu in between?! If so, it's entirely because of me! I needed to make some adjustments to the Cookie Connection editorial calendar to "smooth" my workload, and so Manu and I decided to shift her December tutorial to January (a week or so from now). She'll continue on her usual monthly basis going forward. I thank Manu for her flexibility, and all of you for going without one precious tutorial last month! I can say with certainty that you're going to love both of our January tutorials. So, without further ado, on to the first! ~JMU]

When I was in kindergarten, one of my “assignments” was to draw a Valentine’s Day card for my mom. We worked on it in class for days, adding tissue paper embellishments and wonky lettering. When Valentine’s Day finally arrived, I proudly presented my card. She was thrilled (as only mothers can be when given a crudely constructed but sentimental keepsake). To my surprise, my father then revealed his own homemade card for my mother, an illustration of him with a giant balloon. At the time, I giggled at the notion that my dad had the same assignment; the idea of him laboring over his card as I had seemed silly. Looking back now, I realize how sweet a gesture it was.

I was inspired to use rice paper for my balloon after seeing the gorgeous entries of PUDING FARM and Szalony Cukiernik in Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #42. This medium was new to me, but I found it easy to use and it lent the perfect matte, semi-translucency of a balloon.

Supplies:

  • Red gel paste coloring (I used AmeriColor Super Red.)
  • Large dinner plate
  • Cold water
  • Rice paper
  • Kitchen shears
  • Medium (2-in/5.1-cm diameter) silicone hemisphere mold
  • Chopstick (or equivalent)
  • 2-in/5.1-cm round cookie cutter
  • Medium paint brush
  • 4 1/2 x 6-in (11.4 x 15.2-cm) rectangle cookie, flooded with white royal icing
  • White and black gel paste colorings, for painting
  • Tiny liner paint brush
  • Piping-consistency black royal icing or black food-safe marker
  • PME #00 tip (or equivalent)
  • Scribe tool (or equivalent)
  • Piping-consistency red royal icing

Step 1: Mold rice paper balloon

a. Place a drop of red gel paste coloring on a large dinner plate. Pour in about 1/2 cup of cold water, and agitate the gel paste with a fork (or equivalent) until it is completely dissolved.

Step 1a - Prepare Bath for Rice Paper

b. Cut a piece of rice paper in half with kitchen shears. Dip one semicircle of rice paper into the colored water. Make sure the rice paper is completely submerged, and allow it to sit in the colored water for about 30 seconds. The rice paper will soften considerably but will still have a slight rigidity (like the fabric of a windbreaker). Remove the rice paper from the water, and place it over the top of the silicone hemisphere mold.

Step 1b - Soak Rice Paper and Place Over Mold

c. Pull the two ends of the semicircle closer together so that the rice paper gathers slightly at the base of the mold. Using a chopstick (or equivalent) dipped in the colored water, gently shape the rice paper around the mold. Use the side of the chopstick to carefully roll any air bubbles to the outside edge to create a smooth surface. The paper will soften further as you shape it. It will also become sticky and gummy as it dries; add more water with the chopstick to keep the rice paper slippery and workable. Continue shaping until the surface is smooth and contoured with only a few small gathers at the base. (Try to minimize the gathering as much as possible for the best balloon shape.) Dip a 2-inch/5.1-centimeter round cookie cutter in the colored water before placing it over the mold. The cookie cutter should fit snugly, flattening the gathers of the rice paper. Allow the rice paper to dry for 24 hours.

Step 1c - Shape Rice Paper Around Mold

Step 2: Unmold and cut balloon

a. Once the rice paper is mostly dry (some rubberiness where the paper gathers is fine), remove the cookie cutter. (It’s possible that the rice paper will have split around the cookie cutter and shrunk slightly.) Carefully peel the mold away from the balloon.

b. Use a wet paint brush to soften the edges of the rice paper before cutting a smooth edge around the balloon with kitchen shears. (If your rice paper split and shrunk at the base of the cookie cutter, cut away the jagged edge so you have a seamless perimeter; your balloon will be slightly smaller but otherwise the same.)

Step 2b - Cut Excess Rice Paper

c. Cut out a small balloon tail from the excess rice paper. Use a section where the rice paper gathered so that the tail has more dimension. If the rice paper seems too brittle, soften it with a wet paint brush prior to cutting.

Step 2c - Cut Balloon Tail

Step 3: Paint balloon string, pipe man, and pipe lettering

a. Place the balloon at the top of the flooded cookie so you can gauge where you want the balloon string to begin. Mix a drop of white gel paste coloring with a touch of black gel paste coloring to achieve a medium gray color. Using a tiny liner paint brush, paint the string extending about 2 inches (5.1 centimeters) down from your balloon. The bottom 1/2 inch (1.3 centimeters) of the string should swing out slightly to the left just below where the little man will be grabbing on to it.

Step 3a - Paint Balloon String

b. You can either pipe or draw the small man holding the balloon. If you choose to pipe the man, use piping-consistency black royal icing and a PME #00 tip (or equivalent). Pipe in small sections and shape them with a scribe tool (or equivalent). I started with the arms and head, then piped the torso, then the pants, and finished with his dangling feet. Alternatively, use a black food-safe marker to draw the man. I’ve included a template (located in “Files” in “Attachments” at the end of this post) if you'd like to project the image to use as a piping or drawing guide.

Step 3b - Pipe or Draw Man

c. Next, pipe (using the same icing and tip) or draw the message “YOU MAKE MY HEART SOAR” across the bottom of the cookie.

Step 3c - Pipe or Draw Message

Step 4: Attach balloon

a. Using piping-consistency red royal icing and a PME #00 tip (or equivalent), pipe a very small dab of icing on the underside of the balloon tail. Attach the tail to the cookie at the top of the balloon string. Pipe a very small dab of red icing at the top of the attached balloon tail, and then press the base of the balloon into the icing, being careful to camouflage the dab of icing in the gathers of the balloon. (Use only a small amount of icing to attach the balloon so that it can easily be removed before the cookie's consumption.)

Step 4a - Attach Balloon

Finished! Wishing you all a very happy Valentine’s Day.

Final Valentine's Balloon darker

Samantha Yacovetta began cookie decorating in 2013. While working at a local bakery, Samantha became captivated by cookie art when a customer requested princess-themed cookies. Attracted initially to the precision of cookie decorating, Samantha soon found that the limitless design opportunities turned it into her artistic passion. Samantha began regularly stocking the bakery case with decorated cookies and for several years sold cookies through her own company, Aproned Artist, a cottage food operation. Having retired from the business life, Samantha now enjoys making cookies just for fun from her home in San Jose, California, USA. To learn more about Samantha, please check out her Cookie Connection portfolio, her Facebook page, and her past Every Little Detail tutorials here.

Photo and cookie credits: Samantha Yacovetta

Note: Every Little Detail with Aproned Artist is a monthly Cookie Connection blog feature written by Samantha Yacovetta focused on the special little details that make big statements in cookie design. This article expresses the views of the author, and not necessarily those of this site, its owners, its administrators, or its employees. To read all of Samantha's past Every Little Detail tutorials, click here. And to see all of Cookie Connection's tutorials, click here.

Attachments

Images (11)
  • Valentine's Balloon Cookie - Where We're Headed!: Cookie and Photo by Aproned Artist
  • Step 1a - Prepare Bath for Rice Paper: Photos by Aproned Artist
  • Step 1b - Soak Rice Paper and Place Over Mold: Photos by Aproned Artist
  • Step 1c - Shape Rice Paper Around Mold: Photos by Aproned Artist
  • Step 2b - Cut Excess Rice Paper: Photos by Aproned Artist
  • Step 2c - Cut Balloon Tail: Photo by Aproned Artist
  • Step 3a - Paint Balloon String: Cookie and Photo by Aproned Artist
  • Step 3b - Pipe or Draw Man: Cookie and Photos by Aproned Artist
  • Step 3c - Pipe or Draw Message: Cookie and Photo by Aproned Artist
  • Step 4a - Attach Balloon: Cookie and Photos by Aproned Artist
  • Final Valentine's Balloon Cookie: Cookie and Photo by Aproned Artist
Files (1)

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Comments (25)

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Love it! For the recent One Sweet Christmas event, Avalon Cakes also made cone-shaped Christmas trees using the same rice paper technique. Illuminated from within, they looked very, very cool.

Love it! For the recent One Sweet Christmas event, Avalon Cakes also made cone-shaped Christmas trees using the same rice paper technique. Illuminated from within, they looked very, very cool.

Sounds very cool! I can’t seem to find any pictures, but her website is down for maintenance right now.

Sounds very cool! I can’t seem to find any pictures, but her website is down for maintenance right now.

You won’t see pictures most likely, as they were shared only with class registrants behind a paywall.

Last edited by Julia M. Usher

Awww, I love this tutorial, especially as it comes from the heart with such a beautiful story behind it! Thank you so much, dear Samantha for sharing both things with us. 🥰

Thank you, Heather! My mom searched for the actual card when I told her about using it as inspiration, but sadly it’s been lost over the years.

Thank you, Heather! My mom searched for the actual card when I told her about using it as inspiration, but sadly it’s been lost over the years.

Ohh, what a pity, it would have been so special to put them together. But it’s engraved in your hearts, which is more important!♥️

@LisaF posted:

Everything about this was incredibly cool. The concept of rice paper as paper mache is genius. Thank you so much for sharing and all of the details.

Thank you, Lisa! Rice paper wasn’t even on my radar until I saw those stained glass PBP entries. But it was super fun and surprisingly forgiving (as long as it’s kept wet).

Samantha @Aproned Artist, you continue to amaze me with the creative ways you find to use existing materials and come up with completely new and fabulous uses!! I never would have considered a project such as this . Thank you for always creating something so completely fresh and done to perfection. Many apologies for taking so long to get to you . I've been busier than ever and have really missed being able to check in here at one of my favorite sites. Take care my sweet friend ❤️❤️❤️ Hugs...

Samantha @Aproned Artist, you continue to amaze me with the creative ways you find to use existing materials and come up with completely new and fabulous uses!! I never would have considered a project such as this . Thank you for always creating something so completely fresh and done to perfection. Many apologies for taking so long to get to you . I've been busier than ever and have really missed being able to check in here at one of my favorite sites. Take care my sweet friend ❤️❤️❤️ Hugs...

Thank you so much, Carol! I love making tutorials because they give me a reason and the freedom to experiment (an opportunity I never seemed able to fit in when I was selling my cookies). And the artists on this site continually provide fresh inspiration to fuel my experiments.

Thank you so much, Carol! I love making tutorials because they give me a reason and the freedom to experiment (an opportunity I never seemed able to fit in when I was selling my cookies). And the artists on this site continually provide fresh inspiration to fuel my experiments.

I know exactly what you mean about time!! Since I do sell my cookies (custom only) I am "handcuffed" (in a great way ) to a calendar in order to meet the deadlines. The good news is that I have more business than ever but it is extremely time consuming as you know. I do miss having more free time. I apologize for taking so long to comment on your wonderful tutorial!

I hope you are well my dear cookie friend ❤️❤️❤️ Hugs...

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