Why Bother With Gumpaste Flowers...

Decorating By mami2sweeties Updated 1 Oct 2007 , 1:45am by Cassie2500

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mami2sweeties Posted 27 Sep 2007 , 9:27pm
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I have been wondering why anyone would bother putting all that time into doing gumpaste flowers. Don't get me wrong. I make them too. Why bother when you can use real flowers or fake? Is it about braggin rights or something? Just so we can say the cake is 100% edible? I am very curious. I don't mean to bash at all the gumpaste fans.

22 replies
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bobwonderbuns Posted 27 Sep 2007 , 9:34pm
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I do it because fake flowers to me look fake and real flowers can poison the cake. One selling point I've used is to tell the customer that they can put the flowers in a vase and save it as a keepsake of their special occasion. In my pix, the orchid/fan cake, the lady who ordered it did just that and she made an arrangement out of the gumpaste flowers and has it on display in her home. That's my 25 cents! icon_biggrin.gif

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JoAnnB Posted 27 Sep 2007 , 9:36pm
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Many times, the flowers become keepsakes.

No risk of poison or bugs, wilting, or needing water

You can prepare ahead of time without depending on a florist

You can have exactly the color, size style-

There is nothing wrong with fresh flowers or even silk. It is just a question of style and impact.

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Gefion Posted 27 Sep 2007 , 10:11pm
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It is an art form, and a craft. Simple as that. The same reason we still love paintings, even though we have cameras.

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ShirleyW Posted 27 Sep 2007 , 10:18pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gefion

It is an art form, and a craft. Simple as that. The same reason we still love paintings, even though we have cameras.




Perfect answer.
To me it is like asking Van Gogh why he painted sunflowers rather than trees. Or why we strive to learn to ice a cake smoothly or do flow in pieces. Flow in is edible too, but hard and sugary, I wouldn't suggest eating it anymore than I would eating a gumpaste flower. The beauty of the flowers are there for the viewing and as a keepsake of a lovely event.

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FromScratch Posted 27 Sep 2007 , 10:30pm
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I do them because I love making them. It's artistic expression. I love looking at flowers and studying them to see how they are formed and then making them myself. It's very satisfying to make a flower. Fake flowers look fake to me no matter how much you spend on them. Real flowers can wilt or have brown spots on them. They can be poisonous. Often times it's hard to assure that they are the color and size that work with your cake. Making them gets rid of all of those variables. You can control all of it.. from color to how they bend and twist.. so that it all flows perfectly with your cake.

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SScakes Posted 28 Sep 2007 , 7:07am
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Very interesting thread as I too have wondered about this until I started making the flowers myself.
I find it very relaxing to do and it has become more of a hobby for me than anything else.

I work with a gentleman who's wife also did cakes and he said he found it to be a pretty thankless job as people don't appreciate the hard work that goes into the final cake. My answer to him was that it did not matter whether other people appreciated it. For the person on the receiving end, it was just cake for an occasion and for me it was taking a step back and seeing a work of art and admiring a job well done.

I think doing flowers is an art and skill.

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kjgjam22 Posted 28 Sep 2007 , 6:09pm
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they have a different look than the real or the fake to me.. i like them. very time consuming but very pretty.

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crislen Posted 28 Sep 2007 , 6:25pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SScakes

I work with a gentleman who's wife also did cakes and he said he found it to be a pretty thankless job as people don't appreciate the hard work that goes into the final cake. My answer to him was that it did not matter whether other people appreciated it. For the person on the receiving end, it was just cake for an occasion and for me it was taking a step back and seeing a work of art and admiring a job well done.

I think doing flowers is an art and skill.




Flowers are a definite art and skill. I've just started with them.. and wow... much harder than I thought, but definitely an artistic expression. I love making them.

But, since people don't appreciate all the hard work that goes into a cake... what would make them pay big money to have them on a cake?

I'm not professional, but almost all the people I know prefer cheap over art and would go fake over having to pay extra for the work involved in gumpaste flowers.

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HeatherMari Posted 28 Sep 2007 , 6:29pm
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Besides being beautiful and sturdier than fresh flowers (in that they won't wilt or need water), if a bride wants a certain flower that is out of season, you can just it out of gumpaste! Also, some flowers, like hydrangeas, are very delicate and would be ruined after being handled a lot.
Just my thoughts,
HeatherMari

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Suzycakes Posted 28 Sep 2007 , 7:03pm
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Oh - I love this thread. I have attempted to make some gumpaste flowers and I have only been happy with about 50% of them. I agree that I am not a fan of silk flowers - unless I am doing a fun/funky cake - then I might throw one on.

But my question is this . . . the amount of time it takes to make the gumpaste, then make the flowers, let them dry, then if you are arranging them in a spray, that amount of time plus the cost of the supplies - isn't it much cheaper to buy them premade and then just paint them the color you want?

I have priced some at Country Kitchens and they have a 3 rose spray with leaves and other small flowers, plus a couple of small lilies in it for $7.50. It looks to be about 3 inches wide by 6 inches long.

I am always greatly admiring the handmade flowers here on CC and my hat goes off to all of you who are so successful with it. I do some artsy painting also, so I know the value of time, as well as the reward of "I did this myself" -- but here is my question.

Can you honestly make the same style spray by hand and only charge $7.50 for it?

I am really curious about this, mainly because I want to know if it is WORTH my time to continue to practice making these flowers versus just buying them and passing the cost along to the consumer.

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jmt1714 Posted 28 Sep 2007 , 7:35pm
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by suzycakes



But my question is this . . . the amount of time it takes to make the gumpaste, then make the flowers, let them dry, then if you are arranging them in a spray, that amount of time plus the cost of the supplies - isn't it much cheaper to buy them premade and then just paint them the color you want?




well, with that logic, isn't it also cheaper to buy cake from WalMart and be done with it?

I enjoy making the gumpaste flowers, and at the risk of sounding immodest, the cheap ones I have seen for sale out there aren't anywhere near the quality of what I (and many other CC members) are capable of making. And I charge accordingly. You really do get what you pay for.

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sweetflowers Posted 28 Sep 2007 , 10:09pm
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jmt1714 is right suzycakes. I too have often offered either the premade gumpaste or my handmade flowers to my customers. Most want cheap and don't know the difference. But if you see our flowers and how thin the petals are and movement in the petals, there is no comparison. The flower centers alone are so much better. Plus every flower in nature is different, but those premade ones are very 'cookie cutter'. There are also quite a few flowers that are not offered by the premade and you're stuck with their sizes, which don't always work.

It is definitely an art, and I find studying nature very rewarding, even though I will never be able to create one like nature does, I still find it rewarding. I don't do flowers for just anyone, you have to find personal pleasure in making the flower. If not, you can buy them and that really does work for lots of customers.

Remember you can have cheap or you can have quality, but not both.

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shortNsweet Posted 28 Sep 2007 , 10:35pm
post #14 of 23

I think gumpaste flowers are so amazing. I also think the time they take to make would make me charge SO much more for the cake, and I find people already cringe when they hear the price of some of the cakes I make...lol...I don't want them to keel over altogether! I can't imagine anyone wanting to spend the money that I would have to charge to justify the time it takes to make them. I have used some very nice silk flowers and everyone has loved them( you can see the ones I've used on my cakes in the gallery of my photos) I've never had a complaint yet...but I don't think they can compare to the artistic work of the beautiful gumpaste flowers I've seen on this site.

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KathysCC Posted 29 Sep 2007 , 1:31am
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I made one bouquet of gumpaste flowers and although it probably won't be my last, I found it tedious and difficult. I was working on a short deadline and that is probably why I didn't enjoy it, but I purchased some premade gumpaste bouquets from cakedeco.com. They are quite beautiful and much better than anything I am capable of making. Also, the price is unbeatable. My bouquet took me 3 days. When I look at buying something similar for under $10, it is well worth the price to me.

That is just my opinion. To answer the original question, I think it is a matter of what people are capable of and what people like. I'm not big on putting real flowers on cakes...they can have pesticides, dyes and bugs. Silk flowers are nice but I'm into the notion that everything on a cake should be edible even if you really aren't going to eat it. That is why I like gumpaste flowers. Whether you buy them or make them yourself is just a choice. Some people love making them, others (like me) like the cake making but not the flower making.

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ShirleyW Posted 29 Sep 2007 , 1:54am
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I guess if you are going for price and want to save time and money Cakedeco's flowers aren't too bad. But I just can't compare them to quality made gumpaste flowers. Here is a good example of the difference.
Cakedeco's Agapanthus
http://www.cakedeco.com/cgi-bin/webc.cgi/st_prod.html?p_prodid=9210&p_catid=&page=2

Couture Cakes Of New England Agapanthus

Or, anything by Stewart Feldman.
http://www.sugarflorals.com/gallery.html

The old saying of getting what you pay for really is true. If you want quality you have to pay for it. If you are spending three days making some spectacular flowers, charge enough for them to compensate. If your clients appreciate beauty and artistry they will be willing to pay for it.
LL

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maria892 Posted 29 Sep 2007 , 3:30am
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I started classes last year because I wanted to learn how to make flowers and learn the correct way of decorating as I had never had any "formal" instruction. I read my two books over and over and just tried to replicate what I could.

I even had basic tools that I didn't even know how to use. Imagine my delight when I was shown how to frill, how to make a basic 5-petal flower, how to colour and how to arrange a grouping of flowers. No expert yet but I enjoy making flowers because I love flowers and for me to replicate something that even remotely looks the real thing is a buzz to me.

It is self satisfaction to make flowers. I never think about how long it will take.

I can understand tho' on the other hand those of you that make heaps of cakes and sell them, that time is a big factor and your customers are just another name in your diary, but I have only made a few cakes for family and they have been made ( without sounding too mooshy) with love and made with my loved one in mind.

PS. I have only made two flowers. My first one was my Poinsettia and I was so excited when I made it and assembled it. The second lot were the gerberas. By no means perfect, but looks something like it and it's colourful and it's made by me. with love.

So, to me, at the moment it's enjoyment to create the flowers. no matter how long it takes.

I am making roses at the moment (have made the buds) and have just rec'd my cutters that I ordered and I can hardly wait to try them. I love roses so there'll be no stopping me once I start.

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cuillere Posted 30 Sep 2007 , 1:23am
post #18 of 23

I too love making gumpaste flowers, they are really relaxing and very rewarding. I just finished a vase full of flowers. the look on people's faces is priceless when they realize they can eat them. Same thing, the ladu who received this cake commissioned a florist to set them as a bouquet for keepsake. I have the finished product in my gallery.

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playingwithsugar Posted 30 Sep 2007 , 1:43am
post #19 of 23

Most cake competitions require that all decorations, except pillars, plates, and bases, be made of edible materials. A good judge can tell the difference between a hand-made decoration and a purchased one, and will score you accordingly for them.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

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jeking Posted 30 Sep 2007 , 1:45am
post #20 of 23

Another thing...you can do things with them that you can't with real or fake flowers. For example, using luster dust, petal dust, etc to highlight them. I absolutely love making them...it's a creative activity that is relaxing and gives me a sense of accomplishment.

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Biya Posted 30 Sep 2007 , 1:50am
post #21 of 23

Just being able to make them is such a great feeling of accomplishment. And wow when people find out I made them and they're edible the reaction is enough to make me float on air. I don't sell my cakes just make them for family, friends, bakesales, etc. but I would think they would add some value to the cake as well.

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FlowerGuy Posted 30 Sep 2007 , 3:34am
post #22 of 23

Shirley...
Once again, I thank you for your support.
I started making gp flowers about 4 years ago just to find something to do with my life after I was laid off from my very corporate travel management job. I wanted to find something to do that was anti-corporate. I had 30 years of that! Anyway....I fell in love with the art after seeing a Sylvia Weinstock cake at my sister's wedding and have been studying ever since....always trying to learn more and have my flowers look as realistic as possible. I am enjoying being an artist. I find it very rewarding...and there's nothing better than doing what you love and getting paid for it. I think gp flowers are a viable alternative to fresh or silk flowers. They all have their place in the business. There's just something special about supporting your local artisans. Those mass produced gp flowers just don't do it for me personally. They're pretty, but they lack heart and soul. And I find it rewarding when people appreciate a good custom-made art piece.
This is a good thread....I appreciate all the comments from fellow gp artists.

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Cassie2500 Posted 1 Oct 2007 , 1:45am
post #23 of 23

I will be taking some gumpaste flower classes in a couple of weeks and I can't wait!! The teacher will be the same teacher who taght me the Wilton cake decorating classes and I kept calling her to ask when the class would start-at the end of my Wilton Course 3, she told us about it, but she was going to have to get the training and supplies so she said it would be in May. I called in April to get the date and she said it wouldn't start until July. Well, I call in June, nope-probably October. I called last week and she said probably the middle of October and she took my number so she could call me with the exact date. I took that as a hint she was getting tired of me calling icon_rolleyes.gif . Well, I'm ready to take the class!! It may be hard at first, but hopefully it will relieve some stress and relax me as ya'll have said it does. thumbs_up.gif

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