After spending a day making wired petals for peonies, I thought that there had to be a way to make the process go faster.
I came up with this quick method that let me make 17 petals in 20 minutes on my first try, which is a lot faster than I had been doing them.
Now I’ll be the first to say that I can’t be the first person to think of this because it seems so obvious, but I’ve never seen anyone do it this way before.
I felt very clever when I thought of it, then I felt dumb for not thinking of it sooner.
Roll out strips of gumpaste.
To do this, you’ll need a pasta roller or a clay roller to roll the gumpaste out fairly thin, but not too thin.
You’ll be rolling it thinner when you’ve cut the petals, so it doesn’t have to be really thin to begin with.
On my Kitchenaid pasta roller I take it down to a 5.
Roll a long strip of gumpaste out, then trim off the edges with a pizza cutter so that the long edges are straight.
Brush some water along the lower edge of the strip to dampen the gumpaste.
This should only be damp, not soaking wet. Put the wires down along the damp edge, spacing them about as far apart as the size of the petals that you’re going to be cutting.
Fold the gumpaste over onto itself and match the edges up.
(You can also do this by folding the gumpaste over like a book or by putting wires along both edges, then putting two pieces on each other so that the entire width of the paste is used. This would be to make a lot of smaller petals on both sides of the gumpaste strip, or to cut larger petals that need the full width of the strip.)
Take a small rolling pin and press the two edges together around the wires, but only roll very gently over the wires themselves so that you don’t shift them around.
Cut the petals out.
Roll out the gumpaste starting at the top of the wires and going away from them so that the length of the strip is at least the length of the cutter that you’ll be using.
Before cutting the petals out, run a small spatula under the gumpaste to make sure it isn’t sticking to the rolling surface.
Cut the petals out, placing the cutters centered on the wires.
You now have mass-produced wired petals ready to be shaped. Put them under plastic wrap or into a plastic baggie until you need them so that they don’t dry out.
Shape the petals.
Shape the petals as you usually do.
You can roll them out thinner using a rolling pin, or use a two-sided petal press to make sure that the two pieces of gumpaste are really adhered to each other, then cup them as usual with the ball tool, etc.
The pressure of the ball tool will help to make sure that the gumpaste is stuck to itself.
If you do find that the gumpaste is separating, you’re not pressing hard enough at the beginning when you press down on the sections with the rolling pin, or you’re using too much water to stick the sheets together.
Once you try this you can adjust the thickness of the gumpaste to be thicker or thinner, however you find it best to work with.