This is the 6th Video in a 10 Part Series on making gumpaste flowers that are beginner-friendly.
This step-by-step Blue Blossom Crescent video tutorial shows everything you need to know as if you were in the classroom with me, and nothing is left out.
This is the sixth in a series of ten videos. Start with the first Gumpaste Rose video and work your way through them, and over the ten videos, you will learn a lot of basic techniques that will enable you to make a range of gumpaste sugar flowers and leaves.
You will also be shown how to assemble the blossoms, making them an arrangement to put onto a cake.
If you prefer to read, this blog post has everything you need to start.
I’ve also included references to key points in the video that need to be shown rather than explained.
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These blossoms are quick and easy to make and are the most frequently used gumpaste sugar flower. As you will see in this project, they can be wired and used on their own in an arrangement or used as fillers to go with other types of flowers.
These blossoms can also be used, unwired, to decorate the sides of a cake, so they are often used instead of Royal icing piping.
Because they are quick to make and will result in quite a stunning arrangement for a cake, they are ideal to use if you haven’t time to make more complicated flowers.
These blossoms are perfect to use if you are making the cake for a paying customer, and their budget won’t stretch to paying for a more elaborate arrangement to decorate their cake, and they still want it to look spectacular.
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Making the blossoms
I’m going to make some simply wired blossoms and some leaves and then assemble them into an arrangement that can be used on any celebration cake.
The reason I have included this project is to show that you can have a lovely display of gumpaste sugar flowers on a cake without having to make very complicated flowers.
For this blossom, I’m using a different type of cutter. It’s a five-petal plunger blossom cutter. Refer to Video at 00:31
Using a plunger cutter means that once I’ve cut out the blossom and run my finger around the edge of the cutter to make sure it’s a clean-cut, the plunger part pushes the paste out of the cutter.
The plunger cutters come in several sizes, and you can buy them in sets of three or four different sizes. They are well worth the investment, as you will always find a use for them while making gumpaste flowers.
I’m starting by using the largest cutter. I have some blue gumpaste, which I’ve colored with blueberry gel paste. My paste needs to be rolled relatively thin, and now I’m cutting out the blossom and smoothing any surplus paste from around the cutter.
Next, I’m putting the cutter, blossom end down onto a flat surface. I’ve used the rolling board in this instance, but you can use a foam flower pad if you prefer.
Next, I’m pushing the paste out of the cutter and onto the board with the plunger. The plunger part of the cutter has given the blossom an indented shape. Refer to Video at 02:18
Now I’m going to place the blossom on my hand, which I have dusted with cornflour and with my bone tool, indent it a little more. Refer to Video at 02:30
Taking a sharp object such as a darning needle, I’m making a hole in the center of the blossom, and that is where the stamen will go. The hole needs to be big enough to take the stamen, but not too big, or the stamen’s head will pass through. Refer to Video at 02:35
These blossoms are very quick to make, and I usually need many of them.
I’ll roll out several pieces of gumpaste and wrap them in cling film/plastic wrap, put them on a tray with my tools, and sit in front of the television cutting out the blossoms, shaping them, and making the holes—a very relaxing pastime.
Remember to wrap up any gumpaste you are not directly working with so it doesn’t dry and harden.
The blossoms need to dry for several hours, preferably overnight, so they are dry and hard before I go to the next stage.
Placing the stamen into the blossom
My blossoms are now dry and hard, so now I will put the stamen into the flower.
Stamens come in bundles that you can buy from any cake supplier, and each stamen has a double end. Cutting the stamen in half, I will use each half for one blossom.
I’m taking one of the dry blossoms and painting a little glue in the center of the flower around the hole, and then I’m threading the stamen through it, and the glue will hold the stamen head. Refer to Video at 04:14
You will now realize why the hole cannot be too big. It needs to be big enough to thread the stamen through but not too big, so the stamen head passes through. Refer to Video at 04:07
I’m placing the blossoms, with the stamens inserted, upside down on the board and leaving them for 2-3 hours to dry.
If you don’t leave them to dry, you’ll find that the stamen will come out while you’re working on assembling your crescent.
Now my blossoms are dry, and I’m going to start assembling them.
I’ve taped a group of three blossoms into a pick on a 26 gauge wire.
For information on how to use florist’s tape to cover stems, refer to Video 1, “How to Make a Gumpaste Rose.”
I’ve made the blossoms in three colors—darker blue, pale blue, and white.
26 white blossoms, 26 pale blue blossoms, and 26 darker blue blossoms, a total of 78 flowers, made 26 blossom picks. Refer to Video at 05:28
I’ve made 30 small leaves, which I put on to a fine uncovered wire, and taped when they were dry.
For information on making and wiring small leaves refer to Video 5, “How to make Gumpaste Cherry Blossom.”
I’ve made 8 white ribbon picks, 8 pale blue ribbon picks, and 8 darker blue ribbon picks, and that’s all we need to assemble our crescent.
For information on making ribbon picks, refer to Video 3, “How to Make a Gumpaste Formal Rose.”
Making the Crescent
I’m starting by taking three leaves and putting one slightly further up than the other two and pressing them together, so they don’t move while I tape them with florist’s tape, and that’s the start of my crescent. Refer to Video at 06:46
I’m going to work on both ends of the crescent simultaneously because if I want both ends to look alike, it’s far easier than trying to match both ends if I do them one at a time.
As I add each blossom, ribbon pick, and leaf, I will leave about 1″/2½ cm of the stems free before I tape them onto the main stems. If the individual stems are any shorter, I won’t be able to arrange them properly when I’ve finished the crescent.
I only use the minimum of the florist’s tape to attach the picks and leaves to the main stem to reposition them if necessary and so that it doesn’t build up to make the main stem too thick. However, do make sure that the wire is covered.
So, I’m taping another three leaves together for the other end of the crescent, the same as the first one. Refer to Video at 07:21
The next thing I’m doing is adding a blossom onto each of them, and I’ve just put it below the first leaf, and as I mentioned before, leaving a little bit of stem free so I can manipulate it in the final arrangement. Refer to Video at 07:56
Now I’m adding the blossom pick to the leaves in precisely the same way at the other end.
Next, I am adding a dark blue ribbon pick. Refer to Video at 08:50
I have to remember that because I’m working on opposite ends of the crescent, if I’m putting a blue ribbon on the right-hand side on one end, I need to put a blue ribbon on the left-hand side for the opposite end. Refer to Video at 09:00
The tip of the ribbon pick comes to just about the top leaf base. I’m attaching the ribbon picks to the main stems with two or three turns of the tape to hold them in position.
I’m not going to worry if the picks I add to the main stem aren’t in precisely the place I want them because I will arrange them correctly once I’ve finished the crescent.
I’m adding another two blossom picks on either side of the main stem, just below the first blossom pick. The new additions cover the bottom of the dark blue ribbon pick. Repeat it to match the other end of the crescent. Refer to Video at 09:38
Now I’m adding another leaf on each end – on the left-hand side of the crescent, adding it to the left of the stem, and on the right-hand side, adding it to the right side of the stem.
I’m attaching the leaves to the main stems and remembering to leave about 1″/2½ cm of wire before I tape them onto the main stems with just a short length of florist’s tape so I can pull them into the position if I feel it’s needed. Refer to video at 11:18
Next, I’m adding a white ribbon pick to the other side of the stem. I’m pressing it onto the main stem, so the pick and stem stick together while I add a short length of florist’s tape, and then I repeat it for the other end. As long as I place the picks on the stems’ right side, I can adjust them to their proper position at the end. Refer to Video at 12:09
I’m adding another leaf on the opposite side of the stem to the white ribbon pick on each end. Refer to Video at 13:13
As I build up the crescent, if I find that it’s challenging to move the picks to the position I require, I use tweezers as I can grab the fine wires with them far better than using my fingers. Refer to Video at 13:44
Now I’m adding another blossom to the stems on both ends (right side and left side, respectively) just under the previous two three-blossom picks and taping them to the stems.
Refer to Video at 14:05
Next, I’m placing a pale blue ribbon pick and taping it on and then a leaf towards the center and the same on the other end, remembering to put them the opposite way. Refer to Video at 14:50
I’m adding another blossom below the leaf. Then a darker blue ribbon on the other side a little way down the stem and the same on the other end. Refer to Video at 15:26
Both ends of the crescent are now gradually building up, and you will be able to see why it is a good idea to work on both ends at the same time.
You could use any blossom to make this crescent, but because these are quick to make, they are an ideal way to practice making an arrangement involving a lot of components.
Next, another blossom pick and another leaf slightly lower on the stem. Refer to Video at 16:45
It’s such a help that the tape sticks to itself so you have a chance to place the parts, and they are held in position while you tape them.
I’m adding another blossom and then another white ribbon pick and three more leaves, one on each side of the stem and one in the center. Refer to Video at 18:05
So, I want one more flower pick in the middle and a pale blue and a darker blue ribbon pick either side of it, and I’ll repeat that on the other end.
I’ve used 7 blossom picks on each arm of the crescent.
That’s all the blossom picks, ribbon picks, and leaves added to both ends of the crescent.
Joining up the crescent
Before I do anything else, I’m going to wrap another layer of florist’s tape around both of the stems to cover any exposed wire. There is no need to trim the ends of the wires from the stems at this stage.
For the next step, I’m going to use my tweezers because I find them easy to work with, and they are very sturdy tweezers that at one time had flat tips, but now I’ve had them ground down to make them slightly pointed. However, you can use small, pointed-nosed pliers, and they will do the same job.
I’m holding the stem, and with my tweezers, I’m bending it at a 90° angle and doing the same with the other stem. Refer to Video at 22:48
Image – bending stem to 90° 23:19
After I’ve bent both stems, I’m taking a piece of 28 gauge wire and I’m binding them together. Wrap the wire around the two stems very near the bend, and that will hold the stems steady while I tape them together. Refer to Video at 23:43
I only want a short length of tape to put around the stems because I don’t want to make it too thick as I still have some picks and leaves to add to the crescent.
Now I’m going to fill in the crescent center by adding more picks and leaves. I’m holding it by the main stem with the two arms at either side and adding two flower picks to the back of it. Leaving enough of the stems before I tape them so that they stand slightly above the other flowers already on the crescent arms gives it a domed effect in the center. Refer to Video at 25:01
Next, I’m adding two leaves and two blossom picks center front and taping them on. Refer to Video at 25:09
I’m going to add more blossoms, ribbons, and leaves to the front and the back until I fill the gap in the center, keeping in mind that I need to leave the stems long enough (but not too long) to make a smooth domed shape when they are all assembled.
As I have often said, if you are going to form an arrangement like this with sugar flowers and it needs a lot of handling, you have to make sure the sugar flowers aren’t too delicate. If they are, then the result may be that they will break while handling them.
The finest and most delicate flowers are best used individually or for just a few flowers on a cake and make the ones you handle more a bit sturdier. You will be very upset if you have put hours of work into making the flowers and they break.
Always make sure you work on a stable, flat surface to minimize breakages and don’t do what I did last Christmas.
After all the years I’ve been making flowers, you would think that I would know what I should or should not do. I put all the flowers I had made for my Christmas cakes on a flimsy and unstable table while I made a space to put them in the storeroom.
I forgot that the table wasn’t steady and leaned on the edge to get some flowers from the back, and all the flowers shot onto the floor. I had a dreadful feeling of doom, and I thought I would have to make them all again – two weeks’ work. Fortunately, they were in boxes, and they landed on a carpet, and just a few broke. I won’t do that again in a hurry.
My next job is to trim off the surplus wire making sure any off-cuts go into the waste wire bin, so they don’t get into any sugar or cakes. Refer to Video at 30:35
Next, I’m taping the stem with some wide florist’s tape and covering the wire completely. Refer to Video at 30:53
Now I’m bending the crescent’s arms slightly towards myself, so they form the crescent shape and then arrange the blossoms, ribbons, and leaves so they are all in their right place.
Just keep fiddling about with it until it all looks just right. Refer to Video at 32:15
Now you can see why it was important to make both ends simultaneously because they match perfectly.