Airbrushing Gumpaste Flowers

Decorating By ceelyon Updated 1 Apr 2007 , 11:41pm by DecoratingDingbat

ceelyon Posted 29 Mar 2007 , 2:53am
post #1 of 7

Hello Ceelyon here.
I would like to airbrush some gumpaste roses, Would i use airbrush liquid, or luster dust mixed with alcohol? If so, what percentage of 3 to 1? I am not sure, I have airbrushed cakes before with the liquid, but I am not sure about the sugar paste flowers?
Most pictures I see use a dry brush method, but the client I have
would like cranberry on her roses.
Any suggestions Pleeeese..................Thanks a bunch

6 replies
ShirleyW Posted 29 Mar 2007 , 3:33am
post #2 of 7

It depends on how dark you want the color and if you want any shine to them. For a matte or dull finish I would dust them with petal dust and a dry brush, no alcohol. For a shiny dark cranberry and some shine you could do two things, either mix airbrush color with alcohol such as Everclear or Vodka, about 1/4 alcohol to 3/4 airbrush liquid, and fill your airbrush to spray. Or mix them in the same ratio and make enough to pour into a wide rimmed glass or bowl and dip the dried gumpaste flowers one at a time into the liquid color, lift above the liquid and shake off any excess color. Do this over the sink, it can be messy. Turn the flower over and look at it to see if there is any white showing, if there is, dip a small paintbrush into the liquid and paint to cover the white. Stick the wired stem into a block of styrofoam to dry. Using this method it takes about 2 days to dry completely, and the color will darken as they dry. Airbrushing should only take a few hours to dry. If you have not done airbrushing before, hold it about 12" to 16" away from the flower and just do a light coat, let dry a bit and then do a second coat rather than just one thick one. If you get too close or let the color build up too much it can run and make the flower look streaked.

If you use the dry petal dust just brush it on with a small artist paintbrush, I prefer Sable. Load the brush with dust and then apply it to the flower in a small circular motion, rubbing the color in. Or in a back and forth motion as though you were ereasing a pencil line. Remember to dust the backs and sides of the petals as well as the front. you will want to steam the flower after coloring, this sets the dust so it doesn't flake off on your iced cake and it gives it a bit of shine. Bring a saucepan or tea kettle of water to a boil, then reduce heat so it is producing steam. Hold the dusted flower by the wire steam with the flower upside down, move the stem back and forth in your fingers so the steam hits the front, back and sides. Only do this for a few seconds until you see the gumpaste begin to look shiny. Too long over the steam and it will soften the gumpaste. Stick the wired stem into styrofoam to dry, and don't touch the colored areas until it has dried or it will remove the color and leave white spots.

DecoratingDingbat Posted 29 Mar 2007 , 3:53am
post #3 of 7

I have used both, but have only used the liquid on gumpaste once. I found it was fading during drying and I was worried about spraying too much (dripping, soggy, wilting etc.) I stick to the luster dust - I have also used powdered coloring and vodka, just eyed and shook like mad to get the coloring right and it worked okay on the gumpaste. I do find that no matter what method I use, I make it darker and more than I think I need. Maybe it's me, but coloring always fades a bit during drying with airbrushing, still it's much faster, easier, softer and more even for some details that I love it.
Curious, I'm new to using fondant and I'm about to spray a practise cake. Because I worry about the liquid effects, I always use the vodka/color with no problems - can you spray the fondant with the liquid color - can I save some of my vodka for an actual drink? I'm stuck in my ways and use BC, liquid sprays great on that. I'm thinking I'm going to give whirl and hoping there's less fading, but I don't want to end up with a puddle of fondant.

DecoratingDingbat Posted 29 Mar 2007 , 4:08am
post #4 of 7
Originally Posted by ShirleyW

... pour into a wide rimmed glass or bowl and dip the dried gumpaste flowers one at a time into the liquid color, lift above the liquid and shake off any excess color. Do this over the sink, it can be messy...

This is why I love this site! You can learn something new almost daily. I'm one of the old fahioned decorators (ie: BC, RI, meringue, gumpaste etc.) and stumbled onto this site looking for fondant recipes. I figured I'd better get with the times when our local grocery store starting using fondant. I don't think I've logged out since! This is a fountain of inspiration and ideas!

ceelyon Posted 1 Apr 2007 , 3:28am
post #5 of 7


Thanks Shirley and DecoratingDingbat, and to anyone else
who answers my plea. I have used a airbrushing before,
but never airbrushed gumpaste flowers, and have not
used luster dust.
This will be a great experience, I just Love challenges.

Just a question, can lemon juice be used instead of vodka,
just incase someone prefers this?

Thanks again, this site is terrific.

ShirleyW Posted 1 Apr 2007 , 5:48am
post #6 of 7

Well, it is the alcohol content that makes the dust dry quickly. Lemon juice has no alcohol. I am not certain about this statement so beat me up if I'm wrong, but I think the alcohol evaporates as it dries and I don't think you have to be concerned about using it. BUT, I wouldn't let anyone eat gumpaste flowers anyway, they dry hard as a rock and only taste sweet, aside from that, most gumpaste flowers have floral wire inside the petals. And eating petaldust doesn't appeal to me either.

You know many of the extracts have a high alcohol content, lemon and orange especially, and even vanilla has alcohol, but if you mention mixing dusts with Everclear or Vodka some people are turned off by it and consider it to be liquor and if they don't drink they are afraid to use it.

DecoratingDingbat Posted 1 Apr 2007 , 11:41pm
post #7 of 7

Ditto ... I've never used lemon juice only because I'm concerned with the sugar content. I also wonder about the colour tint. icon_confused.gif If you do try it I would love to know how it works out for you, maybe I can save myself some Vodka ... icon_wink.gif

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