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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Stephanotis Bud from Wilton Course 4

There's something about incorporating buds into a bouquet (even one made of gum paste) that lends a sense of realism, as though at any moment the bud might open and the bouquet will further evolve. Recently I posted the directions for the stephanotis, and today I want to show you how to make the stephanotis bud. The setup includes green and white gum paste, Crisco (to knead into the gum paste if it gets dry), a small fondant roller fitted with purple rings, a dusting pouch filled with a 50/50 mix of powdered sugar and cornstarch, needle-nose pliers (the kind used in jewelry-making), a gum paste storage mat (the back side of which makes a great work surface), a small brush, a sealed container of gum glue adhesive (a pinch of gum paste dissolved in a tablespoon of water), florist's tape, 22-gauge florist wire, the knife tool from the 10-piece Wilton Fondant & Gum Paste set, and two cutters available in the Course 4 Student Kit: the rose petal cutter and the small blossom cutter. You may also wish to use Lime Green Color Dust to add some color.
Start by bending the end of one of the wires into a hook with the needle-nose pliers:
 Shape a pinch of white gum paste into a nickel-sized ball:
Dust your work surface by shaking the dusting pouch over it:
 
Roll out the ball…
 …and cut a rose petal shape from it:
 Remove the slack and return it to the rest of your gum paste in a sealed bag or plastic wrap:
 Roll the petal shape into a ball; this ball is more dime-sized:
 Time to start modeling; this was the first time in this class that I really started to feel like a sculptor of sorts! Pinch one end of the ball, and form the ball into a gourd-like shape by rolling this end between your thumb and a finger:
Here's the shape again, slightly elongated:
 Now, start elongating the other end of the "gourd" into a point between your thumb and index finger. When you're done with this step, the shape should be about 1 1/4" long:
 Use the knife tool (or any flat, blunt tool) to make five or six evenly spaced lines around this end of the shape. I started at the widest part of the bud and gently drew the knife toward the pointed tip:
 Here it is, straight on:
 Set the bud aside, and dip the hooked end of the wire in the gum glue adhesive:
 Insert the hooked end into the base of the bud, about 3/4":
 To make the calyx (green, cup-like base) of the bud, roll out a small amount of green gum paste very thinly and cut out a shape with the small blossom cutter:
 My cutout has a shallow divot in it where I used the handle-end of the brush to free it from the cutter:
 Dab some gum glue adhesive on the base of the bud:
 Stick the end of the wire into the center of the green blossom cutout and slide it up the wire.
 Press it into place at the base of the bud:
 When the bud is reasonably firmed up, lightly dust the base around the calyx with Lime Green Color Dust.
 Lastly, you'll want to wrap the stem with florist's tape. Cut off about six inches (if you're using a 4" wire)…
 …and start wrapping about half an inch down the wire from the bud. Pull gently on the tape to activate the tape's adhesive; as you wrap the stem the tape will stick to itself.
 Once you've gotten an inch or so wrapped successfully, slide the tape up the wire to the base of the stephanotis bud; fit it snugly against the calyx:
On its own, this bud would just look weird, right? But clustered with some full-blown stephanotis, it's part of a still life!

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