Sep 11 2016

The Worm from Labyrinth: Step by Step

In April I made a cake topper for my brother-in-law’s birthday party while my wife made the cake. Here is the step by step on how I did it:


It starts with making a wire armature; I made this one out of a clothes hanger. Luckily this is all the armature that the worm required; making armatures for human figures is much more complex.


Then you cover it with aluminum foil until it is about 80% of the bulk you need it to be.


I’m sculpting the worm with a polymer clay called Sculpey, which runs about $10/lb. You layer it over your wire and foil armature no thicker than 1/4 inch and then bake it in the oven at something like 275 degrees for 20 minutes. I learned about this from my friend Dave 20 years ago. After you bake it, then you can cut, grind, sand, ¬†score, and even layer on more Sculpey and bake it again.


Here is a closeup of the freshly sculpted and unbaked Sculpey.


Here I have globbed on the initial blobs that will make up the worm’s face.


And here are all of the blobs smooshed into a rough face. Note the score marks on the eyes so that I can smooth on more Sculpey for the eyes once it has been baked the first time.


The worm was baked, then eyes and eyelids sculpted on.


img_5667Here I have smoothed down the rough edges of the grooves in the worm’s body with a tiny file, and cut in more smaller grooves with a dental tool.


Now I have added all of the fat rolls on the worm’s neck. This was a little difficult, making layer after layer one at a time and not smooshing the underlying layers.


After the last bake it was time to paint. I thinned down some gray acrylic and brushed/dribbled it into all of the little nooks and crannies to make them stand out more.

img_5673 img_5674

I painted the rest of the worm with acrylic, then superglued some snips of fancy yarn on for his hair.


Finally I finished the pupils with a Sharpie marker, then sprayed the entire thing with clear acrylic sealer, and cut a strip of felt off for the scarf.


Here is the final on top of the awesome cake that Heather made. In total it took me probably about 8-12 hours.

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Sep 11 2011


I have long despised bananas. Maybe ‘despised’ is too harsh, but I certainly was not fond them. Before July I only ate maybe four bananas a year, just whenever I got a potassium-deficiency-induced craving. Since being diagnosed with diverticulitis, I have changed my diet significantly for the better, and eat 1-2 bananas a day.

But I may accurately state that I have always despised banana bread. And zucchini bread, squash bread, and all other heavy breads with vegetables in them. I loathe them all. Heather, being an amazing pastry chef, makes lots of other nice things anyway.

So back in the spring Kaleb brought in a dessert his wife, Mrs. Kaleb, had made. Kaleb, being a keen observer pretty much everything in a 120′ radius of his person, knew of my hatred.

KALEB: “So I got this dessert I want you to try. It’s made with banana br–.”

ME: “I don’t like banana bread.”

KALEB: “I know you don’t like banana bread, but this is so amazing.”

So I tried it. I can’t remember the exact composition, but it was made from¬†2 white chocolate chip banana bread cakes sandwiched with peanut butter, and frosted with a mixture of chocolate chips and cream cheese.

It was so amazing. Even so, I forgot about it.

Fast forward a month. We go to the birthday party for Kaleb’s little girl, aka, The World’s Most Adorable Baby.

It was a great party, and we had a blast, despite how sad I look in the Facebook pictures. And, we had some incredible strawberry cupcakes (I think I had like four, and they made me take two more home).

Right before we left, Kaleb mentioned something about the recipe for Mrs. Kaleb’s chocolate-cream cheese-peanut butter-banana bread sandwich.

“Oh, Daniel doesn’t like banana bread,” Heather said.

“Really? Kaleb said he loved the one I sent to work,” said Mrs. K.

Uh oh. Busted.

“Oh really?” asked Heather

It was one of those, ‘He never drinks two cups of coffee at home,’ moments, except with the implication that because I had enjoyed another woman’s desserts (in the most literal sense), I had somehow committed an infidelity, at least on a pastry level.

But, I seem to have gotten away with it.

Well, except for the marriage counseling.

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Dec 10 2010

Happy Birthday Mrs. MadMan

It’s Mrs. MadMan’s birthday today, and I have now known her for literally half her life.

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