2 - 28-gauge floral wire, cut into thirds (You will need 5 pieces total)
8 - 26-gauge floral wire, cut into thirds (You will need 23 pieces total)
Gum Paste – a small amount of white for the centers and paste for the petals in the color of your choosing (I used Satin Ice gum paste)
Stamens (Learn how to make them here: https://www.littlevintagebaking.com/blog/2017/6/6/how-to-make-stamen-for-sugar-flowers-open-peony-variety)
Peony Cutter Set – medium and large size cutters
Small Rolling Pin (or Cel Pin)
Peony Veiner (For this tutorial, I used Sugar Art Studio’s Garden Rose Veiner, but you can also use a peony veiner)
Dense Foam Pad
Half Sphere Flower Formers
Dark Green Floral Tape
Paintbrushes – for dusting
Craft Needle Nose Pliers
Small Zip Top Bags
Foam Dummy – for drying
Petal Dusts (in desired colors) – I used Crystal Colors (Moss Green, Garnet, and Violet) and Global Sugar Art (Carnation)
Start by making the pistil centers. Using craft pliers, bend the end of the 28-gauge wire pieces, creating a small hook. This hook will help keep the paste attached to the flower.
Condition the white paste by kneading it with a tiny amount of shortening, warming it, and softening it in your hands until the paste is smooth and workable. Roll a small piece of white paste (4mm, roughly the size of a pearl) into an oblong shape. Seal the remaining white paste in a zip-top bag so that it doesn’t dry out while making your pistil centers. Dip 28-gauge wire into the gum glue, wiping off the excess. Insert the wire into the paste a little more than halfway. Pinch and twist the paste at the base to adhere to the wire.
Using the tips of your fingers, pinch the tip of the oblong shape to flatten. Using a ball tool, thin and ruffle the edges. Slightly bend the ruffles to give them shape and movement.
Repeat steps 2 and 3 with 4 additional pieces of paste and floral wire, creating 5 pistils total. Different kinds of peonies have different quantities of pistils so feel free to experiment with more or less pistils.
While the paste is still pliable, bunch the pistils together to form a tight center. Activate the glue on a length of floral tape by stretching it. Using the floral tape, wrap the wires tightly starting as the very base of the pistils and working downwards. Place pistil center into a piece of foam to dry overnight.
Step 6: Dust the pistil center. Using a moss green petal dust, dust the body of the pistil centers. Be sure to dust both the outside and the inside. Then, dust the ruffled tips of the pistils with bright pink.
Separate the stamen into 3 clusters. Working with 1 cluster at a time, tape each group of stamen to the pistil center about 1/4 inch higher than the center at equal intervals. Fan the stamen out around the center. Set aside to work on the petals.
Make the peony petals. Roll out purple paste on a groove board as thin as possible. Pick up the paste and flip over, with the groove now face up. Squeeze slightly to give the cutters a more rounded shape. Cut out the petal using the medium cutter, with the groove centered at the base and coming about 2/3 of the way up the petal. Run your finger along the edge of the cutter to allow the petal to release freely and to remove any stray bits.
Dip the end of a piece of 26-gauge wire in gum glue. Wipe off the excess. Insert the wire into the groove, about 1/2 way up the petal, taking care to not stick the wire through the front of the petal. Pinch at the base to adhere the paste to the wire.
Place the petal into the veiner and press down to vein the petal. If you are worried about the paste sticking, dust the veiner lightly with cornstarch before veining your petals.
Place the petal onto a dense foam mat. Using a ball tool, thin and ruffle the edges of the petal. Don’t worry if some of the petal edges tear. This adds more realism to your peony. Note that your petals do not all have to look the same or consistent. Make each one a bit different to make them more realistic.
Place the petal into a half sphere flower former to dry.
Repeat steps 8-12 six more times to create 7 medium size petals total.
Repeat steps 8-12 with the large peony petal cutter to create 16 large petals. For the larger petals, still place them in the half sphere former to dry, but don’t cup them as much.
Once the petals are completely dry, dust with petal dust. Brush the petals with the garnet dust. Be sure to brush the backsides, as well.
Using the violet dust, brush the tips of the peony and sweeping down to taper off the violet color. Be sure to dust the backsides of the petals, too.
To assemble the flower, begin with the 7 medium size petals. Gently angle the petals back, so that the petal will cup around the center and the petal wire aligns with the center wires. Wrap 2-3 petals at a time, tightly, with floral tape, placing each subsequent petal over the previous petal. Adjust the petals so that they evenly cup around the center.
Add 8 larger petals for the second layer. Gently angle the petals back so that the petal will cup around the first layer of petals and the petal wire aligns with the center wires. Wrap 2-3 petals at a time, tightly, with floral tape, placing each subsequent petal over the previous petal and in between the first layer of petals. Adjust the petals so that they are evenly spaced around the first set of petals.
Add the third layer of petals. Repeat step 18 with the 8 remaining large petals.
Move the petals around to open and close them depending how tight or how open you want your peony to be. I like to open my last row of petals out more to make my peony look fuller and bloomed.
Steam your petals for 3-4 seconds to set the color and eliminate the dusty look. You can use a steamer if you have one. I use a tea kettle. You can also use a saucepan. Boil water until steaming. Carefully wave your flower through the steam. Be careful to keep your fingers out of the way as the steam is hot and cause severe burns. Set the peony into a foam dummy to dry completely.
There you have it, a gorgeous, open gum paste peony. I want to see your beautiful peonies using this tutorial! Snap a photo and tag #littlevintagebaking on Instagram.