How to Make a Butter Sculpture

To complete this How-To you will need:
  • Butter
  • 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.