Whenever you start something new, you always feel that it will cost you a fortune, and I don’t doubt that your expectations will be no different when you decide to start making gum paste sugar flowers.
Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to spend a lot of money to color your Gum Paste when you start making sugar flowers and still get amazing results?
You will need to buy some basic tools and either purchase or make some Gum Paste, but when you first start making them, there is no need to color your gum paste.
You can start practicing with white gum paste, and the flowers you produce will still look amazing. For example, a white rose is simply stunning!
Once you realize that making Sugar Flowers is a fantastic skill to learn, and I am sure that will happen quickly, that will be the time to invest in just a few basic colors.
You need the right product…
To color gum paste, you need to buy gel colors. Liquid colors are not suitable as they destroy the paste’s consistency and won’t allow the finished flower to become hard when dry, but it’s not altered if you use gel colors.
The good thing is that the gel colors you buy to color gum paste can also be used to color rolled fondant/sugar paste and buttercream, so they are a good investment.
Eventually, you will most likely invest in many colors but wait until you need them, then you won’t feel that it costs you a lot of money when you start.
In the UK, Sugarflair is the most reliable and popular brand of gel color and the one that I have always used but, as you get more experienced, it will be up to you to decide which brand works best for you.
In the USA, I believe Americolor, Chefmaster, and Wilton produce the most popular gel colors.
Wherever you live, if you go to your local cake decorating supplier, I am sure they will recommend the best gel paste color to use.
It would be ideal to start your collection of gel paste with the three primary colors, red, blue, and yellow. Then, by mixing the primary colors, you can make orange, violet, and green. Those six colors will be more than enough for any project you are working on.
Multiple shades of each color…
You can expand your color choices by making multiple shades of each of those colors by starting with the deepest shade then mixing them with varying quantities of white gum paste.
I’m going to take you through the basic way to shade your gum paste. You will become experienced in estimating how much of the darkest shade you will require and then how much of the darkest shade you need to mix the various shades, depending on the size of your project.
The first thing to decide is how much white gum paste you will need to make the deepest shade of paste for your project, then double the quantity. Be generous with your estimate, as extra may be required to adjust the shading.
Dip the end of a cocktail stick into the gel paste color, apply it to your gum paste, then knead it until the color is evenly distributed. Keep adding color and kneading it until you achieve the darkest shade you require, taking note that the color will darken as it “matures.”
Once you think your paste is dark enough, double wrap it in plastic and leave it for about 4 hours to allow the gel color to penetrate the sugar crystals.
As I have already said, the color will darken as it soaks into the sugar crystals, but after it “matures,” if you think it is not dark enough, you can add more gel paste and again leave it to mature. If the shade is too dark, you can always add some white gum paste to lighten the shade.
If you want your flowers to match, remember to allow enough gum paste to make them all because it is challenging to get the exact shade again once you have mixed a batch.
Let’s get started with the shading…
Note: keep all the paste you are not working with tightly wrapped to avoid it drying out.
- Take the paste you have colored to the darkest shade and cut it in half. Wrap one half and put it aside.
- Take an equal amount of the white paste as the half portion of colored paste and knead them together.
- Cut the newly colored paste in half, wrap half, put it aside, and work with the other half.
- For the next shade, add an equal amount of white gum paste to the colored half, knead well then cut the new tone in half. Wrap half and work with the other half.
- Continue doing this until you have as many shades as you require.
If you think some of the shades are too strong, add white paste until you get the shade you require or if you feel the shade is too light, then add more of the darker shade.
Leave for at least 4 hours for the colors to “mature” before using. I always mix my paste colors the day before I want to use them and let them sit overnight, so the colors are completely “mature.”
How do you store it…
When you have finished your project and if you find you have paste left over, there is no need to throw it away as you can always use it for other flowers or when making filler flowers.
- Colored gum paste will last at room temperature for a week.
- Don’t store your colored gum paste in the fridge because it may become sticky on the outside and, in some cases, become moldy and unsafe to use.
- Store any leftover paste (double wrapped in thick plastic and placed in an airtight plastic box) in the freezer, and it will last for months.
I wish you success in coloring your gum paste.