How To: Make a butter sculpture

Make a butter sculpture

Don't laugh—butter sculpture is a true art form that originated in Tibet in the 7th century. It is now one of the highlights of many American harvest fairs. Learn how to make your own butter sculpture.

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.

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