Here is a technique I use color gumpaste flowers.
In my experience of running a cake decorating business, I have had instances of customers requesting for cakes at the very last minute, sometimes in less than 2 days. This happens mostly for birthday cakes. I have also had similar requests for wedding cakes, sometimes with less than 2 weeks notice. It is still acceptable if the cake design is simple (by simple I mean little deco and no sugar flowers) but in most cases, as simple as it can get, brides often request flowers as part of their wedding cakes deco.
So I figured out a way to cater for this kind of cake orders. I make the sugar flowers in advance and when a rush order comes along, I have ready made flowers to be used. Its not practical to have these ready made flowers in every imaginable color, so what I do is make all the flowers in white. When an order comes along which requires a specific colored flower, I simply color gumpaste flowers by painting and dusting them.
This technique also works well when you want to color gumpaste flowers in deep or dark shades of a color. Instead of mixing lots and lots of color into the gumpaste to achieve the desired depth of color, painting and dusting the flowers is often faster option.
I have also used this technique on store bought flowers. It is not only time saving, but sometimes is a cheaper option and can be considered for customers who do not have a big budget for their cakes.
I recently had an order for a wedding cake which required deep purple colored roses for the deco, and it was kind of a rush order (the order was from a return customer, so I could not reject it). I didn’t have any ready made white roses at that time and making the roses myself was not a good option as it was a rush order, so I decided to purchase ready made sugar rose bouquets instead. Unfortunately I could not find the roses in the shade of purple I wanted.
So I bought white roses and colored them instead.
This is the rose bouquet, straight out of packaging from a local cake decorating supply shop.
This is how the rose bouquet looked after I painted and dusted it with purple food coloring and petal dust.
To achieve this deep purple shade, I used a mixture of these colors:
The paint mixture must be diluted in water before painting. To ensure color is in the shade you want, always test it on a test flower first. Generally, if the paint solution is thick, the color on the rose will be too dark a shade of purple that it will look black instead of purple. Too much water would, on the other hand, appear as too light of a purple shade.
The trick is to add water in little amounts until the right shade is achieved.
Once you have the right consistency, start by painting the center of the flower, and use a fine brush so that you can reach the insides and bottom of the petals without breaking them. Also make sure your brush does not contain too much paint or it will take a long time to dry the paint.
Here is how my rose looked after painting:
Once the whole flower has been painted, leave it to dry completely. Since the roses came in bouquets, I had to be extra careful when painting so as to not accidentally paint the filler flowers which I intended to leave white.
One way to avoid any spillage onto other flowers is to use a small piece of kitchen towel or sponge around the base on the flower you are painting. Here is what I used:
This piece of sponge came with the rose bouquet when I bought it, so I just recycled it . If you don’t have these, you can use a kitchen towel.
Once the flowers are painted, leave them to dry completely. I left mine to dry overnight.
To enhance the color of the flower and hide any brush marks on the painted flowers, I then dusted them with Violet petal dust. Dusting not only hides all the brush marks and uneven paint tones on the petals, it also helps to enhance the color. I used Violet dust from Squires Kitchen.
See the difference between these two roses. Both were painted, but the one of the right was dusted with the petal dust and the one on the left was not.
As for the smaller filler flowers, instead of painting them, I dusted the centers with petal dust above.
Here is how the rose bouquet looked after painting and dusting:
I had to prepare 5 of these gumpaste rose bouquets for the wedding cake, and this whole painting and dusting process took me approximately 4 hours, which is really worth it considering there were so many roses to paint and dust as compared to me making the rose bouquets myself which would have easily taken 2 days at a minimum.
If you like this technique of how to color gumpaste flowers, please a comment. Please also feel free to share your thoughts and ideas :)
Here is another one of my cake projects in which I used the exact same colored roses. Click here to see step by step pictures on how I made this flower pot cake: