Working with and shaping marzipan is something that becomes easier with practice. Its texture is similar to modelling clay, and it can be shaped in much the same manner. Pieces of marzipan stick together quite easily, meaning you can create several parts of a shape separately and fit them together. The most commonly created shapes, and the easiest for beginners, are fruits, vegetables and flowers. However, you can create almost anything from marzipan once you become comfortable working with it.
Cover a flat working surface, such as a kitchen counter or cutting board, with wax paper, and roll the marzipan out using a rolling pin to a thickness of about ¼ inch. Put a little vegetable shortening on your fingers to prevent the marzipan from sticking before you begin shaping.
Use cookie cutters to cut shapes from the flattened marzipan. This is the easiest way to shape the dough. If the marzipan sticks to the sides of the cutters, grease them with vegetable shortening to solve this problem.
Sculpt marzipan shapes and figures with your fingers. Place the object you wish to create out of marzipan in front of you for reference. If you are creating a marzipan apple or banana, for example, have one out that you can see while shaping the dough.
Roll small chunks of marzipan into balls of different sizes and use these as a base for shaping. Use your visual reference to help you with the intricacies of various objects, or simply create your own unique shapes. Pinch the dough with your fingers, smooth it with your palms or use tools to help create shapes you can put together and different textures.
Use metal leaf-shaped cutters, available at craft and hobby stores, to create flower or vegetable leaves and add them to a hand-shaped marzipan creation. Use a craft knife to help score the surface of the marzipan or to cut out shapes. Use a kitchen grater to make imprints on the surface of the marzipan. Experiment with any other kitchen tools you like.
Practice makes perfect when it comes to shaping marzipan. Keep trying until you get the desired shape. You can't go wrong with marzipan, as it's just like modelling clay. The whole thing can be scrapped and re-shaped if you make a mistake. Try adding food colouring to various pieces of marzipan to make coloured shapes. Add a drop to a small chunk of the dough, and roll it in your palms to distribute the colour evenly.