Fake ice can be a lifesaver when photographing drinks. It gives you more time to perfect a shot since you’re not worried about it melting. But, there’s a lot of bad fake-looking fake ice out there and the good stuff that looks convincing can be expensive. But, I got a tip from a food stylist about a cost effective solution you can make at home.
DIY Fake Ice
The magical solution I was recommended for making fake ice is called Encapso K. I found it on Amazon for $38.99 for a pint. Its main purpose is for decorative artificial flower displays to look like water.
How to Make Encapso K
All you have to do is mix equal parts of the two solutions, pour them into a container or mold and then wait 24 hours. After 24 hours it will set to a firm gel that you can use as is or cut down into smaller pieces.
I cast the Encapso K in a deli container for creating shards to start. It did require me to cut the walls of the deli container to release the gel because otherwise it would be too difficult to remove in one piece. Then once I had the full block I was able to cut it down into shards.
You can cut it with a knife for ragged edges. If you want clean edges simply tear the gel apart.
I also poured the solution into silicone ice cube molds. Once the Encapso K set I then very carefully pulled the cubes away from the edges and slowly worked them out of the mold. If you work too quickly they can tear and break. Take your time when you’re extracting these fake ice cubes.
Is Encapso K good for making fake ice?
I have a number of tests I had to put the ice through in order to determine if it was going to be a quality solution for food and beverage photography.
Does Fake Ice Float?
Most of the acrylic cubes I have don’t but real ice does. So it was super exciting to see that the Encapso K cubes floated in my drinks! Floating ice is visually more convincing.
Does Fake Ice Get Stained?
I have purchased some fake gel ice solutions from props shops in the past and unfortunately the fake ice became stained when used in colorful drinks.
I put the Encapso K cubes I made in a drink with red food dye for six hours and was thrilled that it did not stain.
Is Fake Ice Re-Usable?
Some fake ice solutions out there can only be used for one shoot before they start to degrade and disintegrate.
This Encapso K fake ice looked the same at the end of the shoot as it did at the beginning and has since been used for more photoshoots.
Granted, if you push on it too hard or bump it with a knife it can begin to tear and crack, but as long as you are careful with your cubes they should last through a lot of photoshoots.
Does Encapso K Fake Ice Look Real?
I’ll let you be the judge. Here you can see it in action:
Encapso K is a great solution for fake ice in food photography
After putting Encapso K to the test and using it for my photos, I’m thrilled about it as a fake ice solution. It’s cost effective, easy to work with and provides a lot of options for versatility to cast a variety of sizes and shapes of ice depending on the needs of your photoshoot.