Gumpaste Holly Tutorial


December is a busy yet lovely time of the year here at Sugargarden. This year, among sugar flower projects and new cake designs I managed to create this easy tutorial for one of the most classic of Christmas decorations: the Holly.

You can make a few now and store them in a cardboard box until needed.

Use the lovely little sprays to decorate mini-cakes or cupcakes (please be advised that wired floral decorations are not designed to be eaten, due to the presence of inedible elements like wire and floristry tape) or add a tag and use them as place holders or Christmas table decorations.

Elegant and understated, holly is so easy and fun to make in gumpaste, I never get tired of it. I hope you will enjoy making holly berries and leaves as much as I do. So, if you are in the mood for an easy but rewarding DIY project this Christmas just check out this tutorial and have fun!

I wish you all my best and a really Merry & sweet Christmas time.

Susanna x


[Click on the picture for a larger view]

• Non-stick board
• Foam pad
• Rolling pin
• Ball tool
• Edible glue
• Cornflour
• White vegetable fat
• Wire cutters
• Pliers
• Green floral tape
• Half strength Confectioner’s Glaze / Edible varnish
• Clear alcohol
• Flat brushes for dusting

Holly Berries:
• White gumpaste
• 33 gauge green wire 
• Dust food colours – poinsettia, ruby red, blackberry

Holly Leaves:

• Pale green gumpaste
• 28 gauge green wire
• Leaf veiner or dresden tool to mark veins onto the leaves
• Holly leaf cutters
• Dust food colours – holly and foliage green

For the leaves:

Work some Pale green gumpaste and roll out on a lightly greased board, leaving a ridge for the wire.
Cut a leaf with the holly leaf cutter. Moisten a 28-gauge green floristry wire with edible glue and insert into the leaf. Soften the edges with a ball tool and shape. Let firm and colour with holly and foliage green.

For the berries:

Cut short lengths of 33-gauge wire, make a tiny hook at one end of each. Roll a tiny ball of Poinsettia SFP, about the size of a small pea. Lightly moisten the end of one wire with edible glue and insert in the middle of the ball, leaving the tip of the hook barely visible. Tinge the top of the hook with blackberry edible dust diluted with a drop of clear alcohol. Dust the berry with poinsettia and ruby dust food colours.

Dip leaves and berries in half-strength confectioners’ glaze, or spay with edible varnish. Let dry.

Assemble the leaves first and then the berries with mid-green floristry tape. Add a tiny ribbon at the base of the leaves if you wish.

Freehand Peony

Peony 1

A few months ago I worked on a new kind of peony. It was something I’d been wanting to do for a long time but it seemed thetime was never right for this project. There was always something else, more important or urgent to do. Then, one day I found the time and inspiration to sit at my working table and began to give substance to what was in my mind.

My aim was to achieve something visually impressive but easy to make. Most of all, I wanted to shape it using my hands instead of cutters.

Peony 2

I’ve been making sugar flowers for quite a while now, and one of the things I favour is shaping blooms using as little equipment as possible, to make them really personal and unique.

I was extremely satisfied with the result. I knew from the moment I assembled the centre of the bloom that it matched exactly the picture i had in my mind. I was so happy that I grabbed my camera, shot a picture with the idea of sharing it on my blog.

Peony 4

Oddly enough, publishing the pictures of that flower after the photoshoot took almost as long as letting it out of my mind and into reality.

But in the end here it is, diligently photographed for you to enjoy and hopefully to provide inspiration. I hope you like it as much as I do!

Peony 3

Squires School Class July 2013

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This year I seem to be blessed with the opportunity to teach my beloved sugar flowers beyond the borders of Italy. After attending Squires Kitchen’s Exhibition in England and Expotarta in Spain, last July I had the pleasure to be invited to teach a two-day class at Squires Kitchen International School in Farnham, Surrey.

Besides being my first two-day class in the UK, the course scored other pleasant records. The one I cherish the most is having the youngest student ever, a lovely, talented 14 years-old girl named Helena. In spite of her young age, Helena has already attended several classes and acquired quite an impressive experience for her age. I really admired her professional and determined approach to the course. I was also delighted to learn that another student had flown right from Ireland to attend my class.


The course was about one of my favourite combination of flowers: roses and hydrangeas. Well, I guess this might not be just a favourite of mine, since theclass sold-out pretty quickly!

Students worked hard and concentrated on techniques such as wiring petals and leaves, colouring each piece to obtain a rich, yet natural look and assembling their flowers to make them stand out.

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Many of the students had little and some none-at-all experience of sugar flowers making. All made great flowers (you can judge by the picture of the lovely arrangements) and sported big, pleased smiles at the end of the course (I think this shows in the pictures too!). I felt my mission was accomplished.


Sometimes as I teach I tend to forget that I’m actually working, it is more like spending great time doing what I like the most, in company of lovely, like-minded people, sharing our love for the craft. This is literally how I felt about my class at SK’s school.

This relaxed feeling is highly supported by Squires Kitchen school environment. They provide the perfect conditions to learn in a professional, friendly atmosphere.