I know that I often tell you guys that I want you to think "outside the box" when it comes to participating in these challenges. But this time around, I have a bit of a twist. I want you to think inside the box. In fact, I want you to make an actual box - a 3-D cookie box! Perhaps this challenge will even inspire you to enter Julia M. Usher’s 3-D Cookie Art Competition™ at the Show Me Sweets show in July! [EDITOR'S NOTE: Hurry! Act now if you want to be considered for a featured role in the TV documentary of the competition. Casting closes on May 1! You can still enter the competition up 'til July 1, though you can't be featured if you don't register to enter and send in your casting info NOW!]
Intrigued? Well, sit tight for a moment, because we will get to the details of this challenge in a moment. But first, let's talk about the prize for this challenge! One lucky entrant will be chosen at random from among all of the challenge entrants to receive this gigantic set of 50 AmeriColor Soft Gel Pastes™ (called the Nifty Fifty Kit) generously donated by AmeriColor and Cookie Connection owner and founder @Julia M. Usher!
This kit has every color of the rainbow and then some, including all those hot new shades of gray. You will never have to mix your own colors again with this collection of AmeriColor Soft Gel Pastes™!
Now that you know what's at stake, let's turn to the rules and requirements of this challenge! Put simply, I want you to make a cookie box - a box constructed out of cookies. One of my very favorite cookie boxes, and the inspiration for this challenge, is this one made by @Manu biscotti decorati:
A Cookie Box for Dad by Manu
And here are some other wonderful examples of classic, six-sided cookie boxes created by members of our Cookie Connection family . . .
Flotsam and Jetsam Trinket Box by Laegwen
3-D Mother's Day Cookie Boxes by Julia M. Usher
However, sometimes a 3-D cookie is not literally a six-sided box, but it is a box in disguise. Here are some examples of 3-D cookie structures that are based on box-style construction, but are not, strictly speaking, six-sided boxes . . .
Mini Spring Bird House by mintlemonade (cookie crumbs)
3-D Cookie Castle by Sweet Ellie Belle Cookies
3-D Retro Oven Cookie by Julia M. Usher
Finally, for purposes of this challenge, we will also allow 3-D structures with curved sides, a top, and a bottom, such as these projects . . .
3-D Teapot Cookie by Julia M. Usher
3-D Cookie Vases by Julia M. Usher
Several of the examples above come with excellent tutorials about how to construct a box-style 3-D cookie. The best place to start is probably the video tutorial by our own Julia M. Usher, which shows how to make the 3-D Mother's Day Cookie Boxes, pictured above. As many of you know, Julia is a master of 3-D cookie construction, and she has a wealth of other video tutorials here on Cookie Connection, as well as on her YouTube channel. Watching almost any of her video tutorials would be helpful for this challenge. I also absolutely recommend the Made by Manu tutorial about how to make her Cookie Box for Dad. And definitely check out the Get Inspired by Laegwen tutorial for her Flotsam and Jetsam Trinket Box.
[AUTHOR'S NOTE: As always, if you find additional tutorials, tips, or other information that may be useful to those of us trying to learn box-making techniques, please share them in the comments under this post. Likewise, thoughtful discussions of your own "fails" are extremely helpful to others - please do not be shy about sharing! Share. ALL. The. Knowledge.]
Now that you have gotten acquainted with the basics of 3-D cookie box construction, let's talk about the exact rules for this challenge.
Rules: PLEASE READ THEM CAREFULLY. Nothing makes me sadder than having to disqualify a fabulous set of cookies because someone failed to read ALL of the rules!
1. Create a 3-D "cookie box."
2. To qualify as a 3-D "cookie box," your entry must have a base, sides, and a top made of cookies. There is no minimum or maximum limit to the number of sides of your box.
3. The main "box" part of your entry must be constructed with cookies, BUT there are no restrictions on the embellishments and other materials you use to decorate your cookie box.
4. Your design must be completely original, and not a copy of any other artist's design. (In my eyes, the more original the entry, the better! And, remember, no copyrighted designs may be used without written permission.)
5. As always, we ask that you make a brand new cookie project for this challenge.
6. Think outside the box, inside the box, and BE THE BOX. In other words, immerse yourself in this challenge by taking some healthy risks, and HAVE SOME FUN.
- Please post an image of your 3-D cookie box to the site under the Practice Bakes Perfect clip set no later than June 8, 2019 at 5 pm central.
- Because these challenges are ongoing, we ask that you put "Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #34" in your photo caption AND in a tag, so that we can tell the challenges apart from month to month. Please use the main title field to uniquely name your cookies as you normally would.
- Please also assign other relevant clip sets and tags to your images, as you normally would. (Meaning don't just use the Practice Bakes Perfect clip set and leave it at that, or your photos won't easily be found with keyword searches.)
- You can enter more than once, but please post only one clip of each distinct entry. Multiple clips of the same entry are not allowed unless added in a comment beneath the one primary clip.
After the challenge has closed on June 8, we will announce the winner in the Saturday Spotlight the following weekend (June 15, 2019). The next challenge will be announced about a week after that Spotlight.
And one last thing . . . This is NOT meant to be a competition. The only person you should be competing against is yourself. Period. These challenges are intended to inspire the artist in you and push you to be the best cookie artist YOU can be at this snapshot in time. Remember, the whole point of this exercise is to get you out of your comfort zone - to "take healthy risks," as my wise-beyond-his-years son always reminds me. Plus, prizes are given entirely at random, so healthy risk-taking has its own rewards!
I would love to chat with you as you journey through this process, so if you have any questions about the challenge, are having trouble getting started, need help bringing an idea to life, or want technical advice, please leave a comment below or send me a Cookie Connection private message.
Christine Donnelly began her professional baking career at 16, when she was hired on the spot at her local bakery to work the counter and decorate cakes. After detours to college and law school, she worked as a trial lawyer in Chicago for many years, ultimately leaving that career to become a stay-at-home mother to her two children. In her “retirement,” she continued to bake at home, at last finding her preferred artistic medium in decorated cookies. In February 2013, Bakerloo Station was born with a presence on both Facebook and Instagram. Christine makes cookies to balance her left brain, to inspire and share creative ideas, and to feed those needs that only art can satisfy.
Photo credit: Christine Donnelly
Note: Practice Bakes Perfect is a bimonthly Cookie Connection blog feature written by Christine Donnelly that poses inspiration or challenges to get you to stretch as a cookie artist - for practice, for prizes, and for fun! Its content expresses the views of the author and not necessarily those of this site, its owners, its administrators, or its employees. Catch up on all of Christine's past Cookie Connection posts here.