Using a veiner is the easiest way to create life-like leaves and petals. You will find that quality veiners are ones that are created by making actual copies of the front and back of a bona fide petal or leaf. Because of the amount of labor involved in creating these clones, they are not inexpensive. I believe, though, that they are worth the initial outlay because they add such realism to your work. If you have not used one before you will be astounded by how a veiner can transform a plain piece of gumpaste (shaped like a leaf or petal) into something so authentic looking just by using the impressions made from their veined patterns.
Veiners are made from food-grade silicone and are available in single and double-sided forms. There is a mind-boggling range of leaf and petal veiners available. I mention this because not only can you find the usual suspects such as a rose leaf, multipurpose leaf, ivy leaf, hydrangea, daffodil, sweet pea, lily, etc., you will also run across many unusual ones. I mean, who wouldn’t, after making some of the basics, want to go off the beaten path and construct an exotic creation that might include a cabbage leaf, a peperomia leaf, an anthurium, a bougainvillea or a bird of paradise?
If you do an Internet search you will find that there are several manufacturers of veiners. Some of my favorites are: Squire Kitchen Great Impressions Veiners, Diamond Moulds Sunflower Sugar Art, Sugar Delites and First Impression Molds (who make Floramat Veining Kits),
I sincerely believe investing in good quality veiners is invaluable and I hope that you are able to acquire at least a couple of them. Here is some advice to point you in the right direction:
Veiner Buying Tips
If I were told I could only buy one type of veiner I would choose one of the double-sided, classic, multipurpose (ones that have a generic shape) leaf veiners. I would also make sure that it was large enough to accommodate several of the different-sized leaves I eventually would be making. Unfortunately, some of the “all-purpose” leaves of these veiners can look quite artificial, so take extra care to find a good quality one that has realistic veining since it is going to be your go-to veiner. The reason I would choose a leaf veiner over a petal veiner is that it is much more difficult to recreate that “natural” look on leaves on your own. The best case scenario is to add a good-quality, multipurpose petal veiner to your cache as well.
As a general rule I would not buy a veiner and cutter in a set (the ones that are already prepackaged) unless I knew it was from a reputable company. If you do decide to purchase a set I suggest you check out their return policy in case you need to send it back. As it so happens, when I was a gumpasting greenhorn I bought a couple of cutter and veiner sets because at the time it seemed like such a great idea. I mean, who doesn’t like to one-stop shop? Sadly, what this particular mail-order company sent me were inferior plastic cutters (instead of the advertised stainless steel) plus some poor-grade veiners. The result added up to me producing a not-so-pretty clematis flower and equally unattractive holly leaves. I cannot completely blame myself since their packaging only showed a pretty photograph of the finished gumpaste clematis and holly leaves and nowhere on the website was there a picture of the sets’ contents. Since I was purchasing the product sight unseen I could not determine the quality of what I would be receiving by eyeballing it first. So, when it comes to buying veiner and cutter sets (or anything else on the internet for that matter), I would cite the old axiom, “Let the buyer beware!”
Always find out what the actual dimensions are before buying because the picture on your computer monitor can often be quite misleading. It is also advisable to have a ruler available with centimeters on it to calculate size because many veiners are merchandised metrically and not in inches. You can also just visit one of the many websites out there that will do the conversion from centimeters to inches for you.
Whenever possible buy two-piece (double-sided) sets because they produce more realistic results, i.e. an impression on both sides of the gumpaste.
Although cutters are more plentiful than veiners, you will want to purchase your veiners first. This is because you will not always be able to find a cutter that will work on your veiner.
Often one or two veiners will do double duty on an assortment of other petals and/or leaves. You are not bound by law to use a particular veiner for that specific flower. A case in point is Alan Dunn, one of my very favorite sugarcrafting heroes. He often in several of his books’ flowers and leaves instructions, under the equipment heading, lists the Squires Kitchen Great Impressions Petal Veiner (the lily stargazer B or the amaryllis) which are pictured below. These appear to me to be a couple of his go-to favorites that can be used for creations other than their namesakes.
If there is a decision to be made concerning the size of a veiner the safest bet is to choose the slightly larger size. This is because it can still be used to make smaller leaves or petals.
Avoid buying veiners that look fake as they will not add any value to your finished piece.