Gumpaste Succulent Tutorial

succulent-tutorial-succulents_intro

As seen in Cake Central Magazine Volume 1, Issue 6.

Succulents, also known as fat plants, are water-retaining plants known for their plump leaves and resilience in harsh climates. In the cake world, succulents can add variety to cakemakers’ traditional arsenal of greenery decorations. Their assembly is similar to that of a sugar rose in that each leaf is wired individually. There are typically three rings of leaves on a mini succulent, and up to six rings on larger succulents.

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When creating your own succulents, it’s important to gather various photos of the plant you’d like to replicate so as to ensure the highest degree of realism. This cake was inspired by a bridal bouquet created by VanLierop Garden Market in Sumner, WA. In this tutorial, decorator Kaysie Lackey of The People’s Cake demonstrates how to assemble and paint a gumpaste echeveria.

Materials

Americolor gel, avocado, leaf green and gold
Ball tool
CelPad
Egg whites
Gumpaste, green
Paint brushes
Petal dust, white, moss green, chartreuse and red
Rose petal cutter set
Shortening, if needed
Wire cutters
Wire, 24, 26 or 28 gauge depending on size of succulent

Instructions

Before you begin, color your gumpaste with avocado Americolor gel, leaf green Americolor gel, and gold Americolor gel.

succulent-tutorial-step 1

SMALL LEAVES
1. Moisten wire (28 gauge for small and 26 for medium) with egg white. Insert wire into a pea-sized ball of gumpaste, and form into a teardrop with the fat end up.

succulent-tutorial-step 2-2 2. Using your fingers, pinch a point into the teardrop.

succulent-tutorial-step 3 3. Flatten the teardrop between fingers to 1/4 inch thick. Succulent leaves are significantly thicker than flower petals.

succulent-tutorial-step 4 4. Soften leaf edges with a ball tool on a CelPad, making sure to not thin or ruffle the edges.

succulent-tutorial-step 5-2 5. Indent the center of the leaf. Smooth until center wire is visible.

succulent-tutorial-step 6 b 6. Using your fingers, pinch a thorny point.
7. Repeat until you’ve achieved desired number of leaves.

LARGE LEAVES
8. Roll gumpaste between 1/8 and 1/16 inch thick.

succulent-tutorial-step 9 9. Using a small rose petal cutter, cut a single leaf.

succulent-tutorial-step 10-2 10. Insert a 24-gauge wire moistened with egg white into pointed end of teardrop leaf.

succulent-tutorial-step 11-2 11. Pinch rounded end of leaf into a thorny point.

succulent-tutorial-step 12-2 12. Soften with a ball tool on a CelPad. Thin center until wire is visible.

succulent-tutorial-step 13-2 13. Use your thumb to create a cup shape to the leaf.

succulent-tutorial-step 14-2 14. Refine the tip point.
15. Allow to dry for at least 30 minutes.

ASSEMBLY
16. The center leaf stays straight.

succulent-tutorial-step 17-2 17. Before attaching the additional leaves, use pliers to bend the wire at the base of each leaf to a 45-degree angle.

succulent-tutorial-step 18-2 18. Add 1 leaf at a time to the center leaf, taping securely.

succulent-tutorial-step 19 19. Spiral leaves down the center wire to create the first ring of 4 leaves. Once first ring is assembled, tape the whole length of the wire.

succulent-tutorial-step 20-2 20. Create the second ring of 5 leaves by taping 1 leaf at a time; stagger to overlap. Tape the whole length of the wire once the entire ring is assembled.

succulent-tutorial-step 21-2 21. Adjust leaves to open the succulent.

succulent-tutorial-step 22-2 22. Apply the third ring of larger leaves in the same manner. At this point, the larger leaves should have been created with cutters.

PAINTING GREEN SUCCULENTS
23. Mix moss green dust and chartreuse dust.

succulent-tutorial-step 24-2

24. Bend back all leaves.

succulent-tutorial-step 25-2 25. Start painting at the center of the first ring of leaves, and brush outward toward the tip to blend. The paint should be darker toward the center.

succulent-tutorial-step 26-2 26. After each ring is painted, bend leaves back into position so as to get to the next ring of leaves.

succulent-tutorial-step 27-2 27. Repeat until all rows of leaves are painted.

succulent-tutorial-step 28-2

28. After all leaves are painted, flip the succulent upside down and paint the backs of the outer leaves.

succulent-tutorial-step 29-2 29. Paint the back of the tips of the inner leaves.

succulent-tutorial-step30-2 30. Using a plush brush, paint white petal dust onto the tips and blend toward the center. The powder look creates a waxy impression, characteristic of a succulent. Do not steam the succulent, as you don’t want the leaves to be shiny.

PAINTING PURPLE SUCCULENTS

succulent-tutorial-step 31-2 31. Starting with outer leaves, apply red velvet dust to the outer tips. Do not blend into the center. Stipple color onto edges only. Apply more lightly to the inner leaves.

succulent-tutorial-step 32 32. Run the succulent through steam to set the paint and add a sheen.

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