This is a subjective matter that Pei Li brought up on her blog. Instead of writing a comment on her blog I would write my own thoughts on silicone here.
If you like the Japanese silicone creams you might want to pay attention.
Now I have used many kinds of materials in my day, from clay to resin. I do not claim to use everything out in the market. This is more of my observance on what is becoming more and more in the deco sweets/miniature market: silicone cream for wet looking cream.
About silicone cream
Before yelling "but you haven't made any work in months" I have been working with my dad building houses as long as I can remember. I did look into buying silicone cream at one point to try it out. I actually worked with "silicone cream" just the other day caulking up the cracks off my bathroom. That was kind of my moment in sparking this debate. Seeing Pei Li's blog of what it looks like when dried confirmed it for me.
That type of silicone that you guys are seeing/using for the cream resemble caulking that is colored differently. Around here because there are so many people who does weird bathroom tiles in houses, you can actually find silicone in pale pinks, greens, etc for basically like $8 a caulking tube in the hardware store.
Heck, you can even find them online if you want to pay for shipping! Just type colored caulk to find a location near you.
If you cannot find the color you want, you can even color the clear ones with acrylic paint. There are whole forums dedicated to coloring silicone and making molds out of them. (This is where I got the idea of writing this from except with a different purpose.)
Of course, it will dry out eventually but it is not the end of the world if it dries out for a hardware store size tube compared to the little tiny tubes/tubs that the Japanese sells with the extra shipping from foreign countries.
So how do you choose which one to buy/make?
Well like all silicone products it has shiny, matte, and semi-matte depending on your taste in bathroom or kitchen caulking or in this case, deco sweets/miniature decorating.
Edit: Now it is daylight and I can see the package more clearly, For people who live in the United States, This is the silicone caulking I experimented with: GE Premium Waterproof Silicone Silicone II* Clear. It comes in a RED and white tube and it can be very easily found in the caulking aisle. This particular tube I have is 290mL.
There is also another one recommended called GE Silicone 100% Silicone Rubber Sealant Clear that you can try. Since I do not have it on hand I cannot say which one is cheaper.
What do you need?
You need (Pics will come later):
- 1 tube of clear 100% silicone rubber caulking
Caulking in the US comes in 2 sizes: a small one and a big one. The big one is 290mL.
- 1 caulking gun (make sure to buy the right gun for the job. The cheapest one is NOT it, buy the next cheapest one. It should have a needle on it for poking into the caulking bottle directly.)
- 1 small nail (to seal the hole of the caulking later)
- acrylic paint of your choice and color
- piping bag or ziploc bag
- cake tip coupler
- cake tip of your choice
- plastic cups to mix up the silicone
- metal spoon or plastic spoon (wood is probably not the best for this)
To open one of these tubes, take a pair of scissors to cut open the tube. Then afterwards, *most* every caulking gun has a needle to puncture the inside of the package of caulk. The reason why I put stars around *most* is because some caulking guns DO NOT have the needle. Don't get that one. You will want to return it. Then put the caulking tube into the caulking gun. There is a plunger in the end that would push the caulk up to the surface.
If you mix the colors yourself how long does it last? I unfortunately cannot answer that question with a straight answer. There are many types of caulking out there. Caulking in itself have fast drying varieties, which can take hours and then the regular, cheap stuff takes overnight to a day to dry. It really depends on which caulking you decide to buy.
If you extract it from the caulking gun the silicone on the caulking gun itself will probably last longer because it has a tighter seal. You can plug the hole on top of the caulking gun with a nail of the hole size. That is where the nail comes in. Even then you can have the silicone eventually dry out in there but it will dry out at a slower pace than just leaving it out in the open.
After you get the amount of silicone you want, add the acrylic paint directly to the silicone before it dries out. The silicone will absorb the colors and will mix well together.
Once you get the color you wanted, just simply use a piping bag (or plastic ziploc bag), a coupler, and the cake tips of your choice to pipe the newly made silicone cream to your creations.
Be forewarned to clean up immediately after you are done. You do not want the silicone to set in any way or it will become a pain to clean up after it sets up, especially in your pastry tubes! Simply use your finger or any tool to just clean up as much of the silicone as fast as possible. If some of them does dry on your tools, use an x-acto knife to carefully scrape it out later.
Also I forgot the smells. Silicone from the bottle definitely has an odor. Be careful not to breathe in too deeply.
Note to all as well: Do NOT wash silicone down the drain! You can clog the drain as it dries in bits and pieces. You do not want to do that. Just do it with a pan of water if necessary and throw the water out somewhere else besides a drain.
How do you get it shiny? It is not as shiny as I am used to.
Again, this really depends on the kind of silicone you buy. If it is not shiny enough for your liking, you can paint or spray on gloss directly on the silicone caulking.
... and here is my result!
So here I introduced it: how to make your own silicone cream for your own use at home without the heartache of spending a lot of money on a little tub/tube from Japan! As much as I love Japan, this is really something you can do at home at a low cost.
I am not attacking silicone cream from Japan! It is a fine product! If you have it use it! This is simply a tutorial for the future when you finally run out of the tube or it dried out in the container that there is an alternative, an alternative that can be made cheaply at home from the hardware store with some paint.
I hope this helps you in any way.
If you have questions, ask away!