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Hand Modelling a Fondant Giraffe


Cute cartoon like giraffes can be made easily from fondant or gum paste for your cake designs. Imagine a whimsical pair of giraffes looking out of a Noah's Ark cake or peeking out from a lush piped jungle cake with other hand modelled animals.

You will need:

  • Fondant in black, yellow brown, and darker brown
  • Ball tool
  • Sharp knife or blade tool
  • Toothpicks
  • A decorating tip
  • Cornstarch
  • Gum paste adhesive or edible glue

Form the Body

Used with Permission from Michelle Anderson
Take a piece of kneaded and softened fondant and roll it into a teardrop shape on a smooth surface dusted with cornstarch. Thake the time to smooth out any wrinkles because once the fondant has dried it will be impossible to fix it.

Create the Long Neck

Used with Permission from Michelle Anderson
Gently roll the thinner section of the teardrop shape until it starts to elongate. The giraffe nect needs to the long but take care not to roll this section too thin or it will buckle. You are not shooting for realism with this animal just make the neck long enough so people can identify the figure as the correct animal. Make a bend at the bottom of the neck so the animal will be holding its head high. Set the body aside to dry and firm up.

Roll a Cylinder for the Legs

Used with Permission from Michelle Anderson
The giraffe will be standing up so four relatively long legs are needed for the figure. Roll out a long snake like cylinder of fondant that is an equal width along the length. Make sure the cylinder is at least four times longer than the length of one giraffe leg.

Cut the Legs Out

Used with Permission from Michelle Anderson
Cut the ends off the cylinder do the bottom edge is flat and then cut the cylinder in half. Cut both new lengths in half as well so you have four cylinders that are the same length. To make sure your measurements are accurate lay all four together and trim off any excess length. Stack the legs together in a bundle and use gum paste adhesive to stick the four legs together. Allow this leg bundle to dry.

Attach the Body to the Legs

Used with Permission from Michelle Anderson
After both the body and legs are firm and dry insert a toothpick through the top of the neck when the head will be placed leaving about half an inch visible at the top. Brush gum paste adhesive on the top edges of the legs and press the body of the giraffe firmly onto the legs creating a seal. Allow the headless fondant figure to dry.

Make an Egg Shaped Head

Used with Permission from Michelle Anderson
While the body of the giraffe is drying roll out an egg shaped piece of fondant for the head. Take to time to ensure that the head is in proportion to the body by holding the completed egg shape up to the neck.These types of figures are not meant to be completely accurate so it is fine if your head is slightly larger or smaller than the proportions found in nature.

Place Head in Flower Former

Used with Permission from Michelle Anderson
Place the head shape in a flower former and gently press the side of your little finger in the middle of the narrower side to form the giraffe's brow. You want the fatter half of the egg on the bottom for the mouth and cheeks.

Make Face Features

Used with Permission from Michelle Anderson
Use a ball tool, sharp knife,toothpick and the edge of a decorating piping tip to create facial features. You want to position the eyes in the indented section of the face with eyelashes at the corners.

Fill in Eyes

Used with Permission from Michelle Anderson
Roll out tiny balls of black fondant and press them gently into the eyes to finish them. You can use any color you like for the eyes but make sure it is dark enough to contrast with the face.

Roll Out Balls for the Ears

Used with Permission from Michelle Anderson
Roll out two equal balls of fondant to form the ears. Try to get them in proportion to the head so your giraffe does not have either tiny or huge floppy ears.

Form the Ears and Horns

Used with Permission from Michelle Anderson
Take a paintbrush and press the end of the brush into the balls of fondant stretching the edges slightly over the tool.Then pinch the end of the ear to form a teardrop shape. Cut the bottom of the ear to form a flush edge that will adhere easily to the giraffe head.Take darker brown fondant and roll out a small thin cylinder for the horns. Cut the cylinder into two short pieces that are about an inch long and round out the tops.Use gum paste glue to stick the ears onto the giraffe and then add the horns right on the top of the head. Allow the entire piece to dry completely.

Place the Head on the Body and Finish the Giraffe

Used with Permission from Michelle Anderson
Roll out a long thin cylinder of fondant for the giraffe tail and cut it off at the desired length.Adhere a small piece of darker brown fondant to the tip of the tail and attach the tail to the body with gum paste glue. Brush the edge of the neck with the smae glue around the tooth pick and then attach the head to the body. Turn the head whatever direction you want the animal to be looking. You can add spots to your giraffe by painting the splotches onto the fondant directly with gel colors or cutting out spots from rolled fondant darker than your body color. Simply stick the spots in whatever pattern you wish along the body and neck.
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