Watercolour Painting on Cakes | Emily | Skillshare

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Watercolour Painting on Cakes

teacher avatar Emily

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

15 Lessons (20m)
    • 1. Introduction to watercolour painting on cakes

    • 2. Choose a subject

    • 3. What you'll need

    • 4. Prepare a test canvas

    • 5. Prepare your paint colours

    • 6. Paint on your test canvas

    • 7. Prepare your cake

    • 8. Sketch your outline

    • 9. Paint the basic shape

    • 10. Add shadows and shading

    • 11. Paint the ground

    • 12. Add scenery

    • 13. Fill in gaps with a second layer

    • 14. Paint the background

    • 15. Store and serve your cake!

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About This Class

In this class you're learn how to create a watercolour painting on a cake using basic cake decorating materials so that it looks as good as it tastes! I'll show you how to choose a subject, prepare a test canvas using buttercream, mix your colours, sketch an outline, paint each basic shape and then add details like shadows and shading, and finish your design by creating a background that doesn't distract from the subject. Painting is a wonderful way to unwind and de-stress, even if you're a complete beginner, and it's a unique way to decorate a cake that will impress everyone!

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1. Introduction to watercolour painting on cakes: Hi, I'm Emily. I'm going to show you how to create a beautiful watercolor painting using a cake as your Canvas. And we're going to use just regular cake decorating supplies for this. I'm going to show you every step along the way how to prepare your colors, how to do a practice run, and then of course, how to create the final painting on your cake. It's a great way to release your creativity and to just zone out and relax. And at the end of it you'll have a beautiful cake. So let's get started. 2. Choose a subject: Before you start painting, you need to find your subject. So you need to find some nature that you want to put on the side of your cake. And you can either don't get this and bring it home and copy it once you get home. Or you can take photos if it while you're at, and then you can swipe through your photos when you're back at home and you can work off these pictures instead of having the actual leaf or a branch or trees or flowers or whatever it is that you see out in nature. 3. What you'll need: You don't need a lot of supplies with us, and thanks for hanging keys are firstly a palette. You can use a plate if you don't have one of these, but this is helpful because it keeps the colors separate and then you can blend them as much as you like. And you'll need a variety of paint brushes. So it's a good idea to have some thicker ones just to save time and then some very fine points. So you can outline very small details or small patches of color. And then to blot the colors, you're going to need a paper towel or you can use a sponge or a combination of both and just make the actual paints. You're going to need colors. And I use gel colors. You don't have to have every color under the sun available. I'm using just the main colors. So colors of the rainbow, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink. And I say boo, yes. I'd suggest mixing your gels with vodka or any clear colored alcohol instead of using water. If you don't want to use alcohol, that's fine. It is going to evaporate. And the reason why it's so fantastic is because vodka evaporates much more quickly than water does. So the layers are going to dry a lot more quickly than if you use water and the frosting isn't going to become a mess. 4. Prepare a test canvas: Before painting your design straight onto your cake, especially if this is your first time ever painting onto a cake. It's a really good idea to do a practice run. And you didn't have to create an entire test cake to do this, all you need is a piece of parchment paper, and you'll also need a palette knife or an offset spatula. And what you're going to do is spread some buttercream onto your parchment paper. And you're aiming for it to be as flat as possible but fit. Worry about the actual shape of the brush to clean all you need is like a swatch that you can use as a background. And you can take this onto a cutting board if you want it to be easier. So it doesn't move around much. And we're going to let this buttercream set so that it forms up just like the frosting on the cake. And then you can test your colors out. You can test out to pick to your shading. Basically do a test run of everything that you're going to eventually do on your cake. After you've spread out the buttercream, you need to push it in the fridge or the freezer. And it will probably take about 15 minutes in the freezer or 30 minutes in the fridge until it's very fun. And at that point you can use it as your practice Canvas. 5. Prepare your paint colours: I'm going to start by choosing my first photo and having that to Hansard that I can see the colors that I'm going to need to use. Let's start with this brown dried out leafy plant. And I'm going to create all of the different shades of browns and yellows that I can see in that picture. There are lots of different ways to create brown. You can mix orange and green. You could try red and green, yellow and green to create different shades. And I'm going to start by putting a dot of each of my colors into my palette, and then I'm going to mix them with my alcohol. I find it helpful to put the colors in the order of the rainbow so that I can remember which is which because it's really difficult to distinguish in the palate because they told us look like dark blobs. And the first step is to add some vodka to your palate. And that's what you're going to be mixing your colors. I'm taking just a little bit into the center. And then I'll pick out a brush and scoop up a little bit of color. So I'll start with red and then blend it in here with my thoughts. Okay, So we have a nice red. Now I'm going to add different colors, the red to make different shapes. For example, let's start with a little bit of green over here. Okay, so I've made a very dark shade of green. Now I'm going to add a little bit more red. And then as I mix it together, getting to form Brown. And what's really fun about mixing colors together is that you can just play with it, add colors as you go along. I'm going to use the same base color, but add some yellow and that's going to lighten it. And then this will be another shade of brown to work with when I start painting, making this over into another little hole here. And then to do an even lighter color, I'll start with yellow and then add a little bit of this to it. So with the elevating their main color, this should be a much lighter shade of brown. Okay, so I have three shades of brown here. I can mix and match these as I go along. And I also have my yellow over here with just a tiny bit of brown. So this will be my lightest color. And now I'm ready to start painting my fast plant. 6. Paint on your test canvas: When your buttercream, a test Canvas has set in the fridge or the freezer. It will be very fun. So you'll be able to touch it without imprinting any texture in it. And that means it's ready for you to stop. The first stage of creating a watercolor is doing some sort of out time, which typically you would do in pencil. But I don't want to draw with pencil onto my kicks and certainly to use a toothpick. And this will allow you to do the same thing. You can sketch. You can do a rough outline and just do it very, very lightly and you'll totally cover over it with your paints. In the next step, I have my test Canvas right below the picture, the time copying, and it just makes it easier to see. I need to add a little bit more vodka, too thin it out. Now what you're doing when you're doing this test Canvas is testing out the brush sizes, testing out the colors, how they blend together, the consistency of the paints that you've made. You're not going to recreate your entire painting on a test Canvas pot to the front of this is playing around with it and seeing what you create. And so get comfortable with the colors of the text is with the consistency. And then move on to painting on your cake, which is the really fun part. This is going back in the fridge and then I'll bring up the cake and we can get started painting onto the actual cake. 7. Prepare your cake: You're going to need a frosted cake as the canvas for your painting. And what's really important about this is that the frosting has set. I use my full minute buttercream and it's made with powdered sugar or I think sugar and butter. And the reason I love it is that when it sets, it becomes totally firms. So you can see I'm touching the cake and I'm not leaving any texture behind on the frosting. And that makes it the ideal Canvas for a painting because it means you can brush colors straight onto it and you're not going to ruin the texture of the frosting. And the painting is going to sit right on top of the frustum to make it extra time. What I do is I put the cake in the fridge for at least an hour before doing this. So it's tilde, it's not going to warm up and softened while I'm doing my painting. So now it's ready to go. It's very nice to have a timetable for this because you can spin your cake really easily and it's easy to reach the different angles that you're trying to reach, but it's definitely not essential. So don't rush out and buy one. You can just put this on their counter or the table or wherever you're whacking and you'll be fine. 8. Sketch your outline: Just like on the practice Canvas, the first thing we're going to do is outline the design using a toothpick. And to do that, you're going to follow exactly the same process that you did when you are painting it onto the buttercream Canvas, except that instead of doing it downwards, you're going to be doing it onto the side of a surface which is a little bit earlier. And if you have shaky hands like me, you might need to rest it on the turntable or support it with your other hand so that you're not shaking all over the place, but it's not too complicated. Keep your reference picture next to you as you do this, so that you can refer to it while you're sketching the outline. And that will make it as accurate as possible, but you don't need to stick exactly to the picture. You don't need to recreate your photo. You can just use it as inspiration and starting with the stalk and then going to make the branches that are coming out. Your first shape is really the easiest and the one that you can have the most creative flexibility because you're not trying to match it to anything else on your cake campus yet. I've created the stem, I created a few of the branches. And then I'm going to let myself go from there with the paints. 9. Paint the basic shape: I'm starting with one of my smaller brushes to do the stem. And I'm good to start with a very light watered down or vodka down color because I want to be able to build up on my color. And then we'd use my outline and just pull my brush up to outline that stem. Need to pull the branches of the stalks of the branches up for two, then eventually build my leaves on top of these. And for the leaves I can see that they all seem to be pointing upwards. And I'm going to blend this in now with a darker brown shade. And by doing the lightest color first and then doing this on top, you're building up the color gradually. See that it's already sort of blended, unshaded, looks more realistic that way. Now that I have the general color of my leaves, the next step is going to be building up a stem with different shades of brown. Because once I've painted all of the leaves, it's going to be difficult to get in and do the finite details on the branches, a little bit of yellow. And then I'll go in with a few more shades of brown. If you make a mistake like I just did, you can take a paper towel and dab it. Since the butter cream frosting on the cake has set, you're not going to damage the frosting as you smudge the color as well. 10. Add shadows and shading: I can see that on my picture the light is coming from this direction. So I'm going to create all of my shadows on this side. And to do that, I'm going to use a darker color and I'm mixing in a little bit of alcohol with it to thin it out because I don't want to super dot color to start with. I want to be able to build it up. And then I'll paint on my outline in a few lines, which I'll then blend together. And that way it wouldn't look like a coloring book. And when I'm blending that color gradually into the rest of my stem. And that way the shadows look a bit more natural. The next step is going to be to paint on some leaves. You'll notice as you paint that the colors start getting thicker and thicker because the alcohol in them is evaporating. So when that happens, you can just add a little bit more alcohol. You can build up the colors at different stages if you want to, you can wait for all of the fast color to dry and then paint another color on top. And that will make this next color mode dramatic. But if you do it while it's still wet, the colors are blending together and so it makes the leafs more blended and realistic clicking. One of the things I love about watercolor, aside from it being a really nice outlet for creativity and, and distressing, is that you really watch the painting come to life as you paint because you're doing it layer by layer. So you start with the basic outline, then you add the first color of each shape, just the base color. Then you bills on with more colors to create different colors and textures within the shape, and then you create the shadows at the end. So at each stage, you're saying a really dramatic difference in how realistic the image is by all of the details that you're adding at these different stages of the process. If you're getting stressed out because you didn't think your image look that much like the image on your photo. Just remember that no one else is going to be looking at that 50. That's just for you, that's your reference. No one else is going to be comparing your cake to the image that tool referring to. I'm going to add a little bit of shading next. So I'll choose one of the darker colors. Water it down a little bit, dab it so I didn't have too much paint on my brush. And then I'll go back in and do a few shadows. Now I mentioned before the child looks like in the freighted, the light is coming from this way. So all of the shadows are going to be on this side of the petals and you don't want to stop too dark because it's difficult to undo. So start with a light color and then you can build up these colors as you go along. Taking a little piece of paper towel and I'm going to gently dab the picture and that's going to soak up any excess color so that the lines I drew don't look as dramatic. And this is totally optional. If you want the shadows to be DACA, that's fine too. 11. Paint the ground: When you're happy with your design, you can put the weight back in the fridge so that it chills and the frosting stays flat. And then meanwhile, revisit your photos and choose the next one that you'd like to create. I really liked my design. I love all of the colors and the detail you can see already after just a few minutes of painting. And now I'm going to move on to the background. And to help me do this, I did take some photos while I was on my hike, showing the ground so that I could try and recreate it. And there are, again, lots of different browns. And I'm going to use the same colors that I have, except I'm going to mix in some of the red. Just as when I was painting the leaves onto the plant. I'm going to use the same idea at the bottom of starting with the lightest color and then build upon those colors as I go. 12. Add scenery: If I go back to my reference picture, I can see that there is soil at the bottom with some leaves, then there are some plants and then of course the sky. So I'm going to try and recreate that now. I'm going to start with some brown to be the stems in the background, or the trunks of trees in the background. I'm not going to do anything too complicated because I don't want to distract from the tree that I've drawn here. So I'll draw a few lines in the background which I can build on later. Since I have the brown already ready to go in my palette. Now it's time to make some green. I'll mix some yellow into it to make it lighter. And then I'm also going to add brown to it to make it a bit duller because green and yellow together make a really bright green. Now that I have some green leaf shapes, I can build on that with different shades of green. So I could add some more green, some more yellow, more yellow you add to a color. The brighter it's going to be. Just by doing little dots of this around and creating different shapes of leaves. Again, just to make it look more realistic. I don't want this to be such a standalone trees. I am going to create a trend behind it or a few trees behind it. Came back to my brown, running it up. And then I'll put some leaves on these trees as well. And by layering thoughts like this, same thing and you're making the design look a bit more realistic. And this time I'm going to start on the opposite side of making. If you always start on one side of the cake and work your way across to the other side. The sideway you start is going to be bolder because you'll have more paint on your brush when you start unless when you finish. So it's a good idea to alternate the side of the cake that you start on. I've put too much paint onto it, so I'm going to blot it with my paper towel. And that way it's not going to run down the cake. And this blushing will also smudge the colors together that so that they blend together, rather than being such distinct shapes. 13. Fill in gaps with a second layer: Now that the leaves at the bottom have dried, I'm going to fill in the patches of white with another shade of brown. And since the browns baton on the cake already have dried, I'm not going to be blending the colors. I'm going to be creating more distinct patches of color around it. So it will look like a bed of leaves on the ground. 14. Paint the background: When you move on to the background of your design, which is probably going to be the last thing that you do. You can either try and recreate the background that you sold naturally. So you could have the brown and then the band of brown with green and then the blue. Or you can keep it simple so you could just leave the background white, like the color of your frosting. I'm going to recreate my battalion to a very, very simple background. I didn't have a ton of detail in the painted design. So I don't want to drown out with lots of detail in the background. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to really water down my colors to get very pale colors. And I'm going to do a very pale brown band and then a very pale blue band at the top. To do this, I'm going to add quite a lot of vodka to my brown. I'm also going to dab my paintbrush on my paper towel to take off most of the paint. Oh, vodka before I start painting onto the cake and then onto the cake, I'm just going to drag my brush gently from side to side, going as close to the bits I've painted as I can, but not going all the way over them because then the colors are all going to blend together. And you stop transparent paint onto the cake. You can just dip it into some vodka or back into the color you've made to make it wet. And then you can continue painting. The bands of color that you're creating don't have to be very distinct line that's much more natural if-then naught. So as you're going across the cake, It's fine if your line isn't straight or if the line, for example, between these two trees is lower than the line between these two trees. There's really no right or wrong way of doing this. So you can see I have a band of brown around the bottom which recreates these leaves and soil at the bottom. And then a band of a very pale brown, which is supposed to be all of the leaves and trees in the background that aren't close enough to be really solid shapes like the rest of my trees. And then at the very top I'm going to create the sky. It's absolutely fine to blend your colors. So for example, with my blue, I've added some vodka that had yellow and green and brown painting. And that's fine because the sky is very rarely this shade of blue. It's very rarely this bright. So it's a good idea to make your colors a little bit muted by adding just a touch of brown or a touch of red or any other color to make the blue a little less bright. One way to make the color a bit lighter is to paint onto the cake and then add just vodka on your brush to blend the color and make it a little bit lighter at the same time, you can see hit as a very dark blue meeting the brown and looks like a very obvious signs say for that I'm actually going to get my paper towel in a little bit of vodka so that it's wet. And then I'm going to use that to blend these colors together with little data emotions. Now at this point, my first image, this tree in the middle, has really been drowned out by the brighter colors around it. So I'm going to go back in and with a very dark brown, I'm going to add some darker shadows and details so that it stands out a bit more. 15. Store and serve your cake!: It's fine to store, you'll painted cake in the fridge, but because of the condensation and the moisture in the front, it's a good idea to keep it covered even in an air tight container like a top, wow, oh, a box. And if you didn't have a lid, you can use cling film all Saran wrap to cover a top. Take your cake out of the fridge a few hours before eating it. So it comes to room temperature and that's when it tastes the best. I hit you enjoy painting your watercolor onto your cake, and I'm sure it will taste as good as it looks.