A step-by-step gumpaste Cherry Blossom video tutorial showing everything you need to know as if you were in the classroom with me, nothing is left out.
This is the fifth in a series of ten videos. Start with the first 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 into an arrangement to put onto a cake.
If you prefer to read, then this blog post has everything you need to get started.
I’ve also included references to key points in the video that need to be shown rather than explained.
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The Cherry Blossom is one of the most used blossoms in Gum Paste Sugar flower making. They make a fantastic display on their own, and they go with just about any other flower, so they are often used as filler flowers for many arrangements.
They range in color from white to deep pink, depending on the type of cherry. They are quite easy to make, but there are new techniques to learn while doing this project.
I will show you how to assemble them onto a branch so you can use it on a cake, but frequently individual blossoms are used with a variety of other flowers.
Download Your Free Resource Guide
The arrangement I’m making consists of some small leaves which I’m making differently from the ones I’ve made before in the previous videos. I’m also making some open blossoms with a fluffy center and some slightly closed blossoms, which I’ll use for the buds.
Making a center for the blossom.
I’ll need a 14″/36cm length of 26 gauge wire cut into quarters (3.5″/9 cm pieces) and something
a little unusual for making gumpaste flowers, and that’s embroidery silk/floss.
I’ve used embroidery silk/floss because it’s soft and will shred into many parts once I’ve made the center.
Starting with cutting a short length of silk/floss (approx. 4cm/1½ “), then I’m making a hook on one end of a wire with my tweezer and folding the silk/floss in half and placing it into the hook. Refer to Video at 01:17
If you find it easier to use a longer piece of thread, you can always trim it down afterward.
I’m going to close up the little hook, so it secures the thread, and then I’m covering it with green florist tape to hide the top of the hook and roll it down the stem. Refer to Video at 02:00
For information on how to use florists tape to cover stems, refer to Video 1 “How to Make a Gumpaste Rose”
I’ve now got a center and it’s most likely going to be too long, but I’ll trim it off later. Refer to Video at 02:05
I wanted a softer looking center, and the embroidery silk/floss will divide into six, so I’ve got six little stamens. Refer to Video at 02:30
The next step is to make the blossoms, and they are made in the same way as I made the calyx in the Open Rose – Video 4
Making the Blossoms
I’m dusting my hand with cornflour, and I need some balls of gumpaste the size of a large pea. The arrangement I’m making has six flowers on each branch of blossoms. Refer to Video at 03:31
The best idea is to make all your round balls of gumpaste first, and then you’ll be sure that you’ve got a uniform set of blossoms when you put them together.
Making a “Mexican Hat”
I’m rolling one of my balls of gumpaste into a cone, then dusting my fingers with a little cornflour/cornstarch I’m flattening it out around the thick end of the cone, and I have the start of the shape of my blossom. Refer to Video at 04:08
Using the handle end of a fine paintbrush (or a smoothed cocktail stick), I’m rolling out the flat edge of the cone until it’s quite thin. This process is called making a “Mexican Hat.” Refer to Video at 04:26
Depending on the temperature of your kitchen if it’s cool (not cold) then the gumpaste is easy to work with. But, if the kitchen is quite warm then the gumpaste will be softer and you may need slightly more cornflour/cornstarch to make it workable.
However, try not to use too much cornflour/cornstarch with your gumpaste because it will dry out and be difficult to work with. If it’s too sticky, wrap it tightly and put it in the fridge for a few minutes to cool down.
For this blossom I’m using the smallest of a set of five-petal blossom cutters that I used for the Open Rose in Video 4. Refer to Video at 05:02
There is a link at the top of this post for the Resource Guide which will give you information about the cutters, tools and materials used to make these flowers and leaves.
I’m placing the cutter over the raised portion of the “Mexican Hat” and cutting out the blossom, running my finger around the edge of the cutter to make sure it is perfectly smooth around the petals. I now have the next stage of my blossom.
The next step is to dust the top of my index finger and thumb, place the raised portion of the blossom between my finger and thumb, take a dowel, find the center of the blossom and with the pointed end make a small hole and just widen it out slightly. Refer to Video at 05:48
Then on my finger, I’m rolling each petal out with the dowel to start shaping the blossom. Refer to Video at 05:53
If necessary I’ll dust my finger with a little more cornflour/cornstarch and with my ball tool I’m indenting each petal gently, so it gives me a nice blossom shape. Refer to Video at 06:10
Now I’m going to assemble the blossom and the center.
I’m taking the center and painting the base of it with glue, then threading the wire through the center of the blossom.
Pulling the wire through the blossom, just far enough, so the green tape is not showing I’m then closing the base of the flower around the stem. I now have a finished blossom. Refer to Video at 07:06
The stamens are a little long, but I will wait until the flower is dry before I trim them to the required length.
Making a bud
If I wanted to make the blossom into a bud, all I would do is close the petals. I can have some that are at different stages of opening and even some that are entirely closed by closing the petals.
If you are making tightly closed buds, trim the centers before you close the petals.
Place the blossoms in flower foam to dry. If you are working in hot and humid conditions, you may find it’s better to hang the blossoms up to dry, so they keep their shape.
To make this Cherry Blossom branch, I need fifteen open blossoms and three slightly closed blossoms. You can vary these numbers as you wish, but this quantity is ideal for showing you how I assemble them.
Making the leaves
The next part is to make the leaves. These leaves have a smooth outer edge as opposed to the rose leaves that have a serrated edge.
The cutters are quite small, and I’ll use two sizes. Smaller leaves are to place just under the blossoms and the slightly larger ones for slightly lower down the branch.
I’m using some green paste, which I’ve colored with gooseberry gel paste color. I’ve made quite a few of these leaves. Because I needed to make quite a few, I didn’t particularly want to make them by the slower method of leaving a raised vein in the center.
After dusting my paste and my board with cornflour/cornstarch, I’m rolling out the gumpaste but not too thinly, and cutting out the leaf. I’m making sure the edge is cut smoothly by running my finger around the edge and then taking the leaf out of the cutter.
Next, I’m taking a 32 gauge, uncovered wire, and threading it through the center of the leaf, making sure I cannot see the wire from the back or the front of the leaf. Then I’m pressing it on to a veiner that will indent veins onto the gumpaste and also thin out the edges of the leaf. Refer to Video at 10:09
I’m bending the leaf over slightly, which will prevent the wire from coming out when it’s dry and also curling the leaf slightly. You can use your artistic license to wave or turn the leaves for a more natural look. Refer to Video at 10:33
You will need twelve small and twelve large leaves
When you’ve made the leaves put them to dry in the flower foam, then when they are dry, tape the stems with green florist’s tape.
Assembling the Cherry Blossoms
My blossoms and leaves are now dry, I’ve taped the stems with florists tape, and I’m ready to assemble the blossoms and leaves into the branches. Refer to Video at 11:09
For information on how to use florists tape to cover stems, refer to Video 1 “How to Make a Gumpaste Rose”
For each branch, I’m using five open blossoms and one slightly closed blossom.
I’ve colored the centers of the blossoms with a slightly darker shade of pink petal dust. I’ve trimmed the stamens with scissors and passed them quickly over steam to seal the color and give them a slight shine.
I showed you how to steam the flowers in the Wild Rose Video 2
I’m taking hold of one blossom and then arranging the other four and the bud around it, but slightly lower, so the whole bunch of flowers is in a mushroom shape. Refer to Video at 12:01
Next, I’m taping the stems of the blossoms together with some florist tape, and the taped stems are the beginning of my branch.
With the veined side of the leaves facing the blossoms, I’m placing four of the small leaves, evenly spaced around the blossoms. I am then adding four of the large leaves, placing them slightly lower and in between the small leaves with the veins facing towards the flowers. Pressing each leaf stem onto the main stem then applying a short length of florists tape around them all. Refer to Video at 13:24
The reason why I’ve put the veined side of the leaves towards the blossoms is that they will be bent backward, and you will then be able to see the veins.
You will realize now how the florist’s tape helps when assembling the arrangement. You can press the leaves onto the stems of the blossoms, and they will stay in place while you tape them onto the main stem.
I’ve left all the leaves the same color, but if you want to shade part of the leaves with a darker green and perhaps brown petal dust to give them some shadow, then remember to do it before you steam them.
Steaming the flowers and leaves gives them a shiny surface, and the petal dust won’t stick to them very well.
However, if you forgot to shade them before steaming, you can always mix the petal dust with a little vodka and paint the leaves with a fine paintbrush.
Arrange the flowers and the leaves into their correct position. Refer to Video at 14:01
I’m going to make the next blossom spray for my branch. Again, I’ve got a closed blossom and the rest at various stages of being open.
This time I’ve put two in the center and the other blossoms slightly lower around them. I’m pressing all the stems together, so they don’t move while I wind the stems slowly into the florist’s tape. Refer to Video at 15:16
With the veins facing the blossoms, I’m placing four small leaves around the flowers, then four large leaves slightly lower and in between the small ones. Pressing the stems onto the blossom stem, so they don’t move, and with a short length of florist’s tape, I’m attaching them to the main stem.
I’m only using a short length of tape to attach the leaves so that I can adjust their position to where I think they look nicest.
I’m going to assemble the third bunch of blossoms and leaves in the same way as I did the first two.
That’s our three little bunches of blossoms and leaves finished.
The next step is to cover the stems of the blossoms with brown florist’s tape making them into branches. I’m using half-width tape and winding it carefully onto the blossom stem.
If you leave any gaps and can still see the green tape underneath, don’t worry because you can add another layer of brown tape. The main stems of each of the blossom branches are now going to become part of the main branch. Extra layers of brown tape will add thickness to the branch. Refer to Video at 18:52
I’ve repeated the same procedure with the other two bunches of blossoms, and I now have all three branches ready to assemble into one main branch.
When wiring gumpaste flowers, you must be safety conscious about what you do with any trimmings. I always cut any stems, etc., over a small plastic bucket, so I catch everything I remove.
My first concern is that if I am handling cakes and flowers, I don’t want any chance that any trimmed pieces of wire could get onto the cakes.
The second priority is that any bits of wire could go into your hands or that anyone in your workroom could get hurt – children, customers, family members, etc.
So, always develop safe practices in your work area and make sure everybody else follows them.
A good pair of sharp wire cutters are essential so that any cuts you make to the wires are clean and there are no bent bits on the ends of the wires that could go into your hands while you are taping.
You will need wire cutters for all the wired gumpaste flowers, so buying a good pair is a valuable investment.
Assembling the Branches
First, I’m trimming off the bottom of each of the branches with wire cutters. Next, I want a thicker wire approximately 6″/15 cm long to strengthen the main branch. It needs to be 18 gauge, but if I hadn’t got any wire that thick, I would put two or three 24 gauge wires together, and that will give me the same strength.
I’m going to take one of my blossom branches, and I’m going to lay my wire along the stem, just below where I started applying the brown tape. Refer to Video at 21:15
Then with brown, half-width tape, I’m going to tape the thick wire to the stem making sure the top of the new wire is covered. If any of the new wire is showing after I’ve taped down the stem, I’ll add another layer of tape to make sure there are no gaps with wire showing.
Now I’m going to add the second branch on the right-hand side of the main branch; approximately 2”/5 cm lower down.
Bend the stem of the second branch about 1½”/3 cm from the start of the brown tape. Refer to Video at 22:29
Pressing the second branch onto the stem of the first branch, and with a full-width piece of brown tape, I’m taping the second branch onto the first. I’m taking the tape further down the thicker part of the wire so that I start to build up my main branch. However, I’m not taking the tape too far down because I will cut off some of the surplus thick wire when I have finished.
Now I’m adding the third branch 2”/5 cm lower than the second one.
Bending the stem in the same way as I did the second one and pressing it onto the left-hand side of the main stem. I’m taping it with full-width brown tape onto the main stem.
About 3”/8 cm from the base of the third branch, I’m cutting off the surplus wire.
Next I’m building up the end of the stem with more brown tape. Refer to Video at 24:24
Then taping from the base of the third branch to the bottom of the stem to give it a smooth finish. Refer to Video at 24:42
The final thing I’m doing is to arrange all the blossoms and leaves.
I now have the finished Cherry Blossom branch ready to place on a cake.