Thursday, February 6, 2014

Craftsy Class Review: Mastering Modern Sugar Flowers

This Craftsy class is another one that is taught by Nicholas Lodge, who also did the Classic Sugar Flowers and the Ultimate Sugar Rose class.

This class covers three flowers that are trendy these days, including succulents (not really a flower but we'll let it slide), ranunculus, and dahlias. The interesting thing about this class is that there are three variations on ways to make each flower presented, so you can choose the method that you prefer for the look you're going for.

There's a very good reason for it, and he goes over that in the beginning of the class. It's a time/effort/cost thing, and everyone would be well served to think about that in terms of other types of cake decorating also.

He makes a point of looking at the real plant when you're going to be making the flower, so good for him. I've talked about this before, but there are way too many wonky flowers out there that don't look right because people copy other gumpaste flowers and never look at a real one.

The three variations on succulents are actually very similar, and the one that uses a mold for the leaves is very unnecessary. You could easily do it without the mold, in other words. There are good instructions about wiring and shaping them, and also on how to color them to make them more realistic.

In typical Craftsy fashion there's a longish section about how to arrange the succulents, which might be useful but is skippable if you know how to put flowers on cakes.

The sections on the ranunculus go through three styles of assembling them as well. He uses a mold for the centers on these, which makes me want to go make a mold for centers. You could easily make one without the mold, though, just use a modeling tool to imprint the shapes of the center petals. He also uses my favorite tool for veining the petals, which you can click here to see. You could use a regular dowel if you didn't have one, but it wouldn't give you the same texture.

He gives variations on all of the components of the flower, and it would be easy to combine sections from each variation to make an entire flower if you don't have a center mold, or if you're missing a specific cutter. He doesn't even use the texturing on one variation, because sometimes the effort to do that is unnecessary to the final look of the flower. He did make the point that the sections are interchangeable, so if you like one method for one part of the flower  you can use that instead of the one that he demonstrates.

The dahlias are presented in a few different ways as well, and they look time consuming but pretty easy. I'll be trying some this afternoon.

The most interesting thing in this class is that he has a short section at the end about pricing the flowers. That's probably the thing that most people will be interested in, and it's good to hear someone actually address it.

My overall review:

Skill Level: Intermediate gumpaste skills, or at least a beginner who's willing to learn by trial and error.
Equipment You Have To Have: A lot of cutters, veiners, floral wire and tape, etc. Check the class materials list before buying because if you don't have a lot of this stuff already it can add up.
Sleep-Inducing Level: Not too bad, he keeps up the pace and talks throughout the whole thing.
What It Assumes You Already Know: Basic gumpaste info, how to handle and store it, etc.
Unnecessary Difficulty Level Of Methods Demonstrated: That stupid groove board is back, and he loves that little board with the circles on it to measure the balls of fondant. Just eyeball it and save a step.
Annoying Host Habits: I can't think of anything he did that I objected to, and that's saying a lot because I had just finished my taxes and was slightly stunned when I watched it. He's a very good teacher, he knows what to explain as he's doing it and he make it easy to follow the steps.
Level of Helpful Hints Learned: I've been doing gumpaste flowers for years, and I got some good information out of it, so it was worth the price.

Click here for my Craftsy pattern shop, which has a bunch of freebies in it: A Cake To Remember On Craftsy


Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC,  online cake supplies at  www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

1 comment:

Miss Tori said...

My only complaint about the Craftsy classes is that you actually don't get to see the entire materials list prior to purchase.

Regardless, I went ahead and purchased this class. Sugar flower classes are my crack. I'm totally addicted, even if I never make a sugar flower for an order, I love watching them and making them for my own pleasure, or for my mom or mother in law for mother's day.

Thanks for the great review!