To complete this How-To you will need:
- A cool room
- Ice water
- Materials for the framework
- Sculpting tools
- Food coloring
Step 1: Find a cool room
Find a cool room in which to work so your butter doesn't melt as you sculpt.
Tip: Today, Tibetan monks create their works of art in rooms kept at 32° F.
Step 2: Pick a subject
Pick a subject. Let your mind run wild. Butter sculptors have created everything from The Last Supper to Elvis Presley.
Step 3: Soak the butter
Soak the butter in very cold water in order to remove impurities and give the butter an extra- smooth texture. The amount of butter you soak depends on how large you'd like your sculpture to be.
Step 4: Build the frame
Build a frame to hold your base in place. Traditionally, bamboo sticks were fashioned into the framework, but you can use wood and/or metal.
Step 5: Dip hands in ice
Before you start sculpting, dip your hands in ice water. Your hands must be kept practically numb, or your body heat will melt your creation.
Step 6: Knead the butter
Knead the butter into a paste that's free of air bubbles.
Tip: Add food coloring to the paste, or parts of the paste, if you like.
Step 7: Butter the base
Load the butter onto the base, and begin shaping it with your hands.
Step 8: Fine-tune your design
Fine-tune your design with tallow tools. Use modeling tools for smoothing and contouring large surfaces, and sculpting tools for intricate detail.
Tip: Many household items, like shoe horns and manicure instruments, can be turned into sculpting tools, so use your imagination.
Step 9: Keep it cool
Once you've completed your masterpiece, store it somewhere it won't melt before the big reveal.