Here we are at part two of the dogwood branch tutorial. In part one, I covered how to make the dogwood bracts, centers, leaves and small buds. This second, and final part of the tutorial will cover making the blooming buds, dusting the flowers, buds and leaves, then compiling the arrangement along with some final touches. You can find part one of the dogwood branch tutorial here.
Make the blooming dogwood buds:
1. Make a cone shape with a small piece of white gum paste. Place the tapered end into the second smallest hole of a foam pad with holes (Mexican Hat method).
2. Roll the paste thinly over the hole. Carefully remove the paste from the hole and place flat side down, stem side up. Center a 4 petal cutter over the stem of the paste. Cut out the flower. Remove any stray pieces of paste by running your finger along the edge of the cutter.
3. Place the flower stem back into the second smallest hole of the foam pad. Use a ball tool to elongate and cup of each petals.
4. Remove the flower from the pad. Brush a small amount of sugar glue in the center and bottom edges of each petal. Insert the wire of a dogwood center through the center of the flower, taking care to guide the wire down through the stem.
5. Cup the tightly petals around the center.
6. Hang the buds upside down to dry completely.
Dust the dogwood centers:
1. Dust the centers liberally with moss green petal dust.
2. With a small bit of burgundy, lightly dust a few areas of the center to give it a bit more of a realistic look and a bit more depth.
Dust the dogwood bracts:
*Be sure to apply dust sparingly as you dust the bracts. The goal is to build and layer color. This is how you make sugar flowers look more real. You can add more color, but you cannot remove it once it is on.
1. Lightly dust the center edge (the indentation we made) of the bracts with moss green.
2. Lightly dust very edge of the indentation with the brown dust, right over the edge of the moss green. The color should look gradient with a fine brown edge that continues to moss green.
3. Along the edges of the bract, with the exception of the center indented edge, and about a third of the way down the sides of the bract, very lightly dust with the dusty pink. Brush from the edges towards the center so that the color tapers off. The edges should be where the majority of color is. You’re going to be inclined to be a bit heavy handed here, but don’t. Less is more.
Dust the blooming dogwood buds:
1.Liberally dust the gum paste “stem” of the bud, tapering the color upwards, about halfway up the flower. You want the color to be darkest at the base of the flower nearest the wire.
2. Dust the base of the flower nearest the wire with brown, about 1/4″ up from the bottom of the bud.
3. Lightly dust the edges of the flower bud with dusty pink, dusting downwards to create a gradient of color, about 1/4″ down.
4. Just the very edges with moss green to mute the pink and give it more of blooming appearance.
Dust the small buds:
1. Liberally dust the small buds with moss green dust.
2. At the base of the buds, near the stem, liberally dust with brown dust about 3/4 of the way up from the bottom.
Dust the leaves and tape the wires:
1. Liberally dust front and back of the leaves with rose leaf green.
2. Activate the glue of the moss green tape by stretching the tape. Tightly tape the wires of the blooming buds, and larger leaves with the tape, finishing about halfway down the wire.
3. Tape a small leaf beside each small bud, taping about halfway down the wires.
Compile the dogwood flower:
1. Place the bracts two at a time, opposite each other, underneath a dogwood center, and tape with moss green floral tape. Place the remaining two bracts underneath and on opposite sides of the first two, and tape all the way down the wire. If you are using two different size bracts, place the larger ones first, opposite each other. Then place the smaller two opposite each other, underneath the larger two.
Create the individual stems of the branch:
1.For the first stem, tape together two of the small buds, staggering them so they’re not too close together, with the twig brown tape.
2. Tape two leaves onto the stem, also staggering them.
3. Finish the stem by taping on one of the dogwood flowers. Continue to tape all the way down the stem. Set aside.
4. For the second stem, tape a blooming bud to a small bud, staggering them so they’re not too close together.
5. Tape two leaves to the stem, opposite each other and slightly staggered, followed by an additional leaf. Tape all the way down the stem. Set aside.
6. Create the main branch by taping together a blooming bud with a leaf, staggering them.
7. Add another leaf to the stem. About 2″ down from the leaf, add the second stem ( the stem with the small and blooming bud).
8. Tape the stem with the flower to the main branch, about 3″ down.
9. Tape a 20 gauge wire to the branch, just below the flower. This will reinforce the branch and keep the branch from toppling over.
10.Tape an additional flower to the branch, followed by a leaf.
11. Add the third and final flower to the branch, taping all the way down the wires. Cut off any excess wire. You want to leave about 5″-6″ inches of stem to be able to insert the arrangement into a cake.
Final touches and finishing the arrangement:
12. Dust the branch with a combination of the leaf green, and brown dusts to blend the areas where the two different color tapes meet. This will make the colors look gradient and the branch more realistic.
13. Use a travel steamer or a tea kettle to *carefully* steam the arrangement to set the color. Be careful not to burn your fingers in the steam. Just carefully wave the arrangement through the steam to remove the chalky appearance. You don’t want the arrangement to look wet – you just need minimal steam. Let the arrangement dry completely.
Many of the techniques shared in this tutorial can apply to many other flowers and flower arrangements. For more tutorials and resources, check out these posts: