Since we receive a lot of questions in regards to the use of white food coloring in gelatin art, we have decided to dedicate a blog article to this subject.
White food coloring (usually containing titanium dioxide) is used to control the opacity of the color base.
While milk itself looks fairly white, when gelatin and sugar are added to it, it becomes diluted and yellowish. Flowers drawn with it are transparent and dull.
White food coloring will help make your colors solid and bright.
Images below show the difference between flowers made with and without white food coloring.
Titanium dioxide is widely used in food and cosmetic industry. It can be found in everyday foods such as milk, cream, chewing gum, cookies, candy etc., as well as many cosmetic products we use on a daily basis. It is generally considered safe for general use.
If you prefer not to use any white food coloring or can't find any in your area, here are several color base ideas you can try:
1. Gelatin Art Color Base With Powdered Milk.
This color base has a very distinct taste and a slightly yellowish tint. If you are not looking for a bright shade of white, this color base might be a good choice. Click here for recipe.
2. Gelatin Art Color Base With 35% Cream
Cream taste goes very well with the fruity taste of gelatin and it's color is quite solid and bright. Flowers made with this base will be simply delicious, but, due to it's high fat content, cream will leave a slightly greasy residue on your tools. Click here for recipe.
3. Gelatin Art Color Base With Coconut Milk
This base is whiter and brighter that the previous two but it comes with a distinct coconut flavor. Similar to the cream base, it is higher in fat than the regular milk color base. Coconut milk product quality and ingredients vary significantly from brand to brand. Pick a product that has a high percentage of coconut content and not a lot of other ingredients. The product we used for testing had 85% of coconut extract. Click here for recipe.
4. Transparent Gelatin Art Color Base With Pearl Dust
This color base is great for sparkling flowers and metallic tones, but it does require additional artificial colors (pearl dust). Click here for recipe.
5. Brown Chocolate/Coca Color Base
This color base can be made using all natural ingredients but it only comes in one color - Brown. Use milk instead of water to make lighter shades of brown. Click here for recipe.
One thing to pay attention to is the ingredient list of the product you are using. Manufacturers will often add titanium and other colorants as well as thickeners to dairy products and milk replacement beverages (almond, rice or soy milk). Check whether the product you intend to use has food coloring added already.
To enhance the whiteness of your color base, you can use icing sugar instead of granulated sugar. Icing sugar usually contains some kind of starch added to it to prevent it from clumping up. Starch will add opacity to your color base and make it thicker too.
Another benefit to using color base without white food coloring is that it makes your dark colors much more vibrant and life-like. You need a lot less color to accomplish dark shades too.