How to Make Edible Wafer Paper Flowers
Have you ever seen a beautiful wedding cake with edible flowers and wondered how they did that? I love looking at gorgeous cakes and have always wanted to see if I could recreate the same look myself. I’ve made paper flowers before with my Silhouette Cameo so I figured using wafer paper should be a similar process. After watching about a dozen various YouTube videos by helpful pastry chefs I felt confident in attempting to make my own. I must admit, I LOVED the whole process which was very relaxing and extremely gratifying and now I want to quit my day job and just make cakes all.day.long!
- Wafer Paper (I used grade 0 which is a thin and lightweight material)
- Food Safe Cutting Mat (ideal if this is going on a cake to be eaten. If it’s just for play you can use your regular cutting mat)
- Vegetable Shortening (if using a food-safe cutting mat)
- Electronic Cutting Machine (with a blade used for food only, I just used a new one and marked it for food for future use)
- Edible Glycerin
- Gel Food Coloring (must be gel or it dissolves your paper)
- Food Safe Paint Brushes
- Floral Wire
- Floral Tape
- Pliers with Wire Cutters
- Paint Palette (anything works)
- Curved Drying Surface (I used the bottom of a styrofoam egg carton that I washed)
- Flower Design Cut files
- Foam Pad for Fondant or Gumpaste (optional)
How to Prep:
I found some recipes online for how to make the edible glue and wafer paper conditioner to make the paper more flexible.
Edible Glue: Simply take scrap wafer paper and cut it down to small rice-sized pieces and then add a little bit of water, just enough to make a thick paste consistency. This takes a few hours for the paper to “bloom” but I heard if you’re short on time you can microwave it for about 10 seconds. I made mine at the very beginning of the process and by the time I was ready to assemble the flowers, it was ready too.
Wafer Paper Conditioner: Add a drop of food-grade glycerin to about a teaspoon of water and also add any gel food coloring to create the color you want. The glycerin is what makes the paper dry flexible and not brittle.
Food Safe Cutting Mat: Most likely people aren’t going to actually eat these flowers BUT if it is going on a cake that will be eaten it’s a best practice to make sure everything is actually food safe. I bought mats from icingimages.com and used a little bit of vegetable shortening to make the wafer paper stick to the mat. I simply used my clean fingers to spread a very light layer where the paper would attach. To make sure it didn’t slide while cutting I used a little washi tape in the corners. The corners weren’t going to be parts used to make the flowers so it was ok to have the tape on them.
Design the Cut Files:
I opened up the flower design files I wanted to use and then resized them, I just did the 33% scale and it ended up being a perfect size. Make them as large or small as you want!
Next, I arranged each size to be its own row and used the replicate tool to fill the row. I also made sure I had the paper size drawn so I was filling the sheet out. I just repeated this until I had the whole sheet filled with petals to cut.
Now you’re ready to send it to be cut. I moved the corner petal over so I had a place to do some test cuts. I found for my machine that using the blade on 4 with a force of 15 and speed 5 worked perfectly. I created my own preset too for future reference.
I repeated this process for the leaf files and some other flower styles too.
Paint the Petals and Leaves:
Now the fun (and messy) part begins!! Using your paintbrush and homemade colored conditioner, paint both sides of your wafer paper petals and leaves. Have fun and mix the colors and create a blend on the paper. You’re going to want some tonal variation on them so they look more realistic and not one flat color.
Gently peel the painted paper up off your work surface and lay it on your curved surface to dry. Like I said in the supply list, I simply used the bottom of my egg carton that I had washed beforehand. No need to go buy a fancy drying board! I think it worked perfectly. Let them fully dry before assembling. It takes about 15-30 minutes depending on how humid your space is.
I painted all the flower petals first and while those dried I created the leaf design and cut those out. I found it was an efficient way to work since I only had so much space for the drying parts. Then while the leaves were drying I cut more flower petals. You get the idea!
Assemble the Flowers:
Grab the floral wire and add a hook to the top using your pliers.
Next, grab a piece of the floral tape and stretch it to release the stickiness, then wrap it around the hook.
Finally, use a scrap strip of the wafer paper and apply some of the edible glue you made to the whole strip and wrap that around the floral tape. This helps the wafer paper stick better.
Now start adding the smallest petals to the center, you’re going to want to hide the hook section. Use a dab of edible glue in the center of the petal and attach it while working around in a circle, overlapping them as you go.
Just keep adding and building to larger-sized petals until you’re happy with the look!
I also tried a technique of gluing a few larger petals together and let them dry then poked the center of it with the wire. Next, slide it up the floral wire and attach it to the base of the flower with more glue. This lets the petals fan out a bit more.
I did the same technique to make the greenery part for the base of the flower to make it look more realistic.
Now make the leaves. Add some glue to the bottom center and then place the wire in the center and attach a small piece of a cut-up leaf to cover the wire, set it down to dry.
Once you’re done hook the wire so the flower can droop upside down and set it in a vase or foam block to dry. This will help keep the flowers curved in the right direction while drying.
I played around with a few ways on how to attach the leaves to the flower stem. My favorite was adding floral tape to the stem of the flower and also the stem of the leaf, then twisting the leaf onto the stem, and finally taking another small piece of floral tape and covering where the two stems twisted together. They didn’t slip around as much that way, but feel free to play with the best method for you!
Add the Flowers to the Cake:
This is where you are your own artist! I wanted a clean and simple design so I opted to only use 3 of the flowers I made and created a cluster on the side center of the cake. I added in a few extra leaf stems to round out the design. Just try to make sure it looks balanced, I find using the “rule of thirds” is a great way to have an aesthetically pleasing design.
I should mention my day job is being an interior designer so this part comes naturally to me. My second career choice would definitely be to become a professional pastry chef. I actually just created a new Instagram account called @pretendpastrychef if you want to follow along with my baking adventures. My goal is to add a fun baking-themed apparel line as well! Who doesn’t want to wear cute baking t-shirts?!?
Thank you so much for following along and if you make your own wafer paper flowers tag me!! I’m @designedtobecrafty on Instagram too.