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Colors for Decorating

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 Color is what give your creations universal appeal in cake and candy decorating.

Today there are unlimited possibilities, and because there are so many choices, you may never have to "mix up" your own

special color. Candyland Crafts offers dozens of "ready to use"products for adding color.


 Tubed Icings     Food Writers     Write-On-Gels     Sugars     and     Color Mist Spray Colors.


Of course very often you need a particular shade, or you know the color you want, but don't happen to have it. Or you need to decorate a large cake, and the use of a icing color is much less expensive than the ready made. To create your own colors you can mix & match from available colors using:


 Icing Colors (Spectrum)    Icing Color Sets (Wilton)     Gel Based Food Colors (Chefmaster) 

 Liquid Based Food Colors (Chefmaster)    Powdered Food Coloring    AmeriColor 4.5 oz. Soft Gel Colors

AmeriColor Soft Gel Food Color Kits    Wilton Color Right System


Where to start? A little basic knowledge about color mixing is best understood by using a Color Wheel, explained below. This, plus some information about factors affecting colors in decorating (below), will get you started on the road to artistic perfection!

Color Wheel

The color wheel is divided into three categories: primary, secondary, and tertiary. The three primary colors are red, yellow and blue. These colors are considered to be foundation colors because they are used to create all other colors.

Color Wheel.

By combining two of the primary colors, three secondary colors are formed. They are orange, green and violet. The six tertiary colors are made by combining a primary and an adjacent secondary color. These colors are red-orange, red-violet, yellow-green, yellow-orange, blue-green and blue-violet. Colors are also divided into cool and warm categories. The cool colors are green, blue and violet. Warm colors are red, orange and yellow.


Color Chart Information courtesy of Chefmaster Co.

Color Decorating Tips

There are no absolutes in mixing colors because of the many different things that can affect the color. Some of these variables are

 l) Ingredients in the icing.  2) Temperature and humidity.  3) Time.  4) Light.

1) Ingredients in the icing: Shortening, margarine, and butter make colors turn darker, whereas lemon juice bleaches out or softens colors. If you use salt in your buttercream icing, mix your colors the night before: because if the salt is not thoroughly dissolved, it will leave little light spots in your icing. Canned Milk, regular dark vanilla and cream cheese give an off-white color to “white” icing and also affect other colors: such as, blue acquires a greenish cast and soft pink will become more of a peach color.

2) Temperature and Humidity: In icings which contain shortening, margarine or butter, the temperature of the room, heat of your hands, and warmth of the liquid you add to your icing can affect your color. The warmer the room, the softer the frosting gets and color seems to darken or get deeper.  The amount of time it takes your frosting to dry (or get a crust on it) is controlled by the humidity. The longer it takes to get dry, the more the colors seem to darken.

3) Time: When using buttercream icing, soft colors can be made and used immediately and will only darken slightly. But when you are striving for dark colors, mix in the colors and then let the icing sit overnight before decorating: and you won’t have to use quite as much color. Charcoal gray will turn black, and an “almost” red will turn bright red.


4) Light: After your creation is finished comes the time to protect the colors from fading. Pinks are especially susceptible to fading out. Hot pink can be reduced to almost white when exposed to sunlight: purples to blues: blues to gray: black to purple or green. Just be careful to protect your colored sugar work from sunlight or other bright lights.


Decorating Products for Coloring

1) Gels:  Vibrant colors can really "dress up" your creations! Gel colors have a viscosity that offer the convenience of a pourable or "squeezable" product and makes it easy to duplicate shades. They are concentrated gels that help you create the exact shade you want without watering down your icings. Gel colors will not breakdown buttercream or non dairy icings like some liquid colors. We offer Wilton Icing Color Gel Sets   Spectrum Gels

Chefmaster Liquid/Gel Based Food Colors     AmeriColor 4.5 oz. Soft Gel Colors

AmeriColor Soft Gel Food Color Kits    Wilton Color Right System


2) Liquids: There are three kinds of liquid color: liquid paste, airbrush colors, and liquid colors that you buy in the grocery store. Most decorators started off with the grocery store liquids, which are very weak compared to the paste colors that are available to us now. Liquid paste is a strong concentrate of color which is used like paste colors in small quantities. Air brush colors are a specialized form of color for a specific need. The air brush requires colors with as few crystals or minerals as possible because of the tiny opening the color must pass through.

3) Powders: Since this is the driest form of color available to the decorator, the selection of colors is a little limited. Variations from the basic colors must be mixed by the decorator. Powdered colors are very strong and should be handled carefully as the powder is very fine and drifts onto cabinets, icing, etc. It will stain porous surfaces, cake tops, etc.

Powdered Food Colors at Candyland Crafts are available in small jar (3 or 9 gm.) containers, as either individual colors

(12 choices available) or an 8 bottle color set. The bottles come with a sealed top. Do not remove the seal, but punch a small hole in one side with a toothpick or pin and sprinkle out the powdered color. Powdered colors are general purpose food colors, also excellent with foods you do not want to mix with water.


Dusting Powders  They are not a food additive, they allow you to enhance a sugar paste or fondant creation. Normally these are painted or brushed on a finished project. Adding those highlights of silver or gold or soft shading for a more realistic flower or leaf. They cover a very wide range of color possibilities. Dusting Powders from Candyland Crafts are specifically for the cake decorating industry and available in 4 types: Petal Dust (48 colors)is used to achieve deep hues with a matte finish. When brushed on petals of white or gumpaste flowers, a realistic effect is created. Luster Dust (50 colors) give subtle colors with a high sheen metallic-like finish. Sparkle Dust (7 colors) is similar to Luster Dust in effect, but has a larger grain size & gives gumpaste flowers a wet or dewy look, with just a touch of color.Pearl Dust (7 colors)produces a shimmery luster. Candyland offers only non-toxic ingredients & are ideal for use on gumpaste, rolled fondant flowers, plaques, lettering, etc. Intended for use in dry form, any of the powders may be mixed with oil based flavorings or alcohol for painting and highlighting.