How to make Fall Leaves - Part #1

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fall is my favorite time of year! The harvest season finally is over, the crisp autumn air moves in, and the kids go back to school. It seems that life becomes more relaxed, and everything begins to slow down just a bit. One of my favorite things about this time of year is watching the leaves transform into a beautiful display of colors!

Where I grew up, the leaves pretty much went from green to yellow to dead. Although it was beautiful, those leaves can't compare to the kaleidoscope of autumn colors found in other areas of the country. I now live in Utah, surrounded by majestic mountains with several canyons only minutes away from my front door. If you drive through these canyons during the fall season, the array of colors you'll see is simply breathtaking! 

A few weeks ago, I decorated a cake with several different fall flowers and leaves. Some people asked me how I made these leaves, while a few even thought they were real! Now that's quite a compliment! (Pardon me... I'm blushing at the moment. LOL)  So I thought I'd put together a tutorial to show you how it's done. 

This tutorial will be broken up into to two blog posts. Part #1 will show you how to cut out the leaves. Part #2 will show you how to color the leaves. 

PART ONE:  Cutting out the leaf.
You'll need: gum paste, rolling pin, ball tool, foam pad, triangle makeup sponge, leaf cutter, and a leaf veiner. 

Roll the gum paste out until it's thin. Place it over the top of the leaf cutter. Roll the rolling pin over the gum paste, then run your finger across the edge of the cutter. Doing this will give you a much cleaner cut edge. 

The leaf cutter I used has an annoying thick stem at the bottom of the leaf. (I have no idea why they designed it that way!) Use a sharp knife to cut the outer edges of the stem off so it'll look more realistic.

Next get your veiner and makeup sponge ready.

Place your leaf over the top of the veiner. Then, using the makeup sponge, press down on the leaf to imprint the vein details onto the gum paste.

Fold your leaf in half to make the center vein more defined.

Place the leaf on a foam pad, then use the ball tool to thin the outside edges of the leaf.

Using your fingers, pinch together the bottom stem and the tip of each rounded edge on your leaf. You can see above that the edges on the right side are pinched, while the edges on the left are not. Forming little points like this instead of leaving the edges round makes a huge difference. I think this one of the most important steps in making your leaf look more realistic.

Here's the finished leaf!  Dry your leaves on crumpled aluminum foil or egg crate foam to keep them from being too flat. Now let the leaves dry completely before adding any color.

Learn how to add color to your leaves by reading the second half of this tutorial tomorrow. In part #2 we'll use colored gum paste (instead of white) to make the leaves. The difference is that when you dust color on white gum paste, the leaves will have more of a pastel appearance. While leaves made with colored gum paste will look bold and bright when you're done. The same steps, however, apply regardless of what color gum paste you decide to use.  
Click here to read Part #2.


Part #2: Next I'll explain how to add vibrant colors to your leaves that will really make them pop!

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