Tutorial – unwired peony


I absolutely love peonies! They are so fluffy and beautiful and also very statement making on a cake. I bought peony cutters about six month ago and started looking for tutorials, but all of them required wiring. Since I’m not entirely comfortable with wire in my flowers I’ve wanted to find a way to make these beautiful flowers without it. I’ve made a lot of failed attempts but have finally found a way that I think gives great results! So I thought I’d share how I did it!

You’ll need:

  • Peony cutters ( a set of four cutters)
  • A cheap toothpick (cheap toothpicks often have an uneven surface and therefore gives you veining of the petals)
  • Thin foam pad
  • Edible glue and brush
  • Gumpaste

Note: for all the petals you want to roll out the gumpaste to approximately 1 mm thickness. Place the petals in a zip lock bag or similar when you don’t work with them to prevent them from drying out. Also, keep in mind that the petals on peonies are always bent inwards, towards the center.

1.. Start with rolling a ball of gumpaste and then shape it to more of an oval shape. My ball was slightly smaller than a golf ball.


2.. If the ball has a different color than your flower; cut out one of the smallest petals and attach it across the ball.


3.. Cut out 4 of the smallest petals, put them on the foam pad on by one and roll the toothpick carefully back and forth once to vein and thin the petals. Attach them to the ball according to the two pictures.

IMG_9616 IMG_9617

4.. For the next row, cut out 6 of the smallest petals, vein and thin as in step 3 and attach them to the ball so that they overlap each other.


5.. Cut out 8 of the second smallest petals, vein and thin and attach it to the ball so they overlap.


6.. Cut out another 8 of the second smallest petals, vein and thin and arrange them according to the picture. Center the “bud” on top and use a LOT of tissue paper to support the petals. Leave the flower to dry overnight or until it’s able to hold its shape. I took these pictures a little later in the making so the bud isn’t supposed to be this big.

IMG_9585 IMG_9586

7.. Repeat step 6 with the second largest and then the largest cutter. Once all the petals are attached, leave to dry until completely dry.


And that’s basically it! If you want, you can apply some luster dust to add dimension. If you have any questions, just leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer it.

Thank you for looking, and good luck!



43 thoughts on “Tutorial – unwired peony

  1. Pingback: Endless possibilities… | tarttokig

  2. Welcome Sara, like you I have just started out, however I am not a cake decorating professional but its my hobby. I wish you the very best in your endeavors. If you get a chance please visit my blog – http://sayitsyummm.blogspot.com/, as I said I just started my blog even though I have been decorating since a longtime. I will add you to my links. 🙂

    • Thank you, it’s funny how similar our “stories” are. I read your blogpost and it was as if I’d written it! Good luck to you as well, hopefully you’ll find blogging as rewarding as I do 🙂

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  4. Am I correct in saying that the peony dries for a day ( step 6) then dries for an additional day each time you repeat this step? Beautiful peony!!

    • Thanks Wendy! I made the first row (step 6) in the evening day 1, second row in the morning next day and last row in the evening the same day. You just have to carefully touch the petals to see if they have dried enough to hold their shape. They don’t have to be completely dry, they just have to stay in place when you remove the tissue paper. I think both the brand of paste you use and the humidity plays a role so it’s diffucult to give a more exact answer.. hope this helped! 🙂

    • I bought them from a small Swedish webshop, but they are made by “sunflower sugar art” and I think you can find tem (or similar cutters) on most webshops. I’ve seen them on Global Sugar Art for example.

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  7. I LOVE peonies as well. Thanks for the great tutorial. I must get a set of peony cutters soon!!
    I love the colour of your peony

  8. One thing that I really like about your flowers are their life like appearance. The petals are so delicate and real. There’s something special in the way you thin them or ruffle them. Hats off to you.
    PS.May be you should start making video tutorials for us beginners 😉

  9. Hi Tarttokig
    Dar lfrom another ( trying hard ) self taught learner thank you so much for your tutorioal for the Peony. Just a couple of questions Firstly could you please show IF possible Where,How Much Etc you placed the Tissue paper? Know this sounds like a silly question but seeing as the Peony doesnt sit quite the same as most others by leaning more inward than outward. 2nd as the Tutorial was a Still can you please give me a little more direction on the Thinning/Waving of the Petals reason being is they are very Close togerther basically over lapping and trust me iam an absoloute Learner!! Also iam guessing these have a bit of weight in them so have you ever had any problem with them not Sticking well and Last but not least Please keep your Tutorials coming we Need all the help and Tips n Hints you are prepared to throw at as!!

    • Hi Elaine, thank you, of course I’ll continue with my tutorials! 🙂
      When it comes to the tissue paper, use as much as is necessary for supporting and shaping the petals. You want tissue paper under the petals, but also a little in between the petals so they don’t touch each other too much. Next time I make a peony, I can take some more pictures of the placing of tissue paper!
      I’m not sure I understood your question about thinning correctly, but you want to thin the petals before you arrange them in a circle!
      For me at least, the weight of the petals has never been an issue, just make sure you roll your paste thinly and let the layers dry properly and it shouldn’t be a problem!

  10. Im new to sugar flowers using wired petals and even buying cuters etc is a bit advanced for me and thanks to some inspiration from your fantastic tutorial ive been making my first sugar peony! And im loving it.
    I’ll be posting my experience when I’ve completed my peony project
    Thank you so much x

  11. Hello, this tutorial is awesome! You have great talent!!! I do have a question, when and how do you insert the toothpick or toothpicks? Since it’s around the third day of drying, I assume the gumpaste ball in the center will be hardened as well. And how many toothpicks do you recommend? One or two?

    • Thank you Jess!! 😀 I didn’t insert any toothpicks but if you want to you could do so at any stage. If you’re using gumpaste I’d recommend you to insert it in the beginning since gumpaste dries so quickly!

  12. Hi dear …I have been searching for some time on learning how to make a peony and I finally got one that I had in mind. This is just awesome and in detail. Just one question, should we let each layer dry before we stick the next or is that , after we stick the entire layers, we need to leave it to dry…..coz I have read in some places that after each layer, we should leave it to dry. Could you share your experience. I am just a beginner, but would love to take myself to the next level. Need expert advices……:)

    • Thank you Jeny 😀 yes, you should let each layer dry in between, except for the bud maybe that holds its shape anyway. It doesn’t have to be completely dry, just enough for the layer to stay in place. Hope this helps, let me know it goes 🙂

      • Thanks a lot for that advice,,,, just one more doubt,,, incase we are in short of time, can we leave it to dry under a fan or blow dry it… is it possible…..could you help, please….

      • I’ve never tried it actually; I use gumpaste and live in quite a dry climate so I’ve never had an issue with it drying too slowly.. If you’re not sure whether it will dry fast enough it’s probably safer to make another flower this time.

  13. Great tutorial! Have you ever made your peonies with a styrofoam ball instead of a gumpaste ball? I would think it would dry much quicker.

  14. Spent almost the whole day yesterday making a peony for a cake project but it ended up a trash. 😀 This tutorial made you earn one more follower here in the Philippines. I’m now a fan. 🙂

    The steps are detailed and the outcome looks awesomely real.

  15. Thank you so much for this tutorial, I was really struggling with the wires and now have two beautiful peonies without wire and lots of movement due to the cocktail stick tip!! Hurts your fingers after a while but the results are totally worth the pain!!

  16. Hi,
    Thank you very much for the tutorial. I too not a fan of working with wire in my flowers. I have tried your methods and it turned out amazing!

  17. I am so grateful to find a tutorial without wires and styrofoam. I want my cakes to be fully edible. I am new at working with fondant and gum paste but i made my own ( gum paste and fondant) yesterday and I am in love with the art created with my fingers! I made roses with just my fingers and they are so realistic but peonies are my favorite so I bought the cutters and look forward to trying this flower this coming weekend.

  18. Beautiful… just what I am looking for as I too prefer not to use wires. I’ll be making one of these little beauties today. Thank you.

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