You will need to dry your gumpaste pieces prior to assembling them. To do this you will need a bit of assistance which you can get utilizing a drying device(s). You may be wondering why you would need something to aid you dry your gumpasting masterpiece. Won’t it just dry naturally? The answer is yes, it would. But, you would no longer have a masterpiece but a messed up piece. This is because without you helping the procedure along by speeding up the drying process and assisting in forming the shapes you desire, your gumpaste pieces will succumb to the laws of nature since gravity would take hold. In other words, they would flatten out under their own weight and turn into a lifeless mass. By using drying aids you can help form your pieces into natural and interesting looking shapes. Positioning them properly insures that the intricate spaces you have created in your flower’s petals, etc. will remain intact. You can also vary the way you position each petal or leaf so they are all not the same as in Mother Nature. They can be used as well to brace together parts of figurines or object pieces you are assembling.
There are many commercially made items available to aid you in drying. They range from fancy formers and molds to premade drying racks. However, gumpaste has no idea whether it is being placed in a former or an ordinary egg carton to dry. So, the good news is that there is an abundance of makeshift materials you can use for drying devices that won’t break the bank.
How many and what kind you will need will be completely dependent on the types of items, flowers and/or leaves you will be creating. Whether you are hanging them from their wires, placing them inside of an apple tray and/or sticking them into a piece of Styrofoam, you will need to have these drying items ready to go before you start your project. If you are planning to make large quantities of any type of flower and/or leaves etc., it is important that you have enough drying items in place to complete the project because you don’t want to be scrambling around searching for them at the last minute.
Drying Petals and Leaves
Since you will be twisting your petals and leaves into interesting and/or elaborate shapes, you will want to select the drying device(s) from the assortment you have collected that most suitably accommodates the shape of the piece you are drying. This holds true for your molded or modeled pieces as well. Once you have cut out and processed the pieces to your satisfaction, you will want to place them onto the drying item(s) in a fashion that gives you the desired effect of looking natural and/or authentic. Depending upon the device you use, you may have to supplement support by tucking in small pieces of paper towels or sponges where they are needed.
Drying Multilayered Flowers & Objects
When drying flowers such as roses or peonies that have many layers of petals (or even birds with lots of tiny feathers, etc.) it is very helpful to have small pieces of sponge, paper towels or tissue paper to aid in the petals’ drying. As you are forming each layer of the flower, gently lift-up the edge of a petal and place a piece of sponge or tissue paper under it so it won’t droop. How many layers required for your flower and the look you are going for will determine the number of petals you select to support this way.