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Tutorial: tiny liquorice candy



I first got started making miniatures using polymer clay. I made all kinds of tiny foods for 12th scale dollhouses, but my favourite thing to make was candy! This tutorial is for making different kinds of liquorice and is suitable for beginners.


This miniature tutorial uses polymer clay, which is a coloured clay that can be cured in a normal oven like you'd have in your kitchen. Several brands exist. I usually worked with Fimo because it's the easiest to get hold of in Europe, however Sculpey is good too.


Polymer clay is an extremely versatile medium and the possibilities are endless, but if you've never worked with it before, miniature candy is a good place to start.


You will need


  • Polymer clay - black and white, and which ever other colours you want to play with - yellow, pink, orange and brown are the main liquorice colours. You may need to mix white and pink to achieve the correct shade of pink.

  • An oven to bake the polymer clay

  • A smooth work surface that can go straight in the oven - a bathroom tile is ideal.

  • A smooth rolling pin - I use an old pen casing!

  • A sharp blade such as a craft knife blade, or a tissue blade (be careful)


Method


Start by conditioning you clay. Depending on the brand, you'll need to roll it and squish it until the clay becomes malleable and easy to shape. This stage is the most boring, but trust me when I say it makes everything else easier so is worth doing properly!


There are two main techniques for making liquorice. Let's start with caning.


Caning is when you make a big version of what you want, then slowly roll it out until it's longer and thinner - just like making a candy cane! For my British friends - just imagine a stick of rock from the seaside.


It doesn't matter how rough and ready your shape looks, just make sure the proprtions are correct.


Once you've got your big version of your candy. slowly roll it out thinner and thinner, starting from the middle. You'll need to keep slicing it in half as it gets unmanageably long, but then you'll get a sneaky peek at the pattern inside!


Keep gently rolling out your cane until it's the desired thickness. Don't worry about the ends looking rough or uneven, there's always a bit of scrap at the ends.


Bake according to your polymer clay manufacturer's instructions (it varies from brand to brand).


Once your canes are out of the oven and slightly cooled, carefully slice with your craft blade. It's easier to do this while the cane is still warm and slightly bendy, but it's still doable when it's cooled. Just watch out for those tiny fake candies pinging all over the place!



Want to make some square liquorice candies? Let's look at the layering method.


Once again, for the layering method, start off big to get the desired pattern, then roll it thinner and thinner until it's as tiny as you need.


For liquorice I use at least three layers, in this case orange, black and white. Make sure you're looking at a photo of some real liquorice to help with your layer order. When you slice through it, you should see a lovely striped pattern.


There is some debate as to when is the best time to slice the rolled out layer. In this photo I have done my initial slicing on the unbaked polymer clay. I then baked it and used my blade to separate everything out once cooled. This method is easier, but you can get some deformation when slicing unbaked clay.


For the crispest, squarest cuts, it's best to slice the freshly baked clay while it's still slightly bendy, but I always burn my fingers doing this, so I don't recommend it!



Bonus technique - let's twist again!


My favourite kind of liquorice is the twisty kind! And it's super fun and easy to make in miniature. Simply roll out two black strands as thinly and evenly as you can. Pinch two ends together and start rolling them both upwards so they twist around each other.


They will snap every so often, but it doesn't matter as you'll be cutting them shorter anyway. Keep going until you've got as small and tight a twist as you can do!


Bake as per the polymer clay manufacturer's instructions and slice to the desired length once slightly cooled.


I hope you enjoyed learning the basics of polymer clay with my mini liquorice tutorial!











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