I first made daffodils 2 years ago at Brooklands College. Jane Hatton was my teacher, and she has a natural and well-honed flair for making sugar flowers.
Our only hope in the class was that we could get our own flowers to look even half as good as Jane’s.
There is a downside to having really paper-thin petals on sugar flowers – they break very, very easily. Working quietly away in class, you would hear the dreaded tiny breaking noise and then a desperate squeak (or squeal, depending on the student) heralding a broken flower, petal or leaf.
For competition work (and courses like the ABC or Brooklands College qualifications in sugar flowers), it’s imperative that the flowerpaste is rolled super-thin…so that if you held a petal up to the light, it would shine through. So that it would almost look transluscent. So that, when you’re transporting the little critters, you do so with your stomach in your mouth, barely daring to breathe.
For commercial flowers, I roll the paste a little bit less thinly. So that I can handle the flowers more easily. So that one touch will not break them. So that if any little toddler fingers happen to come anywhere near a customer’s sugar flowers, there’s a chance they might be saved!
So, here’s my tutorial for making sugar daffodils. Easter is almost upon us, and I’m already seeing these lovely sunny flowers everywhere. What a lovely way to celebrate the start of spring and the promise of summer.
Centres for the Daffodils:
Cut a 20 gauge green florist wire in half.
Colour some Flowerpaste (I use Squires Kitchen own-brand) with Sugarflair Melon food paste (or a yellow food paste of your choice).
Take a bit of the coloured Flowerpaste and roll it on to the wire into a thin sausage shape, no bigger than half an inch (1 cm) in length:
Take another piece of coloured Flowerpaste and roll a thin sausage, and cut into 6:
Brush egg white on the Flowerpaste on the wire. Use this (now) sticky Flowerpaste to pick up the 6 sausages. Align them, and pinch them gently into place:
Take some of the Flowerpaste:
Roll a ball to the size of a chickpea and cone it.
Make a hole in the centre with a dowel / veining tool:
Roll the veining tool around the inside of it to open it up:
Grease the veiner and vein the inside of the trumpet on a hard board. You want a frilly effect on the edges of the trumpet. So just texture the body of the trumpet with the veiner:
Feed the daffodil wired centres through:
Apply more veining pressure to the top edge of the trumpet to get the frilly effect.
Feed the trumpet through your fingers to get more of an upright trumpet effect.
(A small Bridal Lily cutter is needed. Alternatively, you can use a Daffodil petal cutter.)
Bridal Lily cutters (they come in a pack of 3 from FMM – use the smallest one, depending on the size of your trumpets).
This method is using the Mexican Hat method, although you can also make daffodil petals with daffodil cutters.
Take a cherry-sized piece of Flowerpaste. Roll it into a ball, and then cone it:
Flatten the cone onto a hard board (it might be an idea to apply a thin layer of Trex/shortening to the board at this point) and roll out the Flowerpaste thinly from the centre to the edges with a mini rolling-pin / cocktail-stick / dowel:
Before using the cutter, check that the centre is sufficiently narrow enough for the centre of the cutter to feed through.
Press the cutter down and pull off the excess Flowerpaste:
You might need a palette knife to help ease the daffodil petals off the board. Then poke a hole in the centre with a dowel / veining tool.
Vein each petal – roll backwards and forwards with the veining tool. However, don’t frill it, just texture it.
Using the Dresden tool (with the smooth side down), rub down the top edge on the inside of each petal:
Brush egg wash down the hole, and feed the wired trumpet through the centre:
Pinch any excess Flowerpaste off the wire, and taper the edge down. For this tutorial, I pinched off a bit more than I should have. So the image at the top of this blog post shows how far it should taper down.
Then pinch each petal on the centre edge to give it shape:
When it is sufficiently dry in the flower former, so that the petals stay where they should, brush some Spring Green dust food colour on the very bottom of each daffodil (and maybe a touch of orange (Mango) food dust on the edge of the daffodil trumpet if you prefer the darker centres):
The wire/stalk will also need to be taped with green florist tape before you move on to the next step.
So finally, the ‘spathe’ needs to be added (the papery bit where the stalk meets the base of the daffodil). Using white tape, with the Dresden tool, scrape the end down a bit on a foam board, to make it scraggly:
Attach the tape just onto the bottom end of the Daffodil, with a bit of the tape hanging off: