Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to spend a lot of money to colour your Gum Paste when you start making sugar flowers and still get amazing results?
I know the feeling…
Whenever you start something new you always feel that it’s going to cost you a fortune and I have no doubt that your expectations will be no different when you decide to start making gum paste sugar flowers.
Of course, you will need to buy some very basic tools and either buy or make some Gum Paste but when you first start making them, there is no need to colour your gum paste.
You can start practising with white gum paste and the flowers you produce will still look amazing. For example, a white rose is simply stunning!
Once you realise that making Sugar Flowers is a fantastic skill to learn (and I am sure that will happen very quickly) that will be the time to invest in just a few basic colours.
You need the right product…
To colour gum paste, you need to buy gel colours. Liquid colours are not good as they destroy the consistency of the paste and won’t allow the finished flower to become hard when dry, but gel colours don’t alter it.
The good thing is that the gel colours you buy to colour gum paste can also be used to colour rolled fondant/sugar paste and buttercream, so they are a good investment.
Eventually, you will most likely invest in many colours but wait until you need them then you won’t feel that it is costing you a lot of money when you start.
In the UK Sugarflair are the most reliable and popular brand of gel colour 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 the most popular gel colours are produced by Americolor, Chefmaster and Wilton.
Wherever you live, if you go to your local cake decorating supplier, I am sure they will recommend the best gel paste colour to use.
It would be ideal to start your collection of gel paste with the three primary colours, red, blue and yellow. Then, by mixing the primary colours together, you can make orange, violet and green. Those six colours will be more than enough for any project you are working on.
Multiple shades of each colour…
You can expand your colour choices by making multiple shades of each of those colours by starting off 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. Experience will enable you to estimate how much of the darkest shade you will require and how much of the darkest shade you will require 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 needed to adjust the shading.
Dip the end of a cocktail stick into the gel paste colour, apply it to your gum paste then knead it until the colour is evenly distributed. Keep adding colour and kneading it until you have the darkest shade you require taking note that the colour 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 colour to penetrate the sugar crystals.
As I have already said, the colour 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 difficult 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 coloured 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 coloured paste and knead them both together.
- Cut the newly coloured 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 coloured half, knead well then cut the new shade 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 then just add more white paste until you get the shade you require or if you think the shade is too light then add more of the darker shade.
Leave for at least 4 hours for the colours to “mature” before using. I always mix my paste colours the day before I want to use them and let them sit overnight so the colours 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.
- Coloured gum paste will last at room temperature for a week.
- Don’t store your coloured gum paste in the fridge because it may become sticky on the outside and in some cases become mouldy 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 colouring your gum paste.