|I have demonstrated these techniques at Days of Sharing and at the 2006 ICES Convention in
The Bottles and Camouflage are original techniques that I started and are now used all over the
country by other cake decorators
If you have any questions feel free to contact me by e-mail or call
Sugar “Glass” Drink Bottles and Ice
By Dena Bryngelson
You will need:
• Beer bottle mold (made with silicone plastique)
• Heavy Aluminum Foil
• Non stick Cooking Spray (not butter flavor)
• Heavy glass measuring cup 4 cup size
• Extra Fine granulated sugar or casting sugar
• Clear Karo syrup or corn syrup
• Brown, Ivory, or green airbrush colors as needed
• Printed labels or hand-drawn labels on wafer paper, edible images or gumpaste to make
label directly on bottles
Bottle molds can be made with a food grade silicone putty. It can be purchased at local hobby
shops with the clay supplies. The molds can be purchased pre-made now from
decoratethecake.com and other online stores. The silicone putty to make the molds can also
be purchased through two vendors that I have found on the web but there may be more.
These two website addresses are for those vendors:
Press the silicone putty over any glass bottle to make a half mold of the bottle. It is only
necessary to go half way around the bottle. Do not spray the bottle with anything to keep the
silicone from sticking. Any oil on the surface will ruin the silicone. You need the putty to be just
thick enough that the heat will not burn you through the mold when you handle it but not so
thick that the silicone won’t flex to remove the sugar piece. A little more than ¼ inch thick
should be enough…slightly thicker than rolled fondant for a cake. Making a whole bottle will
result in a less clear sugar glass containing bubbles. That will also put larger holes in your
cake when inserting the bottle. The half bottle is more like a shovel in shape and will not tear
the cake as much.
Begin making the “ice” by crumpling a sheet of heavy foil and then pulling it back out flat. Place
the foil onto a cookie sheet, metal baking sheet or heat proof surface. Spray foil with non stick
Measure 1/2cup corn syrup into measuring cup. Add one cup of sugar to corn syrup and stir
gently. Add one teaspoon of water. Stir in. Place measuring cup into microwave and cook on
high temperature for 6-6.5 minutes. The mixture needs to reach 320 degrees or hard crack
stage. Pour a spoonful of the sugar into cool water...it should make a cracking sound and keep
it's shape when it hits the bottom. Microwave longer if it does not. Add 30 seconds at a time
until it has reached this stage.
Pour the sugar mixture out onto the foil and fill the measure cup with hot water to soak. Make
sure the syrup has covered the foil in a thin sheet. Leave the sugar to cool completely while
you make the bottles.
Make the sugar syrup in the same way as for the ice but it can caramelize slightly for the bottles
if the bottle is to be green or brown in color. Drop two to three drops of airbrush color into the
syrup mixture and stir in carefully. Pour hot syrup into three half bottle molds. Carefully tilt the
molds back and forth until the mixture “grabs” the sides of the mold and begins to cling. Set the
molds down to cool completely. Any excess can be clipped off with sharp scissors while the
sugar is still warm but waiting until it is cooled to break off the excess pieces will break the
To finish the ice peel it away from the foil and then carefully break it into small pieces. The
sugar may be sharp so be careful. You may want to wear gloves while handling the sharp
sugar. Place broken sugar into a kitchen aid mixer bowl with the flat paddle. Cover the mixer
with a loose towel watching that you do not get it close to the paddle in the bowl. Turn the mixer
onto speed 2 to break up the ice and make it look frosty. Turn off the mixer and remove the
towel. You can also crush the sugar ice by beating it with a flat meat mallet inside of a heavy,
freezer type, zip bag. Add edible glitter to the ice if you like. Using the mixer to crush the ice will
make it look frosted and not as clear as the broken pieces...more like ice than glass.
When the bottles are cooled completely to the touch they can be removed from the molds and
the labels applied with a very thin bit of piping jelly to the back side of the label. Wrap the label
ends around and into the bottle back. Paint gumpaste labels and the caps of the bottles with a
mixture of petal dusts and vodka or everclear to match brand of drink. They can also be
printed out using edible images. Insert bottom of bottle into cake that is iced with white icing on
the top and add “ice” around the bottles.
Isomalt is much more stable if you can get it before you need it. There are suitable recipes on
the web for isomalt. They crystalline structure is stronger and it has a much clearer look than
Also known as the “Duck Cake” This camouflage is used commonly by duck hunters. This camouflage
was created for a groom’s cake to match a fabric pattern.
Begin with enough fondant to cover your cake with some leftover. Be sure to use a fondant that is stiff
enough to hold the shape when it is placed over the cake. Too soft and it will distort the pattern. I use
Wilton brand fondant for this technique. It is the only fondant I have found that will roll out to shape and
not distort the grass pattern when it is rolled in. In addition, the grass seems to stick in place better with
this brand than others I have tried.
Divide the dough into about six portions with one being relatively smaller than the other five. Color the
smaller portion in a light ivory color and put it aside in a plastic zip bag. Color the other five portions of
fondant in greens, grays, khaki, gold, or shades of browns.
Roll the portions into logs of the same length. Join these logs together and roll them into a longer log.
Fold twice and roll the log until all of the portions are sticking together.
Cut slices from the log about ½ inch to one inch thick. Place the slices onto your rolling mat and press
them together. Knead them together lightly being careful not to over mix the colors. Roll the fondant out
until it is just thicker than a pencil.
Cover the rolled fondant with another layer of Vinyl mat.
Roll out Ivory colored fondant to about 1/16 of an inch. Cut this into strips with a pizza cutter wheel. The
strips should have one pointed end. The strips should be fairly even in width but can be any length. Work
quickly so that the fondant does not dry out.
Lift the multi colored fondant on the mat and place the strips under the fondant. Try to keep the pointed
ends toward the center of the fondant. Let the strips of “grass” overlap in some places and have some
ends curved back. Work all the way around the fondant in a circle until there is ‘grass” on all sides
Remove the top piece of vinyl and roll over the fondant lightly with the rolling pin to roll them into the
Lightly spray your buttercream-iced cake with a mist of water so that the fondant will stick to the surface of
Pick up the vinyl mat with the fondant on it using your rolling pin to hold the fondant in place. Lay the
fondant on the mat over the top of the cake centering the grass on the cake top. Peal off the vinyl mat.
Smooth the top of the cake. Lightly press the fondant to seal on the top edge around the cake. Pull the
fondant out at the bottom. Starting at the top of the cake, smooth the fondant down the sides as you go
around the cake easing out the wrinkles into the excess at the bottom of the cake. After the cake is
smoothed by hand remove the excess with a pizza cutter. Smooth again with a fondant smoother.
Begin airbrushing the cake. Start by airbrushing a line of ivory color up the center of each blade of grass.
Pay attention to the blades of grass that cross over each other. You do not want to make the lines criss
cross where they intersect. If the blade is under you will stop the line and then continue it on the other
side…if it is over you will continue drawing the line. This will make the blades of grass appear to have
After the lines are drawn up the center of each blade of grass you will airbrush a shadow along side each
blade. This is done with black airbrush color. First look at the blades of grass to see which ones are
crossed over the top and which go under the other blades. When the shadow line is airbrushed you will
want the shadow to go over the top of the blades that appear to go under the blade you are following.
When a shadow is being airbrushed alongside a blade that has another cross over the top you will want to
stop at that blade and then pick up airbrushing the shadow again on the other side of it. Airbrush a thick
black line alongside every blade of grass on one side of the blade. Allow some of the over spray to go
onto the grass blade but most should be on the background colors of the fondant.
After all of the shadows are airbrushed you will use the black again to airbrush small thin lines over the
background colors. They will look similar to a bark pattern. It is not necessary to make them perfectly
straight or smooth. It looks better if they are thicker and slightly squiggly in some places. Try not to let the
lines go over the grass.
Airbrush a black line around the bottom of the cake for a border.
Cover a cake board cut to the shape of the underside of your duck with your leftover fondant. Place
dowels into your cake and then rest the fondant covered cake board on top.
At the event site place the duck on the covered cake board. Insert cattails around the duck. Insert the
gumpaste grass around the cattails.
Mossy Oak camouflage is made in a similar way but it is more time consuming to make.
Microwave Hard Candy Recipe
½ cup Karo or Clear Corn Syrup
1 cup granulated (table) sugar
½ tsp water
Mix the ingredients in a heavy 2 cup glass measuring cup (glass only) Cook in the microwave on high
power for 3-7 minutes (depending on power of microwave) until the syrup reaches 310 degrees or hard
crack stage. The temperature can be tested by dropping a bit of the sugar syrup into cool water. If the
candy syrup is hot enough it will make a crackling sound and keep it’s shape in the bottom of the glass.
If it is not hot enough it will form a puddle in the bottom or look soft like a flattened ball.
Pour this clear into a mold or mix a few drops of airbrush color into the syrup while it is still hot.
You can also boil this at high heat on the stove. Brush down the sides with a damp pastry brush to keep
sugar crystals from forming on the pan sides. Boil until the sugar reaches 310 degrees or hard crack
stage. The recipe can be multiplied when cooking on stove top.
To make a stained glass picture
The “sugar glass” is poured into a flat mold. Find a picture or design that you would like to use. Outline
that design onto aluminum foil with a bead of play dough pushed through a clay gun. Spray the inside of
the foil mold with non-stick spray and then fill the void with the hot candy syrup. After it cools remove the
play dough from around the edges of the “glass”. Peel away the foil. Place a reverse image of the
design that you would like to use inside of a plastic zip bag or under plastic. Place the sugar glass on
top of the image and the plastic wrap. Carefully paint in the design with petal dusts, in the colors of the
design, mixed fairly thick with Everclear or Crisco shortening. To make them less transparent you can
add a little white color but this will also make them lighter in color. Allow the painting to dry completely.
After the painting is finished turn the sugar glass design over onto the fondant topped cake. It will stick
immediately and not be removable without ruining the painting. Use black or charcoal grey royal icing
(fondant or buttercream will work as well) with a tip one or two to outline the painting on the surface of the
glass like the leading in a stained glass window. Outline the entire piece with black or grey and a tip
large enough to fill the edge of the “glass” maybe a 5 or 10 round tip. This looks fantastic if done well.
You may also pre color the sugar glass and pour it into separate sections of your design. This works
well with a design that has fewer colors and larger sections. Map out your design onto foil. Place the
design onto two overlapping sheets of foil and then trace over the lead lines a pencil. Lift away the
design sheet and you will see the lines on the surface of the foil. Put a bead of play dough over the lines
in the foil and make sure they are connected well at the joins. Spray the foil surface lightly with cooking
spray or wipe it with crisco on a paper towel prior to adding the play dough. Cook a hard candy mixture
until it reaches 320 degrees or hard crack stage. Divide the hot candy syrup between several small
measuring cups (glass only) and drop in a few drops of airbrush color. Stir in the color and then pour
the hot syrup into the different sections being careful not to pour the wrong color into a section. When
the candy has cooled and hardened remove the different sections from the play dough and the foil.
Outline your design onto your cake top with a water pen or toothpick. Start on one side placing the
sections of candy in place and running a bead of fondant or royal icing in between them as they are put
together like a jigsaw puzzle. When the puzzle is finished run a bead of “leading” around the outside of
the finished design to hold the pieces in place. You can use fondant or royal icing but be careful that it
does not get under the "glass"