How to make a gum paste kangaroo

When I was little, I had a mother and baby kangaroo fluffy toy that I absolutely loved, so I thought I would show you how to recreate it in sugar. I have simplified the details and made the kangaroos slightly more realistic, but you can add as many extra touches as you like.
kangaroo 1

This is what I used:
Large ball of modelling paste to be coloured (I used 2:1 flower paste: sugarpaste)
Egyptian Orange and Autumn Leaf Sugarflair colouring paste
Small ball of ivory modelling paste
Tiny amount of black modelling paste
Rolling pin
Ball tool
Boning tool
Dresden tool
Clingfilm (saran wrap)
Weighted straight-sided pot (I used a container of supermarket sanding sugar)
Non-stick board
Foam mat
Sharp knife
Water or clear alcohol and paintbrush for sticking

Step 1:
Colour the large ball of modelling paste to the shade you would like your kangaroo to be. I chose a sandy colour, just like the toy, using Autumn Leaf with a touch of Egyptian Orange. You can choose any colour you like, from realistic colours like sand, red and grey, to fun blue and pink for children’s birthday cakes.

Step 2:
Take a good proportion of the coloured modelling paste and roll into a sausage, then create a thinner end to the sausage to form the tail and taper the opposite end to form the neck. Your kangaroo can be as large or as small as you require. My kangaroo body and tail are approximately 16 cm long. Wrap the rest of the paste in plastic to keep it fresh as you will need this for the rest of the kangaroo.

Step 3:
Bend the sausage to form a right angle at the point where the tail meets the main body. Place on a foam mat and prop it up against the heavy straight sided pot that you have chosen, and gently tie it in place with some clingfilm. Be careful not to wrap the clingfilm too tightly as this will then mark the kangaroo. The shape should stay in place by itself, teh clingfilm is just to make sure.

Step 4:
Cut a small slice from the neck part of the kangaroo to form a flat area for the head to be attached to.

Step 5:
Take a small ball of the coloured modelling paste and roll into a ball, then shape into a tear drop.

Step 6:
Using the narrow end of your ball tool, mark where the eyes will be positioned. This step is optional but I find it helps you to decide if you have made the head the correct size, and with positioning the ears.

Step 7:
Take two small balls of the modelling paste to form the ears. Flatten the balls, then form into tear drop shapes and hollow them out using a boning tool.

Step 8:
Add a small amount of water or clear alcohol to the base of each ear and attach them to the head. The pointed ends should be at the top and the ears should be fairly vertical.

Step 9
Check that you are happy with your kangaroo head by placing it against your body shape. If you are, remove the head, place it on the foam mat and allow both head and body to dry overnight. If not, this is your chance to tweak the size and details before you allow it to dry.

Step 10:
Once dry, your kangaroo body and tail should hold their shape by themselves. Carefully remove the clingfilm and straight sided pot, and check. If you think it might still be soft, allow it to dry for another day.

Step 11:
Dab a little water or alcohol onto the flat neck part of the kangaroo’s body and attach a small piece of fresh modelling paste

Step 12:
Prop the kangaroo body against the straight sided tub again, but this time, position it so that it is standing up rather than lying down. Wrap clingfilm around the shape to hold it in place, then add a dab of water or alcohol to the modelling paste on the neck and sit the head on top. I chose a size of pot and kangaroo that allow the kangaroo’s head to rest on the top of the pot whilst drying.

Step 13:
Roll two balls of modelling paste that are slightly smaller than the size used to make the head. These are for the legs.

Step 14:
Shape the balls into curved sausages. A kangaroo’s leg has a large ball area at the hip, backwards pointing knee and long foot area.

Step 15:
Shape and refine your legs to the correct proportions. As you are doing this, place them against the body to check that they are the correct size and height. When you are happy, cut two slits on each to form the paws.

Step 16:
Using a dab of water or alcohol, stick the legs to the body. The aim here is to create a tripod between the legs and tail to hold the weight of the body and head and keep the kangaroo stable and upright. Allow the whole structure to dry for at least 24 hours, until completely dry.

Step 17:
Once completely dry, gently remove the clingfilm and straight sided pot to reveal your kangaroo, which will now stand up by itself.

Step 18:
Take a ball of ivory modelling paste, a similar size to those used for the kangaroo’s legs. The drying process will have created a flat area at the front of your kangaroo so this is to cover this and create a rounded tummy area.

Step 19:
Roll the ivory modelling paste into a long strip the length of the kangaroo’s body. Taper it into a teardrop shape, and also taper the thickness at each end.

Step 20:
Use water or alcohol to stick the tummy panel in place. Use your fingers to gently mould the panel around the kangaroo’s body to create a rounded, 3D shape.

Step 21:
Form the pouch for the joey by rolling a very small ball of ivory modelling paste, flattening it into a curved disc and then cutting a straight line across the top. This will create a pocket shape with a few millimetres of thickness to hold the baby kangaroo in place, tapering in thickness to sit neatly against the mother kangaroo’s body.

Step 22:
Stick the pouch in place on the main kangaroo’s body. I positioned it so that the pocket ends just as the body curves backwards to form the tail.

Step 23:
Take a small ball of sandy coloured modelling paste and roll it into a rounded teardrop for the joey’s head. Pinch two little ears and mark where the eyes will be. You may find a Dresden tool useful here.

Step 24:
Make the paws by rolling two tiny balls of modelling paste cut the toe details with a knife. Add balls of black modelling paste for eyes and a nose.

Step 25:
Stick the joey in place in the pouch. I positioned him so that he is just peering out. At this point, I realised that I had not allowed my leg components to dry for long enough as my kangaroo started to lean forwards slightly. If this happens to you, remove the joey, reposition the kangaroo against the straight sided pot, wrap with clingfilm and allow to dry for another 24 hours, otherwise your legs will bend and crack.

Step 26:
For the kangaroo’s arms, roll two small balls of modelling paste into sausages and then shape into a shoulder, wrist and paw. Add slits for the toe details with a sharp knife. Also, give each arm a slight curve, one to the left, one to the right.

Step 27:
Add a dab of water or alcohol to the reverse side of each arm, concentrating on the shoulder and paw, and stick in place on the kangaroo. I positioned them so that they reached just above the joey in the pouch. At this point, I also added the mother kangaroo’s eyes and nose. I also added a little dot of white to the eyes of both kangaroos.

Your kangaroo model is now finished and ready to display on top of a cake!


Happy Caking!

Beth x

Beth is a former scientist turned cake designer and owner of Cakes by Beth. She specializes in contemporary wedding cakes and cute animals.

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