4 Months To Master Gum-Paste Flowers!!!

Decorating By sammyj Updated 11 May 2012 , 6:43pm by jgifford

sammyj Posted 4 May 2012 , 3:57am
post #1 of 9

I have 4 months to master the art of making gum paste cymbidium orchids and freesias and I have NEVER made a gum paste flower before. Where do I start? Any suggestions on what type of flower is the 'easiest' so I can get practicing to get a 'feel' for making flowers? I've investigated and it looks like my best coloring bet for realistic purposes is petal dust but I've never used it before, any tips and tricks for this extremely scared but determined woman????

Honestly, how hard are orchids? And I cant seem to be able to source a freesia mold anywhere so it looks like ill be hand making and veining them ( icon_confused.gif oh good lord!...) has anyone attempted freesias before?

8 replies
FromScratchSF Posted 4 May 2012 , 5:43am
post #2 of 9

Did you promise a cake for someone with them on it?

Making sugar flowers is an art - I figure a lot of stuff out by myself but I took a sugar flower class because they are HARD unless you get some basics down. I suggest taking a class - any class, to learn how to make at least one flower, even if it isn't the flower you need. It will at least teach you how to break down a real flower and translate it to sugar, teach you how to work with paste, vein, wire, dry, assemble and dust.

Petal dust is preferred for botanically correct, realistic flowers. Petal dust has no shimmer, sparkle, or glitter in it.

No freesia molds/cutters, The method I know is a mix of stuff that I can't share icon_biggrin.gif No help, I know, but I use Petalsweet method, which I can't share because that woold be taking food out of Jacqueline's tummy.

If all else fails, you can always just buy pre-made ones (both orchids and freesias).

Good luck!.

Chellescakes Posted 4 May 2012 , 12:07pm
post #3 of 9

Okay , orchids are pretty easy , I make and wire each petal individually with them and always make spares incase I have a breakage.

Freesias , are one of the first flowers I teach my students when starting sugar flowers. They usually manage to get the hang of them pretty quickly . You don't need a veiner or mould for them and they are not a heavily veined flower.

Can you find an instructor in your area , it would probably only take you one to two lessons to learn both of those flowers. Then all there is to do is practice them.

Petal dust is the best way for colouring orchids. I always mix my dusts with some cornflower it help them to go on a little easier. I them set the colour by steaming.

missy2008 Posted 4 May 2012 , 3:01pm
post #4 of 9

Oh my!!! You are in for a steep learning curve!! If you are looking for 'botanical correct' flowers, you need to figure out the cutter and veiner mat for each flower. I use petal dust to color my flowers and then steam them to set the color. (books and classes will help you choose which to use)
Think about how you are displaying the flowers on the cake. All exposed wire will need to be covered and it looks like you have some 'branchy' type flowers too.
The one thing you have to remember....sugar flowers are not quick! for example, it takes me 1 hour to make 5 gumpaste roses and that is before I color them! the wireing, cutting, hand shaping, layering, attaching, coloring, bundling into final shape...it all takes time!!
gumpaste is not scary to work with. key issue is to keep the gumpaste covered as it will dry out quickly. you have to focus and work with gumpaste quickly-cut, vein, wire, shape and then set aside to dry.
you can do this, but it will take some time to practice and investment of supplies.

michelevarin Posted 4 May 2012 , 4:02pm
post #5 of 9

I was in the same predicament when I offered to make my stepson's wedding cake last year. I found an absolutely wonderful set of DVD's by Scott Clarke Woolley at http://www.cakesbydesign.cc/

The videos are very detailed and he explains it all very well. They are a little pricey, but I think, well worth it. He demonstrates the orchid you want to make, but not sure about freesias. Don't be put off by his method of ordering or payment. It is a basic site where you send him an email and then he gives you the total. You mail a check and he sends the stuff right away (doesn't wait for the check). I was wary at first, but he is completely honest. I have purchased many things from his site and never had anything but a professional experience. I actually "tested the waters" with a small purchase at first, but, again, never a problem and he ships immediately.

michelevarin Posted 4 May 2012 , 4:07pm
post #6 of 9

Just so you know, this person is in New York (upstate, not the city), and I just realized you folks are a little far from there . I'm not sure if he has dealt with foreign checks and I don't think he does credit. You'll have to ask him. also, he is not just someone who does videos. He used to run classes in NYC and has done many celebrity cakes (including Caroline Kennedy's shower and wedding cakes. Check his Cake of the Month page, and you'll see some of his samples over the years. icon_smile.gif

Polarcakes Posted 11 May 2012 , 11:34am
post #7 of 9

Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but Jennifer Dontz has freeshia cutters on her site.


Gingerbread_from_Germany Posted 11 May 2012 , 6:23pm
post #8 of 9

Ok, you won't "master" anything in 4 months and certainly not the art of realistic sugarflowers.... but if you practise damn hard, you should do a good job of it. I recommend buying books (Alan Dunn, Paddy Clark etc) and if you have the chance, do take a sugarflower course. You will be amazed at the amount you will learn at a good course, that isn't in a book or tutorial - just little tips and tricks that make all the differnce. But as in all hand craft things, practise might not make perfect, but goes a long way!

I wish you all the best and look forward to seeing your practise pieces.

A good flower to start with is the rose (wired of course), they are not as small and fiddly as some orchids and fuchsias. Alan Dunns books have templates at the back, for cutting out the petals - so you won't need to buy cutters to start with. As you live in the USA (I am currently in Germany) you could take a good look at Scott Clark Woolleys website, I have a few of his flower cutters. In England I can recommend Dusky Rose Veiners - take a look at her site (just google her) she has a few tutorials and lots of information.

A good flower paste also goes a long way in helping make a realistic flower.

All the best

jgifford Posted 11 May 2012 , 6:43pm
post #9 of 9

When I decided to learn how to do flowers, I bought the Wilton kit with all the cutters and the book of instructions. Then I bought an assortment of petal dusts and luster dusts. I sat at my dining table with the book on one side and my fondant and cutters on the other. That was a horrible day! I was all thumbs and nothing I touched resembled anything but a lump. But the next day was better and the next even better still. I wanted to take my time and focus on my own problem areas as opposed to being in a class and having to follow a teacher.

Now I rarely use cutters. I watch TV with my dh and make flowers.

I started with a rose and had it down in just a couple of days. If you're only focusing on 2 flowers to start, I see no reason why you can't be reasonably proficient within 4 months. I'm not saying you'll have a mastery of them, but you should be able to confidently put them on a cake and not be embarassed for others to see them.

Good luck and keep us posted. thumbs_up.gif

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