Petal formers are a necessary tool in order to give your gum paste or wafer flowers the proper petal shape for a specific flower. There are a variety of commercial petal formers out there but sometimes specific ones can be hard to find and they can be expensive. Especially when you need need a lot of petal formers for multiple flowers.
In this tutorial, I'm going to show you how to make 3 different types of sugar flower petal formers, how you can adapt them and what you can use each former for. These boards are easy to make, fairly inexpensive and the materials are easy to find at your local craft store or Amazon.
Spoon Petal Formers
This is a pretty common former already used in the sugar/wafer paper world. I have boards with both regular plastic spoons and also one with soup spoons. Typical spoons are more oblong and narrow, which work best with petals that are more narrow with a slight cupped shape. I like to use this type of spoon former for drying and shaping anemone petals, rose petals, lisianthus petals, alstroemeria petals and more.
Soup spoons are more rounded and deeper. Great for shaping rounder petals with a more prominent cupped shape. I like using these formers for drying and shaping ranunculus petals, inner gardenia petals, smaller peony petals, English rose petals and more. I find that I use this former more often than the spoon former.
For the spoon boards, you will need: 9x12 piece ¼" foam board, cardboard, or fiberboard, a low heat hot glue gun, wire cutters and spoons and/or soup spoons. Cut the handles off of the spoons with the wire cutters. Discard the spoon handles. Place hot glue on the bottom center of the spoon and adhere to the foam core. Be sure to evenly space the spoons. Flip the foam board over and repeat with the soup spoons. You can adjust the formers on the board if you misplace one by gently sliding it in place while the glue is not set.
Foam Ball Petal Formers
I use foam ball formers quite often, mostly for larger cupped petals like magnolia petals, large peonies and English rose petals. You can easily use any size foam balls you would like, but I find that any petals that need to be dried and shaped under 2", can usually be done on spoons or bumpy foam. It's not as easy to find formers for much larger size cupped shapes - 2 ½", 2 ¾" and 3" so I find that smooth foam balls work perfectly.
This board can also be adapted to use egg shaped foam, which are good for making longer and more cupped petals such as tulip petals.
For the foam ball former board, you will need a piece of ¼" foam board (or cardboard or fiberboard) - I used 9x12, but you can definitely use a bigger board to add more foam balls or multiple sizes if you would like. You will also need smooth foam balls and low heat hot glue gun. Place a liberal amount of hot glue on the bottom of the foam ball and adhere to the board. Space the balls evenly on the board, leaving space in between for overhanging petals.
Optionally, you can cut the bottoms off of the ball to make it more sturdy against the board. The best way to do this is by using a foam cutter tool that essentially just melts through the foam. Just cut off ¼" off the bottom, then glue. Fast and no mess.
Think of this former as similar that of an apple tray former. These formers are larger with more shallow wells, perfect for drying and shaping poppy petals, peony petals, Japanese magnolias, orchids, and more. You can form the acetate to make shallow or deep cupped petal formers.
You can use either food safe acetate, usually found in rolls, or you can make these with thin, flexible cutting mats. You can get both of these on Amazon and you can also get the cutting mats at the dollar store.
For this board you will need a ¼" piece of foam board, cardboard, or fiberboard, a low heat hot glue gun, and scissors. Cut the acetate into 4"x4" squares. You can round off the edges if you like ( like I did in the photos) or you can leave them as is.
Cut two cuts in the acetate about ½" opposite each other for a shallow former, or ¾" for a deeper former. Place a small dab of glue on one side of the cut, crossing the other side to overlap onto the glue, pressing gently to adhere. Watch your fingers because the glue will be hot. Repeat with the other side of the acetate. Repeat the process with remaining 4"x4" pieces of acetate.
Place glue on the bottom of the acetate cups and adhere them to the board. Alternatively, you can omit the board and just use them as they are. They'll be a bit easier to store without the board as well.
If you make these sugar flower petal formers, let me know! Drop a comment or tag me on Instagram. Any questions, feel free to DM me or leave a comment below.
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