Betty Crocker

Being married to a film producer means many different things, but one of them is that I get to be very hands on for many of the unique projects that his company produces. Last month, I more or less nominated myself to be the costume designer for a viral commercial the Dandy Dwarves were hired to do for Betty Crocker. Christian Simmons, the director, came up with the concept, and I got to indulge myself in the construction of massive baked goods costumes -- with the help of Renaissance man, Andrew Cook, and Derek Hansen as well as my hubby and a million other hands as we scurried to finish the last ones on set. The costumes are based on concept drawings by the amazing illustartor Britt Spencer. He did the pencil drawings and I digitally colored them on a computer in the hotel at Sundance. Did I mention that we began the construction of these goodies in our hotel room at Sundance? We then transported the beginnings of our cupcake, brownie, and slice of cake back to San Francisco. The cupcake was strapped to the top of the cover on the bed of Andrew's truck, where it was the only thing left to the elements....the rain between Nevada and San Francisco completely demolished our poor cupcake. I re-constructed a new one with the assistance of Derek only to have that one fly off the back of Andrew's truck along the highway on our way to the first day of shooting. Fortunately, we were able to salvage it as we had no time to reconstruct one (especially the silver wrapper that I meticulously created the night before). Needless to say it seemed that we were cursed, but we somehow managed to complete all of the costumes in the knick of time.

Well I hope you enjoy this lovely Valentine's Day treat from Betty Crocker (and the dandy dwarves). If I am ever falling behind in my painting production, it's most likely because I have the opportunity to create other things such as this! Until I was 21, I spent my creative energy making all sorts of things with my hands that didn't involve paint. It's such a nice breath of fresh to air to get dirty and use tools. And who doesn't love the stressful challenge of creating giant props in a few days. Who needs sleep anyway? Well, it was all worth it when we saw how cute the kids looked in them.

I'm still having trouble figuring out how on earth to embed a video into my blog posts...nothing seems to be working. So, simply click on the image or the underlined text, "Sweet Talk" to view this one minute, thirty second video. making_of_cup_cake A few of you have asked how the costumes were made and what materials they are made out of. I have attached this image to give you a glimpse into the making of the cupcake and the cake. (Sorry for the crappy iphone quality photos). I wish I had taken many more photos documenting the process for each of the costumes, but it was so crazy I'm surprised I even took any.

The basic structure of the costumes was constructed out of lightweight yet strong and easily manipulated cardboard. Then, we used a plethora of other materials such as foam (big sheets of white styrofoam and pink drywall insulation foam), liquid latex, crystal clear, spray paint, fabric, vinyl, soft craft foam (like the type that an eggshell mattress pad is made of).

CAKE - I found a giant roll of white vinyl that contained the perfect matte/sheen and texture for fondant icing on the cake. It was also a time saving material as we could just cut and glue it instead of having to paint, etc. (and it was easy to clean off if it got dirty). The chocolate cake sections were made out of white styrofoam sheets that we carved texture into and painted brown. The hearts and flowers on the cake were made out of thin, colored, soft foam sheets that you can buy at a craft store; I simply cut shapes and hot glued the pieces together to form each of those elements. In order to hide the seam where the top of the cake meets the round edge, I found a perfect large scale rick-rack pink ribbon.

CUPCAKE - The initial structure was made out of cardboard. I glued 1" soft craft foam around the top to create the muffin cake top. Added suspenders to hold it up on the kids. I found rolls of silver wrapping paper, which I glued to a cheap brown packing paper to add durability. I put two long pieces together to form a large square, which I then cut into a circle. I placed the cardboard structure in the center and painstakingly created creases all the way around until the wrapper was complete! Andrew glued styrofoam sheets together and sanded down the shape of the frosting to fit on top of the cupcake. He added spackle to smooth it out. It was then painted and sprayed with crystal clear for the final sheen. Derek cut, sanded, and painted thin dowel rods for the sprinkles.

BROWNIE - I first built a large 36" square box with a few holes cut out. Then Andrew pulled and cut pieces out of soft 1" craft foam to create a crumbly brownie texture, which we glued to the sides of the box. Derek and I glued extra pieces on the top middle and bottom outer edges to create the effect that the brownie was slightly sagging down on either side. I used batting, liquid latex, and thick satin fabric to create the top layer of the brownie. Andrew made the whipped cream dollup in the same fashion as he made the cupcake frosting and the cookie.

Lots of hot glue and many burned finger tips later, we had a handful of delicious costumes!