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Realistic Fake Donuts – DIY artificial food prop

Realistic Fake Donuts – DIY artificial food prop

Fake donut props

I’m not sure why I have a fascination with fake foods but it must be because they have zero calories and they still look pretty. I’m sure you’ve seen fake cakes at a wedding and when you make them with lots of detaill, people won’t be able to tell that they’re not real.

A platter of fake donuts

I’ve been a huge fan of Peter Anton’s incredible fake dessert sculptures for years now. His artificial doughnut is probably 3-4 feet in diameter. Instead, I am going to make a regular sized donut as realistic as possible and save it for a special occasion to trick my family. Perhaps April Fool’s Day, but maybe National Donut Day could work, too! This will also be a good test to see if they actually read my blog posts.

These donuts were made with a mold – they do not look as realistic because they’re too perfectly round and smooth.
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What supplies are needed to make a fake donut?

There are many ways to do this and I have tried a few. But for this tutorial you will need:

Scroll down for photos of the step by step process.

This project can get messy. Click here for the scoop on my must-have cleaner for artists and crafters. (It seriously works miracles!)


How to make the fake donuts:

  1. Take a scoop of clay and make it into a ball. The ball should be around the size of a tennis ball or a bit smaller or bigger if that’s what you want for your fake food display. In my class, I had the kids make mini donuts so that they would have more to decorate.
  2. Make it as perfectly round as you can. Take your finger and push it all the way through the clay to make a hole. You can use a marker or a dowel rod if that is easier.
  3. Using the palm of your hand, smoosh the clay down gently so that both sides have a bit of flatness. If you want to add a bite mark, use a cookie cutter that has a lot of ridges. I used a butterfly cookie cutter. See the image above – it worked great!
  4. Let your air dry clay sit out for several hours. Depending on the climate and the temperature of the room, air dry clay can sometimes take a while to harden.
  5. Once the air dry clay is hard, paint the entire surface a creamy yellow-ish white. I needed to combine three colors to get the color I wanted so be sure to play around and try out different mixtures. If you want to add some extra details, try dusting on some orange and brown chalk pastel powder to give it a golden brown appearance
  6. Once the donuts are fully dry, squirt out some slick paint onto a plate and be sure you have enough to coat the surface of the donut. Dip the donut into the slick paint. I discovered when teaching this that it is much easier to hold the donut by placing a marker in the middle of the donut hole. Your hands will not get as dirty if you do it this way.
  7. Drip sprinkles or drizzle another color of slick paint onto the donut. I added white stripes to some, pink stripes to others and sometimes added sprinkles on top. I placed my donuts (still on the marker) into a bowl of rice to dry.
Clay donut ready for paint
Holding the donut on a sharpie gives it stability and also keeps your hands clean



Feel free to play around with your technique, but this is what has worked well for me.


use a butterfly cookie cutter to make it look like a bite mark
dip the donut into slick paint
decorate the donut
Fake donuts look delicious!
air dry clay

Tips and Tricks for making fake donuts for props or display:

  • If you can’t find slick paint, try using regular paint and adding glossy Mod Podge. If you’re curious about what kind of paint I prefer, check out this post. I also have paintbrush care tips here.
  • If you want to make these into Donut Christmas ornaments, use Model Magic Clay instead because it will not weigh down your Christmas tree branches.
  • Make a bunch and use them as candle holders. If you do this, be sure to add a metal candle holder so that the paint does not catch on fire. Safety first!
  • I also tried making fake donuts in both resin and in plaster using silicone molds. They looked too perfect in my opinion!

Enjoy your new fake donuts! What should I do for my next fake bake? Fake bread (maybe some avocado toast) or fake candy spills?

Fake sprinkles can be found at Michael’s or Amazon

Affiliate disclaimer: Although I stand by all of the products I use, I can receive a small commission from any products purchased via my affiliate links.