I’m really, really excited to share today’s post with you- because it combines some of my favorite things. First off, if you’ve read here for a while, you know I LOVE cake decorating. I am still learning a lot of new techniques- but I can’t get enough! It is so fun to find new ways to make pretty designs that my friends and family love to eat. And now I’ve found a way to get tons of new decoration ideas– for free!
While working with fondant is pretty easy, I’m always looking for cool new techniques and ideas to make cake decorating easier- but it is hard to figure out what techniques I will “click” with and really enjoy, versus ones I might get frustrated by. I was really excited when I found out that select Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft stores in the Denver area are now allowing you to access free Craftsy classes in the newly renovated Craftsy Classrooms!
If you’ve been to Jo-Ann stores in the past, you know that they have always had really fun classes. They are kicking it up a notch with the Craftsy classes though- not only have certain classrooms had a fun new makeover that is bright and fun, but you can now access a ton of great, interesting classes- from cake decorating, to serging, knitting, sewing and cookie crafts- for FREE in store!
All you have to do is sign up on the classroom ipad- providing your email address- and then sit down and watch the class. You’re provided with class notes so you can go home and put your new skills to use- the notes include things like recipes, a list of supplies you need, and extra info on the skills you learned.
I also like this setup because you can watch the whole class before you buy any new tools (which can help you decide what you need to buy), as well as preview classes you think you’d like to buy. The team at the Northglenn store where I watched my classes also said if you had a machine you’d like to try out, you could use it while doing one of the sewing classes! I tried out Clean and Simple Cake Design by Jessica Harris. She has great tips for applying fondant to the cake to get a smooth look, as well as some great buttercream techniques. She also uses a simple method to apply straight lines and interesting patterns to a cake using wax paper as a transfer tape- you can plan out your design, use a stencil, or even pipe fondant (using a clay working tool) to get perfect piping on a cake even if you aren’t a steady hand like me.
So back to the cakes- I used the methods in the Clean and Simple Cake Design class to give my cake a smooth finish with simple lines across the cake, and either a signature flower or a bow at the top. They only took a few minutes to cover in fondant after a generous crumb coat, and then I laid fondant out and used a ruler and some paper to cut 1/2″ thick strips that would wrap around my cake. I laid them out on wax paper spaced evenly, slightly moistened the back of the fondant (so it would stick), and added it to the cake by holding the wax paper up to the cake and pressing the fondant on- much like you’d use transfer tape for a vinyl saying. This was a great idea- I hadn’t ever though about planning a scene out and then transferring it to a cake! This will make complex patterns out of fondant a lot easier in the future for me!
I then formed a 3″ thick strip into a bow by folding the ends into the middle and pinching it to get a tapered bow shape. I wrapped a small strip of fondant around the middle to make it look “tied” and added some long, thin ribbons. Simply wad up some paper towels and put them inside the bow loops until the fondant dries to get a shape that will stay put. I also followed Jessica’s instructions to make a big, huge flower- but I’ll admit I need a bit more practice to get mine to look just like hers. It is a fun technique that is pretty easy though (maybe not with two kids in the room who are trying to “help”) and I’ll definitely work on my flower making for future cakes!
The Craftsy classes at Jo-Ann Stores in select Denver shops have so many fun ideas- I am going to try out a few more. What would you want to try out? I’m thinking knitting- but I am glad I can watch the videos before buying a class on it, because I do not know if it is something I can do!