What's New, Honeycat? Mother-of-Pearl and Filigree Heart Locket

 

Well, now that Christmas is out of the way, onto Valentine’s Day! There is no rest for the cookier! In this post, I’d like to talk a little about the development of my ideas and designs, using the free software and templates available on the internet, as well as the execution of the actual locket cookie.

Filigree Heart Locket Cookies
Design Development
(aka How It Happens in My Head)

Some time ago, I spotted some product packaging that had a delicate cutout section in the outer layer of card, revealing a colourful inner layer. The effect was particularly pretty and I stored it away in the corner of my brain I reserve for unformed cookie inspiration. (This corner really needs repair, as it has a few holes and leaks, but occasionally an idea gets lodged in it and pops up again. If I’m really lucky, it pops up when it’s actually useful, like now!)

Halloween Locket Cookie

This incredible opening locket cookie made by Dany’s Cakes for CookieCon 2015 just blew me away (picture reproduced with permission). I poured over all its details in awe, whenever it popped up in my newsfeed. It actually opens and closes with entirely edible, beautifully made mechanical parts, revealing a complex, delicate interior. Again, it has that element of a delicate cutout revealing what’s beneath.

Finally, I had been asked to create a locket cookie for Valentine’s Day, but whilst I was unable to take on the customer’s deadline, I didn’t drop the idea, as it struck me as the perfect format to experiment with a "metalwork cutout" effect . . . which meant I needed to create a pattern for the filigree.

Filigree Pattern Creation
(aka How I Play on PicMonkey)

Pattern Collage

I started by doing an image search for public domain designs, and came across this damask style pattern on clker.com, which provides public domain clipart. (It’s very important to check the source website of images you find in an image search, to ensure they really are legally available for your use; don’t assume that the image search itself will filter this properly for you.) [EDITOR'S NOTE: Ditto that!] The pattern was a good start, but had many extra twiddly bits I didn’t want, so I needed to adapt it for this project.

When utilising a design like this, you'll find it helpful to have it in a PNG format, which means the background is transparent, allowing you to easily select and erase parts you don’t want. Once I had downloaded the design, I popped over to PicMonkey and set about adapting the image for my purposes:

  1. Select "edit" from the home page; choose your downloaded PNG file.
  2. Click "frames"; select "shape cutouts"; select the heart, and position and resize as necessary; then select "apply".
  3. Save the new heart-shaped pattern as a PNG file.


Creating Pattern Collage

  1. Back on the PicMonkey home page, select "design" and "apply" the default white square canvas.
  2. In "overlays", select "your own" and open your new PNG file. Drag to resize and position it, so it fills the square.
  3. To adapt the design so it's more suitable for piping, select "eraser" in the pop-up box, and start to erase all of the parts of the pattern you don’t want. If necessary, enlarge the image to see the details more clearly. I took out those very small fiddly bits I mentioned earlier. If you slip and erase too much, simply switch to the "paint" option and paint it back in. This is where the PNG file becomes really useful!


Touch up Collage

Save your completed pattern as a JPEG or PNG. Either will do for the rest of this project.

At this stage, I printed out the design to continue work by hand with pencil. I wanted to make sure the "metalwork" went right to the edge of the cookie and that the elements all connected across the "locket". I also added a thick border. (And then I had to go all low-tech and just take a photo, as I have no idea how our scanner works . . .)

Finishing Touches

I used my pico projector with this roughly penciled-in image, just as it was, to transfer the design onto my cookies. But I’ve tidied up my drawing for your use! Simply ignore all of the above instructions, and go directly to the bottom of this post to find both neatened JPEG and PNG files in the attachments. (You can use the image as is on hearts, or make further adjustments, or use it as an overlay on a different cookie.)

DSC_2320rawpiccropped

Making the Cookie (At Last!)

The execution of this cookie is ultimately fairly straightforward, though it requires fine piping and scribe tool skills.

You will need:
  • Heart-shaped cookies
  • Heart-shaped "metalwork" pattern design (Print off mine or create your own!)
  • White flood royal icing
  • Lustre dusts in a variety of shades (I used Sugarflair lustres in Pearl Ivory, Shimmer Pink, and Twilight Blue; and Rainbow Dust Starlight lustres in Purple Planet and Galactic Green.)
  • Fat, soft, dry food-safe brushes
  • Scribe tool
  • Small quantity of thick flood royal icing in beige
  • Small quantity of stiff piping royal icing in beige
  • Gold lustre edible paint, or lustre dust and alcohol solvent (I used Sugarflair lustre in Royal Gold mixed with lemon essence.)
  • Fine food-safe brush

Flood the base of your cookie in white, leaving a small border; allow the icing to dry thoroughly.

Tap out a little of each of your pastel lustre dusts onto a large plate or into their lids. Using your fat soft brushes, start with one colour and dab onto the cookie in small patches here and there, before picking up a different colour and dabbing it in between the first. Keep going with each colour until the surface is mottled and has a mother-of-pearl effect.

Pearl Collage jpg
Using whichever transfer method you prefer (Kopykake, tissue paper, Camera Lucida app, or pico projector), transfer the printed pattern onto the lustred surface of your cookie with a scribe tool. I love the effect of the scribed surface – you could just stop here! A set of "engraved" mother-of-pearl cookies would be lovely. But making things easy is not what this tutorial is about, so onward we go . . .

DSC_2296rawpic

Pipe the pattern in thick beige flood icing using a no. 1 PME tip or equivalent, allowing the border to touch the cookie just outside the edge of the white base. A really thick flood icing helps reduce the likelihood of craters, hence the need for a scribe tool to smooth the icing surface, as well as to pull the icing into the many sharp points of the design. Popping the cookie into a dehydrator or in front of a fan every so often will help reduce craters too. Once the icing is dry, add the hinge, clasp, and chain details with the stiff piping icing and a no. 0 PME tip or equivalent. Allow the icing to fully dry.

Lustre collage

Paint the dried pattern with gold lustre. 

Repeat as required. I collapsed after two cookies despite intending to complete a whole set. Nevertheless, what a gift even just one of these delicate, pretty cookies would make to your Valentine!

DSC_2330pic

Cookie and photo credits: Lucy Samuels

Lucy Samuels is the owner of UK-based Honeycat Cookies. Originally with an art-based career in mind, Lucy attended art college for a year after school but switched to nursing where she spent twenty years specializing in cardiology. After becoming a stay-at-home mom to her daughter Jess, Lucy experimented with a range of crafts, alighting upon decorative cookies almost by accident. In late 2011, she was persuaded to start her business Honeycat Cookies following several requests to place orders. She set about learning the craft from books, the internet, and trial and error. Lucy has a YouTube channel as well as a blog, Honeycat Cookies, that document some of her wider adventures in confectionery. 

Photo credit: Lucy Samuels

NoteWhat's New, Honeycat? is a bimonthly Cookie Connection blog feature written by Lucy Samuels, which pushes the cookie envelope every other month with innovative cookie design ideas and tutorials. Its content expresses the views of the author and not necessarily those of this site, its owners, its administrators, or its employees. To catch up on all of Lucy's past posts, click here.

 

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justtttttttttttttttttt   justttttttttttttttttttttttt         looking like the toon milton the monster character!     lol     just   pooooooooohhhhhhhhhhh     okay   vented    going to read      tho before i start reading     i saw the templates    i have templates    but why o why o whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy    canit iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii    hahahaaaaaaaa    good thing there's lotsa water between us   lol     grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr  

sighhhhhhhhhhhhhh   bravooooooooooooo   yep   grrrrrr i saw  the advanced designation         staring at you      and away i go    why   cuz im like the lil engine    think i can think i can    lol            i have a designer stencil that is similar to this filigree    i think   its similar        i have a question!     how did you secure the cookie  topped template in order to use the scribe tool  ?     did you use magnets?     i find stencils   templates   too large for my hands to handle      maybe the eyesight figures in too

donaharrisburg posted:

sighhhhhhhhhhhhhh   bravooooooooooooo   yep   grrrrrr i saw  the advanced designation         staring at you      and away i go    why   cuz im like the lil engine    think i can think i can    lol            i have a designer stencil that is similar to this filigree    i think   its similar        i have a question!     how did you secure the cookie  topped template in order to use the scribe tool  ?     did you use magnets?     i find stencils   templates   too large for my hands to handle      maybe the eyesight figures in too

i forgot my bravoooooooooooooooooooo     you are so easy to read   follow    love love love   you

Lovely! Question: In order to avoid/minimize the appearance of the outline and any seams in the pattern, what do you find is the best approach to piping a filigree pattern of this sort? For instance, do you completely outline first and then flood the entire thing? Or do you work in pieces? If the latter, how do you determine where to break/stop if you need a rest or want to place it in the dehydrator, so you don't get obvious seams?

donaharrisburg posted:

    i have a question!     how did you secure the cookie  topped template in order to use the scribe tool  ?     

Hi Dona. I used a projected image of the pattern onto the cookie, which I simply held with one hand, scribing with the other.

Lucy (Honeycat Cookies) posted:
donaharrisburg posted:

    i have a question!     how did you secure the cookie  topped template in order to use the scribe tool  ?     

Hi Dona. I used a projected image of the pattern onto the cookie, which I simply held with one hand, scribing with the other.

DSC_2293pic

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Julia M. Usher posted:

Lovely! Question: In order to avoid/minimize the appearance of the outline and any seams in the pattern, what do you find is the best approach to piping a filigree pattern of this sort? For instance, do you completely outline first and then flood the entire thing? Or do you work in pieces? If the latter, how do you determine where to break/stop if you need a rest or want to place it in the dehydrator, so you don't get obvious seams?

Thank you. I didn't outline at all, I worked in pieces. I piped with the number one, filling the space but not trying to go into the tiny nooks and crannies. I did maybe half to one centimetre section of pattern like this, before switching to the scribe tool to manipulate the icing into the nooks and crannies and to smooth it over.

There are quite a few parts of this pattern where seams are virtually unnoticeable, or appropriate to the design, for example where one curlicue abuts an adjacent one. I figured that that would be the case with metalwork in any case. So it turns out there are quite a few places suitable to take a break. And if you look really closely, there are a lot of little seams! I left the border til last, and that I did outline in long sections, filling in immediately and working with the scribe to merge the 'flood' with the outlines.

I assumed craters would be a problem, particularly as it's been very wet here lately, but I took a chance, used as thick icing as I could manage, and was lucky. In the end, I didn't use the dehydrator until I'd finished the whole lot. I wouldn't normally take the chance!

JenniBakes4U posted:

Why do you choose to scratch the design in from the pico, and not directly pipe icing where the pico projects the design?  LOVELY COOKIES!!!!!

 

I was poised, with the piping bag, planning to do just that! But really I'm just not comfortable doing that, I find it's much more of a strain on my eyes and concentration, I hate having to avoid the shadows, and not being able to turn the cookie here and there as needed. And while I will do it with bigger designs, I decided this was going to drive me mad as it was, and I didn't need that, even though scribing is an extra step!

Brilliant tutorial, thank you so much. It's nice to read about using the scribe tool to trace the pattern with the pico instead of piping directly - I have found it's completely messing up my eyes too when I pipe directly (especially if I have lots of cookies to ice). I had tried using edible markers - but there is always a worry it will show through if I am not careful enough (or get a bad  case of the shakes - or am jiggling about to Stevie Wonder on the CD player), so this is a brilliant other way of doing it Thanks again, such a gorgeous cookie.

Oh my, your cookie is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for the wonderful tutorial. I have not used my scribe tool in that way so that is a great tip. Also, using PicMonkey that way ... another great tip.  I have a Kopykake and only once in a while will pipe directly onto the cookie. Most of the time I will trace the design on with edible marker and pray it doesn't bleed thru. Thank you again.

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