I'm asked again and again how to use Tappit Letter Cutters, so I took some photos last weekend when working on a cake to show you how I do them!
I've used homemade marshmallow fondant, Satin Ice fondant, and Satin Ice gum paste with these cutters. I initially preferred homemade marshmallow fondant with a tiny bit of Tylose added in, but once I got the hang of the cutters, I can do it equally well with all mediums.
Here's what you'll need:
- Fondant or gum paste
- Rolling pin (I use this small 9" Wilton one)
- Mat (I use The Mat or The Mini Mat most often, but a simple flexible cutting board will do)
- Tappit Cutters (my favorites are the Funky Alphabet and Block Letters)
- Xacto knife or scalpel
- Pastry wheel or pizza wheel
- Corn starch
Okay- once you have everything together - here's how to do it: Start with a small amount of fondant or gum paste on a mat. If you don't have a mat, I recommend dusting your work surface with a bit of cornstarch.
Then use your rolling pin to roll it out really, really thin - nearly paper thin. Maybe 1mm?! I never measure, but I get it extra thin! It's easier to get it super thin if you use gum paste, but if you work with small amounts, you can do it with fondant! I usually cut mine into strips that are 6-7 inches long and about 1.5" wide.
I didn't do it this time because I only had 6 letters to do, but if you're doing more letters - cut it into strips! Then - let it dry! I always let mine sit out for at least 10 minutes - but even 20-30 minutes or longer is okay!
Once the fondant or gum paste has dried out a bit, I shake on a little corn starch and spread it with my fingers. This keeps the letters from sticking in the molds.
Now just press the cutter into the fondant. If you've cut it into thin strips, you'll lay the cutter perpendicular to the strip of fondant as you can see in the picture above. When it's completely pressed into the fondant, I shimmy it around a bit while pressing down to be sure that I get a clean cut all the way through.
At this point, you should be able to just lift the cutter off and the letter will stay. If it happens to stick, use the sharp point of an Xacto knife to gently pull the letter out of the mold. If you're letter does lay flat, go ahead and move to the next letter...
You can see where I moved all the way across my strip of fondant to do the name "Olivia".
At this point, I just lift away all of the extra fondant and leave the letters on the mat. If needed, I use my Xacto knife to remove the insides of the letters (like the middle of the "O", then I let them dry for awhile longer - maybe half an hour. The drying time will keep them from stretching when you go to pick them up and put them on the cake. BUT - I don't let them dry until they're completely hard - if you do that, they'll become fragile and break easily.
Once they're ready, I just use my fingers to put them on a cake. Or if you have any trouble, you can use the tiny point of an Xacto knife to lift them and put them on the cake!
To stick them on, I rub down the cake with a little shortening and just stick them on. The shortening works as "glue" but also allows you to move them around until you get them placed well. If they happen to have any corn starch still on them, you can also use a small paint brush and shortening to brush them down and remove the corn starch!
Update #1 : As my friend Susan noted in the comments, the easiest way to center a name or words, it to start with the center letter centered on the cake, then work your way out from there!
Update #2: Also, if you're opposed to using the shortening, you could use sugar glue or a dot of water instead to attach the letters to the cake, but you will not be able to move it around as easily, so be sure to place it in just the right spot on the first try!
And that's it! Do you have any questions about how to use the Tappit Cutters? If I've forgotten anything, leave me a comment and let me know!