Everyone has their own favourite products, most of which can be purchased commercially, but listed here are some recipes which may be of interest.
Petal Paste or Gumpaste Recipe
Making this paste is not an exact science and one persons perception of a teaspoonful may be miles away from someone elses, so if you do have a go please bear that in mind and vary your ingredients accordingly. The teaspoons I use are not 5mls.
This is the recipe I use, and it works well for me. It does not need a heavy duty mixer but you can use one if you wish.
500 grams Icing Sugar (Give or take)
1 packet of powdered gelatine(between 12 & 14 grams)
2 level teaspoons Gum Tragacanth
2 level teaspoons CMC
2 teaspoons liquid glucose (hard to measure, just go with the flow)
2 teaspoons Trex (as with glucose)
1 large egg white (string removed)
10 teaspoons white vinegar(use a small teaspoon, not a 5ml measure, actually equates to around 35ml)
Place the vinegar into a small heatproof bowl and sprinkle on the gelatine. Leave to sponge for 10-15 minutes.
Heat some water in a saucepan large enough to accommodate the bowl with the gelatine mixture and set the bowl into the saucepan. (water should not be boiling) When the gelatine begins to melt, stir gently to make sure all the grains are incorporated
The gelatine will be dissolved when the mixture becomes clear and you can see no more grains. At this stage, add the glucose and the Trex and turn down the heat. Stir until the fat and the glucose dissolve.
Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl and add the Gum Tragacanth and CMC. Stir well and microwave in very short bursts until the sugar feels just warm. Depending on the power of your microwave will determine how long this will take. (Do not overheat as this will cause the sugar to go grainy).
You can also heat over a saucepan of hot water if you prefer, or do not have a microwave.
Remove the sugar from the microwave and make a well in the centre. Add the gelatine mixture and the egg white.
At this stage I choose to pull the sugar away from the sides of the bowl into the centre with my hands but you can use a spoon or spatula. Mix as much in the bowl as you can and then turn the whole lot out (including what is stuck to the inside of the bowl) onto your work surface which should also be dusted with icing sugar. You will now have what looks like a huge mess but don't fret!
The mixture will be very warm and soft at this stage and it is very easy to think that you need to add huge amounts of extra icing sugar to get it to the correct consistency. This may not be the case. (The wet ingredients you have used will thicken as they cool )
Knead well, pulling all the sugar that is on your worktop together into the paste before you start adding additional icing sugar. It will cool while kneading. When you have all the sugar incorporated, if the paste is still very soft, you can then begin to add more icing sugar little by little until you achieve the consistency you require. This should be stretchy and stringy, but firm.
Now wash your hands because they will be in a right mess!
Put a little white fat onto your hands and knead the mixture again thoroughly. Knead for several minutes. You should at this stage have a smooth white paste.
Roll it into a sausage and cut it into small portions (I usually do 6)
Smear a little white fat over each portion.
Double wrap each portion and put all of them into a sealed plastic bag in the fridge.
Use as required.
The above recipe contains vinegar which is a natural preservative. The paste will smell of vinegar initially, but once it dries it loses the smell, and this paste keeps in the fridge really well. It can also be frozen very successfully. If you really can't bear the thought of using the vinegar, just replace it with water.
Cold Porcelain paste
200ml Non Toxic PVA Craft Glue
(the glue I use is the red bottle glue from Hobbycraft)
2 Tablespoons Baby Oil (+ a little baby oil to knead when cooked)
2 teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice
Non toxic white gouache
Non stick pan & wooden spoon
Place the Glue, baby oil, and vinegar (or lemon juice) in the non stick pan and mix.
Slowly add the cornflour, mixing as you go till all are incorporated.
Put the pan onto a low heat, stirring, slicing and moving the mixture so that it cooks through as evenly as possible. The mix will come away easily from the surface of the non stick pan. The mixture will be cooked when no raw glue is visible. This should take no longer than 5 minutes.
Turn the mixture out onto an oiled plastic bag, and cover over with a bowl, leaving it to cool until it can be handled safely. Put a little baby oil onto your hands and knead thoroughly.
Rub a little baby oil over the paste before wrapping tightly in a plastic bag, and storing in an airtight container.
The paste can be coloured using a non toxic watercolour paint, and white is a good base. Other colours may be added at the time of use, and this paste takes food colours very well, but needs blending well.
If the paste is used without adding the white paint first, the items you make will dry with a slightly transparent look.
The finished items can be painted or dipped with confectioners glaze.
Please note that any items made with Cold Porcelain paste should not be placed directly onto a cake or any other item which is meant to be eaten. There must be a barrier between the Cold Porcelain and the items to be consumed.
Gunges & Glues
Petal Paste repair glue
(Used when it is practical to repair a clean break in a petal or a leaf. e.g. on the spot repairs or where time is limited)
Take a very small ball of petal paste in the colour used to make the item and add a couple of drops of egg white. Blend with a palette knife till the egg white is well mixed and no lumps are present. Take a small paintbrush and paint both broken edges with the glue, Leave for a few minutes and then carefully place the two edges together. Support with a soft piece of foam until dry.
In a small lidded container, add half a teaspoon of Tylose powder or CMC to 25mls of (previously) boiled water. The powder will immediately clump together. Put on the lid and shake. Leave overnight for the powder to dissolve.
This can be used for glueing sugar pieces together, or dipping wires for your sugar flower making.
Gum Arabic Glue
Make as for Tylose Glue.
This is a stickier glue which can also be used for glueing sugar pieces together, and for dipping wires, but should be used carefully as this has a shine to it when it dries. This glue goes off quite quickly, which is noticeable by the smell, so should not be kept for more than a week or so.
It can also be used as a glaze on sugar pieces, but can take a while to dry.
To make a faster drying gum arabic glaze, mix with Gin or Vodka, which evaporates quickly, and also acts as a preservative, making it much longer lasting. It is also very good for mixing with colours when painting small details on sugar.