Sunday, 5 October 2008

Sugarcraft Flowers 101: Raindrops On Roses

Part One: Daisies & Primroses is here.

Predictably, I've left it so long between parts One and Two of this tutorial that I've now mostly forgotten everything Alex's Granny told me, but theoretically, here is the second part of my sugarpaste flower guide: Roses and Leaves!

You will need: a small quantity of sugarpaste (I'm reliably informed this is gumpaste in America), icing colours (paste or gel), cornflour for dusting, a few sticks of florists' wire cut into small lengths, a little dish of water, a small rolling pin, cocktail sticks or a little metal rod thing - you can see Alex's Granny's below, but I don't know what it is - and some sort of styrofoam block or similar to stick them in once you've finished. Also, to make leaves, a double-sided veiner; there's one in a picture lower down.

To start with the roses: Alex's Granny keeps a tub of these with her decorating equipment; they're just little lengths of florists' wire with hardened buds of sugarpaste on them. If you're ever using sugarpaste and you've got a bit left over, use the remainder to make some of these and just keep them somewhere separate; they provide the hard base to build your rose around.

To make them you take a little bit of wire - about 6cm? - and hook the end over (below), then you dip that hook in water and just mould a little blob of leftover sugarpaste around it into the little bud shape, pictured.


Here are several hardened bases stuck into the styrofoam block, and you can see I've begun adding petals. For this, you take little blobs of sugarpaste and flatten them out so they're really thin using your mini roller. I always had to do it thinner than I first thought and probably Alex's Granny thought I was slightly retarded, but was too polite and/or British to say anything. Don't be like me.

You can either use a petal cutter now or else hand-shape them into little oval/petal shapes. I can't remember using a cutter for this, but everywhere on the internet seems to assume that you do. Use your thumb and fore-finger to stretch them out so they're really thin at the tips, and to give them a bit of shape. Use the little metal rod thingy or a cocktail stick/the wrong end of a teaspoon would do? to wipe a tiny bit of water around the long edge, and then wrap your first petal around the bud.


The closest to a picture I can get is probably the bud in the top right hand corner of the below picture - it should wrap right around the bud shape at a slight angle to cover the (probably a slightly different colour) base beneath it.

You then repeat this with more petals, but placing the next one - slightly overlapping - at the other side. It should curl around it while it's still so small, as above. And then you just continue to place petals on - use your fingers to pinch the tips together once they're on, so they're shaped more realistically and blossom out a little, and make sure the petals overlap a little bit, but otherwise, you're away!

The above picture I think covers more or less every stage in one swoop XD. I am nothing if not efficient. Don't forget to use water or a dot of egg white to glue, or your rose will start slipping down the wire and go all clumpy at the bottom, and Alex's Granny will wonder what kind of idiot her granddaughter is hanging round with these days.

You can also see if you look carefully that the very edges of some of the outer petals are starting to crack slightly; this is because the sugarpaste is beginning to dry out. It dries insanely fast, especially when it's this thin, so you have to work quickly ^__^. Bear in mind we were doing this over the course of an afternoon.

Voila!


For me?! Oh, you shouldn't have.

For the leaves, you can get any amount of leaf-shaped cutters for whatever you so desire, but we just used a small, simple one - you can see it in the picture below, it's almost petal shaped. Roll your paste out flat, as usual, and cut out a thin leaf shape. You can shape this with your fingers as it is, but Alex's Granny has a double-sided veiner (the weird red thing); if you put your leaf in the centre of that (so it lines up the middle with the centre vein) and press both sides around it, it imprints little leaf veins on both side! Whee, so cute.


You can then just use another little length of florist wire to push into the middle of your leaf - there's a thicker groove along the back - about a third of the way up (you can see below where I've pushed one up too far and it's poking out the back of the leaf a bit). Remember to have dipped the wire in water first, so it sticks. And then just use your fingers to pinch the ends a little and give it a bit of natural shape, so the tip curves a bit.

I've gratuitously sneaked Alex's Granny's hands into the above picture, on the sly. I just can't control myself.

And that's it! Re: other question; these flowers last more or less forever - Alex's Granny showed me these incredibly elaborate displays she'd done for various grandchildren's birthdays and christening cakes -we're talking ten, twenty years for some of these XD. No, I did not try to eat them.

By all means, you can eat twenty year old sugarpaste, but leave me out of it ^__^.

24 comments:

Amanda said...

OMG these are absolutely stunning! You are so talented!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Another cute Alex's granny's tutorial! They're a labor of love, aren't they? Now you should do them by yourself and decorate a cake with them!

Isa said...

What a great tutorial! The pictures are so amazing =)
Thanks for sharing!

Grace said...

perfection. that's all there is to it. good for you for putting in that effort. :)

friedwontons4u said...

Lovely! Thanks for the great walk through too.

veggie belly said...

These are gorgeous!

Marysol said...

You know, once you delve into sugar art, there's no turning back. You'll be up to your eyeballs in sugar paste all the live long day. You did a beautiful job on your flowers!

Zoe Francois said...

They will be gorgeous on a cake. Lovely job!

Mandy said...

thanks for the tutorial! great job!

EB said...

such a great tutorial but I still don't think my clumsy hands could so that!

Natasha said...

You make it look so simple!

Y said...

Such beautiful flowers! Are you now available to take wedding cake orders? :D

Rosie said...

You are one very talented lady Indigo!! Your roses look absolutely stunning - well done. BTW - great tip on leaving a little sugar paste on the wire ends to harden off!

Rosie x

Hillary said...

Very impressive sugar flowers! I only hope to be this talented one day!

morgana said...

Wow! Good job on those flowers!

morgana said...

Wow! Good job on those flowers! They look so difficult to make...

morgana said...

Wow! Good job on those flowers! They look so difficult to make...

morgana said...

Wow! Good job on those flowers! They look so difficult to make...

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

hi indigo
your flowers are neat and have nice visual impact.

Arfi Binsted said...

gorgeous!!

Lori said...

You are good! Love the flowers and the leafs and of course Granny's hands. They are afterall seasoned and experienced hands! How can you not love them?

John said...

Thanks for the tutorial !! Those are looking real flowers.

Cakelaw said...

These are really beautiful, but you're right - no-one eats these,and they end up decorating someone's china cabinet.

International Flower Delivery said...

really cute. thanks for the tutorial. really love the finishing touch.