“I never profess to be a good modeller. I remember only getting a bronze once at a competition because of my modelling. The judges said it dragged the piece down, so I’ve always been a little scared of it. When I went to the Squires Kitchen exhibition in March, one of the demonstrators recommended Squires Kitchen’s modelling chocolate cocoa form. I have a full packet of white cocoa form sat in front of me, so where do I start?” – Cassie Brown
“I always wanted to make a bird as I love nature. I wanted something colourful too, so I choose a kingfisher. You must always get the foundations right in any media that you’re using, so you will need at least 4 photos of the bird from different angles to get its structure right. The angles I’d recommend are top, side, back and front views.” – Cassie Brown
You Will Need:
- Cocoa Form in White
- Piping Gel
- Polystyrene Egg for the Body
- 20# White Wire
- Wire Cutters
- Tin Foil
- Rolling Pin
- Modelling Paste
- Small Cel Pin or Cerart Tool
- Brown, Black and Metallic Gold Airbrush Colours
- Indigo Blue, Orange, Black and White Food Colour Dusts
- Confectioner’s Glaze
- Dipping Solution
Creating the Rock:
- Roll up some tin foil into a ball slightly bigger than a tennis ball, then squeeze it into a rock-like shape. Make sure it has a flattish bottom for stability.
- Roll out some modelling paste about 1/2cm thick, brush a little piping gel onto the back of the paste, and wrap the paste around the foil. Make sure all joints are at the bottom.
- Using the pointed end of the cel pin, push it across the rock in random directions and depths to create a rugged rock. Leave to dry. I painted my rock by airbrushing a brown airbrush colour and then highlighted with a little black and metallic gold.
Creating the Kingfisher:
- I used a polystyrene egg for the body of my kingfisher because he isn’t being eaten and I didn’t want to waste chocolate. I pushed a 20# wire through the larger end of the egg so that it looked like the bird’s legs, but then pushed them into the rock for a solid base.
- Roll out the cocoa form to a thickness of about 1/2cm and wrap it around the egg shape. Pinch at the bottom of the egg shape to create the tail. Using the cocoa form, roll a ball shape for the head and attach by gently pushing it down and smoothing over the neck with your finger. This will erase the join line between the head and body join. I gently created a small version of the beak so I knew where to work on it later.
- Using the cel pin or cerart tool, start to gently make the wings and eyes. If you go wrong at this point, you can just rub over it with your finger and the mistake will disappear. I started to make the feathers at the bottom of the tail; as I worked my way up the bird’s back, the feather shapes started to turn into lots of little lines to look like fluffy feathers.
- Then, move onto the wings. I started by making the larger feathers, then moved onto making the smaller feathers and built it up from there. I found the cocoa form very forgiving, so any little mistakes are easily removed with the gentle rub of a finger.
- The eyes are probably the hardest part as they need to be level and the same size. I gently marked the eyes out and looked at the bird from all angles to get it right.
- Then, I continued with the feather design. Next up is the beak; pull the beak between two of your fingers and your thumb, and make a line around it to look like the part where the beak is supposed to open. Make two little indents in the beak near to the eyes. I then left the model to dry for 24 hours, but noticed that I could still make little marks if I had to.
Colouring the Kingfisher:
- To colour the kingfisher, I used indigo blue, coal black, pumpkin orange, and snow white food colour dusts mixed with a little alcohol.
- Brush the orange onto the chest of the bird, just under each eye, and at the top of the beak. Using the white to paint with, follow the orange line a little further down the bird’s neck and on its throat. Paint the blue all over the bird’s back, wings and head.
- I painted the black last, over the beak, the eye, and just around the eye. Leave to dry (but it should dry as you’re painting it). I recommend leaving it for a few days so that it dries completely. Finally, paint the eye and beak with a little confectioner’s glaze.
“This beautifully realistic kingfisher that will last forever if you spray it all with varnish!”