Julia's June Stencil Release - Groomsman!

 

If you've been a member of my Stencil of the Month Club or following my stencil journey for the last year or so, then you'll probably remember my Bridal Party Dynamic Duos release, which was designed specifically for brides and bridesmaids. Judging from its sales, you guys really liked it, making it a no-brainer to design a "partner" set for grooms and groomsmen! It's taken me a while to execute this idea, which has been in the back of mind almost since the bride's sets released. But here it is, just in time for late June weddings and well in time for the many coronavirus-postponed weddings, now rescheduled for the fall . . .

New JUNE 2020 Stencils with NEW LOGO3

To buy these stencils, just pop on over to my partner Confection Couture Stencils' site using the following links:

ONE IMPORTANT NOTE: Some of the groom's cookies throughout this post show an earlier version of the background stencil with finer openings. During the very late stages of the testing process (after I had made the cookies for this release post), I noticed some tiny "waves" in the pinstripes in the background stencil, which didn't pass muster. After much further testing, my partner at Confection Couture Stencils determined that they were caused by the lasers overheating the Mylar while cutting the many closely spaced teeny holes. The hot Mylar then warped, resulting in wavy lines. So . . . we gradually increased the size of the pinstripe pattern, which resulted in less overheating by the lasers. The result is a bigger background pattern, but one which will laser-cut perfectly straight every time - and also pass royal icing more easily. I point out this cutting issue for two reasons: (1) so you know you'll actually get the bigger background stencil pattern depicted in the graphics (and a few of the cookie photos below) and (2) to give you an appreciation of how much testing goes into every one of my designs to make sure they are top-notch for you!

With that technical detail aside, a quick word about my Stencil of the Month Club mentioned at the start of this post. If you join, each month you'll automatically receive a specially curated set of stencils that always includes the month's Duos™ background set and a single stencil designed by my partner. For instance, this month, club members will get . . .

SOM_JUN_2020-1

Normally, this bundle would cost about $22.99, but club members get it for only $14.99! PLUS, they also get 15% off anything else on the Confection Couture site, as long as their membership stays active! Again, just click here for more info or to sign up.

Now, let's talk about the background set . . .

Groomsman Dynamic DuosTM Background Set (8 pieces)SJU0318_package_contents-1WITH BORDER

Before we explore some of the many design possibilities, again, remember that you will get the background stencil pictured directly above, not the smaller one used in many of the cookie photos below. However, regardless of the particular background stencil used, the process of layering it with the other masks and foreground elements in this set is exactly the same.

One thing that I love about this set is its WHOPPING eight pieces, which amplify your design possibilities. Another lovable aspect is that it looks great done simply in just two colors. I used AmeriMist Turquoise (lightened A LOT with Spectrum Flow Matte White) for the pinstripe background and AmerMist Super Black (applied with different intensities to create a spectrum from gray to black) for all of the suits and tuxedo foreground elements.

Here's a cookie that uses the bigger background stencil (the one you will get) with just one of the foreground elements (the hanging suit) . . .

Striped with nothing to side Better

It's a little too naked for my tastes, so here it is again with the empty area to the left filled in with a fondant appliqué made with the hanging pants foreground element.

BIG TIE SQ GOOD MORE CONTEXT

[Quick appliqué tutorial: Roll white fondant through an Atlas pasta machine (or other brand) set on the #4 or #5 setting, or use a fondant rolling pin to roll it 1/16 inch thick or less. Cut the resulting fondant strip into more manageable small pieces - a few inches in length - and then airbrush the pants foreground element onto these pieces using black airbrush coloring. I first gave the entire stencil a light spray to get a gray tone; then, I came in much closer to the stencil and "outlined" all of its breaks, edges, and details to make those areas closer to pure black. I find that using two gray tones lends much more interest than stenciling in a solid color. After airbrushing, immediately trim away the excess un-stenciled fondant using the tip of a thin-bladed paring knife. Set aside the pieces to dry until firm, usually overnight.]

[BTW: Wondering about the stunning feather bowtie and cuff links used as props? They're from Brackish, and their products make wonderful groom's gifts, in addition to cookie accessories. So far, my husband has three of their bowties and this set of cufflinks, and I might just surprise him with more on our 25th anniversary!]

Back to cookies! Here are a bunch of others that employ the elements of the background set in different ways. Some use the pants foreground element; some use the tuxedo; others use the hanging coat; still others use some combo of these elements with or without the hat atop the boxes. (Note: All of these photos display the old finer background pattern.)

IMG_4964SMALL AND SIMPLE NO MESS

I included the above photo to demonstrate how just two stencil elements (the coat and clothes pole) on a very small cookie (about 2 x 3 inches) can be high impact. Now, here are some other cookies that use more foreground elements on the background stencil . . .

IMG_4852NO MESS HOR

And a closer view of that central cookie . . .

4853 no mess two elements nice

To make the above cookie, I set down the coat and pants masks over the background stencil and then airbrushed the pinstripes on that stencil. The masks were removed, and then I set the corresponding foreground stencils, one at a time, in the empty spots left behind and airbrushed over them. Note: Because the masks for the clothes poles are so slender and therefore hard to weight in place, I did not use them, but instead stenciled them directly on the cookie as the last step. If you do this, just be sure to use a dark color so the poles cover the pinstripe pattern and hangers in the other elements.

Last but not least, another design variation, which uses two foreground elements as well, but has added interest and dimension because one of those elements (the boxes and hat) is an elevated fondant appliqué . . .

4958hat box coat no mess SUPER NICE

[Quick bowtie tutorial: The tiny blue bowties shown on many of the cookies are made with fondant, rolled very thin, to the #5 or #6 setting on my Atlas pasta machine. Once the fondant is rolled out, cut it into strips of two widths (about 1/4 and 1/2 inch), shape those strips into bowties (the 1/4 inch strip makes the "knot" in the center), and dry fully before attaching to cookies. I know, I know, this description is a bit vague, but stay tuned for my upcoming video about these sets. It will show how to make these ties and the clothes poles, revealed below, in great detail!]

Now, let's look at how your design possibilities expand when the complementary message and frame set is worked into the mix!

Groomsman Dynamic DuosTM Message and Frame Set (5 pieces)
SJU0319_package_contents M&F WITH BORDER

This time, this set contains four messages and two frames. However, most of the messages fit in both frames, so you've really got tons of options. I'll share just a few of the possibilities below.

To start, here's the first cookie I showed (with the bigger background stencil that you'll get) with the same hanging coat to the right, but now with a message/frame fondant appliqué occupying the left side.

Message SQ BIG STRIPE GOOD

Very simple and elegant, I think!

But there's lots more!

Dudo Side by Side BETTER

The above photo demonstrates the effect of reversing fondant appliqué elements. In the photo to the left, the coat is airbrushed directly on the cookie, whereas the message and frame is a fondant appliqué. By contrast, the opposite is the case on the cookie to the right, shown in larger format below . . .

Blue 2 items and mess NICE

Either way, appliqués add interest and depth to cookies, and are a useful technique to add to your repertoire. Below, you'll see the full-size tuxedo foreground element for the first time, directly airbrushed onto the cookie along with the "Time to Suit Up" message and frame . . .

4877 Full tux with mess nice ADJ USE THIS VERSION

And, because I'm a more-is-more person, I just had to add another element in the foreground (the hat/boxes fondant appliqué) . . .

IMG_4988BIG TUX NICE VERT

In all of the above cookies, I used the clothes pole stencil that comes with the background set, but I always find it fun to add unexpected dimensional elements! Below, the stenciled pole has been replaced with one made of extruded fondant!

EXTR BAR SIMPLE NICE SQ

And, here you see yet another variation with two fondant poles . . .

Doubel pole extr more context

[Quick clothes pole tutorial: Create tiny fondant cords by pushing gray fondant through an extruder with a 3/16-inch round disk in it. Cut the cords to the desired lengths (2 to 3 inches, depending on the design), and dry overnight until the fondant is rigid and easily picked up without flexing. For a finishing touch, pipe a drop of black beadwork-consistency royal icing onto the end of each pole.]

As you can see, these two sets make more than enough cookies to keep even the biggest of groom's parties happy - and I've just scratched the surface in this post! 'Til next month, stay safe and happy stenciling!

P.S. Don't forget to revisit my key stencil links below.

IMG_4971LEAD OPENER LOGO

Key Links:
  • To purchase my Dynamic Duos sets, click here.
  • To join my Stencil of the Month Club, click here.
  • To see my entire stencil line, including my Prettier Plaques sets, click here.
  • To view my videos that show how to create layered looks with my stencil sets, click here.

If you have any technical questions about these stencils, just email me at sweetlife@juliausher.com or leave a comment below. Please, however, direct all ordering and Club questions to my stencil partner, Confection Couture Stencils, at service@confectioncouturestencils.com. Thank you!

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@LisaF posted:

Amazing Julia @Julia M. Usher.  You really are the master of stencil design.  #airbrushgoals!!

Aww, thanks. It really is fun to figure out the various layering options with these sets, but it does take a fair bit of triggering practice to get into small spaces with control. Many of my videos and classes address how, though. 

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