Painting Leopard Spots on Fondant - A Step by Step Tutorial

This post on how to paint leopard spots on fondant and gum paste was made specially as part of my LV handbag cake project. The design of the cake is not mine, I merely re-produced it as requested by a good friend of my husband and I. I made this cake a few years ago and since I never published the images, never really bothered to search for the real designer. Now, after a couple of years, I tried locating the original designer by searching the internet, and even after spending a good 2 hours of searching, I was unable to locate the cake designer. Its very disappointing as I would rather provider him or her the credit for the design. I am still hoping that I will be able to find the cake designer and if anyone happens to know, I will be more than happy to hear from you and give due credit.

Back to the cake. Part of the cake design had this delicate scarf on it, and being on a cake, it had to be made of edible stuff off course. So I tried making it with fondant first, but it kept tearing every time I tried putting it up on the cake and even then, there were too many wrinkles on it. So I tried with gum paste instead and and it was so much better.

As for the leopard spots, I decided that painting them on the scarf is the best option for this project. Firstly, because the spots are not necessary of exactly same shape or size on a leopard, and therefore hand painting them on the scarf did not seem like a very daunting task. Secondly, the leopard spots pattern had to be as seamless as possible on the scarf, so cutting the spots out of fondant and attaching them on the scarf was not a good option.

So, that was how I decided to paint the spots instead. It was not only quicker than cutting and pasting the spots on, it also helped produce a more realistic looking leopard spots scarf.

Though the spots look rather difficult to paint, in reality, they are super easy. So easy that anyone can make them.

Painting Leopard Spots on Fondant - Tutorial

These are the main supplies I used to paint the leopard spots:

  • Wilton gel food colors in Ivory and brown – both these colors were used to paint the leopard spots.
  • Medium sized cake decorating brush – this brush is to paint on fondant.
  • A little warm water – to lightly dilute the food coloring before painting on fondant.

And this is how I did the painting:

For the purpose of this tutorial, I used a small patch of ivory fondant to demonstrate the painting.  The effect should be the same on gum paste or large pieces of fondant.

To begin with, using a clean cake decorating brush, I dipped the tip into the ivory food color. And then, I dampened it very lightly in water and painted a round spot as shown below. The spot does not have to be perfectly round, it would suffice if it is about that shape.

And in painting the spot, the paint need not be consistently applied, some parts of the spots can be of a lighter shade than the others and it is perfectly ok to be like that. In fact, it looks more natural that way.

Once the center was done, next was the outer layer of paint in brown. Once again, I dipped my brush into my food paint very lightly, this time the brown color. The food paint in its original consistency will appear too dark, so I dipped the tip of my brush to a very light touch of water and painted “c” shapes on the opposite sides of the ivory spot earlier. And in painting this, there are no hard and fast rules, the “C”s need not be perfectly positioned, in fact, for some spots, you can do just one large “C” design that frames about two thirds of the spot.

How to Paint Leopard Spots on Fondant

And that’s pretty much the steps you need to take to paint leopard spots on cake. Isn’t it easy?

You can go ahead and paint the spots randomly on fondant, in slightly varying shapes and sizes. And if you notice in the image below, I have added random spots of brown paint on the fondant. I did not add these to my handbag cake project but thought they make spots look even more realistic.

How to Paint Leopard Spots on Fondant

And my tip for completing this leopard spots painting quicker and easier is to paint all the ivory spots onto your fondant or gum paste first and only then paint the brown “C”s. This was how I did the leopard spots on the scarf in my LV handbag cake project.

How to Paint Leopard Spots on Fondant

Hope this was useful. Click here to see how I decorated the rest of the handbag cake.

Happy Decorating :)

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How to Paint Leopard Spots on Fondant

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