Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sweet Pea from Wilton Course 4

There are a lot of steps to making the sweet pea; in Wilton's Course 4, Advanced Gum Paste Flowers, they're spread out over a couple of weeks! The setup for the materials should be pretty familiar, if you’ve been reading my other tutorials for the flowers covered in Course 4. You’ll need a gum paste storage board (I have a second one handy for this project; the larger one is primarily used as a work surface), Crisco (in case the gum paste dries out), gum glue adhesive (a pinch of gum paste dissolved in a tablespoon of water), several small brushes, purple shaping foam, needle-nose pliers (the type used in jewelry-making), yellow and green gum paste, a 9” fondant roller, several tools from the 10-piece Wilton Fondant and Gum Paste Set (the knife tool, the ball tool, the veiner, and the palette knife), florist’s tape, 26-guage florist’s wire, a dusting pouch filled with a 50/50 mix of cornstarch and powdered sugar, Goldenrod Color Dust, and several cutters from the Wilton Course 4 student kit: the small blossom, Sweet Pea cutters 1 and 2, and the small calyx.
Start by bending the end of a wire into a hook around the tip of the needle-nose pliers:

Roll out a small amount of yellow gum paste. Use the pink rings on the fondant roller so it’ll be 1/16” thick. Cut out a shape with the small blossom cutter, and roll it into a ball. 

Elongate one end of the ball between your thumb and forefinger; the resulting shape should be reminiscent of a teardrop: 

Dip the hook of the wire into the gum glue adhesive…

…and insert it into the base of the teardrop shape. Squeeze the base tightly to the wire. 

 Using the narrow end of the veining tool, draw a line from the base of the teardrop to the tip. Gently curve the tip back over your finger away from the line. The side with the line will be the front of the flower. Set it aside to dry (or hang it someplace by bending the wire into a hook).
 Roll out a quarter-sized ball of the yellow gum paste. It needs to be thinner than 1/16”, so slide the pink rings off your roller. Cut out one of each shape: Sweet Pea 1 and 2.
 Keep the cut pieces under the plastic flap on your storage board until you're ready to use them so they won't dry out.
Place the piece with the dividing line in the middle on your purple shaping foam (sweet pea 2). Give the foam a dusting with your dusting pouch, if need be. 
 Make sure your ball tool is clean, and run it around the edge to thin and ruffle it (this is a step I’ve had to re-do many times; I’m really slow to “get” ruffling, for whatever reason). The ball needs to be half on the gum paste, half on the foam to achieve this effect. DO NOT ruffle or thin the side of the cutout where the three neighboring dips are; this is the base of the flower and must be kept solid and thick.
 Brush the base of the sweet pea center you made earlier at the back and sides with gum glue adhesive (but not the front, which has the line you made with the veining tool).
 Stick the petal you just made to it at the base and sides. Gently flare out the top:
 Retrieve the other piece you cut out (the one shaped like a tulip) and lay it on the shaping foam. Again, thin and ruffle all around its edge, except for the base where the three dips are.
Brush the back of the first petal with gum glue adhesive…

 …and stick this second petal to it at the base and sides:
To make the calyx (the green base of the flower), roll out a dime-sized ball of gum paste very thin (don’t use rings on the roller) and cut out a piece with the calyx cutter. Tear away the scrap and stick it back in the sealed container with the rest of your green gum paste.

Use your knife tool to trim away the very tips of the calyx; they’re just a bit too long for this flower. 

 Use your fingertips to pinch and refine the tips and make them look less “cut.”
 Paint gum glue adhesive on three adjacent points of the calyx, stick the wire of the stem in the center, and slide it up to the base of the flower. Stick the three points down, lining up the center one with the center of the flower's back:
 Curve the two front points over a fingertip:

 Cut off about 6” of florist’s tape (if you’re wrapping a 4” wire stem).
 Pull the tape gently to activate the adhesive. Start wrapping about half an inch below the flower.
 Once you've wrapped for an inch or so, slide it up into place, snugly underneath the flower:
 Continue wrapping until you reach the end of the stem:
 Use a small brush to dust some Goldenrod color dust on the center of the sweet pea.
 And now make a friend for it! These look really smashing in pink, too. Of all the flowers so far, these are the ones I wish had a smell the most…

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