FROZEN’S OLAF INSPIRED MARSHMALLOW POPS {PLUS, MY THOUGHTS ON COPYRIGHTED CHARACTERS}

Olaf experiment

Last week I made very special marshmallow pops for my friend, Shanna from Pineapple and Coconut, daughter’s 6th birthday party.

Coincidentally, my mom had to make the same design for something else. Now, if you follow me you know that my mom is who taught me how to design marshmallows. We always say that marshmallow art, as with everything, it’s all about adding your own touch. We’ve made many similar designs over the years but we can always tell who has done which one because we have very distinct styles.

She adds lots of detail, more piping and her colors are often a bit lighter than mine. I like to make pops simple, bright and only use KRAFT Jet-Puffed Marshmallows.

Olaf Experiment Results

After talking to my mom, we thought it’d be fun for each of us to do our pops then post a picture of each design and have our fans guess which one was whose.

The results were hilarious!! Just on The Marshmallow Studio’s Facebook page we got over 241 comments, 71 shares and 500 likes. On Instagram we had 31 comments and 54 likes.

Only 38 people guess correct – I made the pop on the LEFT = A. 

Olaf Marshmallow Pop by TheMarshmallowStudio

Here are the main differences:

My mom sugared her Olaf, I just sprinkled disco dust on mine.

She made a nose out of marshmallow and sugared it orange, I attached a chocolate-covered sunflower seed to mine.

She used licorice for the harms, I used uncooked spaghetti piped over with black icing.

She used a twist marshmallow for the base and decorated it with icing, non-pareils and snowflake sprinkles. I added a StackerMallow coated in blue sugar with a piped “6” for Kailani’s birthday.

Olaf - Carmen Ramirez

Here are my Olafs enjoying the warm sun waiting to be completely dry before packaging.

Olaf by TheMarshmallowStudio1

All done and ready to go party!!

Olaf Pops by TheMarshmallowStudio

****************************************************************************

I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about copyrighted characters and orders.

copyrighted

Recently I had a person, who had purchased a copy of my mARTshmallows book, contact me for a refund. She said that the book was a huge disappointment because it only had basic pops. It didn’t include instructions for “commercial” characters. Pops she could actually sell and that people were requesting. She went on to say that it should include Angry Birds, Spider Man, Monsters, Hello Kitty and more.

This was a perfect example on how it’s our job as vendors/merchants/designers/etc. to educate our customers. Most people do not understand that these famous and loved characters belong to someone. Someone took the time to design them and that person/corporation/studio/etc. own the rights to it. It’s a COPYRIGHTED AND LICENSED CHARACTER.

I immediately informed her that I could not include these and how it was illegal for me or anyone to make a profit out of someone else’s work. Plus, I even explained to her how the book is not meant to teach how to make very design but to teach skills and techniques required for “her” to make her own designs at her pleasure. No reply.

Yo Gabba Gabba Cast_wm

I won’t say I am completely innocent ….. years ago when I first started The Marshmallow Studio, I wasn’t aware of these law and did make a few marshmallow pop characters.

Angry Birds_wm   Hello Kitty 3_wm

Power Puff Girls_wm

Mickey & Minnie  Sign 2_wm   Jack & Sally Inspired 1_wm

Luckily for me, they were always for my friends and not real customers!!!

{Please NOTE that I do NOT take pop orders anymore. All the pops I make are for my friends. I do not make a profit from these.}

Since then, I have made it a point to educate myself on copyrighted laws. It was extremely important for me to not break the law as well as to protect myself, my book and my designs.

Capture 18TheMarshmallowStudio072114ab

It’s okay to be inspired by someone’s creativity, but it’s not okay to deliberately take it and claim it as your own. It’s illegal to make a profit off of someone else’s work so PLEASE DO NOT make marshmallow pops, cake pops, cakes, printables, etc using licensed characters or “copying” the work of something you saw on Pinterest or online.

Be inspired NOT a thief!

You can read more examples and a great further explanation on Paper and Cake’s blog HERE.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this :)

Comments

  1. Hi Alejandra, ok so i totally guessed wrong on the pops bummer. Both are very cute though! Good job to both of you!!!

    So about this copyright thing. TOTALLY agree with you and i cant believe someone asked for a refund!! Wow!!! Thanks for this post and trying to educate people!!!

    I am in the beginning stages of starting a side business for myself and my question is how do i know when its not just inspiration and I’m actually taking someone else’s idea?? I mean I get that Disney, Nickelodeon, etc. are obviously licensed and I couldn’t sell any of those products. But i mean like is there a general rule of thumb if i change just one thing lets say on cookie design can i say its my design? Or does it have to be more than one thing that I change?? Do you know what i mean?? I don’t want to make anyone mad especially just starting my business. Any help is appreciated!! Thank you!!

    • Thanks so much for your comment Sandra. Great question too! The general rule of thumb is that if you can deliberately tell it’s a “known” character from a movie, show, etc then you’re breaking the law. For example, if you make plain snowman sugar cookies then you’re okay because Disney doesn’t own the rights to the shape or color of it. If you make a snowman that looks identical to Olaf then you’re breaking the law. Even if you change the nose size or button colors, it’s still obvious that you’re trying to resemble Olaf. Sadly, that’s what customers always want but maybe you can suggest doing a snowflake cookie instead :) Hope this helped!!

      • Thanks for the information Alejandra!! It does help!!! Hopefully it’s helped more people understand as well!!! BTW your book is awesome!!! I purchased it a couple weeks or so ago and I can’t wait to make some pops!!! I took one of your classes when you lived in San Diego at Do it with Icing and your work is awesome!! Thanks again!! :)

  2. Angela gomez says:

    I was disappointed on your book because you didn’t include the rose. It’s on your cover not inside… so I don’t think you should have pictures on your COVER if you don’t include it on the inside.. The main reason I purchased this book was because of the rose

    • Hi Angela, I’m very sad to hear you were disappointed at my book. If you look back at the front and back covers of mARTshmallows, you’ll notice I DO NOT have a photograph of my Marshmallow Roses. The only place you’ll find a photograph of them is on my bio and in my projects collage in the back pages INSIDE the book. I normally only teach the rose in my large classes. You can learn about upcoming classes on my social media channels or website. Thanks for your feedback.

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