Thursday, May 17, 2012

Let's talk about HUE.


Actually, first, let's talk about me again. As previously discussed, I'm not a good Let-It-Goer. Colors are no exception. It was a real, real frustrating thing for me at first. I would have some great color choices in my head... and they would NEVER come out right in icing. Want proof? Check out THESE cookies. Eww. And I've never told anyone this...and its totally embarrassing but...I was so upset about that "perfect" color and my inability to achieve it that I actually put SALT in the icing as well so I wouldn't be tempted to give the cookies to anyone. Clearly...not one of my better decisions in life. Although, my husband never noticed. I'm not sure if that is a reflection on my emotional salt pouring skills or his love for me. Anyway...I've gotten over my color issues and I'm happy to say that my icing has been salt-free for just over a year now.


For a while I mixed and stared and mixed and stared and mixed and over-mixed until I started figuring a few things out. First of all -- over-mixing is bad for the icing. It gets all crumbly when it is dry. Second -- that whole "color wheel thing" actually helps. Kind of like, a lot. Let's take this one step at a time.

For "scientific" purposes*, I started with 1 cup of icing straight out of the mixer. I wanted to achieve a lilac colored option like on the right. I think that deciding which color to use first is actually the hardest choice. Once you have some color, its easier to tell where to go from there. Sometimes I have to start over completely, but usually I can get to the color I want from more than one direction. You would be just fine if you said to go with purple to start with. Personally, saw more pink, so I added some Wilton pink to it. To keep things uniform and re-produceable*,  I used a drop size amount.

And I got this color.  Not surprisingly...it's pink. If you struggle with color I strongly urge you to have a hard copy of your desired color on hand for comparison. I use magazines, toys, knick-knacks, online references...just be aware that if you print something from online, the color is almost never the same hue.

Look at the color you have and the color you want. The color on the left is lighter than I want. I have a choice to add 1) more pink 2) black or 3) brown. More pink will give me a brighter color, but not a darker color. Black might be an option...but since brown has more of an orange base to it, it will keep it in the same color family. I'll go with that and add 1 drop of Americolor chocolate brown.

Did you catch that? So far we have equal amounts of pink and brown in our icing and our icing still looks pink.

Now I have the color on the left. When you look at it next to our ideal color, you can see that it is a little too orange. Or you can see that it needs more blue.  Both are basically the same statement.

Look at the color wheel again. Orange is directly across from blue. If your icing is too orange...it needs more blue. If your icing needs blue, it is because it is too orange. This is the key to success. With a little practice and some reckless experimenting you will soon be able to see what your color is and what your color needs.

And here is where I appear to contradict myself by saying that I actually added 1 drop of Americolor regal purple. Let me explain. We have a pink icing. We want our icing to remain somewhat pink. I know I need more blue, but I also know I want it to stay closer to the red side of the wheel. So I compromise. And we all win.

Let's recap. I had white icing. I wanted lilac. So I added some pink. It wasn't dark enough so I added some brown. That made it dark, but too orange. So I added some purple and got exactly what I wanted and lived happily ever after. 


I'm going to keep talking about color. I like color. It makes SUCH a difference in how you feel about decorating, and how your end product looks. Send me your questions and your special color requests and let's make the world happy and keep our icing salt-free.

PS -- The answer to THE FACEBOOK QUESTION -- I added brown. 

*This statement has nothing to do with science. I just really wanted to sound technical so you would believe me. But now I feel kind of bad about misleading you. Sorry about that.

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