Kin started off by introducing us to air dry clay, which hardens when exposed to air as the moisture inside evaporates. When the clay is not being worked on, it’s placed in cling wrap to ensure that it doesn’t harden.
The base colour of the clay was white, so to colour the clay, acrylic paint was kneaded into it. After some kneading, the clay’s colour would magically change.
For its shape, Kin demonstrated how the clay should be kneaded into a perfect ball at first, before shaping it into the desired form.
Now that the basics were explained, time to get working!
Down to the Details
After shaping and colouring their foods, it was time to add the details! This was the most important part of the process as it determined whether the model was realistic or not.
The toothpick was the tool of choice this round. It was used to create the ridges around the entire tutu keuh. For the curry puff, the toothpick was used to pull and shape the swirls at the edges that formed the crust.
Mandy recalls this being her favourite part of the workshop
“I enjoyed carving out the crust of the curry puff, the waves.” — Mandy
This part proved to be the most challenging, with quite some time spent perfecting the details. However, the good thing about working with clay is that you can keep trying again and again until you get it right.
Kin also shared with us that we could use the actual tutu kueh mold as a template for a life-size tutu kueh model. It’s interesting that we can make use of real-life food molds for clay modelling (but it wouldn’t be a miniature anymore, would it)
Glazing and Gluing
Now on to the finishing touches. Banana leaves were rolled for the tutu kueh’s base, while a semi-shiny glaze was applied to the curry puff. This gave it a nice oily sheen which added to its realism.
After this, the final products were transformed into accessories, ranging from rings, earrings, and badges.
As you can see, the varnish adds a nice sheen to the food, giving it an additional textured finish! Common varnishes like nail polish can also be also be used to achieve this effect.
The workshop was carried out smoothly and everyone was happy with what they made. Kin was always there to guide and give pointers on the process.
“I really enjoyed the workshop. Kin was very patient in teaching us, helping us correct our works. We also get a chance to really see our effort being translated into jewellery which you can use in the future.” — Hannah
I feel that creating clay miniatures with local food is a fun and creative way to express our local culture. With our food culture being so rich and diverse, there an endless amount of food we can miniaturise! Apart from curry puffs and tutu kueh, Kin also holds miniature workshops for dishes like chicken rice, bentos and even tsum tsum figurines!
Start your fake food journey here
Take a look at more of Kin’s amazing creations in our feature video below!