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all about food coloring

 

Because the frosting is so essential in a perfectly decorated cookie, the food coloring you use is just as important. There are plenty of food coloring options out there, many of them superb, and you may use a brand and method totally different from mine. But I’ll share what I use and do with the disclaimer that this isn’t comprehensive, it merely works for me. At the end of this post, I included a COLOR CHART you can print on 5 x 7 photo paper, if desired.

 

 

concentrated pastes vs. soft gel pastes

 

First and foremost, I use soft gel pastes exclusively. Craft stores usually carry the more accessible concentrated pastes. Both work well and in much the same way and both come in a huge variety of colors. So if your only option is the baking aisle of your craft store, then these will work fine. But I find concentrated pastes have a bitter, metallic taste. So I don’t use them. Instead I use:

 

Americolor Soft Gel Pastes

(you’d think I own their stock, but I promise I have no connection to the company other than as a customer)

 

Soft gel pastes: 1. are tasteless,  2. blend beautifully,  3. come in every color you can imagine.

 

 

 

where to buy soft gel pastes

 

You can find Americolor soft gel pastes at many cake decorating supply stores, or, click on their site HERE and click “LINKS” for a list of some web resources.

 

Americolor Soft Gel Pastes are now available on AMAZON: Here is a set of 12 that’s a good start. I also use a lot of the Electric colors. And I buy the big bottle of White.

 

Other sites:
UltimateBaker.com
BakeDeco.com
beryls (they ship internationally)
sugarcraft
CountryKitchenSweetArt
Cincinnati Cake and Candy Supplies
(If you have a favorite online source, feel free to send it to me, and I’ll add it to the list!)
And from your suggestions in the comments… (Thank you!)
Into The Oven
Golda’s Kitchen (for Canadian bakers!)

 

 

which soft gel pastes to buy

 

To see the full line of 40 colors available, CLICK HERE. I don’t own all of them. I’ll let you be the judge of what colors you like best, of course, but here are the colors I own and use frequently. Some great colors are missing from my collection, but pretty much everything I need to decorate works with these colors, so I rely solely on these:

Red Red, Orange, Egg Yellow, Leaf Green, Electric Green, Sky Blue, Royal Blue, Regal Purple, Electric Pink, Chocolate Brown, Bright White, Super Black, Peach

 

which size to buy: the pastes come in small, .75 ounce bottles, and larger, 4.5 ounce bottles (and even larger, but I think those are wholesale). Even with all the decorating I do, I buy the .75 ounce bottles. A few drops go a long way, so stick with these unless you have a business and decorate hundreds of cookies a day. Some colors take lots of drops to get the right shade, so you may consider the larger size if you decorate a lot (for example, white, black, brown and the darker shades of any color).

 

 

how to use soft gel pastes
 

You can add coloring to batches of buttercream frosting, to royal icing, to fondant and even to cake and cookie batter before baking.

 

some tips:

    • always start with one drop and add more as needed. While some colors take a lot of drops, you can always add more, you can’t take it away (if you do go too far, add more frosting to lighten).

 

    • for whole batches of frosting, simply add coloring (one drop at a time) to the mixing bowl when the frosting or icing is done and mix with the mixer.

 

    • when making colors for cookie decorating, I usually work with about 3/4 cup to 1 cup of frosting for each color, mixing in a bowl then moving to a prepared frosting bag or a sealed container.

 

    • you MUST use white coloring to make white frosting!!! Don’t try and use plain, uncolored frosting for your white. It won’t look right.

 

    • to get different shades of one color, simply add more drops. Dark colors may take lots and lots of drops.

 

    • you can mix colors, too, for different effects (for example, mix egg yellow and leaf green for lime, mix purple and royal blue for cornflower, etc.)

 

    • the pastes work well to not affect the consistency of the frosting, but for colors that need lots and lots of drops (like white, black or dark colors), you may get a runnier frosting. Just compensate by adding more powdered sugar if needed to thicken.

 

    • to mix coloring into fondant, simply add a couple drops to the top of a wad of fondant and knead very, very well until fully blended. If fondant gets sticky from overhandling, just let sit uncovered for about 15 minutes.

 

 

Below is a color chart with more tips on which pastes I use for which frosting colors. Again, this isn’t comprehensive! There are plenty more options.

Click on the chart to enlarge and or CLICK HERE to print on 5 x 7 photo paper with your color printer for a postcard to keep for reference.


UPDATE: how long will they last?
Another reason to love Americolor products? Their customer service is always spot on. Whenever I’ve dealt with the company, they are always quickly responsive. Joan asked in the comments about the shelf life of the soft gel pastes, and I realized I’ve used some of mine for years. Yikes! Well, I asked the company and they quickly responded as follows:

“This product will last many years if stored properly i.e. ambient temperature, away from any source of ultraviolet light. The reference to ultraviolet light is generally for the end user maintaining that any light source will fade certain FDA Certified Food Colors. If this product is stored in its carton the light radiation will not be a factor. Ambient temperature is defined as common range of 18°C (64°F) to 23°C (73°F) Variations in temperature +/- 20° will not affect product. After several years the Soft Gel Paste may break down, if stored properly the color will remain intact, generally recognized as safe for human consumption.”

 

Phew!!! Looks like I’m in the clear….

 

 

Feel free to share (nicely)! While my blog's photographs and text are protected by copyright, I do allow (and encourage) you to share ONE photograph with credit to "the decorated cookie" and link to this blog post. PLEASE don't reprint any part of the blog post and PLEASE don't post a photo without credit. Thank you!


83 Comments

  1. bridget {bake at 350}
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    This post is GREAT!!! And thank you for posting the "real" picture of your colors! When I saw this first "perfect" picture, I was feeling a little food coloring guilt!

    I'll definitely be linking to this post in the future.

  2. A Wedding Story
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Great post! I've been using Wilton coloring for my cookie biz, but think I'm going to bite the bullet and invest in some Americolor! Thank you!

  3. Chic Cookies
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Bridget! (Oh, I can't even share the picture of the cabinet where I keep all my supplies. It was clean and neat for one day.)

    Thanks "A Wedding Story"! I should probably add a note about Wilton in the post, too. While I don't use their colorings, I do LOVE Wilton for a million other things they offer (bags, couplers, tips, sprinkles, fondant, meringue powder, etc etc etc)

  4. Party Box Design
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    such a great post!!! so helpful!

  5. Linda
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for posting about the Americolor vs other food coloring. Now I have a better understanding and will go with Americolor…

  6. Anonymous
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Can these be used with white chocolate without ceasing it.

  7. Lora
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Great info. Thanks. I have only used Wilton and have been wanting to try Americolor. I will buy a set on my upcoming trip to the states. Also bonus points for the Beryl's link for international shipping! Yay! So hard to find good food coloring in Germany. Now I have an alternative.

  8. Chic Cookies
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    Anonymous, you can use this coloring with anything you'd use coloring for, including white chocolate and candy melts, yes, though I find adding coloring to things you melt always tricky to time just right. If this is something you're good at, I would definitely try the pastes :)

  9. Joan
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 2:28 am | Permalink

    Great information! Thank you. I do have a question about the Wilton paste food color. I purchased a bottle of pink a few months ago and when I used it for frosting it gave the frosting an odd flavor. What are your thoughts on this?

  10. Chic Cookies
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 3:26 am | Permalink

    Joan, while Wilton products overall are great, their pastes (which are the concentrated pastes I mention above) have a metallic, bitter taste. There's nothing wrong with the one you got, that's the downside of those products. The Americolor soft gel pastes have no taste… that's why I love 'em! (Except for colors you need tons of, like black or red, you can sort of taste it then, but it's not very strong). They are a tiny bit pricier and harder to find, but totally worth it.

  11. Lorraine
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 3:33 am | Permalink

    Thanks so much! This is so helpful and extensive!

  12. Joan
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for the information! One more question, what is the shelf life? I would purchase the smallest bottles.

    Thanks again for a wonderful and educational post!!!!

  13. Allison
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for such a great tutorial! I am so grateful to have that color chart! I'm always experimenting to find the right color and hardly ever get it right =)

  14. Chic Cookies
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Good question Joan. Hmmm. I've had some of my (even small) bottles for, yikes, several years now and still use them. That sounds somehow wrong, even though they still look great. I'll email Americolor and ask them!

  15. jess
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    wow this was a SUPER helpful post!

  16. Vicky
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    I love Americolor. I usually order from Into the Oven at http://www.intotheoven.com.

  17. animeshon
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for this post. I've been putting off buying decent food colouring because the cost was scaring me (I've just been using the $2 bottles from the supermarket). This weekend however I once again struggled to make black royal icing for outlining and spent half an hour alternating between adding food colouring and then more icing sugar to thicken. I think I shall go invest in some black soft gel paste now…

  18. cookies and cups
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Great post! I love the mixing color chart…awesome!
    btw, I linked you up in my latest post..hope you don't mind ;)

  19. Jenny
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    thanks so much for this post. i especially love the color mixing chart. i've only used the wilton food coloring and now i know where that odd taste is coming from! i am definitely using the americolors from now on.

  20. Country Girl in the City
    Posted May 20, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    This post was helpful. And I have wondered about the self life of the concentrated pastes that I have. Some of them have been around for a while! And there is no expiry listed on them…

    Thanks.

  21. Jenni @ Project Cookie 365
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    I know another site! I'm in Canada, and buy from goldaskitchen.com. Just for your canadian readers :)Americolor soft gels, and they have the Wilton concentrate ones too

    I'm a soft gel user too. Mostly because I love the squeeze tops :)

  22. Jenni @ Project Cookie 365
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and I also wanted to note that I don't think you can use it for candy melts… but there is a product they sell that makes them work in chocolate…it's called flo-coat chocolate coloring agent.

  23. Chic Cookies
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Jenni! I added above. And I'll have to check out that product! I've added to candy melts with only limited success (it's worked, but also clumped a couple times, so that product sounds great…)

  24. Jenni @ Project Cookie 365
    Posted May 27, 2010 at 1:59 am | Permalink

    I haven't tried it yet either, but *almost* bought it! I don't colour candy melts often, but it would be a good product to have if you do! Thanks for checking out my cookies :) (P.S. My gel collection is similar to yours, and looks just as messy lol… though I did actually "wash" them all and my storage bin last week. sigh!)

  25. lucysd
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Hi! Thanx for your post! We don't have good food coloring in my country, so now i'm looking for as much info on Americolor as i can to order it on ebay or wherever.
    I just have one question. And i'd be very greatful if you could help me as!

    Are the usual colors of Americolor soft gel pastes BRIGHT enough?
    I really want to bake a cake like this one: http://img-fotki.yandex.ru/get/4506/marinagiller.a/0_41994_2bb12fac_orig.jpg

    But i'm not sure if i should buy "electric" colors only or usual ones would be enough to get those bright colours.

    Thank you in advance!

  26. Chic Cookies
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Lucysd, if you are going to get bright colors, it would be from soft gel pastes like Americolor (you might need a lot of it). The Electric colors definitely. Looking at the pic you sent, I'd say: Electric Pink (for both the red and pink), Electric Orange, Lemon Yellow, might want to mix Electric Green and Leaf Green, Sky Blue (do they make an Electric Blue? Not sure, but if so, that'd work), and Regal Purple, unless they have an Electric Purple.

  27. Lulu
    Posted April 6, 2011 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    Thanks so much for the amazing resources and tips. I actually found the food color at Hobby Lobby for $1.18! I'm looking forward to your new book. Can't wait!

  28. Chic Cookies
    Posted April 6, 2011 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    Wow, that's almost wholesale price! now I have to check for hobby lobbys around DC

  29. Anonymous
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    I am very much an untrained amateur and make character cakes for my children's birthdays. After much trial and error, I discovered Americolor last December and love it. Easy to use and beautiful colours. Thanks for the colour mixing chart – that is just so useful for me – I'm printing it now.
    You can buy the colours online in Australia from http://www.theraspberrybutterfly.com.au
    and http://www.champagnecakes.com.au.
    I'm sure there are others, but these are the ones I use.
    best wishes from Australia,
    Janice.

  30. Chic Cookies
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 2:24 am | Permalink

    Thanks Janice! I get lots of people from outside the US asking for resources to buy Americolor, and I never know where to send them. Now I have an Aussie link.

  31. brandi
    Posted August 25, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    great info, question: after you make the colored royal icing, how long will it be good for?

  32. the decorated cookie
    Posted August 26, 2011 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    In theory, if you keep the colored icing in the bags or in sealed containers, it should last a couple weeks. But after a week or so, it CAN start to break down, especially icing on the thin side.

  33. JessieMomma
    Posted November 29, 2011 at 3:56 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this tutorial. I have used the Wilton colors for years and always wondered about the taste… I thought I was doing something wrong! I decided to look online tonight for colors for Christmas cookies and found that the only baking supply store in my town ONLY sells Americolor pastes! I am so grateful for your informative review. It makes me feel more confident with my upcoming purchase.

  34. Posted February 3, 2012 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    Thanks so much for your excellent info! I was going to try your vegan cutout cookie recipe, but my daughter just passed her allergy test yesterday so she can have dairy baked into things. So I’ll try your regular ones.

    I bought my set of Americolor at Amazon.com for a very reasonable price. Love them, and will never go back to the horrid grocery store liquid food colors ;)

  35. meaghanmountford
    Posted February 4, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Thanks ARC! I totally agree about Americolor. Yay for your daughter passing her allergy test!

  36. carlos garcia
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Hello

    do you know were can I buy samericolor in San Francisco?

    thank you

  37. meaghanmountford
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Americolor is CA-based, so more local cake decorating stores may carry it. I also hear the chain, Hobby Lobby, carries it, if there are any near you. Sur la table MAY carry it, but you’d have better luck at a cake decorating specialty store. You can also check the americolorcorp.com website and click under “links.” There are tons of resources there.

  38. Cassie Baker
    Posted June 8, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Thank so much for posting this!! I bought this without doing any research and I am so pleased with what I’ve read and I can’t wait to start using it. There isn’t much on how to use this food color out there so it’s appreciated!

  39. meaghanmountford
    Posted June 8, 2012 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Thank you Cassie!!

  40. Liz Chang
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Can I use the Americolor soft gel paste for coloring hard boiled eggs.

  41. meaghanmountford
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I have done that, Liz, yes!

  42. Liz Chang
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Meghan! Do I also add vinegar??

  43. meaghanmountford
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Yes… I use food coloring in place of those store-bought tablets. Here’s a good link to how-tos: http://www.chow.com/recipes/28228-dyed-easter-eggs (though I don’t think you’ll need 40 drops. The gel pastes can separate a bit, so stir gently but well.)

    If you’re dying the hard boiled eggs without the shell, use water, not vinegar, though.

  44. Patrice Klinefelter
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    I am reading this 2 years after the initial post and am going out tomorrow to a store in Salt Lake who carries them. I hate the bitter taste of some coloring and it is fantastic to find some without that. Thanks!

  45. meaghanmountford
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Patrice! And two years later, I’d say exactly the same thing :) !

  46. Susan Young
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    I am going to make the switch to soft gel pastes. Great post! Thank you.

  47. Loretta Lopez
    Posted September 28, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone ever use marshmallow frosting with paste food colors? I like the frosting better because it’s not so sweet, but it only gets to soft pastel colors with cheapy drops. I was wanting to try something different for my son’s birthday on Sun.

  48. meaghanmountford
    Posted September 30, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Definitely Loretta, I’d try these! They make such vibrant colors.

  49. may
    Posted December 19, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    please i need to know the difference between the soft gel and the electric colors of americolors? and both can be used for icing, fondont and white chokolate?

  50. meaghanmountford
    Posted December 19, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Hi May,
    Americolor food colorings are all “gel paste” colorings. The electric colors are the same consistency of the others, just brighter and more neon-like. You can use gel paste food coloring for icing and fondant, but for chocolate, I would suggest “candy colors,” made especially for candies with a higher fat content. I’m not sure if Americolor makes candy colors, but Wilton does, available in the craft store. Hope this helps! :)

  51. may
    Posted December 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    i don’t know how to thank u for your fast reply and your explanation,, really it helped me alot :) thanks again

  52. Posted December 31, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    I bought a couple about 2 years ago…they are rather “liquidy” now. Do you still think they are safe to use? I live in Hawaii so it’s obviously very hot & humid…

  53. Posted December 31, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    I bought some about two years ago and I noticed they are rather liquidy now. Do you think it’s safe to use still? I live in Hawaii so it’s very hot & humid. Thanks for your time :)

  54. meaghanmountford
    Posted January 1, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    If they were exposed directly to heat and humidity, probably not, but kept in a dark place and sealed, they actually do last quite a few years! I had asked someone at Americolor about it awhile back, and that’s what they told me. :)

  55. Ianna
    Posted March 18, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Hi! I bought just about the entire Americolor gel family (lol) but every time I use them, my icing dries very crumbly to the touch (it literally crumbles off the cookie) and I can’t seem to get the colors to come out right. I’m adding them in after the Royal icing is fully mixed. Has this ever happened to you?

  56. meaghanmountford
    Posted March 18, 2013 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    It hasn’t… that’s really odd. Wonder if you got a bad batch? Though I doubt it, Americolor lasts a long time and is a quality product. I would actually contact the company. I’ve done that with questions before and they always respond, they are super nice. Their website: http://www.americolorcorp.com/ If you scroll to the bottom there’s a link that says “Email me” and they also have phone numbers. I bet they’ll have an answer for you! :)

  57. Posted June 17, 2013 at 3:01 am | Permalink

    Anyone ever have problems with taste of the pink gels and/or dark pink color specks showing up on pink cookies? Any help or insight appreciated!

  58. meaghanmountford
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Hmm, I haven’t seen specks, anyone else? My Electric Pink sometimes kind of clumps though. And when I paint with it, it separates into granules a bit. I wonder if there’s something in that color. Do you use Americolor? I shake super duper well first and stir like crazy.

  59. Veronica
    Posted July 1, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    Can you use these gels for cake batters?

  60. meaghanmountford
    Posted July 2, 2013 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    Yes, Veronica, definitely! I have done that.

  61. Carrie
    Posted July 23, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for your post!
    I read that someone was asking about coloring for candy. I just checked and Americolor does make oil based candy coloring.

  62. meaghanmountford
    Posted July 23, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    Oh really??? I didn’t know that. Love Americolor, I’ll definitely use their oil-based coloring. Thank you!!

  63. Posted August 6, 2013 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    I just bought the Wilton starter kit for cake decorating. I tried to use the thick red that came with it, and it gave the ugliest pink. Calamine lotion would have looked prettier. It was not bright or happy. It was a dusty rose. I was adding it to homemade buttercream. Should I have added some not-included whitening? Thoughts?

  64. meaghanmountford
    Posted August 6, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    No, whitening only would have made it pinker. Unfortunately, red is a tough color to get. You need a LOT, lot lot of red. Probably almost that whole bottle, to get past the pink stage into true red. However, the more coloring you add, the more the taste (and consistency) is affected. I highly recommend ordering the Americolor Soft Gel Paste super Red coloring. I use the smallest bottles, even, and they last a long time. You can use less to get a true red (though you still need quite a bit). You can find links to buy here: http://www.americolorcorp.com/ and they have it at amazon. http://www.amazon.com/AmeriColor-Student-Soft-Paste-Color/dp/B0029YDR82/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1375807664&sr=8-3&keywords=americolor+soft+gel+paste+red

  65. Latonya
    Posted September 11, 2013 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the chart and all of the other very useful information. How do I substitute with the gel color for a red (rather hot pink or purple) velvet cake? I usually mix 1 oz liquid color with my cocoa. Thanks

  66. meaghanmountford
    Posted September 11, 2013 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Hi Latonya! I add gel paste to cake batter just as I would color icing. For red, I just add maybe 4 or 5 drops (or until desired shade).

  67. Boomy
    Posted December 30, 2013 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    May I ask the difference between americolor’s electric kit and assorted kit? I’m kinda confused.

  68. meaghanmountford
    Posted January 1, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Hi Boomy, It’s just a difference in the shades of colors. Americolor has tons of options, so it’s really your preference. The Electric colors are more vibrant. I’m a big fan, but the assorted may have more basics. I tend to buy individual bottles. My favorite colors are: Super Black, Bright White, Chocolate Brown, Electric Pink (I just like that instead of the “Soft Pink”), Red Red, Orange, Egg Yellow (I prefer to the “Lemon Yellow” or Electric), Electric Green, Leaf Green, Sky Blue, Electric Purple (vs. Regal Purple).

  69. Mari
    Posted January 19, 2014 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    I purchased the AmeriColor in Regal Purple and the taste is horrible. Do you think it could be a bad batch or is it normal to have that bad taste? I bought it recently at Hobby Lobby. I have other colors and none of them have any flavors. This purple makes me gag it’s really gross.

  70. meaghanmountford
    Posted January 19, 2014 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Oh, yikes!! I think maybe the batch. While the stronger colors MAY have a slight taste (black, red, even purple) if you use a lot, lot, lot of drops to make a dark color, it shouldn’t be any different than the other colors. If it’s that bad, I’d take it back to Hobby Lobby. Or, even write to Americolor (their website is Americolorcorp.com). I’ve had great luck with the customer service at Americolor!

  71. Jona
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Hi! I just wanna ask how long can I keep using those food coloring? I have quite a few and it doesn’t say the expiration on it. Thanks.

  72. meaghanmountford
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jona,
    I actually called the Americolor company once because I was curious, too. Kept in a dark place (ie not in direct sunlight), they last for several years. I’ve had some of mine for about that long!

  73. lovestobake8587
    Posted July 22, 2014 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    have you made the following colors and if so which colors did you start out with and what proportions of each? This is for a wedding and I don’t have any swatches to match.
    Blush
    Champagne

  74. meaghanmountford
    Posted July 22, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Great questions! For blush I would try just a drop or two (then add more depending on how much icing you have) of Deep Pink. They used to have a “Rose” color, I think, but not any more. For champagne I would try the Ivory. If needed, you can add a touch more yellow with Egg Yellow. Hope this helps! :) meaghan

  75. Ashley
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Hello. This question was probably already asked and answered but is the AmeriColor soft gel paste perfect for coloring candy melts? I plan on coloring white candy melts so I can have colored cake pops?

  76. meaghanmountford
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Hi Ashley!
    The fats in candy melts tend to resist regular food coloring, so they are NOT ideal for coloring candy melts. You should use special food coloring just for that purpose. They are called “candy colors” and they should be available in the craft store (though your color choices will be more limited). Hope this helps!! :) meaghan

  77. Ashley
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Thank you Meagan so much for responding back so quickly! I purchase the 4 color Wilton Candy Color Set. Will this work for coloring white candy melts? I tried to look for a product that would need the flo coat. I just wanted a simplier way to color my white candy melts.

  78. Ashley
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    I meant to say I tried to look for a product that wouldn’t need the flo coat.

  79. meaghanmountford
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Yes! Those are the ones I have, too, for coloring candy melts, so they should work. Sometimes adding coloring can harden the candy melts a little more quickly. So if you find that’s the case and you need them runnier for dipping, I often (almost always) add a teaspoon or two of crisco when melting to make it runnier.

  80. Delynn Tracy
    Posted October 19, 2014 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    GREAT INFO! THANK YOU!!! Wonder if you know or could find out for us and post here… how to tell just how OLD the color is by the LOT #? Quoting your quote “After several years the Soft Gel Paste may break down…” I’m wondering if THAT’S what was wrong with my Maroon color… VERY RUNNY!!! Example #1: Electric Orange #163 (.75 oz)has the Lot#23020 printed sideways above the bar code. Example #2: Red Red #119 (.75 oz.) has the Lot#3121B on the cap. Thanks in advance :)

  81. meaghanmountford
    Posted October 19, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Oh wow, that’s such a good question Delynn! I have no idea how I’d figure out the lot number/date, BUT I have contacted Americolor directly and they are super-responsive! I bet they could tell you exactly. If you go to their website: http://americolorcorp.com/ and scroll to the bottom, they have a 1-800 number listed. I think that’s what I called to find out the other info!

  82. Delynn Tracy
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Here’s an update regarding how long the Americolor Soft Gel Pastes last, which I just found out from them today: They’ll guarantee quality for 2 years, however they will last many years… EXCEPT 3 colors: Maroon, Dusty Rose and Mauve which they only guarantee 1 year. If you happen to find the lot # on the .75 oz. bottles (on the cap or above the UPC #) you can decipher by Googling the Julian calendar). For example look at the first 3#’s: Lot #2302D means it was made on the 230th day of the year. The 4th # represents the year = 2012. Here’s a quick reference chart… http://www.fs.fed.us/fire/partners/fepp/julian-calendar.pdf Don’t ask me what happens when 2022 comes around… Do they start over? If so, I’m left wondering… how can I be sure the bottle I mentioned above isn’t from 2002??? YIKES Also, another interesting tidbit… “Spectrum” by “Ateco” is MANUFACTURED BY AMERICOLOR! According to the rep I talked to, they make it for them under a private label. Hmmm Needless-to-say, I’m going to check dates on supplies I buy from now on just so I can buy the freshest possible, especially since I’m a 1 woman show here :)

  83. meaghanmountford
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    Can I just say Delynn… you ROCK!! This information is fantastic!!!! I’m going to do exactly the same and also go through the colors I have. I have tons of REALLY old ones. This is great, thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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