Gum Paste Open Peony - Purple

Pretty petals make a huge statement - so add an open peony in your next sugar flower arrangement!

By Ashley Barbey
The Little Vintage Baking Company

  • (2) 28-gauge floral wire - cut into thirds (you need 5 total pieces)
  • (8) 26-gauge floral wire - cut into thirds (you will need 23 pieces)
  • Satin Ice Gum Paste (a small amount of white for the centers and for the colors you want your flower to be)
  • Peony cutter set
  • Ball tool
  • Small rolling pin
  • Gum Glue
  • Peony Veiner
  • Half sphere flower formers
  • Dark green floral tape
  • Paintbrushes
  • Craft needle nose pliers
  • Groove board
  • Small zip top bags
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Cornstarch
  • Foam dummy - for drying
  • Petal dust - moss green, garnet, violet, carnation
  • Stamens

Let's Get Started:

  • Step 1: 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.
  • Step 2: 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.


  • Step 3: 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.


  • Step 4: Repeat steps 2 & 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.
  • Step 5: 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.



  • Step 8: 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.


  • Step 9: 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.
  • Step 10: 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.


  • Step 11: 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. 
  •  Step 12: Place the petal into a half sphere flower former to dry. 
  •  Step 13: Repeat steps 8-12 six more times to create 7 medium size petals total. 
  •  Step 14: 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. 
  •  Step 15: 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.


  • Step 16: 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.


  • Step 17: 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.


  • Step 18: 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.
  •  Step 19: Add the third layer of petals. Repeat step 18 with the 8 remaining large petals.
  • Step 20: 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.
  • Step 21: 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.


To learn more from Ashley - visit her at The Little Vintage Baking Company

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