How to make sugarpaste carnations

One of the most versatile flowers around, these sugarpaste carnations will look elegant adorning any cake in any season. Learn how to create your very own in this sixteen step tutorial by Zoe Burmester.

Brought to you by Zoe Burmester

From from flower paste to gauge wire, get everything you need to model these stunning sugar flowers from our online shop here.

Zoe's Top Tip! Always make extra flowers as they are prone to breaking, and it will save time! Extra flowers can always be stored and used in future arrangements.


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You will need


  • 60g pale pink flower paste
  • 100g pale green flower paste
  • 50g pale yellow flower paste
  • Petal dusts: pumpkin, sunflower yellow, fuchsia, lemon yellow, riding hood red, deep purple, apple green, garden green (Magic Colours)
  • Homemade pollen: coarse polenta mixed with sunflower and pumpkin petal dusts
  • Edible glue (Magic Colours)


  • Rolling pin, two sizes - small & medium
  • Carnation cutter
  • Small nose pliers
  • Non-stick board
  • Long wooden skewer
  • Medium size generic calyx cutter
  • Foam pad with flower making holes
  • Ruler
  • 22 gauge wires
  • 5 x white seed head stamens
  • PME steamer or kettle
  • Curved scissors
  • Assorted brushes


Bend the top of the 22 gauge wire with some pliers to form a hook. Then take a single stamen, thread through the hook and fold it in half. Use some white florist tape to attach the two together wrapping continually around the hooked wire until a small elongated pea size bud forms.
Dust the non-stick board with a little cornflour, take the smallest carnation and using a wooden skewer, start to frill the edges of the petals. You want them as frilly as possible.
Brush a little edible glue around the bud and slip the bud into the frilled carnation. Fold the petals in half around the bud centre.
Take one side of the petal, dab a little glue and fold it back on itself. Turn the flower over and repeat with the other side so you are folding the inner petal around the bud. Hang upside down while you continue with the rest of the flower.
Now frill one of the larger carnations as before and slip the bud centre through, dabbing a little glue to help secure the petal around the centre. As the layers increase you won’t fold the petal, but rather squeeze it in shape around the inner petals.
Repeat this process with all of the petals, building up the layers. Hang upside down and leave to dry while you make the calyx.
Take a small amount of green flower paste, knead well and roll into a log, flattening down one of the short ends, to start to make a Mexican hat. Roll up one end and use a fine rolling pin or a paintbrush to roll out the flattened brim of the hat. Take a medium calyx cutter and place centrally over the Mexican hat and cut out.
Pop the calyx into a foam pad with a hole and use the skewer to frill the leaves. Take it out of the hole, turn it upside down and roll the skewer along the length of the leaf to give movement.
Hold the calyx in between your fingers and use the end of the brush to form a hollow down the centre of the calyx. Press out toward each leaf to flute the top slightly.
Dab a little glue in the centre of the calyx and insert the carnation into the hollowed calyx.
Shape the calyx with your fingers around the base of the carnation, twisting to secure it tightly on the wire.
Take a small pair of curved scissors and snip three little indentations around the calyx to form tiny leaves. At this stage also cut off the seed heads of the stamen, leaving only two protruding stalks. Leave the flower to dry upside down, and repeat the entire process to make four more flowers.
On a piece of waxed paper, tip out a little fuschia, red, deep purple and apple green petal dusts.
Use a soft wide brush to generously dust the carnation in a mixture of red and fuschia dusts. Now using the flat side of your brush, apply a little purple to the tips and edges of the petals.
Clean your brush and then dust the calyx in apple green dust. Steam the whole flower over a kettle or steamer to set the colour. Leave to dry and repeat the process with the other flowers.
Last updated 2 months ago

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