Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Roses are red....

and blue, and violet, and yellow.

I've had a unopened bag of gumpaste in my decorating cabinet for around a year now.  Last spring, I took a Wilton's decorating class at a local craft shop.  I learned some new techniques, but acquired more Wilton supplies than I needed, or could afford. However, now with my new blogging motivation and orders coming in, I am excited to rediscover all my cake-ing tools.

Thankfully the $8 bag of gumpaste was in one soft, manageable lump still.  As was my "Beautiful Gumpaste Flowers" Kit.  For the beginner flower artist, I think this kit is wonderful.  The flowers are basic, but so are my skills.  (For now anyway)  My goal for the evening was to try out some roses.  Roses are not my favorite floral decoration, but I suppose a staple flower any caker needs to know.

From start to roses took me 3 days, each day spending about an hour or two at a time.  One day to make the center base for the rose, one day to make and attach the petals, and one evening to try my hand at painting them. Six roses and six hours later, I'm beginning to understand why using pre-made flowers is a popular alternative....But... there is something alluring about the patience it demands to create these little flowers.  Though frustrations run high, the regalement of the finished product was well worth the effort.

The making of a Rose

While watching Poirot, I set up my mobile work station in our living room.  A good mystery made the tedious work easier. Lots of petal pieces cut out from gumpaste, water, crisco, 2 rose bases, and a thinning pad completed my tray.

The first step was easy.  Wrap the first small petal around your base, gum paste dries fairly quickly so crisco helps to keep it pliable until you set it. Painted with a little water the paste will stick to the base, or just about anything else.

Some of the more artistic steps came next with attaching the remanding petals. 3 small, 5 medium and 7 large, all overlapping the petal before it.  The smaller petals were easy to twist into natural shapes, although the larger ones drooped when I tried to have them hold a curl or ruffle.

All in all they looked great! This method of flower making is pretty forgiving, accidents often look wonderfully unique and planned.

To help remedy drooping petals, I balanced the finished rose on cotton balls.  This helped prop up the petals without the gumpaste sticking to anything. Poirot solved another case, and I was feeling rather accomplished as an artist.

After a good 24 to dry, painting was next.  I used icing color. The colors were vibrant and easy to lighten or darken with water. I let them dry for another 24 hours, and 'viola' roses!

Once gumpaste is dry it'll last almost forever. Assuming I don't drop or break it myself.

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