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How to Make Fondant Seashells Without a Mold

Updated on March 14, 2017
Kylyssa profile image

Kylyssa is an artist who works in a wide variety of media that has included fondant since 2008. She enjoys creating and sharing sweet tips.

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Decorate Your Cake With Sugary Shells Handmade With Fondant or Gum Paste

These sweet seashells are easy to make and serve as great cake decorations. With simple tools and a little creativity, you can make realistic looking shells from fondant or gum paste.

This tutorial gives instructions on how to make four different kinds of seashells for cake or cupcake decoration or for use as novelty candy. They are tasty and can be made and dried for storage weeks ahead of time.

What You Will Need for This Project

  • Fondant in the desired colors*
  • A sharp knife or a craft knife
  • A paring knife
  • Waxed paper
  • Cooking oil

*To decide which colors of fondant to use, consider what colors you wish to see in the finished decorations. For wedding cake decoration, white or off-white may be good choices whereas earth tones and colors seen in natural seashells may be better for other applications. It's entirely a matter of personal taste.

Cockle Shells Instructions

Cockle shells made with vanilla bean and cocoa fondant
Cockle shells made with vanilla bean and cocoa fondant | Source
Cockle Shells: Step One
Cockle Shells: Step One | Source

Cockle Shells: Step One

Roll out cake fondant onto lightly oiled waxed paper and cut out a wedge shape as pictured using a sharp craft knife coated in cooking oil. It may help to wipe the blade clean on a tea towel or paper towel between major cuts to keep sugar from clinging to and blunting the effect of the blade.

Cockle Shells: Step Two
Cockle Shells: Step Two | Source

Cockle Shells: Step Two

Score the top of the wedge as pictured using the length of a paring knife generously coated with vegetable oil or non-stick cooking spray. Don't press too hard or it will cut all of the way through. The intention is just to give the shell texture. These are one of the easier varieties to make and, with a bit of practice, the finished product is fairly realistic-looking.

Cockle Shells: Step Three
Cockle Shells: Step Three | Source

Cockle Shells: Step Three

Pinch the narrow end of the scored wedge and tuck it under the main body of the shell.

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Cockle Shells: Finishing Touches

Set the finished shell on top of a rolled up ball of waxed paper to dry. The balled up waxed paper will keep the curved shape as the seashell dries.

Vanilla bean specks kneaded into fondant create great flavor as well as texture.

Egg Cockles Instructions

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These are probably the easiest to make and I think they look quite a bit like the real thing.

Egg Cockles: Step One
Egg Cockles: Step One | Source

Egg Cockles: Step One

Cut a rounded shape from rolled fondant using an oiled craft knife as shown in the picture.

To create marbled fondant lightly knead in a small amount of another color, twisting the fondant together before rolling it out.

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Egg Cockle: Finishing Steps

Press slowly into the center of the fondant egg cockle shape with a well oiled thumb until it bulges. Then set it on top of a rolled up ball of waxed paper to keep the bulged shape as the fondant dries.

These are the easiest to make and, in my opinion, look the most realistic of all of them.

Worm Shells Instructions

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I think this is a fun type to involve children in making. There's a bunch of hand modeling and no knife use involved. They come in all sorts of variations in nature so there's no need for careful control or perfection for them to look good.

Worm Shells: Step One
Worm Shells: Step One | Source

Worm Shells: Step One

Roll out a tapered piece of fondant on waxed paper with well oiled fingers to achieve a thin, elongated cone as pictured.

Worm Shells: Step Two
Worm Shells: Step Two | Source

Worm Shells: Step Two

Coil the fondant tightly as shown, starting at the small end in tight coils and working out to the large end in larger coils.

Worm Shells: Finishing Touches
Worm Shells: Finishing Touches | Source

Stretch Out the Worm Shell for a Natural Look

Pull the coil of fondant gently until the loops are slightly separated and set aside on waxed paper to dry. Try not to make them too identical or too regular in shape because it will look unnatural. The real ones display a lot of variation.

Tools to Make This Project Easier

If you plan to make fondant or gumpaste cake decorations frequently it might be a good idea to invest in some basic food-grade shaping tools.

Wilton Fondant Confectionery Tool Set
Wilton Fondant Confectionery Tool Set

This inexpensive set of basic fondant tools is ideal for projects such as shaping seashells. I own and use an earlier version made by Wilton and they have served me well.

 

Sea Snails

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This is another project appropriate for children as no knife use is involved.

Sea Snails: Step One
Sea Snails: Step One | Source

Sea Snails: Step One

Roll out a long, tapered, cone-like piece of fondant on waxed paper and dent in the wide end with well oiled fingers.

Sea Snails: Step Two... and they're done!
Sea Snails: Step Two... and they're done! | Source

Sea Snails: Step Two

Coil the fondant into a tight, flat coil starting at the small end. Set aside on waxed paper to dry.

Tasty Idea!

Knead a drop or two of candy flavoring or mint, cinnamon, almond, or vanilla extract into the fondant or gumpaste before working with it to make flavored seashells.

The Finished Fondant Seashells

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I used these particular seashells to decorate a sandy beach cake for a summer party. The cake and frosting had so much vanilla extract in it that it was almost alcoholic. Fortunately, by the time we cut into it, most of the alcohol had evaporated. My sweetie likes his sweets with lots of vanilla! He really liked the shells with vanilla bean specks in them.

© 2009 Kylyssa Shay

What Do You Think? Would You Make Your Own Fondant Seashells?

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    • profile image

      jfjones1 2 years ago

      I don't have the patience to do anything like this, but I really respect and admire anyone else that can do it.This is very time consuming and detail oriented, but I LOVE this!These are so beautiful.Thank you for making this lens.

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 3 years ago from Central Florida

      I've made candy seashells before, but it would be really fun to do some fondant ones. Thanks for the easy tutorial!

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 3 years ago

      How fun! Pinned to my cakes board.

    • pjsart profile image

      pjsart 3 years ago

      These are all wonderful.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 3 years ago

      How impressive this is! Have never done any fondant -- but I must admit that I am fond of the cockles!!

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      Lovely lens, well put together. Pinned to my cakes board, so that my kids and I can make it someday. We live by a beach and love the ocean.

    • Craftymarie profile image

      Marie 5 years ago

      These are brilliant but I shall be doing this with some plasticine with my daughter as we love playing with that together. She likes the look of the sea worms and snails :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      You are an artist with fondant, your shells look real! Beautifully done! If I ever decide to try my hand at fondant, I sure know where to come!

    • plrang profile image

      plrang 6 years ago

      Pretty cool idea :)

    • Sammy24 profile image

      Sammy24 6 years ago

      Thanks. Great lense.

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 6 years ago

      This looks possible for us! Will try it out next week.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 6 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      How fun! I grew up on the shore, but I bet these shells taste a lot better than the ones I used to collect.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 6 years ago from United States

      These are absolutely fabulous!!! I love, love, love your step by step instructions! You make it look so easy. Why do I think I could still mess them up? LOL

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image

      VarietyWriter2 6 years ago

      Blessed by a SquidAngel :)

    • profile image

      poutine 6 years ago

      Thanks for the easy instructions.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 6 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      I want some fondant seashells, that's what I think:) captcha is snifflubber, LOL

    • Kate Phizackerl1 profile image

      Kate Phizackerl1 6 years ago

      Great lens. I'll add it to my icing compendium

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 7 years ago from Canada

      Wow. I had no idea that something so pretty (and edible) could be so easy to make. Thank you for sharing.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 7 years ago from Concord VA

      These shells look so real! I'm sending this link to a friend who also uses fondant for her cakes.

    • profile image

      aya236820 7 years ago

      you so good~ i like those

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      These are clever - and very helpful step by step instructions!

    • dustytoes profile image

      dustytoes 7 years ago

      Great information...I like the adding of the specks for a more realistic look. Lensrolled to my Seashell Identification lens.

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 7 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      I love sea shells and your fondant sea shells look so real, and good enough to eat! Wow!

    • Laura Schofield profile image

      Laura Schofield 7 years ago from Chicago, IL USA

      How cool! My daughter loves Ariel the mermaid, so these might make their way onto her birthday cake this year!! 5 stars.

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 7 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      This is a great lens and I've lensrolled it.

    • karen550 lm profile image

      karen550 lm 7 years ago

      What an awesome, unique idea! You are so creative. Nice lens.

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