Monday, April 9, 2012

Leaves for Sunflowers & Gerbera Daisies

Now that you know how to put large flowers like sunflowers and gerbera daisies on stems, you'll probably want to dress them up with some leaves. Here's all you'll need: a 9” fondant roller, 6" pieces of 26-gauge green florist’s wire, a dusting pouch filled with a 50/50 mix of cornstarch and powdered sugar, green gum paste, florist’s tape, the ball tool from Wilton’s 10-piece Fondant and Gum Paste Tool Set, a container of gum glue adhesive (a pinch of gum paste dissolved in a tablespoon of water), Crisco (to knead into the gum paste if it starts to dry out), thin pink and purple shaping foam, the leaf impression mat from Wilton’s Flower Impression Mat set, and a large rose leaf cutter; I used the one from Wilton’s Gum Paste Flower Cutter Set. You'll also need a wave flower former.
 Start by dusting the groove on the back side of the impression mat.
 Form a log of green gum paste, and place it over the groove.
 Roll out the gum paste with the roller, pressing firmly over the part over the groove to ensure the gum paste is pressed into it.
 Peel up the gum paste, and make a cutout with the rose leaf cutter over the ridge formed by the groove (there should be about half an inch between the end of the ridge and the tip of the leaf).

 Dip the end of one of the wires into the gum glue…
 …and lay it alongside the ridge.
 Fold the ridge over the wire, pressing down gently but firmly.
 Dust the upper portion of the leaf impression on the mat.
 Place the leaf on it, wire side up.
 Place the thin pink foam over the leaf and press down to imprint the leaf impression.

 Place the leaf on the thin purple foam and run the large end of the ball tool around the edges to thin them.
 Gently bend the wire inside the leaf, and place it on the convex portion of a wave former to dry. Bend the bare wire stem in any way necessary to ensure the leaf dries properly.
 When the leaves are dry, you'll want to color them (which also enhances the detail from the impression mat). I used Color Dust in Lime Green and Spruce Green. I started by dusting the entire front side of the leaf with Lime Green, using a larger brush:
 Using an angled brush, I added Spruce Green to the edges in short, diagonal strokes. I also lowlighted the center line, and colored the entire back side with Spruce Green.
 The final step is to attach the leaves to the stem with florist's tape.
 Spool off several inches of tape. Stretch an inch or so at one end; when the adhesive is activated, the tape's color is lighter:
 An inch or two below the leaf on the stem, start wrapping the tape tightly at a diagonal angle, until it starts sticking to itself.
 Then, slide it up snug against the base of the leaf. Continue wrapping to the end of the wire.
 Each leaf must be wrapped to the flower's stem individually; this will aid in positioning the leaves later.
 Here's the sunflower, finally with a stem and leaves!

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