Wafer Paper Ranunculus Tutorial

If you keep up with our weekly Friday Faves picks, you’ll recognize the stunning wafer paper ranunculus flowers on this cake by Kara of Kara’s Couture Cakes (CC username KarasCoutureCakes). As soon as we saw these exquisite blossoms, we knew we had to learn the technique behind them– and share it with you! Below, Kara walks us through how to create lifelike wafer paper ranunculus flowers and explains some of the inspiration behind her technique.

I love the ranunculus. It’s like the mille-feuille of the botanical world, lush with impossibly delicate, silky petals. No matter how many different ways I’ve tried, I have never been content with the finished look of sugar paste for this beauty. Confectioner’s wafer lends the lightness, delicacy, and translucency that I find so essential to successfully imitate nature.
–Kara

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Materials

1.5-inch foam ball
2 sheets wafer paper
Bright green petal dust
Coated foam or gumpaste flower center affixed to an 18- or 20-gauge floral wire
Cutting mat
Craft circle punches (1 inch and 1.5 inch)
Craft knife
Deep green petal dust
Large angled soft brush
Ruler or straight edge
Small bowl of water
Small and narrow soft brush
Small scissors
Soft round-tipped brush
Violet (or your choice color) petal dust

 

Instructions

1. Using the smaller circle punch, cut one circle as close to the corner of one sheet of wafer paper as possible.

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2. Using the cut hole as a guide, line up your ruler or straight edge and cut a strip just larger than the hole. Use that strip as a guide to cut the remainder of the wafer sheet into equal strips.

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3. Group 2-3 strips of wafer paper together. Turn your circle punch upside down, and punch holes down the length of the grouped strips of wafer paper. Having the punch upside down allows you to see that you have the paper properly centered in the cutting area and it reduces waste.

4. Repeat the process with the large craft circle punch and the second sheet of confectioner’s wafer paper.

5. The wafer circle now needs to be cut.

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6. Cutting 2-3 circles at a time, cut from the edge straight towards the center, approximately ⅓ of the diameter inward (⅓ inch for the 1 inch round).

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7. Dip your brush lightly into the water, only to dampen it slightly. Blot any excess water on the side or on a paper towel. Brush the water on the wafer just to the left of the cut. You shouldn’t see any visible moisture on the wafer; it doesn’t take much to create a sticky surface. Too much water will simply melt the wafer.

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8. Fold the right side of the cut over top of the dampened left side and press gently together. You do not need to hold it or apply much pressure, it sticks almost instantly. This step should produce a slight cup to the wafer petal.

9. Repeat step 8 with all of the circles.

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10. Paint a circle of water around the top third of the flower center. (You can use a bit more water in the following steps than you used in creating the cupped petals.)

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11. Begin applying the small wafer petals in a circle, slightly overlapping each other, all meeting at the center top of the ball.

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12. Use 4-5 petals to form your first and innermost layer.

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13. Apply your second layer of petals about ⅛ inch lower than the first set of petals. Overlap these as well. Use approximately 5 petals to complete this layer. (Each following layer should be applied slightly farther down than the previous layer, just as you did here.)

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14. Before you add subsequent layers, you’ll notice that there are some pointed areas from the cupping of the petals and where they may overlap. Tamp down the points with the side of your slightly wet brush. Don’t get too close to the tops of the petals, but also don’t be afraid of using water at this point. The center does much to absorb excess moisture as does the layered petals.

15. The petals don’t have to be flush to the center. A little irregularity will create more volume and visual interest.

16. Once you are content with the look and quantity of the first smaller petal layers, you can begin using the larger petals.

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17. These petals will overhang the ball a bit at first. Paint water at the edges of the petal.

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18. Use your fingers to arrange the look of the petal and to pull the petals down and closer for the first few layers of the larger sized petals. This will help the flower to still look a bit tight rather than opening up too abruptly. Allow the last few layers of large petals to open more.

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19. Once you’ve finished applying all of your petals, use a wet brush to secure the bottom visible layers of petals to the center and create a flush surface.

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20. You can leave your petals as applied like in this picture. They have crisp, clean edges and look very refined. Or…

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21. …You can use a lightly wet brush and run it around the edges of the outer side of the edges of the petals, as in this picture. The wafer will curl to the side you applied the water and create a more worn, shabby chic look. I find this look to be more natural, but each look has their place in design.

Yes, you’ve just finished these flowers. And if you’re accustomed to working with sugarpaste you may move on to a different task, have a cup of coffee, or call it a day. We’re used to allowing the sugar to dry for at least 24 hours (in general) before we apply the finishing touches. No need with these wafer flowers! You can begin dusting right away! Just be sure your edges have dried if you applied water to curl them.

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22. To dust them and add life, I used three shades of green petal dust: Holly, Moss Green, and Apple Green for the center.

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23. First start with the Apple Green, applying your largest diameter coating of color with the small, soft, narrow brush.

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24. Add the Moss Green and Holly to the center to gradually deepen the shading towards the center.

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25. Using your large, soft, angled brush, load a very light amount of violet (or your chosen accent color) onto it, tapping the excess off.

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26. Hold the brush at an angle to the petals and make short downward motions to gently apply the color to just the edges of the petals. I used a bit more color on the outermost petals.

27. The accent color is very, very gentle (and very difficult to reproduce on camera!) but it highlights the edges and gives the flower life and dimension.

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This flower took 20 minutes, from punching the wafer paper to finishing dusting.

About the author KarasCoutureCakes

I am a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and have studied
under some of the best pastry chefs and cake decorators in the world.

I specialize in fondant covered cakes, gourmet cupcakes and cookies,
custom designed to perfectly fit each client’s unique occasion. The only
thing better than how my cakes look, is how they taste!

Ask me about cake!

Kara’s Couture Cakes
making the world sweeter, one cake at a time.

28 Responses to “Wafer Paper Ranunculus Tutorial”

      • If they don’t…. You can find it on Amazon or at Country Kitchen Sweet Art. Either place you should be able to buy it for about $17.00 for a 100 sheet pack of 8″ x 11″. Some one Amazon are very high in price and those are not what I used. I get mine through Country Kitchen. :)

    • You can find it on Amazon or at Country Kitchen Sweet Art. Either place you should be able to buy it for about $17.00 for a 100 sheet pack of 8″ x 11″. Some one Amazon are very high in price and those are not what I used. I get mine through Country Kitchen. :)

  1. I am not sure what, wafer paper, is?
    Is it rice paper? Is it hard, does not break when you cut out circles?
    And another question is how long will these flowers last and where to keep them?
    Thanks a lot for the respond.
    Have a great day!
    Nonna

    • Hi Nonna!

      It depends on the maker, but most are edible rice paper. Some are made instead with potato. It’s firm, not hard and it cuts beautifully if you use a sharp blade. I have kept them out in the open (on a styro cake dummy) for months without any change in composition. Of course, since they are susceptible to moisture you need to gauge you environment and adjust accordingly.

      Enjoy making them!

      K

  2. Thanks Kara for sharing. This is generous of you. I have a question – does wafer paper come in color? if not, can we color them? how?
    Appreciate your response. Your creations are purely amazing and beautiful by the way. :-)

  3. my 40th birthday is 3days from now and i made them! it was awesome. i enjoyed the experience of making them with my husband. he was cutting the papers and we shared putting them together. (i know no one will give me a birthday cake) super thank you for the tutorial. With kind regards -Regina

  4. Thank you for your wonderful tutorial Kara.
    I saw several times in the posts stating that wafer and rice paper are the same. We have rice paper here but it is more like plastic and definitely not pliable in the slightest.
    I am situated in Australia.

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