A special thanks to Saint Sepulveda for the latest blog posting. Learn to make a fantastic hydrangea blossom!
The hydrangea is considered one of the most popular and beautiful flowers today. This lovely flower originated in Japan but made its way to Europe in 1788. From climbing vines to potted plants the hydrangea can be quite versatile. Since it comes in a variety of sizes, colors, and shapes the hydrangea is suited to a multitude of purposes. The natural colors run the range of the color spectrum from the common pinks and light blues to vivid purples, bright greens, and deep hued reds.
This tutorial will focus on the bigleaf or mophead hydrangea (hydrangea macrophylla) which is the most common and easiest to make. Since the flower structure itself allows itself to be made either using a cutter as a whole or petals individually, it adapts well to individual skill levels without detracting away from the finished product.
Veiner or mold
Florist wire (27-28 gauge, smaller if desired)
Florist tape in both white & green
Ball tools (small and medium)
Pliers or wire cutters
Egg whites/water/sugar or tylose glue.
Fine bristle brush
Flat head brushes
Palate knife or small scissors
Start by cutting the white floral tape into a 12" - 18" length, then divide that length into three horizontal sections with either scissors or a CakeCel tape cutter. This cuts down on the bulk a full width of tape would add to your stem. Wrap the wire in white floral tape, giving your fingers a quick dusting of corn starch to prevent your fingers from getting tacky. Cut the wire into 3-4 ” lengths about as long as your pointer finger.
*HINT: Since hydrangea stems are a continuation of the flower color itself, use white tape around the petal wires so that the petal dust can be brushed down the stem for a more natural look.
After the wire is cut into lengths you will proceed to make the bud or center of the flower. There are two different ways to make the bud.
A.) Making a bud with a mold:
If you have a mold, then simply pack the mold with gumpaste using the small end of a balling tool and trim off any excess using either small scissors or a palate knife.
Fold the end tip of your wire to form a small hook using the cutters, pliers or tweezers.
Moisten the hook with your glue/bonding agent and insert the hook into the mold. Use your pointer finger and thumb to elongate the gumpaste down the stem slightly. Make sure you do not insert the wire deep enough to show when you remove the gumpaste from the mold.
To release the gumpaste from the mold -squeeze the mold between your fingers in a rocking motion, this will cause the gumpaste to detach quickly and easily.
B.) Making a bud without a mold:
If you don't have a mold or would like to make a smaller bud to your hydrangea, simply pinch off a small portion of gumpaste and roll it into a ball. Insert your wire and make a cross pattern using your palate knife. Use your pointer finger and thumb to elongate the gumpaste down the stem slightly. Depending on the size of your center and what gauge florist wire used you might not be able to hook the end of the wire. Make sure you handle your buds with care as they will easily pop off your wire if they are not affixed well or not allowed to dry properly.
Allow your centers and buds to dry several hours to overnight.
When the centers/buds are dried and safe to handle soften your gumpaste by kneading and roll out to a thinness of 6 if using a KitchenAid pasta roller or a Makin Professional roller. If rolling by hand try to make it the thickness of paper.
Very lightly dust the gumpaste with cornstarch to allow for a smooth cut. Once a flower has been cut, but is still located inside the cutter; lift and quickly run your finger over the bottom of the cutter to remove any gumpaste from the edges. This will give your petals cleaner edges.
Using the hydrangea mold/veiner from Decorate the Cake gently align the cut gumpaste petal in the bottom portion of the mold, using a ball tool to position it and get a secure fit.
Place the TOP portion of the mold and gently press to imprint both sides of the petal. Take caution not to press too hard or you will tear the gumpaste in the center of the flower.
*HINT: Do NOT rock the mold in a back and forth fashion as this will tear the gumpaste.
If using a veiner or mold other than Decorate the Cake's follow the directions below shown in the box:
Using the ball tool, you will need to feather the edges of the flower's petals.
Turn the petal to where the back side is face up on the foam, placing the ball tool partially on the foam with the other section placed on the outer edges of the petal and very gently using steady pressure trace the outer edges using a sweeping motion. This will allow you to achieve a more natural petal edge. Turn the petal right side up and using the small end of a ball tool cup the center so it will cradle the bud.
Gently moisten the center buds with a small amount of glue and slide the bottom of your wire into the center of your flower, carefully moving upward until the petal is cupping the center.
Hanging and drying the flowers.
For a closed flower hook the free end of your florist wire after the flower has been seated and hang upside down on a drying rack.
For a gently curved shape, dry in a flower former.
For open bud let it dry for a few minutes handing upside down and then turn it upward and dry in Styrofoam.
Since hydrangeas can come in many shapes and sizes on the same head, feel free to use several different size cutters as well as drying positions.
After allowing a sufficient drying time to safely handle dust or color your petals AND stems using petal dust. Steam to set colors. Join the individual stems together with green floral tape. The green floral tape helps mimic the living plant so you can achieve a more realistic version using gumpaste. If you would like to add leaves use a broad width serrated edge leaf. Dust and dip with confectioners glaze to give the appearance of a waxy/glossy leaf.