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How to Make the Shiniest Edible Metallic Paint

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If there are two things I love in this world (aside from cats, and pyjamas, preferably cuddling a cat while in my pyjamas) it’s cakes and shiny things.

Even better when those last two things come together, shiny things on cakes. Which is why I wanted to tell you about this little trick – how to make the shiniest edible metallic paint.

How to Make the Shiniest Edible Metallic Paint ~ Sweetness & Bite

I discovered this way of making extra shiny metallic paint quite by accident, while making a gum paste drum kit for my honorary Grandad’s birthday. His drum kit is kind of a deep red metallic colour with a high shine finish and I knew I wanted to match it as closely as possible and get it as shiny as possible. I had a can of edible glaze spray, so my initial plan was to use the usual lustre powder mixed with alcohol as a paint to give the colour, and then glaze over the top for shine. But because the lustre+alcohol tends to transfer off onto your hand (or anything else it touches) I was concerned that the colour would smudge off onto the black, white or silver details on the drums.

Then it kinda hit me all of a sudden, couldn’t I just mix some glaze directly into the lustre, and use that as my paint? I had half a bottle of confectioner’s glaze so I did a test paint with the glaze and lustre, and to my delight, it was perfect! Super shiny, and the glaze completely sealed in the lustre so it wouldn’t transfer.

And even better, because it dried so well and so quickly, I could do multiple layers of paint to build up the depth of colour, without the issues you get with lustre and alcohol- where it just smudges and smears when you try to add more layers. Perfect!

What’s not perfect is this photo of the drum kit topper taken with my phone, because not only did I run out of time to get photos of the cake before we took it to the party, I also struggled to take photos in the dim lighting, then forgot to take my camera when we specifically went round to Bill’s place the next day for me to take picture of the drums. Took my backdrop boards, but not my camera. I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right, I am an idiot. So you’ll just have to trust me when I say the red metallic paint looked really good.

Drum Kit Cake ~ Sweetness & Bite

Since then, I’ve taken every opportunity possible to use this super shiny paint. You may have spotted it in my Mini Drip Cake Tutorial. So far I’ve used it on fondant, gumpaste and ganache and it works perfectly. I haven’t yet tried it on buttercream but when I do, I’ll let you know how it goes.

But before we talk about how to actually make the paint, there are a couple of things I should mention.

This is, under the perfect circumstances, an edible paint. The confectioner’s glaze is edible, and if you use a food-grade lustre, then obviously that is edible too. There are a couple of ‘buts’ you need to keep in mind though.

Edible glaze is a food grade shellac, made from a resin created by an insect. For food purposes, the resin is mixed with alcohol to make a glaze, and this glaze is labelled by the US FDA as “generally recognised as safe” for consumption. Before you get too weirded out, it is used in many manufactured foods, including (according to Wikipedia) Jelly Belly’s jelly beans, and Hershey’s Whoppers and Milk Duds. It’s also used as a coating for pharmaceutical tablets and capsules.

Because the shellac is made from the byproduct of an insect, it can’t be used on vegan cakes, and because it contains alcohol, if a person doesn’t consume alcohol for religious or personal reasons then this paint is obviously not going to be suitable for them.

You also need to make sure you buy and edible grade lustre, which can be a (potentially) contentious issue, depending on where you live. There are many metallic lustre powders which are considered safe for food contact only – not for consumption. There are others that are considered edible because they are truly edible and digestible. Some are labelled non toxic because they will pass through the digestive tract without being digested, but obviously without poisoning you either.

It will also depend on where you live as to whether you can use a particular lustre colour. For instance the metallic powders that I love and will talk about more below, Rolkem, are classed as edible in New Zealand (where I live) and in Australia. However they have not yet been approved as edible by the US FDA. This means that there it can only be used for elements that will be removed before consumption. You can check out a great post on “The Best Edible Metallic Food Colours” by Elizabeth Marek of Artisan Cake Company for some comparisons. If there is a colour that you really love and want to use but can’t because it isn’t considered edible, then have a think about using it on design elements on your cake that can be removed before the cake is eaten.

Right, now that we’ve got that out of the way, lets talk about actually making the paint.

Shiniest Edible Metallic Paint Ingredients

You’ll need three ingredients, your lustre, your glaze, and some cake decorator’s alcohol.

The lustre I used here is by Rolkem, and they are by far my favourite metallic colours. They have two shades of gold that I really like, the Super Gold (which is what I used in the photos below) and Special Gold. The Super Gold is slightly darker than the Special Gold (which is my personal favourite), but they are both very shiny and have a slight sparkle to their metallic sheen. In the image above, the top right gold drip was Special Gold, and the bottom right one is Super Gold. Rolkem also make Super SilverBronze and Copper (top left in the pic above).

How to Make the Shiniest Edible Gold Paint ~ Sweetness & Bite

The glaze I use is made by Caroline’s Sugar Art. I bought a dropper lid for my bottle of glaze, this makes it really easy to just get the amount you need, and also because you’re not pouring straight from the bottle, you won’t get glaze on the neck of the bottle, which will then dry when the lid is on, making the lid impossible to get off. Not that I know that from experience or anything.

How to Make the Shiniest Edible Gold Paint ~ Sweetness & Bite

The one thing you need to remember with this glaze is that it is soluble in alcohol only. You can’t clean it up with water or soap.

Which leads me to the third ingredient in this paint, which we use to both thin the paint and to clean up afterwards – cake decorator’s alcohol.

How to Make the Shiniest Edible Gold Paint ~ Sweetness & Bite

I love cake decorator’s spirit because it’s 95% alcohol and easy to get from cake decorating suppliers in New Zealand, (I’ve been told that in the US, Everclear and high quality lemon extract are also good options). The alcohol evaporates as the paint dries, so no one is going to get tipsy off it. You really do need a super strong alcohol here, a weaker alcohol like vodka won’t dissolve the glaze.

You’ll also need a few tools and such. A small container or jar that you can mix the paint up in – make sure this isn’t a container you mind chucking away, otherwise you’ll use half your bottle of alcohol trying to clean the container. Just use something you can biff when you’re done.

You’ll also need a dropper/pipette for the alcohol, and also another one if your glaze doesn’t have a dropper lid.

And then obviously you’ll need a paintbrush to apply it with. Or a sponge, if you want to go with a sponged look (a sponge is also good if you want to use it over a stencil). Also, while I totally forgot to add them to the line up for the pictures, a few toothpicks will come in handy too, for mixing up the paint.

How to Make the Shiniest Edible Gold Paint ~ Sweetness & Bite

Let’s Make Some Paint!

Making the actual paint is crazy easy. Pop some lustre into your container…

How to Make the Shiniest Edible Gold Paint ~ Sweetness & Bite

Add a few drops of glaze…

How to Make the Shiniest Edible Gold Paint ~ Sweetness & Bite

And give it a mix.

How to Make the Shiniest Edible Gold Paint ~ Sweetness & Bite

If the paint seems too thick, add a couple of drops of alcohol to thin it down.

And, that’s it. Easy, huh?

How to Make the Shiniest Edible Gold Paint ~ Sweetness & Bite

Once you’re done painting, just pop some alcohol into a bottle or container, and swish the brush around to clean it.

How to Make the Shiniest Edible Gold Paint ~ Sweetness & Bite

For those of you who like to see things in video form, here’s a snippet of my Mini Cake video, in which you should be able to see the proper consistency of the paint.

 

So shiny…

How to Make the Shiniest Edible Gold Paint ~ Sweetness & Bite

Gold Drip Cake ~Sweetness & Bite

Gold Drip Cake ~Sweetness & Bite

What’s your favourite metallic paint? If you tried this one, what did you think?

Happy painting!

~Natalie

 

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42 Comments

  1. So glad to see that you’ve emphasized the FACT that people need to use what is edible where THEY live.
    Rolkem dusts are NOT edible in the US and use of them directly on food is an FDA violation.

    Edible glitter (NOT disco dust) is made of edible ingredients. It is digested.

    No brand of disco dust is edible. It may be ” approved for contact with food”–meaning that it won’t leach dangerous chemicals should it accidentally touch something that will be eaten–but it is still PLASTIC and should never be eaten.

    Small particulates don’t just “leave” the body, and it is unwise to treat them as if they are totally harmless. They can lodge in tissues, store in fat, and/or migrate.

    In the US, very high alcohol content products that work well for removing glaze are Everclear and high quality lemon extract (86% alcohol).

    1. Indeed, decorators need to check what is and isn’t allowed where they live, as with all ingredients/colours/decorating products. The Rolkem colours I mentioned here are approved food use in NZ and Australia, and it is my understanding that they’re also approved in Canada and the UK. The glitter debate is a whole other kettle of fish and I’ve removed the brief mention of glitter from this post so as not to confuse people, my intention here was to focus on metallic powders. I haven’t used glitter on cakes for years so I haven’t taken too much notice of which brands make truly edible glitter these days. Thanks for the tip about the Everclear and lemon extract, I’ll add that to the post for my other US readers.

  2. Can confectioner’s glaze be used in place of the glaze you used. I’m
    In the US and can’t find the glaze you posted.

    1. Hi Nicole, yes confectioner’s glaze is the same as leaf glaze. As long as it’s a glaze that contains shellac (could be labelled as additive ‘904’) and alcohol, it’s the right product 🙂

    1. Hi Hayley. The drip on the 65th birthday cake was royal icing, and the one on the mini cake was ganache. I’ve got a tutorial for that >here< 🙂

  3. Thanks or sharing your idea…
    Does alcohol is a must for the glazing or just a support if the mixture gets thick? 🙂

    1. Hi Irene, for mixing up the paint the alcohol is only needed if the paint is a bit thick, but it is necessary for washing the paintbrushes as the glaze won’t wash off in water 🙂

      1. Thank you Natalie, it is awesom. Can you tell me if I may use this formula for stamping on fondant? I have silicon stamps NOT rubber.

        Thank you.

  4. Thank you Natalie, it is awesom. Can you tell me if I may use this formula for stamping on fondant? I have silicon stamps NOT rubber.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Irina. It should work with your stamps, I would suggest putting the paint onto a makeup sponge or a folded up paper towel and using it like a stamp pad to load the stamp with paint. If you try it, I’d love to know how it goes! 🙂

  5. Hi,
    when using the gold or silver dust for painting on gumpaste, is it best to leave the gumpaste to dry or can one paint while the gumpaste is still soft, our does it matter?
    Thanks

    1. Hi Michelle, you’re best to wait until the gumpaste is dry, as the glaze seals the surface so it won’t really dry out much more after the paint is applied. Your finished piece will be much less likely to break if it’s reasonably dry before you paint it. Hope that helps 🙂

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  7. Have you tried Tru Color? It’s a fairly new food color company that only uses natural ingredients, no synthetic colors. They also have a metallic line that uses mica for shimmer.
    I bought several colors to make some geode cookies.

  8. Please fix the reference to Isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol). This is sold as rubbing alcohol and is poisonous and not for internal consumption. Ethanol is the alcohol in beverages and other foodstuffs.

  9. Hi, I’ve just come across your site and have spent hours looking at it. It’s amazing and full of all the tips I’ve been searching for. I’m in uk and have been asked to make a 3 tier semi naked lemon cake for a family wedding. I am an enthusiastic novice! My niece would like the semi naked coating to have parts painted with gold….hence being so happy to have found your tips. Please could you give me any tips st painting go,d onto white chocolate ganache. I will have to make the cake 2 days before the wedding and transport 200 miles so I thought ganache would be better than buttercream. I have practiced on both but the gold always looks dull . I’d be grateful for any tips. Many thanks

    1. Hi Roberta. The gold should be absolutely fine being painted onto the ganache, I do this often and it works really well. All you need to do is wait until the ganache has set (I usually leave mine for a few hours or overnight) and then paint the gold on. The glaze seals the paint onto the ganache, so it will not rub or flake off.

      If you don’t want to mix the paint yourself, you could buy some Sweet Sticks Edible Art Paint, I often use that now instead of mixing my own. It is also glaze-based, and it comes in a bottle all ready to paint with, and they do a few different shades of gold (the “glamorous gold” is my favourite). They have a list of stockists on their website >here<.

      Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions 🙂

  10. Hi Natalie, thank you so much for your prompt and helpful reply. I feel more confident about making this cake now. Your site and tips have been amazing. Thank you. Take care and best regards

    1. You’re most welcome, Roberta, I’m glad to help. Best of luck with the cake, and I hope your niece has an amazing wedding day 🙂

  11. I have painted a 6 inch cake with Lustre dust mixed with vodka. The paint looks great with a gorgeous gold colour however on the top of the fondant it appears to have split and made dots on the surface of the cake. After several coats the dots can not be seen so much but why is this happening. It has happened on two cakes? Thank you

    1. Hi Jan. Vodka is a bit tricky on cakes as it actually contains quite a lot of water (usually around 60% water, 40% alcohol) and when it’s painted onto fondant the water can start to dissolve the sugar in the fondant. So it can make the cake a bit blotchy. If you can find some high-percentage alcohol like rose spirit (also known as cake decorators alcohol) which is 90-ish percent alcohol then it should work better. I’m told everclear also works well, although we don’t get that in New Zealand so I haven’t tried it. Using a glaze-based paint like in this tutorial will work even better, as the glaze is alcohol based and does not dissolve the fondant at all. And because it seals the colour to the fondant, it also means you can do multiple coats without it streaking. Hope that helps ?

  12. Hi,

    I noticed you used Rolkem Supergold.

    I recently bought this and mixed it with vodka, however, I noticed that there were green flakes in it that transferred onto my fondant. Have you had this happen? Or, possibly, know why this is happening?

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    1. Hi Kitty. I haven’t had that before with the Super Gold, although it does sometimes have a bit of a green tinge float to the top if I leave the paint sitting for a bit, so it obviously has a green-ish base to it. Sounds like you may have possibly got a bad batch if it had flakes in it though. I’d suggest taking it back to where you bought it or maybe purchasing another one. Or you could try the Rolkem Special Gold instead, which I don’t think is quite as green 🙂

      1. Thanks for replying.

        I actually contacted the supplier and it seems like the formula was changed and now contain elements that will show that green tinge.

    1. Hi Cin. I actually haven’t tried making paint mixing gel colour and glaze. I have done it with gel and alcohol, but because the gel is water based, the paint doesn’t dry as well as powder + glaze does. The water in the gel can start to dissolve the sugar in the icing it’s painted on, so you can generally only do one coat, as if you try to recoat the paint will come off. So you could try the glaze and gel, but I would suggest trying it on a bit of scrap icing first just to see how it goes 🙂

  13. Hello I had a question I have been asked to make a metallic colored LOL cake do you think I could do that with this procedure

    1. Hi Rosie. Yes, you can definitely paint a whole cake using this paint 💜 Use a wide flat brush with fine bristles for the best results, and I recommend popping the cake on a turntable so you can turn it as you paint. You’ll want to work as quickly as possible to get the whole cake covered, if the paint starts to dry too much then if you go over a part you’ve already painted the paint will start to lift. If that starts to happen, then just stop and let the rest of the paint dry fully before you start painting again 🙂 Hope that helps!

  14. Thanks so much for this, I have been hunting for some good coverage edible gold paint and spent so much money only to be disappointed. This mixture worked beautifully! It will be my go to whenever I need gold now 🙂