This gumpaste open peony tutorial shows you how to make an impressive focal flower for a wedding cake or special occasion cake with graduated layers of petals opening out from the center.
The open peony consists of a centre made up of three green pods called “pistils” surrounded by yellow stamen, followed by 5 rows of 23 petals (although the second row can be skipped and the number of petals reduced to 19 if you wish).
Gumpaste Open Peony Tutorial: Materials
• Gumpaste – pale green (using gooseberry gel color or avocado) for the center and your choice of color for the petals
• 24-guage wires cut into quarters
• Needle-nosed pliers
• Edible glue
• Plum dust color or deep pink
• White floral tape.
• Yellow hammerhead (lily/peony) stamen (if you can’t get yellow, buy white and dust them with yellow dust, then steam to set the colour).
• Peony petal cutters – small, medium and large
• bone tool or small ball tool
• foam pad
• Peony veiner or Dresden stool
• apple tray from the grocery store or other former in which to rest the petals whilst drying
Gumpaste Open Peony Tutorial: Method
• To make the pistils, take a piece of green paste the size of a blueberry. Roll it into a ball and then shape into a cone. (You can do this by placing the ball in the palm of your hand then use your index finger roll one end into a pointy end.)
• Next take a piece of 24-guage wire and make a hook in the end with a needle-nosed pliers. Dip the hooked end into edible glue, wipe the excess off and insert the hooked end into the bottom of the cone. Pinch the paste around the bottom of the cone to secure it onto the wire.
• Gently bend the tip of the cone slightly and leave to dry. Make two more pistils exactly the same. Using a little plum dust, color the tips of each pistil. Tape the three pistils together using half width white floral tape, with the tips facing outwards.
• Next take three bunches of stamen and tape them about half an inch down from the top, as shown below.
• Then fan out the stamen as below.
• Then using your sugarcraft tweezers or needle-nosed pliers, bend back the bunches of stamen at a 45 degree angle.
• To attach the stamen to the center pistils, tape them in place in the spaces between each pistil. Then adjust the stamen so that they fan out around the pistils fairly evenly.
• To make the wired peony petals, you can use a grooved board (“Cel board”) if this is your preferred method or you can use the following extra easy method. Start by rolling your gumpaste into a sausage shape and place it horizontally on your work surface.
• Using your rolling pin, roll the gumpaste away from you, keep the edge closest to you a bit thicker to insert the petal wire, then roll the end furthest from you a little thinner.
• Cut out your petals with the bottom of the petal cutter placed on the thick edge of the gumpaste. You will need 5 small petals, 9-13 medium petals (depending on whether you want to have four rows of petals or five) and 5 large petals.
• On a foam pad, use your ball tool to thin the edges of the petals by rolling the bone tool along the edges of the petals.
• To vein the petals you can use a veiner like the one below….
• …or you can use the following method: with the fat end of your bone tool, draw the tool from the tips of petals down about a half inch to cup them inwards.
• Then using the thin end of your Dresden tool, draw vertical lines along the petals to creating veining.
• Using 24-guage white wire cut into quarters, dab one end into edible glue, wiping off the excess, then insert the wire into the thick end of the petal. Pinch at the base of the petal to secure it to the wire.
• Then leave the petals to dry overnight in an apple tray from the grocery store or other former (I’ve cut out the individual sections from an apple tray for easier storage).
• Assembling the peony: start by taping the wires of each petal down about an inch or so. Adding floral tape to the wires at this stage will help secure the petals together and prevent them from spinning around the center as you assemble the flower.
• We will be creating 5 rows of petals for the peony. The first row of petals will consist of 4 medium petals. Attach the first petal with half width white tape to the center of the flower (the pistils and stamen). Then add in three more medium petals around the center.
• Moving onto the second row, this will consist of 4 more medium petals and is optional (if you’re in a hurry you can go straight to the third row). Starting with the first petal, position it between two petals of the preceding layer and tape into place. Continue taping in the remaining petals the rest of the way around the flower.
• For the third row, tape the 5 large petals in the spaces between the petals of the preceding row.
• The fourth row will have 5 medium petals. Attach each petal in the spaces between the petals of the above layer.
• The fifth row will consist of 6 small petals. Again, attach each petal in between the petals of the above layer.