Saturday, 25 February 2012

How to make Sugar Carnations, step-by-step tutorial

Here I'm going to show you how to make these sugar carnations, I made them for the first time recently, they're pretty easy really and the effect when they're finished is lovely!

So... here's some of the items you will need:

Carnation cutter, calyx cutter, sugarpaste, CMC or tylo powder (optional), sugar glue, cocktail stick, florist wire, florist tape (optional), rolling pin, food colour pastes (optional), paintbrush, Icing sugar to dust your surface.

You could also use petal paste for these flowers if you wish.

Start off with kneading your sugarpaste so it's nice and pliable - I like to add a bit of CMC (Edible Cellulose Gum) as I find it easier to work with and it dries harder.

Now prepare your wire, for this tutorial I used 22 gauge white paper covered wire. Bend the top of your wire (you may need pliers for this) over to make a closed hook, dip in edible sugar glue* and insert into a small ball of sugarpaste. Pinch with your fingers so you end up with a small cone shape.
It's easier to leave this to dry for a while so it's well stuck to the wire, but you can carry on straightaway if you wish. I leave mine to dry in a cake dummy.
Ok, now you're ready to go! Roll out your sugarpaste thinly and use your cutter to make one petal shape. While working on each stage, I cover the rest of my icing with cling film to prevent it drying out too much.

Next, take your cocktail stick and roll it back and forth over each petal section to frill the edges. 
Dab some sugar glue over the surface of the petal with a soft paintbrush and insert your wire through the centre:

Gently fold the petal in half, it should look like this:

Now dab on some more glue to one third of the shape and fold over up and across. Turn over and do the same to the other side. Gently pinch the bottom and there you have your bud!


All you need to do now is make and frill more petals and just insert the wire through until your flower is the size you want. If, like me, you only have one size of carnation cutter and want to make your flower bigger, simply cut the petals in half and drape around the edges! You can always tease the petals into the position you want them using a dry paintbrush.
To finish off, use a calyx cutter (if you don't have one of these, a flower cutter will do) to cut a shape from green sugarpaste and insert the wire through, using edible glue to secure it in place.
If you'd like to make your finished carnations into a spray arrangement, twist your wires together and wrap with florist tape. To colour, use lustre or petal powders. 


To make variegated flowers, add dots of pink sugarpaste and roll together before cutting out your petals.

Cut out at random and make as before. When finished use a fine paintbrush to paint lines on the petals (I used Pink paste colour by Sugarflair mixed with a little water)

*Edible glue is easy to make yourself - simply put a blob of sugarpaste in a small glass/dish, add a splash of water and blast in the microwave at 30 second intervals until dissolved.

So there you go, sorry I waffle a bit! Happy making :)

We'd love to see your work so please feel free to post on our facebook page


  1. Great tutorial, thank you!

  2. Making a cake for my mum's 70th, first time at making carnations. Def like a challenge, hope they work thanks for great clear step by step instructions

  3. I've just read this tutorial and it seems very straight forward, not scary at all. I will definitely be trying this out as I've been asked to make a cake for a 60th wedding anniversary in January and this carnation is just what I was looking for!

  4. Excelente contenido para elaborar estos bellos claveles, muchas gracias por compartir. Dios los bendiga. Desde Caracas Venezuela.


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