August 17, 2017

How do I get my sugar shaper to work?

Sugar shapers or clay guns, craft guns, sugarcraft extruders as they are also know are one of my favourite sugarcraft – cake decorating tools, one that I really wouldn’t like to be without! I use mine to add trim around the base of a cake, add fine details to a side of a cake where piping a pattern wouldn’t be easy, to create hair on my models, edible grass on my cakes and fur on my animal cookies, in fact I use it to create so many things from sugar that I could go on and on and on…….


Sugar shaper / craft gun
Sugar shaper / craft gun

So how does it work?……..
TheĀ  secret of success is to use the correct paste and to make it soft enough:

The pastes:
For most sugar work the best paste to use is modelling paste.

Make your own modelling paste by adding 5ml (1 teaspoon) of edible gum to 225g (8oz) of sugarpaste/fondant (you can use Gum tragacanth but you must wait overnight for the gum to take effect or a synthetic substitute such as CMC, Tylose, sugarcel etc which will work immediately).

You can use pastillage or marzipan in the sugar shaper but if you use sugarpaste/fondant you’ll find that when you squeeze out the paste it tends to have a jagged appearance – not what you want!

Making the paste soft:
There are two ways to do this

  • Knead a little white vegetable fat into a small ball of paste to stop the paste getting sticky, then dunk the paste into a small container of water and knead. Continue adding firstly white vegetable fat and then water until the paste has the consistency of chewed chewing gum – i.e. it is very soft and stretchy, a lot softer than you probably would have thought! Roll the paste into a sausage and insert into the barrel of the sugar shaper.


  • Knead a little white vegetable fat into a ball of paste, roll the paste into a sausage and insert into the barrel of the sugar shaper. Place just the filled barrelĀ  into a microwave and heat from 10 seconds on the highest setting.

Squeezing out the paste:
Reassemble the sugar shaper, inserting your chosen disc. Push the plunger down to remove any air from the barrel and then hold the tool in your hand with your fingers on the red handle. Pump the handle a few times to increase the pressure in the barrel – you should then find that the softened paste starts to appear. If nothing happens, either you need to build up more pressure by more pumping or your paste is still too hard. If the paste is too hard, the best thing to do, is to remove the paste and soften it some more, rather than struggling with paste that is simply too hard!

When the paste comes out easily, simply pump the sugar shaper when necessary to squeeze out more paste.

The uses of this amazing tool are only limited by your imagination, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

I also use Artista Soft with my sugar shaper to create the hair on my bride and groom toppers.

Have fun




  1. Hi,

    I wish to buy the Sugar Shaper/clay gun exactly as shown above, can u give me a direct link as I cant find at the SHOP section.

    Thank you.


  2. Hi Angeline
    You’ll find the sugar shaper under sugarcraft tools on our online shop but here’s a link:
    Happy shopping

  3. Hello,

    I’ve followed the above advice and got great results but as the paste is so soft I’m finding it really hard putting it onto my creations.

    Any advice on this score or is it just practice?

    Kindest Regards Pippa

  4. Hello Pippa,
    You would need to use pastillage if you are putting the butterflies into the buttercream, as pastillage will not wilt due to the moisture in the buttercream.
    Good Luck

  5. Hi Philippa,

    Have you tried attaching them using sugar glue?
    Keep practising I’m sure you will get there.


  6. I have used my sugar shaper a few times but am now having trouble reassembling it. The red handle does not seem to work. Is there a daigram so I can check that i have all the pieces, in the right order please?

  7. Hello Linda,
    Here’s a link to our new post regarding reassembling your sugarshaper. Hope this helps.

  8. My daughter has played wih my gun, and took it apart. She has lost one of the metal plates as I can only find three; and can’t see the cam either! Can I buy these parts separately, or do I have to buy a new gun? Thank you for your time. Regards, Lorraine

  9. Hi Lorraine

    You can buy the discs separately, I have attached a link to them on our on line shop for you,

    Kind Regards

    The Lindys Cakes Team