Sunday, October 9, 2011

Gumpaste sunflower tutorial

We're back! Actually- we had to come back because I am SO absent minded that I told someone I'd make her wedding cake for this last weekend...after our vacation was already planned.

Anyhow- today I'm going to do a tutorial on how to make gumpaste/sugarpaste sunflowers. I looked all over the internet to find a tutorial, but came up pretty empty handed, so I came up with my own way to make them and am going to share it with you. Hopefully it'll help someone else out.

Here are the players for this game:

-Gumpaste colored in rich yellow, leafy green, and dark brown
-lily cutters or leaf cutters bent to an oblong shape (this is what I use)
-ball tool
-lily veiner
-small daisy cutter
-dusting pouch with 50/50 cornstarch to powdered sugar mixture
-gum glue (gumpaste mixed with a small amount of water)
-pointed tool (toothpick will work)
-heavy guage floral wire
-wire cutters
-foam flower mat
-rolling pin
-rounded bottom cup

(not pictured)
-petal dust in golden yellow, brown, orange, and green
-steamer (you can use the steam setting on your iron)

On a clean surface, apply a small amount of crisco, and dust the surface with your dusting pouch so your gumpaste won't stick. I use a small sheet of clear vinyl with the edges taped to a cutting board. The vinyl is a non-stick surface on it's own, so I don't need to use crisco, plus I can cut multiple petals at a time, and slide them under the edge of the vinyl to keep them from drying too quickly.

Then you need to roll out your gumpaste to less than 1/16" thick (the pink guides on the 9" Wilton rolling pin). Work quickly so your gumpaste doesn't dry out. Take your lily or leaf cutters and cut out your petals. For this medium sized flower, I used 24 petals using the smallest size cutter that comes in the leaf cutter kit, but you can more or less as you see fit to make your sunflower proportionate. Use your spatula to life the petals from the surface so as to keep the original shape.

Dust your lily veiner halves and place your petal in the upper center portion of it.

Close with the other half of the veiner and press to imprint the veining on the petal.

If you don't have a veiner- don't worry. They are pricey, but are a great investment if you're planning to make numerous flowers/leaves. You can still make this flower without one, it just won't have as much detail.

Place the petal on your flower foam pad, and use the ball tool to slightly frill the edges upward. You want to elongate the petal a little, while softening the edges.

This is how the finished petal should look compared to how it looks just after cutting:

Repeat these steps for the number of petals you feel you'll need. Then arrange petals in a circle in the size you're wanting your flower to be on either a paper towel, or thicker piece of foam. The edges of the petals should be close enough to touch, but not overlapping.

(sorry- started my second row before I remembered to snap a picture!)

Take your gum glue and, using your paint brush, apply a small amount to the sides of the petals where they are touching. Apply the other petals on top of the first row, with each petal off set from the one below it.

Take a piece of your brown gumpaste for your center. I completely just estimated the amount I needed, but you want this to be thicker so you can insert your wire.

Flatten your ball into a circle.

Press the center of the circle in further to make it more concave.

Apply gum glue to ends of the petals on the interior of the circle, and place your sunflower core in the center of the flower.

Then, using your toothpick, or pointed tool, poke many randomly placed holes in the core.

This part isn't about perfection. Some holes are bigger, some are smaller, all randomly placed, and done quickly.

Take your rounded bottom cup, and set it on top of the flower center. Then, reach under your paper towel or foam, and invert the flower so it is upside down on the cup.

Using wire cutters, cut an ~6 inch piece of your thick guage floral wire. Dip the end in your gum glue and work it into the center back of the sunflower's core. Gently press around the end to ensure contact with the wire.

Take a small amount of you green gumpaste and roll it to 1/16" thick. Cut your leaves using the next size larger leaf/petal cutter. Press them in the veiner as you did before, but don't frill the edges. Apply a small amount of glue to one side of the leaf, and press it onto the back of the sunflower.

Apply more leaves around the center- no specific number. Just enough that you overlap the back and create a good sandwich closure over the wire. I used seven leaves on this flower.

Turn the flower back over onto your paper towel or thick piece of foam. At this point, you can be finished, or you can add the next detail I show you. I did a few without the next steps, and a few with for the cake I did- just for variation.

Roll out another 1/16" section of yellow gumpaste. Using your small daisy cutter, cut multiple daisies. Use your toothpick or pointed tool to cut the petals off the daisies (one at a time).

Apply gum glue around the outer edge of the core, and place the daisy petal with the base butted against the yellow sunflower petals, standing against the core. Gently fold the small petal inward over the core.

Do this all around the core, and you're done!

You can leave your flower flat to dry to give a large, open look, or put it in a cup/bowl to shape it with it's leaves curved more up, and closed. Allow the flower to fully dry, and then dust your flower. Dusting and steaming the flower gives it a nice glossy sheen. It'll also remove any remaining powdered sugar that may be on the flower from dusting the surfaces.

I had huge blogger fail, and need to get this wedding cake finished mode for this, and didn't get pictures on how to dust, but hopefully my explanation will suffice. Dust the sunflower petals with yellow dust. Then dust the "daisy" petals around the core, the core itself, and the sunflower petals next to those with brown dusting powder. Dust a small amount of orange fading from the brown to the yellow. Dust the leaves with green. Steam quickly to bring out a luster, but don't steam too long or the gumpaste will melt and your flower will be kaput.

I found that my flowers were strong enough with the single wire folded up to double it, but you may want to add a couple more wires, and tape them together with floral tape for extra strength. When putting the flowers in the cake, use flower spikes, and put the wire into the stem part just as you would with live flowers.

This was the finished product. The flower shown in this tutorial is the size of the top sunflowers.

I made the larger sunflower the same way as I showed you here, only the petals were made with the middle size leaf, and leaves were made with the largest cutter.

Good luck! Let me know if anything needs clarification!

Linking up with:
Sumo's Sweet Stuff
Skip to my Lou
The Girl Creative
I'm Topsy Turvy
Fun to Craft
Tip Junkie
I Heart Naptime


  1. thanks so much for this tutorial. i love it.

  2. Hi. This is a super tutorial. One of the most practical to follow. Thank you.

  3. This is a fantastic tutorial! Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. I've got five medium flowers and one large drying now. They look terrific. Thanks for the tutorial.

  5. Thanks so much for this tutorial! It is awesome and just what I needed. Sunflowers are my favorite flower and now I am off to make them! I am in a cake decorator's class and must make a cake to display. Now, it will be displayed with beautiful sunflowers. Thanks again!

  6. muy bien explicado, muchas gracias por compartir


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