September 2, 2013

How to Make Gum Paste Lilies (Tutorial)

Shortly after returning from China, some good friends asked me to make a wedding cake for their August wedding. I agreed to take this on, and the rest of my summer weekends were dedicated to practicing, preparing, and practicing. I'll post more about the wedding cake later (in the rush to deliver the cake I forgot my camera, so I'm waiting on the pictures from the professionals), but in the meantime I wanted to post a tutorial on something I got pretty good at over the course of making the cake - gum paste lilies. The couple had asked for yellow "lily-ish" gum paste flowers, so I decided to make bright yellow (with a hint of pink) Asiatic Lilies.

A couple people have asked if these lilies are edible. Almost all of the flower adornments I've made in the past have been edible, but alas, these really are not. Each petal has a wire in it (which is not food-safe).  Additionally, the petal dust explicitly says that it is not for consumption (although it's non-toxic). At this point, the gum paste is really just a non-toxic clay that I can use to create the flowers for the cake exactly as I envisioned them.

How to Make Gum Paste Lilies

I apologize in advance for the questionable video quality - I've never taken video with my camera before!

Simplified lily anatomy

Materials (for one lily)
gel food coloring (optional)
powdered sugar
7 pieces of white wire (~26 gauge, ~4" long)
small rolling pin
lily cutters (I used the ones from this Wilton kit)
lily veiner (the Wilton kit has one, but I didn't like it)
thin foam pad (also comes in any Wilton kit)
thinning tool (also comes in many Wilton kits)
curved drying rack
small paintbrushes (also comes in many Wilton kits)
petal dust (the colors I used were Buttercup and Pink)
brown gel food coloring
6 stamens
floral tape

Lots of materials.

Step 1: Mix your gumpaste and fondant.

I used a 50/50 mixture of gumpaste and fondant. I find that the gum paste gives structure while the fondant makes it easier to work with. You can just use gum paste. I also used orange and yellow food coloring to color the gum paste a bright yellow. You can do this if you wish, but you can also start with a white lily and color it with petal dust.

Step 2: Make the pistil.

The pistil is the large thin center part of the lily. At the top is the stigma, which is a little thicker and seems to be divided into three equal parts, almost like a peace symbol. You can actually use a green wire instead of a white one for the pistil since it's a bit thicker than the petals.

Step 3: Make the petals/sepals.

For each lily, you'll need three sepals (use the thinner cutter) and three petals (use the thicker cutter). In the video below, I'm creating a petal, but the steps are the exact same for each type - just use different cutters.

Both the pistil and the petals/sepals need to dry overnight. Don't try and paint them until they're totally dry!

Step 4: Paint with petal dust.

I painted my lilies with a buttercup petal dust. It's difficult to tell in the videos, but this brightened the already-yellow lilies. Then, I painted some pink highlights in the center and up the middle of each petal and sepal. Finally, I painted the stigma with some brown gel food coloring and then painted brown dots on the petals in the same food coloring.

Step 5: Assemble!

Once the food coloring is dry, you can assemble your lily.  Start with the pistil and stamens, then do the inner petals, and finally, assemble the outer sepals.

Once you're done assembling your lily, start a pot of water boiling. Hold your lily above the boiling water for a couple seconds (I count to four) and remove. This makes the lily a little more shiny and deepens the color.


These lilies can be made well in advance, but make sure to store them in a cool, dry place. A week before the wedding, I woke up to discover that all of my lilies had melted.  Like most houses in Seattle, my house doesn't have air conditioning, so all of the windows have been open since June. The lilies were too close to an open window and the humidity got to them, adding hours of work to an already stressful week. Don't let this happen to you!

We're melting!


  1. Great job with this tutorial, it looks great and is really helpful. The lilies are lovely.
    It also makes me glad cakes are not my hobby, you have a lot to contend with, even the weather.
    Beautiful job.

  2. how can you make this without the tools? reply back if can thanks


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