Yeah, yeah, I know, it's not even Christmas yet, but here in cookie stencil-designing land, I'm already gearing up for the next best cookie holiday - Valentine's Day! Or wait - maybe Valentine's Day IS the best cookie holiday? Or wait - maybe every cookie occasion is as wonderful as the next . . . Hmmm, yes, I'm going with that (says this diehard cookie enthusiast ). Any which way you cut it, closing out 2020 with cookies that say "love" makes a lot of sense. And that's exactly what I'm doing!
Here's a pictorial synopsis of this month's release:
And here's where you can find all of these lovelies on my partner Confection Couture Stencils' site:
- Sweethearts Dynamic Duos™ Background Set (upper left),
- Sweethearts Dynamic Duos™ Message and Frame Set (combined with the Duos™ background set; upper right),
- My partner Confection Couture Stencils' When Skies are Gray Cookie Stencil (lower right), and my Valentine's Day-themed release from last year at this same time . . .
- Roses are Red Dynamic Duos™ Sets.
As for Stencil of the Month Clubbers, here's what you'll automatically get in December, at huge (about 20%) savings, I might add:
This month's release showcases different couples in various amorous poses (!) that can be used as designed with all of the other "Sweethearts" elements, or mixed and matched with other sets. For example, my past Mother's and Father's Day sets, which also feature silhouettes, are ideally suited for mixing and matching with this month's design.
But back to my club! Not a member of it? Well, if you never want to miss any of my releases and you always want to get them at the best possible price, then my Stencil of the Month Club is the best way to go. Click either of the previous two pink links to read more and to sign up.
Now, on to the details of the background set . . .
As noted above, this set consists of seven pieces that allow you to position the various sweethearts under, in, or around the heart trees. But first, lets' take a peek at what that Heart Tree background stencil looks like all by itself!
Tee hee! Of course, I had to jazz up that background stencil with something, so I added airbrushed modeling chocolate bows with royal icing "buttons" in their centers. But, nonetheless, what's pictured only uses that one stencil. Here it is again, just a closer view . . .
Pretty sweet. Remember: Using the background stencil alone, without any foreground elements, is always a nice way to "break up" a larger set so it is not overwhelmed with too many stenciled design elements. You can leave as little or as much of the cookie exposed too, to create more "resting spots" for the eyes. For instance, just slide the background stencil to the far right or left to show just a hint of the trees, and you'll end up with a more subtle statement of sweetness.
Now, let's start masking off areas of the background stencil and adding foreground stencils (aka the couple silhouettes) on top. Here's a small sampling of what you might do:
The cookie above and the one directly below involve a simple superimposing of the man-proposing foreground element.
Since I used a relatively small number of colorings (just Chefmaster Harvest Brown, Spectrum Flow Sky Blue, and AmeriMist Electric Green and Deep Pink), I added interest to the piece with a combination of the green and a lighter brown in the tree trunks, and a green freehand-sprayed bokeh effect for the leaves. I also got the silhouettes to pop by stenciling them to a more saturated shade with the same brown. Now, a variation with the man-holding-woman foreground element on a narrower cookie . . .
Also notice the cutout fondant heart that's been airbrushed all over with Deep Pink, and just on the very edges with Harvest Brown. Here's to going all out! . And, finally, a less traditional Valentine's cookie shape with the man-proposing element again . . .
I'm not sure if you noticed, but this cookie has a very pale pink background. Take a closer look here . . .
Not only does the pale pink add variety to an all-white set, but it is also more forgiving when it comes to airbrushing silhouettes (any underspray, which can be tricky to avoid, will hardly show, if at all).
Now, moving on to the complementary message and frame set . . .
Again, these pieces are always designed to work in tandem with the associated background set. Cases in point: The "LOVE" bunting and "Sweethearts" sign can be perfectly situated on the background stencil to appear as if they are hanging off the tree branches . . .
Here are two closer looks at that "LOVE" bunting . . .
The "Be Mine" heart message also looks cute nestled amongst the limbs (see photo below). Note, too, how a taller cookie will allow more exposure of the foreground element (the couple), though I personally find the partial exposures more interesting.
The messages and frames in the above three photos were directly airbrushed and stenciled on the cookies (you can tell by their lack of relief). But you can also make them as as fondant appliqués to lend more interest and dimension. Remember: Fondant appliqués, in my vernacular, are thinly rolled pieces of fondant that are airbrushed and stenciled and then cut out. Here are a number of examples:
Quick clarification: In the above photo, just the cookies to the far right and left have fondant appliqués for messages. Now, check out the "LOVE" fondant appliqué in the photo below. It is additionally contoured (set inside a tube so it dries in a curved shape), which explains the slight curl and lift to the bottom edge of the bunting.
Once again, a pink flooded cookie takes on a noticeably different look than a pure white one . . .
While the "YOU + ME" message is intended to go in the triple-heart frame pictured above and below, don't forget that the messages will oftentimes fit other frames for which they weren't specifically intended. That's to say: I try to design these sets for maximum flexibility!
As an example, "YOU +ME" also handily fits the smaller heart- with-arrow frame, as shown in the cookie to the right, below.
And, as a reminder, the beauty of fondant appliqués isn't just that they add dimension to cookies. They also give you the freedom to move elements around to "try them out" in various positions before you commit them to cookies with royal icing. Below, I've moved the smaller "YOU + ME" message plaque to the bigger heart cookie, and, you know what?! I think I might just prefer it there!
Last, I leave you with a video recap of possible designs and this month's key links. Enjoy, and have a happy and very safe holiday season!
- My Dynamic Duos™ stencil sets
- My Stencil of the Month Club
- My entire stencil line, including my Prettier Plaques™ sets
- More Valentine's Day stencils
- My videos that show how to create layered looks with my stencil sets
If you have any technical questions about these stencils, just email me at email@example.com or leave a comment below. Please, however, direct all ordering and Club questions to my stencil partner, Confection Couture Stencils, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!