Creating a Pixie Shoe
For such a long time, I've wanted to make a Sugar Shoe. The main hitch was, I'm not really a high heel kinda fan.
If I HAVE to wear shoes, they're usually sand shoes, and not really the sort of thing you want to create in sugar!
I am however, a massive lover of all things nature and fantasy, so I thought "ooh! Pixie Shoe!
Next problem, I have never made a sugar shoe. No worries! Since when has that stopped me?!
Join me on my journey to create a freehand Pixie Sugar shoe, no experience necessary ;)
Tools used in this project
JEM Hydrangea Leaf Cutters
5 Petal Rose Cutter - Small
Rose Leaf Cutters - Small and Medium
Paintbrushes for painting, and dusting
Small Rolling pin
Sponge Flower Pad
Firm Flower Pad
Paints and Dusts used in this project
Rolkem Super Gold (Non Edible)
Rolkem Perfect Red (Non Edible)
Sweet Inspirations Luster Dust - Burgundy (Non Edible)
Sweet Inspirations Luster Dust - Midnight (Non Edible)
Sweet Inspirations Petal Dust - Cinnamon (Non Edible)
Sugarflair Blossom Tint - Moss Green (Edible)
Sugarflair Blossom Tint - Autumn Gold (Edible)
Rainbow Dust Metallic Food Paint - Metallic Dark Gold (Edible)
Powdered colours that were used to paint, were liquefied using Lemon Extract.
Designing the Sole
This whole project was created without using any form of shoe kit, or template.
When it came to designing the sole, I knew the rough shape I would need (I've cut out a few insoles in my day!), so I rolled out some gumpaste to about 5mm thick, and freehand cut the sole, using an exacto knife.
To form the sole into a heel shape, I braced the sole over a role of bubble wrap to get smooth curve, and I braced the bottom using a small rolling pin (as pictured).
The thing with Gumpaste is it 'crusts' very very quickly, so once you have it rolled out, work quickly. Conversely, it seems to take forever to dry completely (especially if you are impatient like me!), but as this is the base you will build on, take the time to let it dry properly.
I airbrushed the sole with Forest Green Americolor Airbrush paint once it was completely dry.
As I wanted the shoe to have a very natural feel, I modelled the heel the resemble a scrolled branch of wood.
Once it was completely dry (which took around 3 days), I hand painted it with Americolor Chocolate Brown Gel Colour, to get a streaky wood grain look.
I forgot to take photos of the painting, but you can see the result in the final photos.
At this point, both pieces were still separate. I attached them together using very thick Royal Icing, as sugar glue (tylose and water) wasn't holding sufficiently.
Attaching the Main Leaves
The "toe area" was created using JEM Hydrangea Leaf cutters, which I carefully thinned at the edges using the ball tool. I thinned them to give them more 'movement', and to let the edges curl up slightly.
As I knew the underside of the leaves would be seen, I didn't want to use anything to brace the leaves that would leave a mark, so I used facial tissues. The leaves weren't overly heavy, so it worked really well, and also allowed air to get to the underside of the leaf, so it could dry properly.
Once dry, the toe area leaf was still not stable enough to hold itself up, as there was only around 1cm at the most where the leaf could hold onto the shoe.
To support the leaf, I braced it using a small ball of gumpaste, on the underside of the leaf. This keep the leaf stable.
If you look carefully, you can see the small rose leaves in the background, which I formed by placing
them on bubble wrap, and lightly pressing them into shape around the bubbles. This helped to create non uniform movement in the leaves, giving them a more natural look.
The "heel" area leaf was constructed in the same manner, however, as the edge of the leaf tucked under and attached to the sole, it held itself up, even while drying.
The main leaves took a full day to dry completely.
Miniature Sugar Roses
While I waited for the leaves to dry, I made some tiny Sugar Roses, using a small 5 petal cutter.
Once they were dry, I dusted them with Rolkem Perfect Red, and Sugarflair Autumn Gold, for the Red and Yellow respectively.
Dusting the Rose Leaves
Once dry, I dusted the small Rose leaves with a combination of Sugarflair Moss Green and Autumn Gold, and Rolkem Perfect Red.
The key to shading leaves, is to follow a natural degree of ageing.
When leaves dry and age, they start at green, then fade to red, then to yellow, and then to brown. I choose to omit the brown stage for aesthetic reasons.
Leaves age quicker if they are exposed to sun or heat, so areas of the leaf that are more raised, will aged quicker. Leaves that are partially covered by other leaves, or branches, will age much slower, and in stages.
I took this into consideration when dusting these leaves, as well as where I was planning to put them.
Final Leaf Assembly
A dusted the main leaves in the same manner as the small ones, but I had to be really really careful with the front leaf, because even thought it was braced, it still wasn't sturdy. It was at this point that I had the idea to brace the leaves using one of the Sugar Roses.
I attached the small rose leaves to complete the enclosure of the shoe, using stiff royal icing. I also braced the small leaves to stop them sliding while the RI dried.
I completed the same process for the heel, and also carefully braced those leaves while they dried in place.
I wanted the shoe to have a Pixie/woodsprite kind of feel, so I made some small berries, and flowers to add to the look.
I made small gumpaste berries by rolling small balls of gumpaste, and impressing a star shaped indent in the centre, to give it a "of the stem" look. They were painted with Sweet Plantations Luster Dust - Burgundy, mixed with some Lemon Extract.
I also made some vines, by rolling some gumpaste into sticks, and twisting them, to give them a vine look. They were painted using Rainbow Dust Metallic Dark Gold Edible Paint.
I also made some Lilacs at the last minute, which I didn't take photos of, but I made them using a technique I learned watching a YouTube video by Renee Connor, which you can find here. They were then painted using Sweet Plantations Luster Dust - Midnight, and Lemon Extract.
All of these elements were attached using stiff Royal Icing.
The Completed Shoe
So yep, I really really proud of my shoe. I'm proud that I had a crack at something, even though I had very little idea of what I was doing before I started. I'm taking away from this project the satisfaction of having created something (and something that I can actually keep!), and for pushing myself to try new things, no matter how scary or difficult. Plus, that's a really kick ass shoe ;)
I would dearly love to see what you create, be it Buttercream, Sugar Shoe, Modelling, whatever, so be sure to post to my Facebook wall, and feel free to email me at email@example.com
Viva La Buttercream! (and Sugar Shoes!) xx