About 6 months or more ago, I watched a tutorial (twice) of the amazing Paul Bradford Sugar School wiring petals making a gorgeous fantasy flower. I haveused what I saw to have a play myself. I have not watched any other tutorials or spent hours on the internet looking how to make them, I watched it and and had a go at it. So, it’s not at all perfect and I’m sure others do different ways or techniques and I know there is immense room for improvement…but, we all have to start somewhere, don’t we?!
Wiring petals as a beginner, is quite tricky as I have found, but I am learning many things along the way. I have by no means mastered the wiring, nor the application of putting the petals together correctly, but it’s a beginning and I hope it helps you a little. By no means am I an expert, but I have made this as a guide for you to give it a try.
You need patience and time, but with some practice you can create something like this 🙂
This is a fantasy type flower using our handmade peony petal cutter set. There are quite a few gorgeous designs you can make using this set. Peony flower tutorial to come.
STEP 1 – Create your centre piece. You can make anything you like with this sort of flower really. It generally has 3 buds with stamens in the centre, or you could use bling, but as I have not tried making the buds before, this time I just used some stamens. I am not an expert with centres, so I just tried to see what could work with what I had, so it may not be right, but I think it turned out ok. I used floristry tape in the centre and cut them in half, but I should have just bent them in half and tied the wire around the base. This creates your centre. In addition, if you make buds on wire or a different wired centre, it will give you more pieces of wire in the centre for stability in starting. Put aside.
STEP 2 – Using your favourite brand of fondant, mix in some tylose (hardening agent) to make gum paste. Alternatively, you can purchase ready mixed gum paste from your local cake decorating shop. Using gum paste is generally required for a flower this size, so it hardens and will not droop like plain fondant can in warmer environments. This flower can be certainly made using other mediums like modelling clays etc.
STEP 3- Roll out your material a little thicker than the desired thickness of each petal, as when you place over the veiner and roll, you will roll it again, making it thinner. It depends on the effect you are after in how thick to make your petals. Generally the thinner the more beautiful and delicate the flower ends up.
STEP 4- If you have a double sided work board, turn it over and lay your material over the veiners. Using your rolling pin, firmly roll it off the edge. This will press the material in and create a vein, at the same time pushes it over the edge of the board to cut off the excess. You should be able to just see the vein through the material for the perfect petal. Line up your smallest cutter. If a first time, try a few a little thicker to get the feel for it.
STEP 5- Line up your smallest cutter with the vein in the centre of your cutter. Press and cut, turn it over and smooth the bottom of the cutter/fondant to remove any straggly edges. After cutting each petal, place it in between your fondant saver or even in some glad wrap to prevent them drying out as you cut more. I cut out 6 small petals, but really this flower, this way, can look good with whatever amount you wish to add.
STEP 6 – Once you have made a few petals, you now need to feed the wire into the vein. This is a little tricky, until you get the feel for it. Using a paint brush add a little sugar glue onto your wire a couple cms from the top (I have used #24 gauge available on line) remove any excess glue, you do not need a lot otherwise it will become a sticky mess, but ensure you glue that much of the wire, so as it glues in place. (If not, you will find the petal may spin on the wire and it’s a tad frustrating trying to place it carefully when you begin wiring it together.) Pick up your wire in one hand and the petal in the other. Place your thumb on the top of the vein where you will start feeding the wire in. Having your thumb on top with help you guide the wire in as you will feel it going in straight or crooked. You want it in straight and try not piercing your material through the bottom or the top. (I should have taken a photo of finger placement!) Feed your wire in about 2/3 of the way to the petal tip.
STEP 7 – This is three steps in the one, so beginning from the top with the shell tool. Ideally you would love a peony veiner (we will make one, one day!) but as I do not have one, I have used my shell tool. It doesn’t do exactly the same, but it does give the impression. Turn your wired petal over, so the vein is facing the modelling mat. Press in your shell tool, all over, careful not indent the top of the shell. You just want the stripes.
Middle pic – Using your ball tool, half on your material and half on the modelling mat, run the ball tool around the edges. This will thin and frill the petals tips. Be firm, but not too firm to tear your material.
Bottom pic – If you want to have a more cupped petal, you can do this step also. Using your smaller baling tool, place it in the top of the arches and pull the tool towards you. (I hope this makes sense.) Doing this will cup it the arches of the petal.
STEP 8 – Place your petals on a foam former, over a spoon or in a foil covered egg tray. You want them to dry cupped (or a bit rounded) in the shape of the flower that you will later wire all together. Remember no petal is ever the same.
STEP 9 – Repeat the process now of cutting the next sized peony petal, wiring, shaping and cupping. You can certainly make all the petals at once, but ensure you have covered these properly to prevent them drying out. If it does dry out a little, when you go to model it using you ball tool, you will find it will crack on the edges. I like to make each size at a time.
STEP 10 – There are 4 sizes in the peony set. I made 6 petals of the smallest, 7 petals of the middle size and 7-9 of the largest. However, when I wired the flower, I broke a couple of each size, so I ended up with less and lost count, but I don’t think it makes a difference. So, make as many as you like.
Dry them in the same process, ensuring they are cupped. Allow to dry until almost hard to ensure the wire does not break through your material when you start wiring them together, but with still a little bit of play in the material, so you can adjust or bend the petal into shape if needed.
STEP 11 – Now to begin wiring. Ready, this is the tricky bit…for me anyway! I know what I want to do, but can’t always seem to get the placement or balancing of so many things right, so be patient. You may well pick up co-ordinating it all easy though. Lets see.
Take your first small petal and bend the wire at the base of the petal so the wire is straight and the petal pointing out. You will do this to each petal. (see pic) Holding your stamen or buds centre, place your first petal about 2-2.5cm below your centre piece, to allow enough room and so as the stamen (in this case) is inline with the petal height rather than lower and closed in. Using your floristry tape, wind it around the wire to keep it it place. Wrap as close to the top of the wire as possible. And then do the same with another 2 small petals. Around the stamen centre you have 3 petals surrounding it. The next layer, place these petals in between the gaps, so after 2 layers you will have 6 petals in total. (I need to make another and take a photo to show this better)
STEP 12 – Continue with all the petals, from smallest to largest, always bending the wire so the bottom of the petal fits in up to the base, placing the petals in the gaps of the layer before to make it look full and plump and taping each wire in place.. Just use care, so as you do not break the wire out of the petals…like I did!! Make a few extra in case, I say!
STEP 12 – Once you have placed and taped your final large petal, wrap the floristry tape to the very end of the wire to clean up nicely. You can get other colours of floristry tape if desired.
STEP 13 – Once it has dried, it is now time to dust it with any colour you like to create some depth and drama if you wish. I wanted a vintage, classic look, but did not have gold or ivory colour, so I used our yellow and white shimmer dusting powders and mixed a little in a flower former tray. You can create any look you wish, paint in petal vein details, spray on shimmer or pre colour the gum paste. It’s your flower and anything goes…no flower is ever the same!
This is the final result of my ‘fantasy’ flower. Although, I broke a few petals along the way and stumbled and got frustrated here and there, I got there in the end and was quite pleased with the result. There is major room for improvement, but I am happy to have made a start. I hope you all have found this useful to have a go…and please, if you do have a go, I very much look forward to seeing your creations. Post them directly on www.facebook.com/cuttercraft.
https://www.cuttercraft.com.au/shop/popular/peony-cutter-set/ for your own set of cutters and more photos of what other flowers you can make using this set. More tutorials using our peony cutter set to come 🙂