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How to Make a Royal Icing Turtle

Finished-Turtle-on-Foilboard-150x150O.K. then! We are back from Milton and are now getting ready for company arriving tomorrow. The birthday party for my sister was a complete and utter surprise to her. Hooray!! Her kids, Kory and Kristy did a fabulous job organizing everything and Kristy’s boyfriend Andy was an excellent barbeque chef. His grilled chicken and steak for the fajitas was some of the most flavourful I’ve ever eaten. I was great to see my family and as difficult as it was to keep track of all the conversations occurring at the same time the gathering was a very extra special time.

As promised, I’m now going to show you how I made the royal icing turtle that was used as the table centerpiece at Gina’s birthday and surrounded by these cookies. You never know when the occasion may arise when you’ll wish you had made this for someone (just kidding!)

Making the Turtle Shell

Cover a large but not too deep of a bowl tightly with Saran Wrap and lightly coat with Crisco Shortening. I used a Corelle vegetable serving bowl that was 8 1/4″ around and 3″ deep. Pipe a line of green piping icing all around the base of the bowl (helps to use a turntable when working with the shell) and then pipe lines approximately 1″ in length up from the piped base all around the base. Space as evenly apart as you can. Close off those lines by piping all around the top of them.

Using a picture of a turtle as a guide, begin piping the lines for the shell, beginning at the top of the bowl and working your pattern around and down the bowl. Once your shell has been piped, go over all the lines again, three to four times until you have added some depth.

Once all your piping lines have dried, it is time to begin filling in the spaces with green flood icing (a shade or two darker than your piping icing). I flooded the two top sections of the shell and the rectangles at the base of the shell first and let them dry a little before moving on.

To complete flooding the remainder of the shell, it is necessary to raise the shell and support it against something while you work. I used another bowl. You will only be able to flood two or three sections at a time now and you will have to wait until each group of two or three sections dries before rotating your shell to flood the next sections. If you don’t wait, your flood icing will overflow.

Once all your shell sections have been flooded, set aside to dry completely. It’s time to draw the base of your turtle.

Making the Turtle Base

I used four 8 1/2″ sheets of paper, taped together into one large rectangle. I used a colouring book picture of a turtle as a guide and drew the image onto the papers. At this point you will also want to take and extra piece of paper and trace a copy of the turtle’s head.

*the “turtle back” line should be the same circumference as the bowl you use to create your shell

Place sheets of Saran Wrap large enough to cover your image over your turtle picture and lightly coat with Crisco Shortening. Using green piping icing, outline the image. You do not need to pipe around the *turtle back* circle.

Pipe the entire outline again three more times as you want a bit of depth.

When your outlined turtle has dried, it is time to flood with the darker shade of green flood icing. Flood in small manageable sections quickly (using a toothpick to pop any air bubbles) until the entire shape is filled in.

While this base for your shell and your shell are drying you can work on making the top of the turtle’s head.

Making the Top of the Turtle Head

Remember earlier when I told you to trace a copy of the turtle’s head? Well, now you will see why. Take the copy you made of the head and cut it out. Place a piece of Saran Wrap (lightly coated with Crisco shortening) over the image. Pipe around the outline (I did it a few times) then flood with thick green flood icing. Run the icing tip back and forth along the icing to create a bit of a textured look.

Place the head over a piece of heavy plastic the same size and shape of the head, making sure you crease the plastic in the center so that you have a slight arch.

Place the plastic and the head together with the Saran Wrap on something higher than your table to dry. You don’t need to get fancy here as you can see!

When your head is completely dry, you can add the eyes. I used two small pieces of rolled up Tootsie Roll candy and covered half of each piece with green piping icing.

Putting the Turtle Together

Do not put any of the sections of your turtle together until they have all been given plenty of time to dry completely. Waiting a few days after flooding each piece is best.

To remove the turtle shell from the bowl, gently turn the shell on it’s end. Using your fingers, gently pull the Saran Wrap away from the edges of the bowl until the bowl lifts easily off of the shell. Peel the Saran Wrap away from the shell.

Attaching the Head to the Base

Peel the Saran Wrap away from the head of the turtle. Pipe several lines of thick flood icing on the base of the turtle where the head meets the body.

Place the turtle head on top of the head on the base where you piped your icing. So your turtle’s mouth will be open, support the *mouth* with a small object about 2″ high. I used a plastic bottle as you can see below.

Attaching the Shell

With your shell on it’s end, pipe a line of icing all around the perimeter and flipping the shell over right side up, place in the center of your turtle base. This should be done while the icing for attaching the head is still wet.

Add another row of icing at the *neck* to cover where you attached the shell.

Preparing to Present Your Turtle

While your turtle’s head and shell are drying to one another, you can prepare your presentation board for it. I used corrugated cardboard cut a few inches wider and longer than the turtle itself. Cover the board with tinfoil and trace the image of your turtle on the foil. With light brown icing pipe the outline of the turtle and pipe all around the edges of your board.

When your turtle shell and head have completely dried, flood the outline of the turtle with light brown icing and glently place your dry and hardened turtle onto the wet icing.

To lift your completed turtle from the Saran Wrap it has been drying on, use a thin but sturdy item that is large enough to carry the weight of most of the turtle. I used one of those thin plastic cutting boards. Place the cutting board at the edge of the table and gently pull your turtle to the edge of the table, sliding the cutting board between the Saran Wrap and the turtle as you ease the cutting board under the whole of the turtle. When the turtle is on the cutting board you can gently lift it off and place onto the brown flood icing.

Now you can finish flooding the foilboard. I did 90% of it in the light brown icing (for sand) and 10% in blue icing with blue sprinkles for water.

Let dry completely. When I brought this to my sister’s birthday, I added brown sugar to the brown section shown above to represent the sand and arranged her turtle cookies all around the big royal icing turtle. I made this turtle back in May and stored it covered in Saran Wrap until it was time to make the trip to Milton. I packaged it inside a cardboard box and it made the trip to the party this past weekend just fine. I did not get a picture of it at the party unfortunately. Was having too much fun catching up with everyone!

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