Tips For Making Wafer Paper Flowers

There are many methods that you can use to make wafer paper flowers for cakes, some more difficult than others. Using wafer paper isn’t as simple as it looks because of how it acts with humidity and moisture. 

These tips will give you the basics of how to start with wafer paper flower making.

wafer paper flower tips

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wafer paper ranunculus

Tips for How to Use Wafer Paper for Flowers

  • Using vodka to wet the paper will help shorten the drying time because it will evaporate faster. Use plastic gloves to keep the vodka off of your skin.
  • When the paper is wet it will cling to whatever it touches, including itself. Placing it where it will end up BEFORE you wet it is something that you can do to minimize this for certain applications.
  • If the paper gets damp it will curl, which is something that you can use to your advantage by steaming it.
  • The paper shrinks slightly when it’s wet and then dries. It also has a little stretch to it while it’s wet, but it’s tricky to move it around if the sheet is wet.
  • If you color the paper, then get it wet, the part that’s wet will get darker. You can color the finished piece but you run the risk of softening it up unless you use powder colors.
  • You can color the paper as you shape it by using tinted water.
  • The paper can be cut using scissors or a die cutter.
  • Wires and other things can be stuck to the paper using gum glue or corn syrup.
  • Edible glue will act like water on the paper to a certain extent, but it will dry a little stiffer and slower. 
  • Make sure your hands are dry at all times while you’re working with the paper. Remember it’s starch, not real paper, so even a little moisture will make it sticky.
  • When wafer paper is soaked and then dries, it becomes very stiff. The starch basically hardens up, so the texture is very different. If you place it on something smooth when it’s wet it will be smooth and shiny when it dries out.
  •  When the paper dries after being wet, it shrinks. It can change size or shape, and sometimes it’s unpredictable. Learning how the paper reacts is key to being able to get consistent results. You have to experiment with it to see what it does.
  • When you’re making flowers, the best way to make sure they won’t dry crooked or shrink is to form them around a center with a wire or pick in it. If the base of the flower that connects to the wire is pinched around the wire it will be less likely to reshape itself as it dries.

wafer paper flower

Gum Glue Recipe

¼ tsp tylose

2 Tbsp hot water

Put the hot water in a small container, sprinkle the tylose over it. Mix it in with a fork, breaking up any clumps as best you can. Let it sit overnight. Store covered.

Tape 6 petals together and glue the cupped center on.
Making wafer paper daffodils.

Water or Vodka Vs Wafer Paper Conditioner

When you’re moistening the petals to vein them or curl them, any liquid will work, including water, vodka, or liquid wafer paper conditioner.

The advantages of using a conditioner is that it’s basically either water or vodka with glycerin mixed in, and the glycerin works to soften the paper without totally melting it. It also extends the time that the paper will be soft enough to manipulate it, so it can stay flexible for hours or even days.

Using straight water or vodka can make the wafer paper too wet, especially if it’s a thinner grade.

While water or vodka can be used to create specific effects, using a conditioner can give you more working time with the paper before it dries.

wafer paper sunflower

wafer paper ad for A Cake To Remember dot com

Wafer Paper Flower Basics

There are many ways to use wafer paper to make flowers for use on cakes. The easiest is to just cut out some petal shapes and attach them to each other using water or gum glue. This will give you a flatter flower with more of a fantasy-flower look, but they’ll still look light and airy because the paper is so thin. 

You can take some water and wet the edges of the petals so that they soften and curl a little. I’ve done these in red so that you can see the curl better.

how to make a wafer paper calla lily steam the petal curling the base of the flower 2
Bending a steamed wafer card calla lily

You can hold the flowers over steam for a couple of seconds to soften them slightly. Don’t hold them there for more than two seconds, they’ll continue to soften up after you take them away from the steam.

You can also cut out flower shapes using paper punches and use those individually.

veining wafer paper in a veiner

How to Vein Wafer Paper Petals

 If you want to shape the petals there are a couple of ways to do that. Either use flower veiners or cut the petals and shape, or you can dry the petals on a curved plastic surface. They won’t stick to plastic when they’re completely dry.

Cut the petals out with scissors in a variety of sizes, put them on the veiner, and spray with water or vodka. You can use colored water to give a tint to the finished petals. 

Press them into the veiner, and leave them there until they’re totally dry. These petals will be very contoured and detailed. Make them ahead and store in a covered container.

To attach these petals together, use gum glue brushed on a disc of fondant or gumpaste. and press the petals onto it. The petals might start to melt, so be careful not to continue touching them when they soften up.

Keep layering the petals from the outer ones to the inner ones, and let the gum glue set up completely. This will give you a larger open flower. 

You can add a center to it or add a bunch of smaller petals to make it look very full and fluffy.

You can also do the petals so that you have a large open flower, then add a gumpaste center to it. This one was a center that was built on a wooden skewer, then dried completely, 

When I attached the petals to the center I used gum glue to attach the dry center to the ring of petals by inserting the skewer through the middle of the petals. 

wafer paper anemone
Fluffy wafer paper flower with a gumpaste center

Doing it this way will also give you the ability to insert the flower directly into the cake because it will be on the skewer. 

The gumpaste circle that the flower is built on will act as a barrier between the wafer paper and the moisture in the cake and will keep the petals from softening up.

Shaping Rounded Wafer Paper Flowers

Another way to shape the petals is to cut out the petal shape, then cut a slit in the bottom of the petal. Using a small amount of water or gun glue, brush the edge of one side of the cut, then overlap one side over the other. 

This will make the petal cup in shape, and when you assemble the flower the petals will have a curve to them.

cupping a flower petal

When the flower is assembled, brush a tiny bit of water onto the edge of the petals. This will make the edges of the petals curve slightly and give the petals a more realistic appearance. 

wafer paper rose

When the flower dries you can brush some color onto the petals if you didn’t color it ahead of time.

Another way to make flowers would be to start with the center and work out, as you would with a gumpaste rose. Give the layers time to dry before adding more to make sure the wafer paper doesn’t dissolve. 

If you do it this way you don’t necessarily need to do any type of veining with the petals, or even any cutting of them to cup them. 

Attaching them to the center and varying the width of them could be enough to give the petals enough movement to look right. 

Make sure that you keep your hands dry as you work on the flower so that the petals don’t stick to them.

How to Wire Wafer Paper Petals

You could also attach wires to petals using gum glue, then wire those together. Putting a lot of larger petals together in this manner will give you a big, fluffy-looking fantasy flower, and can be very effective. 

How the finished product will look will depend on whether the petals are veined, cupped, or flat. 

To attach wires, all you need to do is put some glue on the wire and let it dry against the petal. It doesn’t matter whether the petals are flat or veined, the glue will stick if you leave it long enough. 

You can also put a piece of wafer paper over the wire to secure it further, or put two pieces of wafer paper together with a wire in between. Pinch the base of the petal to give it a cupped shape when it’s damp enough to manipulate.

wired petal
wired wafer paper flower petal

wired petal

This wiring method can work for any type of flower. The basic steps are to cut out the petals based on the individual flower, decide whether they need to be veined or shaped in any way, let them dry, then wire them. 

Assembling wafer paper flowers goes faster than gumpaste because you don’t have the same amount of drying time in between each step.

Be patient and hold the paper in the position you want it to dry in while shaping the dampened petals. When it grabs onto itself you’ll be able to let the petal go and place it into a former or onto a veiner if you want to give it a curved shape. 

Ribbon Style Wafer Paper Flowers

You can also use a ribbon flower technique to make flowers by cutting a large spiral and winding it around itself while gluing the lower edge to itself.


You can do this with or without a wired center. 

If you do it without a wired center, be aware that the flower can shrink when it dries! A center point can keep the petals in the placement that you want them to be in.

Variations on this are to cut a scalloped spiral and wind that to give a varied edge to the ribbon-style flower.

There are a lot of different ways to make wafer paper flowers, both wired and unwired. Keep an eye out here to see more wafer paper articles.

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