Our gumpaste peony tutorial is quick and easy with no wired petals (just one central support wire), no drying trays and no tissue paper stuck petals!
So if you’ve been meaning to get started learning how to make sugar flowers, then you’ve run out of excuses because we’ve come up with a fail-safe gumpaste peony tutorial for you to try.
The secret to our method is in creating perfectly cupped scalloped petal tips and attaching the petals whilst still pliable so the flower can be easily molded into the perfect cup-shaped peony in your hand.
Using a styrofoam centre and just four rows of petals, learn how to make this easy peony with our step-by-step instructions below.
Tools & Supplies
- Peony cutters (cutters used in this tutorial are by Culpitt. We also love the shape of the Colette’s Peony Cutters and Petal Crafts cutters).
- one 20-guage white florists wire, cut into three pieces
- wire cutters
- white floristry tape
- hot glue gun or craft adhesive
- 3cm styrofoam craft ball
- edible glue and brush
- gumpaste (coloured pale pink for this tutorial)
- Dresden tool (for veining petals, included in most modelling tool sets)
- bone tool (for softening edge of petals and frilling petals, also included as standard in most modelling tool sets)
- foam pad (for texturing petals)
- non-stick board or non-stick mat
- small rolling pin
- cake dummy (to stick wired peony bud into whilst attaching petals)
- gumpaste flower drying stand (or mug tree from which to hang peony upside down whilst drying)
1. To make the peony centre, start by cutting a 20-guage wire into three sections.
2. Take a piece of white florist’s tape (giving it a little stretch to activate the in-built adhesive), then starting approximately 1.5 inches from the top of the three wires, tape the three pieces together.
3. Insert the taped wire into the styro ball, then remove the wire again. Shoot some glue into the insertion hole with a hot glue gun or craft adhesive, then place the wire back in the ball and secure with a further dab of glue at the insertion point. (The wire needs to be securely attached to the styro ball to hang the flower upside down to dry when finished.)
4. Next, rub a little vegetable fat onto your work board and roll out your gumpaste thinly (but not so thin that you can see through it).
5. Take the smallest of the peony cuttters and cut out 6 petals.
7. Transfer the petals to a foam pad. Take the thinnest end of your Dresden tool and starting from the top and middle of the first petal, draw a line down the centre to create a vein. Draw more lines from top to bottom of the petal, fanning out the lines as you go.
8. Take your styro ball and add a dab of edible glue at the top. Cover the top of the ball with one of the veined petals
9. Going back to the five remaining small petals, turn them over on the foam pad. Using the large end of the bone tool, thin each little scallop at the top of the petal by moving the bone tool in a circular motion around the scallop, pressing into the scallop so that it curls inwards.
(Curling the scallops of each petal inwards is the key to getting a nice cupped shaped petal when you go to assemble the peony.)
10. Moving down the sides of the petal, roll the bone tool up and down along the edge of the petal to soften/thin the edges. (The bone tool will be half on, half off the petal as you thin the edges.)
Repeat this for each petal.
11. Paint edible glue on to each of the petals from about half-way down to the petal right down to the pointed end.
12. Insert the the styrofoam ball into a cake dummy for support before you begin to add the petals.
13. Arrange the five small petals in a circle around the top of the styro ball, with each petal overlapping the last one, and leaving the central top petal slightly visible. Tuck the last petal in under the first petal to continue the overlapping pattern.
This first row of petals won’t cover the styro ball completely, but the later rows of petals will so don’t worry about that at this stage.
14. For the second row of petals, move on to the next sized peony cutter and cut out 8 petals.
15. Vein each petals with the Dresden tool as before.
16. Flip the petals over and curl each scallop with the bone tool as before, as well as thinning/softening the edges of the petals.
Apply edible glue onto each petal from half-way down right down to the pointed end.
17. Starting slightly higher than the first row of petals, arrange each petal around the styro ball as shown below, with each petal overlapping the previous one. Use a cupped hand to support the glued petals (they might be slightly slippy) as your work your way around the styro ball. Tuck the last petal in under the first one.
18. When finished, the second row of petals should look they are gently cupping the peony centre.
19. For the third row of petals, move onto the next sized cutter and cut out 8-10 more petals. (You might not use all 10 but better to have them cut and prepped in case you do).
Vein the petals, curl the scallops inwards and soften the petal edges as before.
Apply edible glue from half-way down the petal to the end.
20. Starting slightly higher than the last row of petals, arrange the third row of petals around the styro ball, overlapping each petals over the previous one.
Again, use a cupped hand to support the glued petals as you work your way around the styro ball.
The third row of petals should also look like it’s cupping the peony centre.
The petals should pretty much cover the underside of the styrofoam ball at this stage If not, we can tidy it up with the fourth row of petals.
21. Using the largest peony cutter, cut 8-10 more petals. Vein each petal, curl the scallops inwards and thin the edges as before. Glue each petal from half-way down to the end of the petal.
22. This time, hold the peony upside down as you are attaching the petals to make sure the styro ball is completely covered. As you attach each petal, check underneath that the petal is properly placed and overlapping the previous petal. Finish by tucking the last petal in underneath the first.
23. Bend a hook in the peony wire and hang on a flower drying stand or from a mug tree to dry completely.
Below is what the completed peony will look like with four rows of petals. You can continue to add more rows of petals for an even bigger flower, if you wish. (The peony pictured measures 3 inches wide). At this stage you could add wired petals if you wish. Wired petals are easier to manipulate into place and give you greater latitude to work with. Check out our gumpaste open peony tutorial to learn how to create wired peony petals.
(To create bigger petals for additional rows, roll your gumpaste a little thicker than previously. Use the largest size cutter and cut 10 more petals per row. Then take each petal and roll over it again with your rolling pin to increase the size of the petal, length-ways and width-ways.)
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