Instructions on Gum Paste Orchids

Written by alyssa ideboen
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Instructions on Gum Paste Orchids
Use a real orchid as a model for your gum paste version. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

An orchid lends an elegant and luxurious element to the decor of a home and garden. When created out of gum paste, it can also make a special accessory to a tiered or flat cake. While making flowers and other sculptures out of gum paste takes time, patience is rewarded with a decoration that will look almost as authentic as a fresh orchid. Use your sculpting skills and take the time to learn how to make an exotic orchid or two for your next cake.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Cornstarch
  • Rolling pin
  • Orchid-throat cutter
  • Ball tool
  • Vein tool
  • Jumbo muffin or ball pan
  • Egg whites
  • 26 gauge wire
  • Orchid petal cutters
  • Small paintbrush
  • Yellow food colouring
  • Red or purple food colouring
  • Floral tape
  • Blue, orange or green food colouring
  • Shortening

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Dust a flat work surface with cornstarch. Roll a medium-sized ball of white gum paste into a sheet 1/8-inch thick with a rolling pin.

  2. 2

    Use an orchid-throat cutter to cut out the centre shape of the flower. Use a ball tool to thin the edges of the petals and a vein tool to draw light lines to add texture to the flower.

  3. 3

    Dip the tip of a stem-length 26 gauge wire into a shallow bowl of lightly beaten egg white and push 1/2 inch of it through the base of the orchid shape.

  4. 4

    Curve the orchid throat into a cup shape and let it dry for eight or more hours in a jumbo muffin tin or ball pan.

  5. 5

    Cut out two wide orchid-shaped petals with cutters. Cut out two teardrop-petal shapes and one pear-shaped petal out of the gum paste with additional flower petal cutters. Insert egg white-dipped 26 gauge wire halfway into the base of each flower petal.

  6. 6

    Thin the edges of each flower with a ball tool and vein the petals for texture. Drape the petals over a rolling pin and allow to dry for eight hours.

  7. 7

    Paint the throat of the orchid shape lightly with yellow food colouring and a small paintbrush. Use a dark purple or red food colouring to stripe thin veins of colour, extending from the centre of the throat to one third of the way up the petals.

  8. 8

    Brush yellow food colouring over the base of the two widest flower petals. Allow them to dry.

  9. 9

    Assemble the orchid. Place the throat of the orchid in the centre and arrange the two widest petals to flank the throat horizontally. Place the pear-shaped petal vertically over the throat and the two tear-shaped petals at the bottom behind the wide petals, at an angle. Wrap all the wires together with floral tape to secure.

Tips and warnings

  • Make a small notch at the tip of the two largest petals to increase the realism of the orchid.
  • Use purple, blue, orange or even green food colouring to create different hues of orchids.
  • Knead in 1 tbsp of shortening to increase the flexibility of stiff gum paste.
  • Add cornstarch to your tools to prevent sticking.

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