With Memorial Day fast approaching and so many American first responders, healthcare workers, and other heroes to honor for helping us survive this pandemic, it's high time for a patriotic set! While originally designed for the Fourth of July, this month's Dynamic Duos™ release serves all of the occasions just mentioned so well. And with two foreground elements, a background stencil that can be spliced in myriad ways, and four messages and frames, it's super versatile.
Here's what it looks like, along with my partner Confection Couture Stencils' monthly single stencil release and a reminder of a previous set that works wonderfully for Memorial Day . . .
To buy these stencils, you need look no further than my partner Confection Couture Stencils' site under the following links:
- God Bless America Dynamic Duos™ Background Set (upper left),
- God Bless America Dynamic Duos™ Message and Frame Set (combined with the Duos™ background set; upper right),
- My partner Confection Couture Stencils' Land of the Free Stencil (lower right), and a reminder of one of my past sets . . .
- In Remembrance Prettier Plaques™ Set.
Don't want to wait for this monthly post to purchase? Then check out my Stencil of the Month Club. If you join, each month you'll automatically receive a specially curated set of stencils that always includes the month's Duos™ background set. For instance, this month, club members will get . . .
Normally, this bundle would set you back 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.
Lots of permutations are possible - no background with either foreground element, background with Lady Liberty close-up, background with entire Lady Liberty, just the background . . . you catch my drift. And, if you don't, the picture below should illuminate what I mean, as it depicts the last three scenarios on actual cookies !
And a closer view, so you can appreciate the details . . .
I chose the obvious patriotic red, white, and blue, but you could, of course, change up that palette too. For instance, you might consider a muted green for Lady Liberty, as that color is closer to her natural hue, and tones of gray for the rest of the design.
A few more words about colorings before we move on to the message and frame set . . . when you're going for deeply saturated hues, as I was here, airbrushing with water-based colorings can start to get challenging because the coloring can bead up before it fully dries. Tiny beads of coloring can then amass into larger pools of coloring, which can lead to spotting or seepage under the stencil. Seepage is also more likely to occur near relatively large, open areas in a stencil, such as the stripes in this one. For these reasons, I'd recommend using alcohol-based coloring, particularly for the stripes. Because the alcohol in the coloring dries almost as soon as it's sprayed, you'll have more control, and the coloring will dry more uniformly. On these cookies, I used Spectrum Flow (alcohol-based) Red, Spectrum Flow (alcohol-based) Sky Blue, and a custom mix of AmeriMist Royal Blue and Regal Purple (both water-based) to make a real royal blue. (AmeriMist Royal Blue is rather dull.) But, no matter which type of coloring you use, always be sure to spray gradually, allowing the underlying coloring to dry before adding another layer on top. Continue in this fashion until you achieve the desired saturation.
Now, for the complementary message and frame set! It's got four messages and four frames this time, along with the corresponding masks and shading stencil . . .
If you thought I was going to let you off easy with just two photos in the last section, well, you were wrong! I'm making up for the shortage of background set photos with an abundance of styling options here! The photo below conveys a healthy assortment of designs, some with messages applied directly to the cookies (upper left and lower right) and one with those elements on a fondant appliqué (top center striped cookie).
The anchor cookie (foreground, below) shows yet another striped option with the message and frame directly airbrushed on the cookie . . .
Here it is a bit closer. I also used Spectrum Flow Sky Blue to shade around Lady Liberty and the edges of the cookie.
Don't want all the stripes?! No problem. Just omit the background stencil altogether, and focus on the framed messages and foreground elements, as I did here . . .
A couple of additional design notes about the above photo . . . First, for the star on the upper left cookie, I used the star frame from the message and frame set (naturally), but, instead of using it to surround a message, I airbrushed two stars from the background stencil into the center. And, second, because I am a more-is-more person, I just couldn't leave Lady Liberty alone on the foreground cookie. So, in addition to the message, I decked her with some twisted sugar paste garlands. For dainty garlands and ribbons of this sort, I prefer to use modeling chocolate or sugar paste to fondant, as the former two are smoother and more pliable. In this case, I used Arati Murji's Original Scarlet Red sugar paste, and I found it handled beautifully (plus, no red hands, as the coloring was already mixed in)!
Now, as you all know, I'm a fan of dimension, even on my 2-D cookies! That being said, I want to give you a closer look at how I achieved it on the anchor cookie below by selecting out yet another portion of the background stencil and then adding more layers on top.
So, what do I mean by "selecting out" a portion of the background? Much as I isolated two stars to put in the star-shaped frame on that earlier cookie (two cookies up), I airbrushed just the central circle of stars on fondant and then cut it out, thus turning it into a fondant appliqué. After airbrushing the rest of the background directly on the cookie, I hovered the dry circle appliqué slightly above the cookie by propping it with teeny fondant blobs. Then, I applied dry Lady Liberty and message appliqués directly to the circle appliqué. The result is a three-layer cookie, which I hope you can see a bit more clearly in the photo below.
Sorry, my bad; I neglected to shoot a side view, so you'll just have to take my word on those three layers!
Now, a little sidetrack about cookie shapes . . . The radiating pattern on the background stencil makes it particularly amenable to round, hexagon, or octagon cookie shapes, but, if we're going to get all patriotic, then I say, "Why not go with a flag shape?!" As you can see (I hope!), both sets work beautifully on that shape too . . .
A closer view . . .
And, yet another design variation using a different message and frame and the other Lady Liberty foreground element . . .
Yes, I used Arati's sugar paste again for the garland and bow. For the flag pole, I used white fondant (though white sugar paste would have worked just as well) pushed through an extruder with a 1/4-inch (0.6-centimeter) round opening. I left it overnight to dry before gluing it to the side of the cookie with thick royal icing; then I attached the freshly cut sugar paste garland and bow while still flexible.
I'd like to close out this post with a reminder about the versatility of my sets - and a few more photos that illustrate this versatility! (I'm not kidding . . . there are FIVE more photos! Hang in there! ) Recall the second photo in this post?! Well, here it is again, but with a "Happy 4th of July" message (from this message and frame set) decking out the top cookie.
And a closer look . . .
But, let's suppose it's too soon to be thinking about the Fourth of July (and perhaps too late to be making cookies for Memorial Day) . . . the good news is: you needn't shelve these sets until these dates happen to roll around (again). Instead, start thinking about the other messages and frames you might have from my other sets, and get mixing and matching. Below, I've taken two of my other messages ("Thank You" and "Love Sweet Love") and turned this same cookie into two special treats for the first responders and healthcare pros in my life. I'm making some patriotic cookie sets this week (with these exact cookies) as small tokens of my appreciation.
And on that hopefully encouraging note (not just about extending the life of my stencils , but also about the importance of spreading your love), I leave you with a photo of the many styles we touched upon and a recap of my key stencil links.
P.S. Have a wonderful Memorial Day if you celebrate!
- 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 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!