Thursday, January 24, 2013

Make Your Own Impression Mat


Will you hate me if I admit that I don't love conversation heart candies?  They taste okay. They're not fantastic... but they are definitely higher on the list of things I'd like to eat than say... chalk or dirt. It's kind of a weird color combination if you ask me, and above all... the grammar... I just can't get past it. My eye starts twitching and my tongue gets stuck in the top of my mouth. And then on top of that, my 5 year old wants me to define "Babe" and "Be my icon." 

So... these happened.  I tried this out because I wanted to know if it would work. And it did. Mostly. But don't try this until you read the whole post. It's not without limitations. But it is fantastic for what it is.


Remember when you were in college and you were dating two people at the same time, only they didn't know it so you asked your roommate for advice and they told you to just enjoy it all until it blows up in your face? It's kind of like that. Except nothing should blow up in your face. And if it does, then you clearly did not read my instructions.


Things you will need -- 

Piping gel. Get any color you want. I mean, get a color that doesn't annoy you. (Do some colors annoy you or is it just me? Orange kind of annoys me. And turquoise. And putting them together would be like giving my children drums and water balloons. Please don't do it.)

Flexible cutting boards. Mine look a little old because they are. They have never been used (this is important for food safety) but they have been sitting in a box for nearly 3 years. (Why in the world would I do that? Please don't judge me.)  I got them at a dollar store when I still lived in America. Basically, you want thin, flexible, food safe plastic.

Printed Message. Find a nice font you like. Find a fancy scroll pattern. Create your own unique artwork. Just make sure you scale it to the right size and then flip the image. Unless of course it's already symmetrical, or you don't mind the reverse pattern. For words... you're going to need to flip it.

Piping bag and tip. For lettering, I would recommend a #1.5 tip. For any other pattern or design, a #2 or #2.5 tip would be give you more durability in the long run. But you can't use that size of tips for letters this small. It would just turn out to be a giant blob. And, I could be wrong, but I don't think you need an impression mat for giant blobs. Those are pretty easy to do on your own.

TIME. (Not pictured) It takes a long time to dry. We're talking 10-15 days here. A long time.


This could not be more simple. Tape your mirror image to a flat surface. Tape a cut up piece of the plastic cutting board over the top. Squeeze your piping gel into the piping bag and pipe over the top of the design. If you are using the #1.5 tip, let it dry for an hour and then pipe a second layer of piping gel on top to make it taller. Then put it somewhere you won't see it for 10 days. Resist the urge to poke it every 3 hours just to see how it is doing.


1. So... about those limitations I was talking about earlier. You have to use this just a little bit differently than a regular impression mat. And by that I mean you need to dust the top of the cookie dough with flour. This was a little excessive. It really only need a very light dusting, but I was a tad paranoid after it stuck the first time and I started hyperventilating because I assumed my two weeks of waiting had been wasted in a careless moment.

2. Place the impression mat with the dried-up-piping-gel side down. Gently roll over the top with a rolling pin. Try to use light pressure, and only on the part with the pattern.

3. Use a food brush to remove the copious amount of flour you dumped on your cookie dough in your moment of self doubt.

4. Cut out the cookie. And then bake it. And eat it. Or give it to someone if that's what you do with cookies.


Some helpful tips --

**Use a brush and toothpick to clean the impression mat. If you try to wash it, it will get sticky and weird.

**Consider extending the plastic further out from the design so it doesn't leave marks on your cookie.

**If one of your lines is a little bit wonky, let it set up for a day and then take a toothpick and gently nudge it into place.

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