How to make butterflies with gum paste

Written by alexis rohlin
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How to make butterflies with gum paste
Gum paste butterflies make delicate cake decorations. (SbytovaMN/iStock/Getty Images)

Butterflies can be cut out of gum paste and coloured with edible markers. Gum paste butterflies are placed on wires and inserted into cake toppers with flower arrangements on them to create a dynamic scene that utilises still life and the delicate elegance of a butterfly in flight. You can make gum paste butterflies with a gum paste cutter and colour them in a pattern of your choice. To make your gum paste butterfly appear more realistic, purchase a butterfly shaped gum paste cutter with veins in the wings and colour it in a pattern that is true to life.

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Things you need

  • #20 covered wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Fondant board
  • Cornflour
  • Firm gum paste
  • Fondant roller
  • Butterfly shaped gum paste cutter
  • Assorted icing bag tips
  • Toothpick
  • Edible coloured markers, primary colour set and pastel colour set

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Cut a 15 cm (6 inch) piece of #20 wire with wire cutters to make the gum paste butterfly mounting wire. Dust the fondant board with cornflour to prevent the gum paste from sticking to it.

  2. 2

    Roll a 5 cm (2 inch) piece of gum paste into a ball. Set the ball on the fondant board. Use a fondant roller to flatten and smooth it out to create a rectangle that is 3 mm (1/8 inch) thick and large enough to fit your butterfly shaped gum paste cutter.

  3. 3

    Dust the butterfly shaped gum paste cutter with cornflour to prevent the gum paste from sticking. Centre the cutter on the gum paste. Press down onto the cutter with firm even pressure. While pressing down on the cutter, move the cutter in a circle to help it cut through the gum paste. Hold the cutter down and pull away the excess gum paste. If your butterfly cutter has a hollow centre, use icing bag tips to cut a lace pattern into the gum paste wings.

  4. 4

    Gently pry the cutter up from the gum paste with a toothpick. If you find that the wings have broken off, gently press the edges back together. If the wings won't hold, roll out a 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) long, 3 mm (1/8 inch) thick cylinder and press it against the back of the butterfly's thorax or body. Press the wings into the new gum paste.

  5. 5

    Roll a 9 mm (3/8 inch) ball of gum paste. Insert the wire into the gum paste ball, pushing it through while you press the gum paste onto the wire to elongate it and create a 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) thin cylinder shape with the gum paste.

  6. 6

    Turn the gum paste butterfly over. Hold the gum paste wire end vertically over the thorax or body of the butterfly. Carefully fold the butterfly up over the wire, pressing the body against the gum paste on the wire. Gently fold the wings into an angled position to make them look like they are flying.

  7. 7

    Insert the bottom end of the wire into a styrofoam base. Let the gum paste butterfly dry overnight. Colour in sections of the butterfly in a pattern of your choice with edible coloured markers. Use a dark colour edible marker to colour in the lines separating the wing sections. Colour the bottom of the wings in the same pattern but with softer pastel versions of the colours you used on the top of the wings and use a dark colour to fill in the lines separating the wing sections.

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