How to make autumn foliage

In this tutorial Hannah Collison teaches you how to make maple, ivy, and bramble leaves to create a gorgeous bouquet of autumn foliage, perfect for your fall cake decoration projects!

Autumn foliage Image credit: Hannah Collison

Top tips!

  • To help keep your working area clean, cover the surface with paper and use a large empty box as a spray booth. Work in a well ventilated room. When using an airbrush to colour sugar flowers keep the nozzle at least 6 inches away from the flower – if the petals become shiny/wet allow them to dry before adding another coat of colour.
  • The airbrush does not need to be cleaned out each time there is a colour change. Spray the excess colour into a cleaning jar. Add the new colour to the ink well and spray onto a test piece of paper until the required colour/shade comes through.

 Learn how to make acorns and oak leaveshoneysuckle berries, or blackberries to add to your autumnal spray.

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You will need


  • white flower paste (Squires Kitchen)
  • paste colours: autumn leaf, foliage green, gooseberry green and red extra (Sugarflair)
  • airbrush food colours: carnival red, dynamic black and jungle green (Squires Kitchen)
  • edible blossom tint: white (Sugarflair)
  • isopropyl alcohol or triple rose water
  • piping gel
  • safety seal (Ingenious Edibles)


  • 24, 26, and 28 gauge florist wire: white (Sunrise)
  • ivy leaf cutter set of 4 (Orchard Products)
  • ivy leaf veiner: Gracilis large (Squires Kitchen)
  • maple leaf cutter set of 3 (FMM)
  • maple leaf veiner: Oregon large(Squires Kitchen)
  • rose leaf cutter set of 4 (Orchard Products)
  • rose leaf veiner: large (DPM)
  • bone modelling tool
  • angled tweezers and long nose pliers
  • fine paint brush
  • syringe with needle
  • tea light
  • no.2 piping nozzle (PME)
  • airbrush
  • florist tape: nile green and olive green (Hamilworth)
  • large sewing / darning needle.


Make 11 maple, 12 ivy and 10 bramble leaves using the appropriate coloured flower paste, cutters and veiners – on a non-stick board roll out a piece of coloured flower paste with a thick central ridge for the wire. Cut out the leaf shape and insert a 28g wire into the ridge to support 2/3 of the leaf length. Vein then place onto a foam pad to thin the edges using a bone modelling tool. Shape each leaf and tape the stems down by 3cm (1in). Allow to dry.
Using airbrush with a few drops of carnival red, spray the maple leaves. Add two drops of dynamic black and overspray the base of both to create darker tones. Allow the colour to dry.
Using airbrush, colour ivy and bramble leaves dark green using a mix of jungle green and dynamic black. Once dry, paint fine vein lines onto ivy leaves using white blossom tint mixed with isopropyl alcohol or triple rose water.
Using olive green florist tape, bind maple leaves onto a 26g wire beginning with the smallest. If the main stem begins to flop, strengthen by adding further 26g or 24g wires. Leave a length of stem showing on each leaf before taping to the main stem, this gap increases with the size of the leaf. Tape leaves in sets of three and four.
Using nile green florist tape, assemble the sets of ivy leaves in a similar way to the maple leaves.
Assemble bramble leaves in sets of five. If the leaf sizes vary begin with the largest. The first leaf is straight, the others are taped in pairs bent opposite each other and tight to the main stem. If required, add 24g wire to lengthen and strengthen the stem.
Using olive green florist tape, bind together your leaves to make an attractive spray. Trim end of the stem using pliers. Dip into safety seal to create a food safe barrier between the wire stem and the cake.
Extra touches: To make the leaves look more realistic imperfections can be added. Using long nosed pliers clamp a large sewing/darning needle. Hold the blunt end of the needle into a flame until it begins to glow, use the heated needle to burn little holes into random leaves to represent those made by tiny creatures and caterpillars.
Dew drops can be added by squeezing piping gel through the needle of a syringe.
Last updated one year ago

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