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Buying sugar flowers instead of making them

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I have never really gotten the hang of making good flowers, and they take forever if you're doing it right, so I think I'm going to start purchasing premade. It just seems to make more sense from a cost-time-value perspective. 

 

Anyone else do this or do you all make your own?

post #2 of 21

You have tried making them--how? Piped? Modelled?

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 

I can do a decent piped flower, rose, daisy, hydrangea, and I can create a simple, one piece cut flower, but when i get to the more elaborate wedding cake style gumpaste flower, they usually turn into more of a "fantasy" flower than an botanically correct one. 

 

At this point, I think adding more tools is not the answer, you know? 

post #4 of 21

Adding more tools is not the first answer.

 

Gumpaste orchids are complicated NOT difficult.  Making the frilled trumpet first may help. The rest of the flower then comes from two petal shapes. Some bakeries make these as an all-in-one with the dry centre pushed in.

 

The more important factor is the painting job that makes each species "real".  See if you can borrow a few Alan Dunn books, to just look through to see how the basic petal shapes change once the dusting and painting starts. 

 

Look also at online tutorials by Jacqueline Butler (petalsweet blog) because she also shows the basic petal shapes properly.  Her tulips look tricky but her method makes them "doable".

 

The other book that may inspire you is the Wilton Way encyclopedia volume II because there are dozens and dozens of piped flowers--more than 20 varieties of rose. This is available used for no more than $25 if you look.

post #5 of 21

I do both depending on the flower.

"who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?"
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"who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?"
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post #6 of 21

I make my own and sell them to other people too, so just do what you think works out best for you. I'll second the Alan Dunn books, those are really easy to follow and his flowers are beautiful.

 

These days most people don't want a whole lot of flowers on their cakes anyway, so if you learn how to make the basic rose and peony kinds of flowers, plus some smaller filler flowers, that might be all you need at this point. there are lots of videos on youtube showing how to make flowers, so watching some of those might also help.

post #7 of 21

It's all about your situation. I went to school to learn to make gumpaste flowers specifically. Spent alot of money flying around to classes. But I am so busy now, that I often have to buy them! If you are anything like me, you don't have employees, but do run a household along with orders coming out your ears. There is nothing wrong with purchasing gumpaste flowers.

Famous cake bakers use them. Ruth Rickey for one admits that she just gets too busy to make them and will purchase premades. It's a business after all and if you're working 27 hours a day 8 days a week...there's no harm in it! The cost is something you would have to get used to and build into your cake prices obviously. Hat's off to those who can make everything , from scratch, themselves. But there is no shame in doing what's best for your own situation. If people want to know, I tell them I make some and have someone making them for me also. thumbs_up.gif

post #8 of 21

If you do the math and it comes out better for you to buy them, go for it.

post #9 of 21

I found a Nicholas Lodge book at the library last week that had a lot of really amazing flowers in it, I think he has a Craftsy class too. 

 

I saw that people are selling single gumpaste peonies on Etsy for $50+, maybe I should get in on that!

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post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ellavanilla View Post

I have never really gotten the hang of making good flowers, and they take forever if you're doing it right, so I think I'm going to start purchasing premade. It just seems to make more sense from a cost-time-value perspective. 

 

Anyone else do this or do you all make your own?

 

There is a wonderful saying attributed to Ruth Rickey:

Will the customer notice? 2. If they notice, will they care? 3. If they care, will they pay?

 

This is a half-sheet cake I recently made for my dad's wife of 40 years.  She is in a facility for Alzheimer's and I knew the majority of the cake would go to the nursing and administrative staff at the facility.  The gum paste flowers in the center are two pre-made sprays from Deco-Pac that I had purchased on a whim about a week before.   This was the perfect opportunity to use these flowers!  It literally took 2 minutes to arrange the sprays and lay them gently on the surface of the buttercream.  My cost for these flowers (they were on sale), $4.  Faye was thrilled, Dad was thrilled, and I was happy to make them happy.  I didn't have one tiny twinge of guilt that I hadn't made these lovely, perfect, gum paste flowers and leaves.

 

 

post #11 of 21
Apti, where do you purchase your flowers? Those are very pretty.
post #12 of 21

I do both. If I'm being honest, I'm not that great with gumpaste flowers yet. So to get a few that I'm happy with can take hours. If I can buy it for a few bucks, it just makes sense ($10 versus 3 hours? no brainer). I keep an eye out when I'm buying supplies and if I see any flowers on the cheap I'll stash them. I saw mini roses in the exact color I needed for cupcake toppers recently (28 for $4). Um, yeah.... I bought em and when the cupcakes were topped in 2 minutes versus an hour or two I was very happy!

 

I keep practicing and making my own here and there. Hopefully I'll get good enough/quick enough to do all my own but for now I'm ok with buying them occasionally.

post #13 of 21

I make my own, but I enjoy doing them, (I know, I'm a freak).

However, I pre-make most of them in large quantities in plain white, usually while I'm watching a movie. Then I just paint them to order, which only takes a couple minutes.

 

I'm one of the very few places that does sugar flowers around here, unless you go into Seattle, (2 hours away), so I get a lot of orders specifically for that. I priced it all out last year and it's quite a bit cheaper for me to make them myself in my spare time, than to buy them.

 

I have also been making them since I was about 9 or 10, my great aunt was a cake decorator, and taught me how to do sugar flowers, so I have had almost 30 years of practice.

post #14 of 21

I make my own , it is what people usually come to me for and pay well for them. I also teach others to make them . 

I sell them to other decorators too. 

For me they are such a great joy to create something that mimics nature to the point where people will try to smell them thinking they are real. 

 

It does come down to what you enjoy doing and ultimately , if it is economical . 

post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrumdiddlycakes View Post

I make my own, but I enjoy doing them, (I know, I'm a freak).

However, I pre-make most of them in large quantities in plain white, usually while I'm watching a movie. Then I just paint them to order, which only takes a couple minutes.

 

I'm one of the very few places that does sugar flowers around here, unless you go into Seattle, (2 hours away), so I get a lot of orders specifically for that. I priced it all out last year and it's quite a bit cheaper for me to make them myself in my spare time, than to buy them.

 

I have also been making them since I was about 9 or 10, my great aunt was a cake decorator, and taught me how to do sugar flowers, so I have had almost 30 years of practice.


Sigh, 20 years of practice, not 30. Apparently I am either terrible at math or I don't know how old I actually am!

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