Update: If you would like to see my finished hibiscus flowers see: Gumpaste/Fondant Flamingo and Hibiscus Cake.
For an upcoming project I decided to make a few hibiscus blossoms that are approx. 4 to 6” in diameters, so I watched my Alan Dunn Craftys.com class: “Tropical Sugar Flowers” (See my review LINK) again because he shows us how to make a gorgeous yellow hibiscus blossom in it.
After reviewing the class my individual petals went along the way they were supposed to, but try as I might I couldn’t seem to get the hang of the darn pistil (the flower’s long central column). All I wanted to do is to make a lovely slender one like Alan did! However, I could only produce little sausages that seemed almost the size of my pinkie finger (sigh). Needless to say, this was not going to work proportionally with my smaller petaled blossoms. That meant I needed a back-up plan, so I looked online for some additional assistance where I did find a nice tutorial from Dusky Rose Veiners for making one, but she did not use the nifty method for a five-part stigma as Alan Dunn does in his online class.
How To Make an Easy Hibiscus Pistil
It is important to note that these pistils need a proper balance of gumpaste. They should ideally be ‘thin-ish’ i.e. not too much gumpaste, but still thick enough amount that it can hold all the little stamens in place. My answer to this dilemma came to me from the wonderful book, Delicate Sugarcraft from Japan, by the very gifted Naomi Yamamoto. I cherish this book for its stunning photographs, but unfortunately the text is in Japanese (except for its titles), so I’m not always clear what methods, techniques or products she is employing. In it she features a pretty blue hibiscus flower that has a series of photos sequencing how it is made. And to my delight she offers an alternative idea for creating pistils which is to use a small rectangle piece of gumpaste. Obviously, I do not know exactly what advice she is giving, so I had to wing it from this point on.
Here is what I came up with when using this new approach. I cutout a rectangle of gumpaste that measured: the length of pistil (I wanted) by a width of 14mm (5/8”) and a thickness of 1mm (1/16”) (#1). I made a slight central groove with my Dresden tool (#2). I placed my floral taped wires (with the five stigmas) into this groove (#3) and pinched it together tightly to form a slender cocoon (#4). Finally, I gently rolled it on a flat surface to remove any possible bumps or creases. I’m happy to report it worked very nicely. As you can see my second attempt is better (i.e. thinner). However, it is not as thin as Naomi Yamamoto’s pistil, but it is certainly a prettier sight than my earlier attempts were. Regardless, I’m happy, happy!