Friday, May 2, 2014

Help with gum paste roses

Gum paste is one of those things that you are either going to love to work with or get frustrated and give up on. Personally I like to do it in small amounts. If i had to do this on a daily basis I would probably get very bored and throw up my hands. I, fortunately, live in a area where most folks appreciate fresh flowers rather than sugar ones so my requests are few and far between. I do teach this technique so I get regular practice and I can give you some easy tips to making the process more fun and successful! 
First of all you need the proper tools. 22 gauge wire, 24 gauge wire, needle nose pliers, rose petal cutters, calyx cutter, ball tool, pad, something to hang the flowers on to dry, plastic wrap, shortening, paint brush, skewer or other fine point tool. 
You will want to make the centers of the rose and thread them onto the wire with the hook on the end and then let them dry overnight before making the rose. If you rush this process the roses will drop off the wire while drying. 
Make sure your gum paste is always covered with plastic as you work on it. Rub your table or work surface with a very very thin film of shortening. Put a small piece of gum paste into a small container of water to make the glue you will use in making the flowers. It melts, gets thick and is the perfect glue. 
Roll your gum paste out very thin. Think of the petals of roses and how thin they are, this is how thin you want them to be.
 When using the ball tool to thin the edges of the petal, be sure and keep it half on and half off the paste. The intention is to thin only the edge of the petal. Sometimes it takes quite of bit of pressure to thin it out. This all depends on the texture of the gum paste you are using. What you don't want is distinct lines where the ball tool has been.

 To get the nature curves that rose petals have use the skewer and roll the edge away so the petals have movement.
 The first petal is tightly wrapped on the very tip of the center. If you begin to low on the center you will run out of room and not have as many petal as you would like.

There are many ways to dry the flowers and I use the little white wire racks you can buy at house ware stores. They are used as an extra shelf for space saving. Just hook the wire and hang! You can also use soft styrofoam and dry them up right but I find this doesn't work well for the thinner wires.

I have dried flowers in egg cartons too but they are usually wireless flowers. 
The best way to get the petals to stand away from one another is to begin the rose get it to the first three petals and then give it time to dry. After a day or so you can begin adding more petals for the complete rose. This is why I always make them in bulk. First all the centers, then the middles, then two petals, then three, now I can go back to the first rose and begin the next layer since sometime has passed letting it dry. I usually make about 12 to 15 roses at one time. This is much more productive than making one at time. 

Keep your gum paste wrapped well with a thin layer of shortening rubbed over it and it should last a very long time! Have fun and take pictures :)


Aiglyn Aivy said...

You're very creative Chef! I admire all the work you have posted.. Someday I'm gonna share My posts too.xx
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Shannon Pacheco said...

What do I do when my hardened gumpaste fidgures are dry and cracked?