Well, it’s into week two of no baking as I’m prepping myself for finals and spending almost all of my free time cutting, forming, or coloring hydrangea blossoms. Since I didn’t have a baking post for my blog, I thought I would share my newfound hydrangea knowledge! You will need gum paste, a small rolling pin, a hydrangea cutter and veiner, a gum paste ball tool or bone tool, egg whites or gum paste glue, small paint brushes, a foam shaping set, and an empty egg carton.
Below are the steps I took to get these beautiful little guys.
First, you need to have a small amount of gum paste rolled out, preferable on a shortening-covered surface (shortening prevents the gum paste from sticking to the surface you are rolling on. You want to roll it relatively thin, maybe to 1/16″ – 1/8″ (depending on how much you want to thin the petals).
The cutter set I am working with here is from Petal Crafts – the Hydrangea Cutter & Veiner set. The first step is to take your veiner and press it into your gum paste from the center out, getting as many as you can on your gum paste sheet. I tend to push at first just in the center of the veiner, then add pressure with a second fingertip to make sure all the edges are imprinted.
You can put the veins closer than I did in the picture above, I was just trying to make this as simple as possible to follow. After you have finished imprinting all the veins of your hydrangea blossoms, it’s now time to cut them out – you want to take your cutter, and center it over the hydrangea veins carefully, then press down. In the picture above (and below) you can see that the veiner tool makes one shorter-veined part and one longer-veined part – just match this up with your cutter. (for these I was using the smaller cutter)
Once you have all of your hydrangea blossoms cut, you want to peel away all of the excess gum paste, leaving just your blossoms behind. You then want to take your blossoms and put them somewhere protected so they don’t dry out – my favorite is a Tupperware container sealed. I also add a paper towel that I have run under water and then squeezed out until it is just barely damp.
Next, you want to take a hydrangea blossom and put it out on your foam for smoothing with your ball or bone tool. For these blossoms, you just need to smooth around the outside edges and in the very corner of each petal. Continue to rotate the foam until you have smoothed all of the blossom edges, giving them a real “petal” look.
After you have finished this, you want to take one of your small paint brushes and put a small dab of egg whites or gum paste glue in the very center of the blossom. Then roll a small ball of additional gum paste, and place it in the very middle on top of the egg whites/glue.
After this, I took one of my gum paste tools that had a flat edge and made a cross in the middle of the blossom center to give it more of a realistic feel.
Once you have finished this, you want to take your blossom and put it in an egg carton – this will help to develop the “cupped” shape of the blossoms – and let them dry for 24 hours.
Once the blossoms are dry, you will be able to remove them from the egg carton and they will completely hold their shape.
I don’t have pictures of shading with petal dust, as it’s hard to show with everything I did – so I will do my best to describe. I was going for the purple-blue hydrangea, in which the lightest shade on the petals is similar to the color of my gum paste. First I would brush over each petals with a light shade, such as pale blue or lavender. Then I would brush a darker shade around the edges, using a downward motion to help “fade” the color into the lighter shade. You can do multiple layers of color to get to the right shades that you are looking for (I sometimes had five or so different shades of petal dust per petal!) The last thing I did was to take my smallest paintbrush and use either pale green or white to create a cross over the center of the flower – I would circle around the middle, then go slightly up each petal, blending the green or white into the other color that was already there. Below are my shaded hydrangea blossoms (same picture as the beginning).
Last, I was going to create balls of hydrangeas for my final wedding cake for class by gluing them onto styrofoam balls. The first step is to cover your 2.5″ – 3″ styrofoam ball with gum paste, preferable in the same shade as your flowers. (After taking pictures of mine, I realized I need to dust the gum paste with the same deep blues and purples of my flowers so it’s not quite so evident). Then, using royal icing, you glue each blossom onto the ball, trying to get them to be as close together as possible (but do not apply too much pressure, as the petals are delicate and can break).
I have covered the ball around 2/3 of the way, and am leaving the rest of the hydrangeas to place the day of, so I can see exactly how it fits on the cake.
I hope this is helpful to any other beginners out there – happy hydrangea-making!