This gumpaste ilex berries tutorial shows you how to make winter berries quickly and easily and also how to make realistic-looking twigs/branches with wires and floral tape, to add a wonderfully authentic touch to arrangements on winter cake designs.
Ilex berries also come in orange varieties so they work great for fall sugar flower arrangements also.
Gumpaste Ilex Berries Tutorial: Materials
- red gumpaste
- 30-gauge white wires cut into sixths
- either 18, 20 or 22-gauge wires (you will need 9 of them)
- edible glue
- red dust color
- brown dust color
- brown floral tape
- black edible ink pen
- edible glaze spray
Gumpaste Ilex Berries Tutorial: Method
- To make the ILEX BERRIES you can roll 1/4 balls of red gumpaste by hand if you wish but if you need to make a few stems of ilex berries the fastest method is to use a bead mold and you make multiple berries in a much shorter space of time.
- Dip a 28-guage wire into edible glue, wipe off the excess, then insert into a berry with the tip of the wire ever so slightly peeping through the other side. Pinch the paste at the base of the berry to secure it to the wire. Set aside to dry overnight.
- Dust the berries with bright red dust or ruby red according to your preference.
- Using a black edible ink pen, color in a black dot where the wire peeps through the top of the berry.
- Dust the stems brown at this stage if you used white wires. Steam the berries well to set the dust color and bring out a good shine. Set aside to dry.
- Spray the berries with edible glaze to bring up the shine even more but it make take a few coats to get the berries super-shiny.
- To makes the TWIGS/BRANCHES (you’ll be making three separate twigs then taping them together at the end), tape 4 of your thicker wires together. For the next twig tape 3 wires together and leave a half inch of tape loose at the end. For the third twig, tape 2 wires together and again leave half and inch of tape loose at the end. Then twirl these loose bits of tape between you thumb and index finger to create a shoot. Bend to the side a little.
- To add a shoot further along your branch, leave a loose/slack piece of tape off to one side then continue to tape further down the wire. To make the shoot simply twist the piece of tape tightly to form the shape of a shoot. You can make shoots of various lengths and off left or right for added interest.
- To create knots or thickened pieces of the twig/branch, as you are taping down the twig twist the tape tightly and wrap the twisted tape around the wire once of twice then tape over it with the tape as normal and continue down the wire.
- Taping up: once you have created your twigs/branches, it’s time to start adding the berries. The three branches we created for this tutorial started out like this….
- To add the berries, we started with the middle branch (above). We moved about 2 inches or so down from the top of the wire, then taped in a group of berries.
- Leave half inch spaces or so between the clusters of berries, but you can vary this also.
- For the second branch (on the right in the “three branches” picture), we started with a single berry before moving down the branch and adding in a cluster of three.
- Followed by another single berry and a cluster of three, but without gaps.
- Then for the third branch, we taped in clusters of berries starting right at the top of the stem.
- Finally, we joined the three twigs/branches together with floral tape.