How to model a fondant grandad topper

Learn how to model a grandad / older man using fondant (sugarpaste) in this comprehensive modelling figures tutorial by Julie Rogerson, perfect atop a single tier cake for Father's Day!

Modelling a fondant grandpa Image credit: Julie Rogerson
Brought to you by Julie Rogerson

Whether you want to surprise your dad, grandpa or an older gentleman in your life, there's no better way than with a modelled version of themselves! Thanks to fondant (also known as sugarpaste) you can create your very own character to stand proudly atop a cake, or as part of a display – perfect for birthdays, retirement celebrations and Father's Day. Simply adjust the skin tone colour to match the recipient.

Please note: As the model is constructed using wooden skewers it's not edible and is for decoration only.

Skill level: intermediate

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Top tips!

  • Make sure you wash your hands after working with different coloured paste to avoid colour transfer (especially with darker colours like black!).
  • Resting the head in a cornflour pouch stops the paste from flattening at the back as you work.
  • When shaping the individual fingers, be very gentle, so as not to risk breaking them off as you work.
  • When adding the head to the model, you may need to trim the wooden skewer, to make sure it doesn’t poke through the top of the head!

Fancy making more of Grandpa's family? You'll find the below, fun tutorial by Julie Rogerson in the June 2022 issue of Cake Decoration & Sugarcraft magazine – pick up a copy, or subscribe for year-round inspiration!

Modelled fondant father and children

You will need

Edibles

  • 150g white modelling paste
  • 55g brown modelling paste
  • 45g skin tone modelling paste
  • 10g grey modelling paste
  • 2g black modelling paste
  • White edible paint (Rainbow Dust pearlescent white used here)
  • Pink petal dust (Fractal kitty nose pink used here)

Equipment

  • Small cake dummy
  • 2x wooden skewers
  • Dresden tool
  • Ball tools (small and medium)
  • Sharp knife/scalpel
  • 20mm circle cutter
  • Cornflour pouch
  • Small pliers
  • Paintbrush

Instructions

Modelling the legs and trousers

1
Mix 50g white and 30g brown modelling paste to make a lighter brown shade. Roll into a ball, then into a long sausage for the legs/trousers. Create an indent in the bottom of each leg with a ball tool.
2
Mark halfway down on the back of each leg with a knife and bend the paste to form the knee area. Mark creases with the narrow end of the Dresden tool.
3
Insert a wooden skewer for support, through the centre of each leg, twisting back and forth as you push it through.
4
Roll 15g of brown modelling paste into a ball, then cut in half, ready to create the shoes.
5
Roll each half into a ball and then an oval shape. Stroke the paste downwards at one half to create a slope down to the toe area.
6
Slide the shoes up the wooden skewers, to fit into the bottom of the trousers, securing with a little water. Use the narrow end of the Dresden tool to add more creases to the bottom of the trousers.
7
Insert the skewers into a cake dummy, to stand the figure up as you work (you can easily transfer to your decorated cake once the model is finished).

Modelling the body and arms

1
Mix 100g white and 10g brown modelling paste, to create a beige shade. Roll 80g into a ball and shape into a body, slightly tapering downwards from the neck area. Use a ball tool to create an indent at the bottom edge, to fit over the top of the trousers.
2
Trim the top of one of the wooden skewers, so that is it slightly shorter than the length of the body. Slide the body carefully over the two skewers, aligning so that the longer one comes out as near to the centre of the top as possible.
3
Roll 3g of skin tone modelling paste into a cylinder shape for the neck. Slide down over the top of the wooden skewer to rest on top of the body.
4
Roll a small ball of beige modelling paste into a long, thin sausage and flatten with your fingers.
5
Wrap the paste around the bottom of the neck, to create a polo neck style. Trim the paste at the back where it joins.
6
For the sleeves (arms), roll 25g beige modelling paste to approximately 15cm in length. Cut in half diagonally. Open up the bottoms of the sleeves with a ball tool. Bend at the halfway point to create the elbows.
7
Roll 4g of skin tone modelling paste into a ball, then into an oval. Indent the middle, by rolling your little finger backwards and forwards, leaving the two ends the same size.
8
Flatten and thin each end to make the hand shapes (the join in the middle will create the wrists). Use a scalpel to remove a triangle from each hand to form the thumbs.
9
Divide the remaining paste at each side into four fingers. Separate the fingers carefully, and twiddle between your finger and thumb to thin and lengthen.
10
Cut the two hands apart in the middle, shaping the cut edge into a wrist. Secure the hands into each sleeve with a little water.
11
Use a little water on the cut edge of the sleeve to secure to the body. Add a little more water to where the arms/hands touch the body, to give extra support.

Modelling the head and hair

1
For the head, roll 35g skin tone modelling paste into a ball, then into an oval shape. Indent across the middle of the head with your little finger, and gently smooth the paste with your finger to remove any hard edges to the indented area.
2
Use a ball tool to define the eye sockets, smoothing any lines with your finger.
3
Roll a tiny oval of paste for the nose, adding it just under the eye socket area.
4
Create two small holes with a ball tool, filling each with a small amount of white paste. Make a small indent at the bottom of the eyes for the pupils, adding a tiny ball of black paste and flattening.
5
Roll a very thin rope of black modelling paste and attach over the top half of the eyes with a little water.
6
Use a tiny ball tool, dipped in edible white paint to add the highlights to the black pupils.
7
Use the edge of a small circle cutter (20mm) to mark a smiling mouth, adding a little dimple at each end with a small ball tool.
8
For the ears, roll two tiny ovals of skin tone paste, indenting with a small ball tool.
9
Attach to the sides of the head with a little water, lining up the bottom of the ear with the bottom of the nose.
10
Use a soft brush to apply a little pink petal dust to the cheek area.
11
Mix 10g of white modelling paste with a pinch of black, to create a pale grey. Roll two tiny sausages for the eyebrows, securing in place with a little water.
12
Mark creases/wrinkles across the forehead and around the sides of the eyes with the narrow end of the Dresden tool, to age the figure. Add the head to the body, securing with a little water.
13
For the hair, roll a small ball of grey modelling paste into a thin sausage. It needs to fit from one ear to the other, around the back of the head. Flatten with your finger and texture with the narrow end of the Dresden tool.
14
Trim the top edge of the hair, then cut out a bit of paste near each end, to enable the hair to fit over the ears.
15
Add the hair to the head, securing with a little water. Use the narrow end of the Dresden to flatten the hair down onto the head to blend away the cut edge.

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