Let’s Make Calla Lilies!
Oh, come on! It’ll be fun!
This is a two part series on making flowers. We’re going to use Calla Lilies for this example but the principle works for all types. Part One will be detailing the supplies you’ll need to play along at home. Part Two will take us step by step through the process of actually making the blossom.
Don’t wimp out on me! You can do this. I started making cakes and flowers over 35 years ago by looking at a picture and thinking, “How hard can it be?” I still think that way and so should you.
Ready? Let’s have some fun.
The supply list may seem a little daunting but don’t let it throw you. Get a little at a time, jury-rig things you already have…don’t get bogged down. Remember, once you have the basic supplies you’ll only need more Gumpaste to keep making flowers forever. And believe me, you’ll keep making them! Your family and friends will beg you for cakes with your special and unique touches and you’ll be proud to say you made it all yourself.
1. Gumpaste. It is possible to make Gumpaste yourself. If you’re masochistic by nature I’ll send you the recipe. Trust me, you’ll have a much better time by purchasing premade Gumpaste. Wilton makes both powdered (mix with water and stir, stir, stir) or premixed and Satin Ice makes a nice quality premixed version as well. Believe me, I make flowers all the time, hundreds of them. I do not make Gumpaste.
2. Wire. Floral wire comes in a dizzying variety of sizes and gauges. For our purposes, we need something strong enough to hold up a fairly heavy blossom so keep that in mind. You’ll want a pair of nippers to clip it to length if you don’t buy it that way.
3. Glue. Yes. Glue. This a big secret of the industry, my dears. We use glue. Now, you can make the glue necessary by taking some of your Gumpaste and mixing it with enough warm water to make a sticky paste or…
…you can do what most of us do. Use Elmer’s School Glue.
No, I’m not kidding. It’s food safe, dries strong and clear and is perfect for the assembly of most flowers.
4. A rack for drying your blossoms. They sell these. I’ve seen them. Me? I hate finding storage space for unitaskers so I don’t own one. I use a regular cooking rack that I put on something tall enough (here a container of Fondant) so the blossom hangs free. Just put a hook on the end of the wire and hang it on the rack. Viola!
5. Food safe colorant. Now, I personally use powdered food colors but the liquid from the grocery store works too. You’ll want several soft, unused paint brushes, too. More on that in Part Two. For beginners, a medium sized flat brush and a liner type brush will get you going just fine. For some flower centers you may want some crystallized sugar or sprinkles to make them stand out. We’ll use some for our project so again, more on that later.
6. Powdered sugar. Lots and lots of powdered sugar (called 10x in the ‘biz’ because it’s ten times finer
than table sugar. You heard it here first.) Just like pie dough, Gumpaste sticks to the surface you roll it out on. It’s frustrating to roll out and cut a lovely blossom only to have it stuck like glue to the table top. Sprinkle that surface liberally with sugar! It’s messy (oh, so messy) but it pays dividends in terms of success so don’t skip this! Oh, you’ll also want a sugar caster. What’s that, you ask? It’s a sugar shaker. “Huh,” you say? Okay, it’s a jar with holes in the lid so you can shake out the powdered sugar! You want one of these things not just for making flowers. It’s a fun toy when you’re baking cookies, cakes, brownies…anything you want to sprinkle powdered sugar on.
No. Your husband is not an appropriate landing site for powdered sugar. JS.
7. You’ll need a small rolling pin (or a smooth piece of dowel like I use!), cutters (check out cookie cutters or look on line), a foam mat for forming your petals, a veiner for leaves and texturizing petals if you like, and a small rounded dowel or purchased tool for smoothing and ruffling the edges. For our project here you can smooth the edges with your fingertip but when I started I purchased an inexpensive kit (Wilton) and enjoyed it enough to more than justify its small price. If you feel this is a one-time trial, don’t bother but I’m pretty sure you’ll try this again!
So now we know what we need. Once you’ve assembled your supplies, you’ll be ready to move on with me to Part Two where we’ll start making those Calla Lilies.
::taps toes:: Go on. Get your supplies! I’ll wait. ::taps toes::