A step-by-step gumpaste Open Rose video tutorial showing everything you need to know as if you were in the classroom with me, nothing is left out.
This video Number four in a series of ten videos. Start with the first one, work your way through them, and you will learn basic techniques enabling you to make a range of gumpaste sugar flowers and leaves. You will also find out how to assemble the flowers you make into arrangements 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.
Click the video play button to load the video and then click again to start…
This time, my project is to make an Open Rose, and It’s completely different from the closed tea rose. This is an open shrub rose, which is very suitable for reproducing in sugar. It has several rows of open petals assembled around a fluffy center and buds and leaves.
It comes in many different colors, so it’s a versatile flower that will suit a lot of cake decorating color schemes. There are new methods to learn, and ones you have already learned that you could practice on this flower.
It makes a fantastic display, and I will show you how to assemble the flowers, buds, and leaves into an arrangement that you can put on a celebration cake.
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Making the Rose Center
The first thing I’m doing is to make a center for the rose.
I’m using 22 gauge green covered wire, but, of course, if you are making a larger flower, you will need a heavier gauge wire.
Floral wire usually comes in packs of approximately 50 wires around 14 ½”/37 cm long, but different brands may vary slightly.
The type of flower you are making will determine what length of wire you will need. Depending on your requirements, each wire is divided into ½, ⅓, or ¼ of its length, but rarely is a whole wire required. For this flower, I want ⅓ of the length of the wire for each flower and bud.
It’s quite a fluffy center, so I’m using yellow embroidery thread, which you can buy in most craft stores.
First, I’m making a small hook on one end of the wire. Refer to Video at 00:37
Next, I’m winding the end of the embroidery thread around the top of my index finger four times, then cut it off with my scissors from the rest of the thread/floss. Refer to Video at 00:48
Pushing the silk/thread strands together that are around my finger, I’m putting the hook on my wire over the four strands of silk on my finger then closing the hook up so they can’t come out. Refer to Video at 01:10
Now I’m going to tape it with a ½ width of green florist tape, so the tape comes just over the end of the silk and the hook. I’m putting the end of my tape around the hook holding the silk/thread, then squeezing it tight with my thumbnail onto the tape again, so it’s quite firm then start winding the tape down the wire while stretching the tape gently then after 2”/5 cm tear off the tape and wind the torn end of the tape into the stem. Refer to video at 01:44
Then, I’m cutting the very top of the thread loops off, and after separating the strands with a cocktail stick, I’m left with the fluffy stamens for the rose. Refer to Video at 02:00
The next stage is to make the open rose itself, but before I do, I need something to hold it in while it dries slightly, so we need a former, instead of going to the shops and buying a former just for this rose because it’s bigger than the roses I made before and a different shape.
If you have something that you can use, then all the better, but you will often find you need an odd shape of former for a flower, so making your own will save you time and money.
To start, I have the inside of a florist tape roll, which is approximately 2”/5 cm in diameter, and four pieces of aluminum foil approximately 4”/10cm square. Refer to Video at 03:06
I’m laying the foil over the tape roll center and smoothing the foil into the center, so it makes a curved former for my rose, and I need two of them. Refer to video at 03:15
I will start off making it the same way for the third former, but once I’ve smoothed it in, I’m going to turn it upside down and gently smooth it out the other way. After removing the tape roll, I have been left with a former with an indented center and a groove around the outer edge. Refer to Video at 03:54
Making the Petals
I’m using 2”/5cm and 2½ “/6½ cm blossom cutters for this rose, and I need 1 petal cut with the smaller size and two petals cut with the larger size.
You could make this rose in a smaller or larger size if you have the cutters. However, while you are learning how to make them, this is an ideal size because if you make them bigger they are quite heavy. Practice by making a smaller size as it’s better to start with one you can easily manage. Refer to video at 04:42
Now I have my formers, my center, and my cutters, so I’ll roll my gumpaste.
I need to roll out my gumpaste, so I’m dusting my board and rolling pin with cornflour first. It’s a little warm today, so I expect to use a little more cornflour than I normally use. I will be careful not to use too much, or I will dry the paste out, and it won’t be easy to use.
I will roll out the paste fairly thin but not too thinly because I need to shape the petals and thin the edges with my tools.
I used Sugarflair Mulberry Gel Paste to color the gumpaste, and I mixed it a couple of hours ago, so it’s been absorbed right through the paste evenly. As I mentioned in the previous blog posts and Videos, always use gel paste colors because liquid colors alter the consistency of the gumpaste and make it difficult to use.
Now I’ve rolled it to the even thickness I require. With experience, you will tell if there are any spots on the paste that are thicker than others.
I am cutting out the first petal with the larger cutter. Because I am using metal cutters and they can be quite sharp, they usually come with a plastic disc that you can use to press on them.
You should use that if you cut multiple petals, or your fingers will get quite sore from cutting them. Refer to video at 06:51
After I cut the petal, I make sure I remove any excess gumpaste from the cutter’s edge, and I want two of the larger size petals. Place the cut petals under the cling film/plastic wrap until I need the,m, so they don’t dry out.
Now I am cutting one petal with the smaller petal and then tightly wrapping any surplus gumpaste to use for another flower. I need just one petal of the smaller size.
Working first on the smallest petal, I’m going to cut between the petals just slightly so that it can overlap them slightly if necessary. Refer to Video at 08:09
For the next part, I’m going to use the end of a fine paintbrush, or you can use a cocktail stick. If you use a cocktail stick and it feels rough, sand it gently with fine sandpaper until it’s smooth.
I’m rolling the brush end all around the edges of each of the petals, so it thins and stretches them to make them wavy, and they will end up being larger than the cutter you used. Refer to Video at 08:44
Once I have fluted each petal segment, I am placing it on my hand (or you can use a foam pad if you prefer) and smoothing out the center with my ball tool to give it a slight hollow. Refer to Video at 09:23
Then remembering I’ve got quite a big stamen, I’m making a hole with a cocktail stick that will be big enough for it to go right through. Refer to video at 09:43
I’m using a tray used to hold eggs in a refrigerator as a former. Each segment of the tray is 1¾“/4½ cm across, so if you don’t have anything like that, then you could find something around that size and make a former with foil, as I showed you. Refer to Video at 10:00
The first inner petal needs to be closed up more than the outer petals, so this former is perfect for the size of the flower.
Now I’m working on one of the two larger petals the same as the first petal. Cutting down slightly between each segment of the petal, rolling the end of my paintbrush around each part, and hollowing out the middle with my ball tool. Then making a hole in the center to take the stamens.
Then I am putting that petal into the former that is just hollowed out in the same way as the smaller petal. Refer to Video at 11:31
The other large petal is made just the same as the previous one up to hollowing out the center and the base of the petal segments with my ball tool; then I’m turning it over and using my ball tool, just hollowing out the center of the petal. Refer to Video at 12:50
I made the odd-shaped former because I am bending the petals down over the rim once I have placed the petal into it. Refer to Video at 13:10
The former for the center petal is just a simple hollow because when it is assembled into a rose, the petal is curved upwards, and so is the next petal, which is one of the larger ones. However, the third petal is curved downwards. So that is why the formers for the larger petals are different.
I use formers and don’t assemble the flowers as I make the petals because I want them to stay in shape while they dry slightly. I don’t want them to be too dry, or they will not fit together properly.
I usually leave them for about 20 mins, and that is time for the thinner outside of petals to dry a little and hold their shape, but the thicker center stays soft enough to fit all the petals together and pass the stamen wire through without breaking.
The next stage of making this rose is to mount the petals onto the center. I’m using glue to assemble the parts. If you make a much larger flower, you may find that you will need something a bit more substantial like Royal icing to hold them together.
I’m taking my wire with the stamens attached and passing it through the center hole in the smallest petal. Next, I‘m painting around the hole with some glue and pulling the stamens through the hole until the petal reaches the top of the green tape that is around the stamens. Refer to Video at 14:20
Next, take the large petal that is curved upwards, paint a little glue around the center, pass the stamen wire through the hole, and bring the petal up to meet the smaller one and make sure they are stuck together without altering their shape. Refer to Video at 14:33
Finally, take the third downward curving petal, paint the pedal’s center with glue and thread the stamens through the center hole. Making sure I have it the right way up, and the edges are curving downwards, press the petals gently together to make sure they stick to each other. Refer to video at 16:07
When you mount them together, you will see why it was necessary to put a hole into the middle that is big enough to pass the stamen wire through because if you had to force it through, the petals would break.
Once the full flower has been assembled, I’ll make a hook on the end of the wire and hang it upside down to dry, which will take about 24 hours. I require three full roses.
Making the Buds
If you watched the Wild Rose Video, you would have seen me make this, bud, but in case you haven’t seen it, I will show you again.
To make the first bud, I start with a ball of paste slightly larger than a large pea, and I’m rolling it between my fingers into a cigar shape with two narrow ends. Refer to Video at 17:23
Using a fine paintbrush (or if you prefer to work with the cocktail stick), I’m going to roll it lightly so it forms a ‘D’ shape. Refer to Video at 17:29
Now I’m working it with my fingers to improve the ‘D’ shape further but leaving a ridge on the ‘D’ flat side that will form the same base I would have if I were using a cone center. Refer to video at 17:32
Then lay it on my hand, and I’m going to smooth the outside edge of the ‘D’ so it’s very thin and slightly wavy. Refer to Video at 17:44
I didn’t want the ridge to be too thick because I’m rolling it to form the rosebud base.
I’m making a hook at the end of a 24g green wire, then spreading a little glue along the ridge and slightly up each side of the ‘D,’ then placing the wire hook on one end of the ridge, rolling the gumpaste around the wire. Refer to Video at 18:00
I’m making sure I have wrapped up any gumpaste I’m not using so it doesn’t dry out, then making a hook on the end of the wire the opposite end to the bud and hanging it up to dry. I require two buds.
Making the Calyx and the Seed Pod
I want to put a calyx on my rose, so I’m using a calyx cutter that is roughly the same size as the inner small rose petal. Refer to video at 19:30
I’m using green gumpaste that I colored with Sugarflair Gooseberry Gel paste. I am sure there are other Gel Paste brands with similar colors, but that’s the brand I’ve always used. I mixed the color into the paste a couple of hours before I needed to use it to penetrate the sugar crystals and give me an even tone.
After dusting my gumpaste, my board, and rolling pin with cornflour/cornstarch, I’m rolling out the paste and cutting out a calyx.
I’m making a small cut on each side of each arm of the calyx with my knife.
Refer to Video at 21:30
Then, I’m threading the bud’s wire through the center of the calyx. I’m painting the calyx with glue and bringing it up around the bud, and gently pressing it all around the bud to make sure bud and calyx stick together. Refer to Video at 21:53
I want to put a little seed pod on the calyx base, which I’ll make with a small ball of green paste. I’m passing the end of the wire the bud is mounted on through the ball of paste and painting a little glue between the seed pod and the calyx, then shaping the seed pod so it has a slight point where it meets the stem. Refer to Video at 22:40
I need to cut another calyx for the full rose and make a small cut into the sides of each arm of the calyx. I’m painting a thin coat of glue all over the calyx, then putting the wire of the full rose through the center and sliding the calyx up the wire, and making sure it sticks to the base of the rose.
Then, I am taking a ball of gumpaste and making a seed pod for it the same way as I made it for the bud. Refer to Video at 23:40
I have made the calyx so that it lays flat on the underside of the rose, and you would do it this way if the back of the rose weren’t in full view or if you were going to put them into an arrangement where they may get broken if they weren’t made that was.
However, if you were making just one or two roses to go on a cake and the flowers’ backs may be seen, you could make them slightly differently.
If you look at an open rose in full bloom, you would see that the calyx curls back, so if you made that in sugar, you would have to be extra careful that they didn’t break off.
Making the Leaves
In the first three videos/blog posts, I explained how to make rose leaves using three different methods, and now I’m going to show/tell you how to make them using yet another way.
This time I am making them with plunger cutters. These may be the ones you choose to use because they are more popular than using metal cutters because you can cut out the leaf and imprint the vein all in one go. Refer to Video at 25:47
There is a slight problem with using them, but I will tell you about it as I make them.
I have kept the green gumpaste that I used to make the calyx and seed pods tightly wrapped so it hasn’t dried out, and it’s ready to use again now.
I’m rolling the gumpaste out then cutting out the leaf. Before I remove the cutter from the paste, I press the plunger down, and when I remove the cutter from the gumpaste, I have a leaf with veins. Refer to Video at 26:28
The problem I mentioned is that the veins are indented into the paste, so where you would usually insert the wire, the gumpaste is thin, and inserting a wire can be difficult.
To overcome this, I’m using a thin, uncovered 30 gauge wire and inserting it beside the central vein where the paste is a little thicker. When the wire is in place, I’m bending the leaf slightly so the wire doesn’t come out when it’s dry. I require ten leaves. Refer to Video at 26:43
Coloring the Roses
The centers of open roses are often darker in the middle and even on the petals’ outer rim. You can use some petal dust diluted with some cornflour to the shade you want and apply the petal dust to the rose with a paintbrush. If you want a darker shade, you can use petal dust undiluted.
You can also color the rose leaves with petal dust as well.
Preparing to Assemble the Roses
I now have three roses, two buds, one five-leaf spray, and five single leaves ready to be assembled.
You can find out how to cover the leaves’ stems with flower tape in How to Make a Gumpaste Rose.
I’m taking hold of one leaf and then two more leaves and taping them onto the stem of the first leaf, so the tips of these leaves come halfway up the top one.
I need to leave about ½”/ 3cm of the stem on the leaf before I start taping them to the first leaf. Next, I’m adding one leaf to the right-hand side, and one to the left-hand side of the main stem, and the tips of these two leaves should come about halfway up the first pair of leaves.
Again, I’m leaving about ½”/3cm of stem on the leaves before I start taping them to the main stem. Now I have the final leaf spray. Refer to Video at 29:20
Making the Rose Arrangement
I’m beginning the arrangement by taking one of the buds and then taping the other bud to it so that the second bud’s tip comes halfway down the first bud. Then I’m taping a leaf spray behind the buds so that the first bud’s tip comes to the base of the top leaf. Refer to Video at 31:18
Next, I’m adding one of the full roses to the left-hand side of the main stem so that the tip of the rose comes to the base of the lowest bud and tape it to the main stem. I’m placing the second rose beside it on the same level. Remember, before you start to tape the flowers onto the main stem, leave about 3 or 4 cm of stem on each one. One of the leaf sprays is added next at the back of the right-hand side rose so that the second and third leaves are roughly in line with the top of the second bud. Refer to Video at 32:32
The final rose I’m placing between and slightly lower than the other two roses.
Trim off the main stem’s end and wrap it with tape to cover the whole stem. Placing the flowers and leaves as I want them, I now have my finished arrangement.