How to Make a Sunflower

Inspired by Van Gogh's beautiful paintings, Calli Hopper shows you how to create this stunning flower.

Image credit: Sunflower

Inspired by Van Gogh's beautiful paintings, Calli Hopper shows you how to create this stunning flower.

You will need:



  • a small amount of RKT (Rice Krispie Treats) to make the sunflower centres
  • edible glue
  • modelling chocolate
  • yellow gel paste
  • Edible colour dusts:(light yellow, medium yellow, tangerine, red, spring green)
  • semolina
  • small amount of vodka
  • round cutter approximately 5-6cm (2-2.5in)
  • 18, 26, 28 gauge Florist white wires
  • cocktail straw
  • Dresden tool
  • balling tool
  • sunflower cutter (I used a lily cutter)
  • sunflower petal veiner (I used a cosmos veiner)
  • flat soft paintbrushes (can use 1,2,3) and a 000 fine brush
  • small dish or palette
  • non-stick rolling pin
  • non-stick cel board


Take a piece of RKT (Rice Krispie Treat) and compress onto your work table with your palm to flatten as much as possible - approximately ½in in width. Use your round cutter to get the shape and to give you a clean edge. I then used the end of my roller to press out a hollow in the centre. Insert 2 x 18 gauge wires into the back of the RKT receptacle, previously dipped in edible glue and use some gum paste to secure it in place. Leave to dry for a day to make sure its dry and properly secured.


Lightly brush edible glue over whole receptacle then roll out enough brown modelling chocolate to cover the entire RKT.


I used a cocktail straw to create the receptacle scale texture, working from the centre edge outwards.


Using your dresden tool, lightly score the centre to assimilate the movement you see in a real sunflower.


You will need a small dish or palette for your colour dusts. I used a lily cutter for the petals and using your balling tool, thin edges out to get your petal shape. I used a cosmos veiner for veining, but you may prefer to use a sunflower veiner or something similar. Also you need 26 or 28 gauge white wires. Colours are yellow, tangerine and red.


Twizzle a small amount of paste onto your wire. Roll out your yellow sugar paste and cut petal shape. Thin edges with a balling tool and then vein and form the petal and place either in a former or make your own. I use foil previously pressed into cupcake trays for shaping.


With a soft brush, dust the petals back and front, with firstly the yellow. Take your tangerine dust and brush upwards from base, leaving a small amount of yellow free at the base. Then lightly brush a little red from base of tangerine fading upwards to the middle of the petal, varying each petal as nature is not exact. The completed ray florette is shown and for my sunflowers I used between 45-50 petals.


I used a pin tool to insert a small hole prior to inserting the petals. The reason for this is the wire supporting the petals is fine and the RKT is too hard to push into. Each petal’s wire was previously trimmed right down to approximately 1.5 cm.


Dip the end of each petal into edible glue and insert into the pinpricked holes.


Slowly and carefully work your way around the receptacle, keeping the petals quite close to each other. I staggered the inserts to create fullness. If you find it easier, you could insert the petals in two layers, placing wire close to each other.


I used light and medium yellow mixed with semolina to create my pollen. The completed pollen is show at the top of the dish.


Other colours you need to prepare are spring green and medium yellow/red mix. I've added the pollen in here as well.


The outer rim is where I placed the pollen, this is to represent the minute disc florets you find on the outer edge of the receptacle. I painted on edible glue first, then added the pollen onto it with a brush afterwards whilst still tacky. In a palette I mixed the spring green, yellow/tangerine, and a bit of red with a little vodka (or you can use a little water). Very sparingly with a flat brush, paint on small particles of paint randomly here and there, over surface of outer receptacle. The inner circle I only used spring green.


The colours change on the red sunflower’s receptacle, but it is the same process as before except the use of red pollen on the outer receptacle and then random colour of a little green and red with inner receptacle in a dark green and a dash of spring green.

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