Up your hosting game with Emily Ashbourn’s marble-look DIY cake stand
A marbled plinth made with polymer clay
350g of polymer clay in white 57g of polymer clay in black 57g of polymer clay in grey Small wooden dish, 10cm (4") diameter Non-stick baking sheet Baking tray Plate, 20cm (77/ 8") diameter Knife Non-stick rolling pin Thickness guides or marzipan spacers (available from www. windsorcakecraft.co.uk) Kitchen wipes Pure alcohol, 95% or higher Wet and dry sandpaper in grades 800, 1200 and 2000 Microfibre cloth Kitchen towel Hot glue gun Varnish Whether you’ve spent hours faffing in the kitchen or made a last-minute dash to M&S, any treats become Insta-worthy when artfully arranged on this marbleeffect make. The secret? Polymer clay. Yep, a clever bit of rolling and blending and you’re on your way to an impressively luxe cake stand.
Once you’ve got the technique down, how about making a set of these disks as fancy placemats?
01 Preheat the oven for the clay according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and ensure your workspace is free of dust and lint.
02 To create the marble effect, roll out a long length of each of the black, white and grey polymer clays. It’s easier to build the marble up a bit at a time, and polymer clay is easier to work with the warmer it gets, so warm the clay colours in your hands by rolling them into balls before making the strands.
03 Lay the three strands next to each other. Holding all three ends in one hand, roll the other ends together so the strands twist around each other. This doesn’t need to be neat, it’s just a way of getting a realistic marble effect in the clay. Fold the strands in half and roll together again to make a cylinder-shaped piece.
04 Continue to add all the white clay into the mix, bit by bit, using the twisting technique in the previous step. You may wish to add some more grey depending on your preference. Keep working the clay to keep it warm.
05 Eventually, you’ll be able to roll the mix of clay into a ball the size of a large orange, as shown.
06 Using a rolling pin, roll the ball of clay onto the non-stick baking sheet and, using the thickness guides to keep the surface flat and level, move the clay around to roll out a round disk shape.
07 If you spot any air bubbles under the surface, use a pin to gently pop them, then roll the clay until the small holes close up.
08 Keep rolling out until the disk is larger than 20cm (77/ 8") diameter, then, using the plate as a template, cut out a circle shape.
09 The cut edge of the circle may be a little rough. Apply a small amount of the alcohol to a kitchen wipe and run it around the outside edge to smooth it down. Use the alcohol to wipe over the surface of the clay disk as well to remove any dust or lint, and to close up any remaining pin holes.
10 Once you’re happy with the look of the clay plate, bake in the oven at 110ºC/225ºF/Gas Mark on a baking tray for 30 minutes, or following the manufacturer’s instructions. Remove the clay disk from the oven and allow to cool.
11 Tear off a piece of each grade of wet and dry sandpaper. Add a drop or two of washing-up liquid to a bowl of cold water and soak the three sandpaper pieces for a minute or two. Starting with the 800-grade sandpaper, carefully sand down the edges and top surface of the clay. Next, use the 1200-grade sandpaper and repeat the process, then finish with the 2000-grade sandpaper until the clay is silky smooth to the touch. Grab some kitchen towel to dry off the clay, then use the microfibre cloth to buff the surface.
12 Heat the glue gun and turn the clay right side (RS) down. Cover the base of the small wooden dish with hot glue and stick it to the middle of the clay. Remove any excess glue and allow to dry.
13 Apply the varnish – you can use matt or gloss, depending on your preference. You’ll need to wait until it’s completely dried out before the stand is food-safe, so check the label to see how long this takes.
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Emily Ashbourn Designer-maker Emily lives in East Sussex with her husband, two girls, Vegas the dog and an unhealthy amount of yarn, crochet hooks and WIPs. You’ll generally find her ignoring housework and putting the kettle on, or sharing her makes on Instagram @make.e. www.makeeshop.com