Is it possible to start sugarcraft on a budget?
Times are tough, and many people are taking to hobbies and crafts to save themselves money, or to use a skill they have to make some extra money. When starting out with sugarcrafting, it may seem like there are so many tools and bits of equipment that you need to buy – and this could be impossible for you right now. So read on for ways that you can start out in Sugarcraft on a budget!
I have already written an article on 10 items that you could buy yourself as a start up kit, but even that could be a lot for some people. So this article is going to help you out by showing you how to make your own alternatives to some of these tools, or how you can substitute items that you may already have at home.
Non-Stick Board or Mat
You could buy one of these non-stick mats online or at your local supply shop. The budget alternative is to go to your local hardware or tile supply shop and pick out a large smooth tile. Ask one of the staff nicely for a sample or slightly damaged piece that you can take home for free, or for a reduced price. As long as the tile is smooth, they are a great surface to use for rolling out your fondant or sugarpaste!
You could buy a custom made smoother to give your icing a perfect smooth finish, but you can also achieve good results by just using your hands! Or you can take a piece of left over fondant or sugarpaste, roll it into a ball and flatten the bottom of it slightly, and use it as a smoother!
You can also make your own icing bags. Use strong sandwich bags or other food bags. Cut away a small piece from the corner, and insert your nozzle. You can also take some baking paper and fold and stick it into a cone, and cut away the corner.
Here is one video demonstrating homemade icing bags!
You can also try out a variety of everyday kitchen items as an alternative to specialized tools. For instance, the tool to the right here is often used to make smiles in the faces of modeled people, teddies and animals. What you can do instead, is cut a drinking straw in half length-ways and use this as your “smiley” tool.
Sometimes, specialized cutters can be overpriced for what they actually are. Try looking for items that are made for a different purpose. For example, have a look in your toy store or dollar store – perhaps you will find cutters designed for play-dough or kids baking sets which so the same job, but are much cheaper!
Dusting bags for your cornflour or powdered sugar can also be made cheaply. Buy (or maybe you already have) some muslin cloth, or stockings, or gauze – cut into a square, fill with your flour, and secure with an elastic band.
Small Rolling Pin
For small, delicate work, you can use the handle of a paintbrush to roll out your flower paste thinly. You can also use the end of a paintbrush or a toothpick or a bamboo skewer to frill edges, vein leaves and other small details. Much cheaper than a cellstick!
Put some polenta into a plastic bag with some yellow color dust and shake it around. This is very effective as pollen.
Instead of buying an expensive Klay Gun, there are many ways to get the same effects. Push some fondant through a garlic press to make grass or hair. For finer threads, push through a plastic or metal sieve. Another technique for making grass is to shake some shredded coconut in a bag together with some green food coloring.
As you can see, many items that you already have at home can be used for other purposes. Once you start looking at everyday items in a different way, you will soon build up a little tool kit without it costing you anything!