Monday, March 21, 2011

Fat, Happy Owl Fondant Tutorial

by Darla

You may remember that last month I celebrated my birthday.

And this was my cake. I still love this cake. I love that it was actually a very easy cake to decorate, but it still looks lovely.

Most of all, though, I love that fat little owl on top. I love him so much that I’m in the process of seeking out the perfect fabrics so that I can make a fluffy stuffed version! :) Apparently, you guys love him too, because you’ve asked me how to make it. A lot. :) Well, I have good news…I’m gonna tell you how to make it today! But I have even better news…it’s incredibly easy to make. Don’t believe me? Read on.

Let’s get started. First things first, you need some supplies. Nothing fancy here, just some fondant in the colors of your choice and a food writer. How much fondant you need is entirely dependent on how big your owl will be. I’m going to make a baby owl today, so the fondant shown is all I’ll need (use the marker for perspective). You’ll need at least three colors: one for the main body (white, in my case), one for the “feathers” (turquoise), and one for the beak, feet, and any other details you choose to add (yellow). Whatever colors you choose to use, reserve a small amount of plain white to use for the eyes. To give you an idea of amounts of fondant, I will use all of the white, 95% of the turquoise, and only about 10% of the yellow pictured. However, there are fun details you can add with the yellow fondant, but we’ll cover that later.

Step one: shape the main part of the body. This step is very simple. Just roll the fondant into a ball, then shape it into an egg shape that is slightly fatter than normal on the bottom. Set it aside until later.

Step two: make the “feathers.” This piece of the owl will make up the wings, ears, and tail. Shape a piece of fondant that is slightly bigger than the body piece into a fat, shallow bowl. On one side of the bowl shape, gently press and shape two ears on the edge. Next, gently pinch and pull the center between the ears until it is slightly flattened and comes to a point. Your piece should now resemble a sort of cape that can be wrapped over the owl’s body.

Step three: Attach the “feathers.” Dab a small amount of water inside the portion of the “cape” that will be the head (where the ears are).

Position the ears at the top, narrow part os the body and wrap the “cape” down the sides. The roundness of the piece automatically forms wings for your owl. If necessary, thin the pice out a bit by removing it and gently pressing and shaping it to get the desired thickness. Then just “glue” it to the body again with a little water.

Step four: Make the tail. Once you have the “feathers” attached, sit the owl on a flat surface that has been lightly dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Gently press and move the owl around until you have the “cape” positioned and tucked where it needs to be to keep the right shape. You will have an extra piece on the back that is going to turn into a tail. Using a paring knife, trim the excess edges of the piece so that the “cape” comes to a point in the back. Now all you have to do is gently mold and shape the tail until you like the way it looks.

Step five: Make the eyes. The eyes are very simple. Roll two small, equal sized pieces into balls. On a flat surface, gently squash each eye until it is slightly flattened. Dab a tiny amount of water onto the back of each eye and attach to you owl. I like to put the eyes right up against each other, but if you want to, you could leave a little room between them.

Step six: Make the beak. Roll a small piece of fondant into a ball. The size of the ball depends on how big you want the beak. Don’t worry about size so much, you can always add some or take it away, if necessary. Shape the ball of fondant into a teardrop shape, gently press it into a flat surface to flatten it very slightly, dab a small amount of water onto the back and position it between the owl’s eyes. At any point after the owl’s eyes are attached, you can use the food writer to draw his pupils on. I like to wait until his face is completely attached so that I don’t smear the writing.

Step seven (optional): Accessorize! If you want to, you can accessorize your owl with tiny flowers, bows, hearts…whatever!

For the owl that was on my birthday cake, I chose to make his whole back floral.

There you have it! You now have a sweet, fat, happy little owl, and it probably took you less than 15 minutes! The great thing about this design (besides the ease) is that its simplicity allows you to make the owl as tiny or as big as you like! Just remember, that bigger you make him, the heavier he will be, so you may want to use marshmallow rice treats for the body and cover them in fondant.

Step eight (optional): Make the feet. The owl on my birthday cake didn’t have feet. He was still adorable and I loved him, but I thought I’d give you some steps to make feet, just in case you’d like to. All you need are two tiny pieces of fondant to match the beak. Roll them into balls, then shape them into teardrops and flatten them. Use a paring knife to cut two ines into each foot, creating three toes per foot. Using a thin, flat object (I used the back of my fingernail), gently round the toes so they’re fat and cute. Now just dab a small amount of water on top of them and position the owl on top. You can leave them close together like I have above, or…

…you can place them with a little room between them. I think they’re adorable either way, but I like them a little more spaced out.

I loooove these little guys! And just look at those witto bitty toes! I have to admit, if I’d known how darn cute those little feet would be, my birthday owl would have had them!

There you have it! A cute, happy little owl that’s perfect for any occasion, and can top tiny mini cupcakes, or a huge tiered cake. He can be as simple or as elaborate as you like, and can be changed up to match the colors of any theme. I hope you love him as much as I do! Enjoy!

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lucy March 21, 2011 at 9:57 am

Brilliant! So whimsical and fun. I would like to try my hand at fondant more often. Thank you for sharing!


2 How To Be Perfect March 21, 2011 at 1:51 pm

What a cutie!


3 Kathia March 21, 2011 at 5:35 pm

What a cute tutorial! I love the fact that is easy to follow and the colors and little details can be changed.


4 Karly March 21, 2011 at 7:29 pm

What you call easy and what I call easy are so very different. Your little owl is absolutely adorable, though! Love him!


5 Sarah March 21, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Awwwwwwwww! Cute! If you do find the perfect fabrics for a stuffed owl, you could, you know, ahem, givemeone…If you wanted to…


6 yasmeen @ wandering spice March 22, 2011 at 3:08 am

what a handy tutorial and sweet design! i’ve been curious about fondant for a while, but haven’t tried it yet. might just have to go by this great guideline. thanks!


7 Stephanie March 22, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Great tutorial! That owl will be so cute as a stuffy


8 Rita March 23, 2011 at 3:12 am

That’s gorgeous! I might need an owl for my birthday cake!


9 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. March 23, 2011 at 11:04 am

amazing! I am so impressed


10 Cookbook Queen March 23, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Okay, so you know how the other day I was telling you how owls are my most favorite thing and I’ve always dreamt of my very own owl cake?

Oh wait…that didn’t happen, did it? You probably don’t even know who I am…

So lets just pretend it’s normal for a strange lady to visit your blog and demand cake. Yep…*whistles* perfectly normal….


11 baobabs March 24, 2011 at 11:52 pm

OMG this is SOOOOOO cute!!!!


12 Jenn (JJ's Custom Cakery) March 25, 2011 at 12:49 am

Thank you so much….it’s so refreshing to see a step by step and picture tutorial. You were very clear and easy to follow.


13 Nam @ The Culinary Chronicles March 25, 2011 at 1:43 am



14 Christopher Unseth March 25, 2011 at 11:42 am

My girlfriend gushed over that little guy.


15 Spike March 25, 2011 at 11:50 am

So happy to find this post today! I am making owl themed cupcakes for a friend’s baby shower and these will be perfect. so cute!


16 Anna April 3, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Love it. This would also be very cute made from clay.


17 Cookie and Kate May 28, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you! My best friend’s upcoming baby shower is owl-themed and I have been hunting for cake ideas. This is it! Thank you so much for the tutorial. I’ve never used fondant before, but I think I can do it.


18 Aviva July 25, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Where can you get the little flower cutters from ? I LOVE this design its fantastic !


19 Darla July 25, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Hi Aviva, I used the cutters that come in the Wilton Gum Paste Flower-Making Set. There’s a lot of different cutters, and you can use them to make 2D, as well as 3D flowers.


20 MGD August 4, 2011 at 1:35 pm

These are so adorable! Thank you for sharing!


21 Ashley August 20, 2011 at 12:04 am

hi! i used your tutorial to make owlies for my birthday cake. i’d never done anything with fondant (or more than decorating a cupcake) before. i absolutely LOVE the owls (the rest of the cake is iffy haha, but the owls saved it!) THANK YOU!!


22 Darla August 20, 2011 at 1:11 am

Ohmigosh. I LOVE your email address!!!

So happy the owls turned out for you! :)


23 Danelle September 17, 2011 at 1:17 am

Love it!
So simple but so gorgeous. Great tutorial.


24 Laura November 8, 2011 at 12:39 am

i have such an owl obsession, so i love love love this tutorial!


25 Carolyn December 2, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Thanks for this- this is just what I want to decorate my daughter’s Christening cake- I think I will practise over Christmas! I don’t suppose you have made any other woodland creatures???


26 geet December 27, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Hi, really love your cute owl. He is simply so adorable. Did you frost the cake with buttercream frosting and then used fondant as a band underneath. Could you also please tell me how you layered the cake ? I have never done a layered cake before. You could email me at

Thank you.


27 Jana January 8, 2012 at 10:38 pm

I love this cake!! I am trying to get some ideas for a baby shower and this would be perfect! How did you get the buttercream on the cake so smooth? I am just starting out making cakes and would love any pointers you can give me. Thanks!


28 Kelsey April 16, 2012 at 6:54 pm

I helped host an owl-themed baby shower and you inspired me to do my first tiered cake, which was also my first time making and using fondant! I have a lot more respect for your perfect little owl. Mine has a little more homemade character to it. I didn’t do that vertical layers. I can’t imagine adding that level of difficulty. But thanks so much for the tutorial! Not sure if this will work, but here is a link to my facebook pic:


29 cornelia August 27, 2012 at 3:29 am

thank you so much for this super sweet tutorial!
look how i used it:



30 ummuafiq October 1, 2012 at 1:00 am

Hi.. Darla… its so cute. I love it so much. I share this tutorial on my blog and translate it to my own language. Thanks Darla.


31 deepa October 24, 2012 at 8:09 am

Just was I was looking for!! lil girl loves owls..Thanks!!


32 Michele February 5, 2013 at 7:49 am

Thank you for this tutorial!Making fondant characters does not come natural to me as I would like,but your tutorial was very easy to follow and overall I am happy with my two owls!Thank you again!


33 Kelly April 30, 2013 at 5:05 pm

The owl is totally adorable, but what I really want to know is how you got that texture on your cake. It looks like fabric, which is really cool. I’d assume it fondant, but did you use a special technique?


34 Darla April 30, 2013 at 5:27 pm

Thanks! :) The cake is actually covered in traditional buttercream frosting, and I didn’t do anything special to it. That’s just how it turned out… Sorry I can’t be more helpful!


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