This gumpaste willow tutorial shows you how to create beautiful winter willow branches with their signature silver catkins. These willow branches make a fabulous winter wedding cake decoration or even just a beautiful arrangement for your home in winter!
Furry catkins appear well before the leaves and are one of the earliest signs of spring towards the end of winter. Some varieties have brown calyxes under the catkins and some don’t. So while we demonstrate how to make these below, you can cut out this step if you wish.
Gumpaste Willow Tutorial: Materials
- white gumpaste
- 26-gauge green wires cut into quarters
- 22 or 24-gauge wire (color doesn’t matter – we’ll be taping over it with brown tape)
- needle-nosed pliers or sugarcraft tweezers
- edible glue
- dust colors: silver, yellow
- semolina, ground rice or powdered gelatin to make pollen
- brown floral tape
- bone tool
- foam pad
Gumpaste Willow Tutorial: Method
- Cut short bits of brown tape less than an inch in length. Twist at both ends as shown below. These will be the calyxes that sit behind each little catkin on your willow branches.
- Taking a 26-gauge green wire, make a closed hook on the end with a needle-nosed pliers or tweezers.
- Roll a ball of white gumpaste into an oval shape (about the size of a small almond).
- Dip the hooked end of your wire into edible glue, wipe off the excess and insert into the white gumpaste catkin. Pinch around the base of the catkin so that it is secured to the wire.
- Make several of these catkins in different sizes and set aside to dry.
- Make up a little dish of powdered gelatin mixed with silver dust.
- Paint the catkins with edible glue and dip into the silver gelatine mixture.
- Set aside to dry before moving on to the next steps.
- Take one of the brown tape calyxes and tape around each catkin with half-width brown floral tape. This can be a fiddly task and if it’s easier for you, you can start the process by first of all giving a piece of tape a stretch to activate the adhesive. Then lay it on your work surface and attach the bottom of one of your calyxes to the tape, as below.
- Next sit your wired catkin in to the calyx. Then take it up and continue taping down the wire a little.
- Trim the twisted end at the top of the calyx if it’s a little long.
- With your paintbrush dab a little yellow dust color around the base of the catkins.
- Taping up: arrange all your catkins on your work surface according to size. Then take a full-length 22 or 24-gauge wire and start by taping the smallest catkin to the very top. Tape down 1/3 inch (1cm) and then add in the next size catkin. Move down 1/2 inch and add the next one. Continue taping in catkins all along the wire, leaving wider spaces at the catkins get bigger.
Wishing all our readers happy holidays and thank you for visiting us at Cake-Geek.com in 2019! Your readership is always appreciated. Thank you so much dear readers!!