Our gumpaste moth orchid tutorial this week is by multi-award winning UK cake designer, Cassie Brown from her recent book, The Kew Book of Sugar Flowers.
Endorsed by the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, Cassie’s book encompasses over 40 tutorials featuring hyper-realistic details that serve both a beginner looking to learn from a master crafts person to a more advanced sugarcrafter looking to enhance their skills further.
The book includes all the classic sugar flower favorites, as well as lots of more unusual sugar flowers you won’t find covered in this level of detail elsewhere. As well as the gumpaste moth orchid tutorial featured below, the book also includes tutorials on the following sugar flowers: cambria orchid, cymbidium orchid, tulip, parrot tulip, cala lily, anthurium lily, flame lily, bridal gladioli, tea clipper rose, dog rose, dahlia, carnation, cosmos, ox-eye daisy, hydrangea, bird-of-paradise, hibiscus, daffodil, sweet pea, hellebore, sunflower, sea holly thistle, celosia and freesia.
Cassie also includes tutorials on the following leaves, shoots and embellishments: hosta leaves, pygmy date palm, bamboo, eucalyptus, rosemary, twisted grass, ruscus, japonica leaf, pine cones plus chilli peppers and flowers.
As an added bonus, four sugar flower arrangement tutorials are included at the end of the book – a Christmas arrangement, an exotic arrangement, a wedding posy and a wildflower cascade. Plus you also find a selection of templates so you don’t have to invest in cutters.
Gumpaste Moth Orchid Tutorial: Materials
- The essentials: non-stick board, small rolling pin, corn flour, dusting brushes
- 50g (1¾oz) white flower paste
- Sunflower Yellow food dust (Rolkem)
- Tibouchina (red-pink0 food dust (Rolkem)
- Orchid White (green) food dust (EdAble Art)
- Burgundy Pro-Gel (Magic Colours)
- Phalaenopsis orchid cutter set (Cassie Brown)
- Tea rose petal veiner (squires kitchen)
- Foam pad
- Polystyrene block or former
- 26-gauge wires
- 30-gauge wires
- Florist tape, moss green
- Cocktail stick
- Kitchen paper
The moth orchid is made up of the following component parts: the “head” petal (top,center), two “arm” petals (top, left & right), two “leg” petals (bottom, left & right), the “throat” (bottom center) and the “column” (middle of the picture).
Gumpaste Moth Orchid Tutorial: How-To
The Column of the Orchid
1. Cut a length of 26-gauge wire in half (put aside the other half for use on the orchid throat, below), and fold a hook in the end of the wire with pliers. Roll a pea-size piece of white flower paste into a teardrop shape and feed it onto the wire, small tip first, over the hook. Shape the teardrop into a cone, then pull off any excess paste at the bottom of the shape.
2. Flatten the flower paste piece with your fingers slightly, then, with a cocktail stick or the pointed end of a small rolling pin, make two slightly elongated indentations in the top of the paste (like nostrils).
3. Use the point of the rolling pin, or the cocktail stick, to eke out a tiny ‘nose’ from between the two ‘nostrils’ at the top of the piece of paste. Then thin out the edges of the paste and hollow out the middle of this column.
4. Use tweezers to make a tiny indent on the tip of the paste, directly over the ‘nose’.
The Throat of the Orchid
1. Roll a sausage of white flower paste, then flatten it out to quite a thin consistency. Using the small rolling pin, roll a ridge along the centre lengthways. Press out the shape of the orchid throat using the orchid throat cutter.
2. Thread the half-length of 26-gauge wire (left over from the column, above) halfway through the throat.
3. Roll a tiny piece of white paste into a ball. Dab the orchid throat with water using the water brush…
4. …and attach the ball of paste in the centre of the throat, between the ‘wings’.
Note: The ridge through the paste needs to run lengthways through the square end of the orchid throat cutter.
5. With the tweezers, squeeze the ball of paste from the centre out, then repeat on the other half of the ball, to separate it as shown.
6. Move the throat piece onto a foam pad. Use the round end of the small rolling pin, or a ball tool, to smooth around the edges. Elongate the lower edges from the wire outwards. Make circular movements inside the ‘wings’ to shape them.
7. Roll up the two delicate tail parts of the throat using stroking motions with the curved end of the rolling pin (or a ball tool) to ease back the ends of the tongue.
8. Pull up the wire and the ‘square’ end of the throat to sit at right angles to the rest of the throat – use the point of the rolling pin, or cocktail stick, to roll the wire and paste upwards.
9. Turn the throat upside-down and push down the ‘wings’. Leave the throat to dry this way up – push the wire into a polystyrene block or former to keep it in place.
The petals and sepals
1. Roll out a new piece of white flower paste. Use the ‘head’ petal cutter from the set to cut out the first petal.
2. Thread the petal onto a half-length of 30-gauge wire.
3. Place the ‘head’ petal in the large tea rose petal veiner and press down the top of the veiner to shape the petal.
4. Place the petal on the foam pad and stroke it gently around the edges with the round end of a small rolling pin or a ball tool.
5. Pinch the base of the petal against the wire.
6. Make the remaining petals and sepals – the lower petals – following steps 1–5 (for the petals and sepals). Use cutters to cut out two ‘arms’ and two ‘legs’.
Note: When you come to the veining stage (step 3) for the remaining petals, make sure you place one ‘arm’ and one ‘leg’ upside down in the veiner to shape them in an opposite fashion so you end up with one left ‘arm’, one right ‘arm’, one left ‘leg’ and one right ‘leg’.
Coloration and markings
1. Place the throat on a sheet of kitchen paper. Colour into the centre (the throat) in Sunflower yellow food dust – dust the split ball and along the bottom edges of the wings.
2. Dust the tiniest amount of Tibouchina (red-pink) food dust onto the V-shapes inside the throat under the ‘wings’, barely touching the paste with the brush.
3. With a tiny amount of Burgundy Pro-Gel (gel colour), make tiny dots on the inside of the throat as shown. Then make tiny line markings from the throat up into the insides of the ‘wings’.
4. Touch the top of the column head with the yellow food dust.
1. Using pliers, bend the wire under the throat so the throat is upright again.
2. With half-width mid-green tape, tape the column and the throat close together. Start a little lower down the wire, then push the tape up flush with the throat and column. Tape all the way to the bottom of the wires, making sure that the column stays in the middle between the two ‘wings’.
3. Attach the side petals (the ‘arms’) with the tape, taping them very close to the throat and column.
4. Next, tape the ‘head’ petal up behind the two ‘arm’ petals.
5. Tape on the sepals (the ‘leg’ petals), behind the ‘arm’ petals.
6. Move the petals and components around at the top of the wire until you are happy with them.
This gumpaste moth orchid tutorial from The Kew Book of Sugar Flowers has been reproduced here with the publisher’s permission.
“The Kew Book of Sugar Flowers” by Cassie Brown (ISBN: 9781782214960; RRP £17.99) is published by Search Press and is available to buy from directly from their website.