Transparent Rice Paper Peony
Updated: Jan 21
How to make a Rice Paper (Spring Roll Wrapper) Peony
Rice Paper flowers seem to be trending as a way to enhance cakes with transparent, translucent or even opaque metallic edible florals. Although Rice Paper or Spring Roll Wrapper flowers are technically edible, they dry, hard, tasteless and can cause tooth damage, but are very durable. The transparency and translucence are effects that cannot be achieved with fondant, gumpaste, modeling chocolate, buttercream or pastillage. An opaque metallic effect can be achieved by spraying with opaque metallic airbrush paint or edible food coloring sprays (Wilton, PME). A transparent color can be mixed with the water in the spray bottle or applied after the floral is constructed.
The rice paper/Spring roll wrappers can be obtained on Amazon or any Asian grocery stores. Some grocery stores carry them in their Asian food aisle. The craft scissors and floral foam can be found at dollar stores, craft stores or discount stores in their Arts & Crafts sections.
Just so you know, the process I use is very messy, but the wet rice paper sticks too much to vinyl or nitrile gloves & is a pain to work with. Also, it is especially messy, as in colored hands, if you choose to mix the color into the spray bottle of water. So, creater beware!
I made the “lollipop” out of a large glob of hot glue that I melted & carefully formed a ball (when it had cooled, but not yet set) & stuck it on a 6” piece of 18g flocked floral wire. I then covered it with rice paper & let it dry overnight. I also went to a dollar store & bought 1” & 1½” clear silicone ball that I stuck on 18g floral wire, hot glued the base & covered it with rice paper.
Supplies needed (Figure 1)
Rice paper/Spring roll wrappers (Round or square)
Regular scissors or Rotary blade tool
Craft scissors with a scalloped or deckle edge
Water in a spritz bottle
Floral foam block
Clear spherical “"lollipop"”, 1”-1 ½” round (handmade from rounded hot glue on 18g floral wire)
If using rotary blade, Rotary cutting mat (or other mat you don't mind getting cut)
Flower former (Instructions to follow to make a plastic spoon former)
Upholstery foam for shaping leaves
Additional supplies (not shown)
26 gauge cloth covered or flocked green floral wire, 4” - 5”, 18 gauge green bare floral wire, 5” - 6”
Waxed or parchment paper
Paper towels or dry cloth
Food coloring (air brush, gel or liquid) or edible food color spray (optional)
Leaf green or other nature green
Color of the flower desired
¾” (smaller flowers) or 1” (larger flowers) circle punch (optional)
Green floral tape
1. Taking 1 sheet of rice paper, cut 1” wide strips using the rotary blade or scissors.
2. Cut each of these strips into 1” - 2” pieces. You will need 30 – 40 petals. (Figure 3)
3. Taking another sheet, cut 2” wide strips using the rotary blade or scissors. Cut each of these strips into 2” - 3” pieces. You will need 30 - 35 petals. Place a piece of waxed or parchment paper on your surface. To make the small inner petals: Using the craft scissors, cut along the top rounding the edges to not be blunt. Make sure to catch all the stray pieces on the paper, then discard. Place the petals aside. (Figure 4)
4. Take a small 1” petal and wet it thoroughly on both sides with the water, rubbing the petal. Set it on the former while the water absorbs into the paper. Wait a few minutes. If you feel confident enough or after some practice, you can do up to 4 petals at a time. (Figure 5)
5. Lift the petal off the former. Make sure it is softened slightly, but not dripping. If it hasn't softened enough, apply a little more water and carefully apply it to the top of the "lollipop" creating the first petal of the center. The damp petal will slightly moisten the sugar of the "lollipop" and adhere to it without any adhesive. (Figure 6)
6. Apply a second petal adjacent to the first. Continue adding petals (3 or 4) until the top of the "lollipop" is covered. Add a second row, slightly offset and very slightly below the first row keeping the petals loosely tight to the first application . Continue until the whole "lollipop" is covered in petals. You can stop here if you want to make a peony bud. I'll explain later how to apply the calyx for a bud. (Figure 7)
7. To start opening the flower, wet a small 2” petal as described in step 6. Apply petal at level of last row of center, opening the petals more loosely & open from the prior row. (Figure 10)
8. Continue to add this row of petals, then add more rows in the same manner, but slightly lower than the prior row, until you are satisfied with it. Allow to dry for at least an hour. To make the outer petals: Use a combination of the 2” & 3” petals. Make small cuts into the petals to make them ruffly. (Figure 11)
9. Wet them as described in step 5, then place them on the former. (Figure 12)
10. After a few minutes, when they're dry to touch, but still soft, arrange the top ruffles to curl in different directions, but let the base cup. Allow to dry most of the way. They should be a little tacky but somewhat stiff. (Figure 13)
11 .To attach to center: Take one of the petals off the former. Moisten the base of the petal and wait a few seconds. Apply to the center and hold until it is attached. (Figure 14)
12. Apply a second petal in the same manner adjacent to the first outer petal. (Figure 15)
13. Continue to apply the first row of outer petals in the same way until the row is complete. (Figure 16)
14. Make a second row of outer petals in the same manner. Make as many rows of outer petals as you wish. (Figures 17 & 18)
15. Allow to dry completely. I dry it upside down on a drying rack. (Figure 19)
16. If you wish to color your flower, (if you haven't used colored water) spritz colored alcohol (liquid food color mixed in grain alcohol) lightly onto the flower, airbrush it or use the edible food spray. (Figures 20 & 21)
17. To make the calyx for the bud: Punch 5 - ¾” or 1” circles of rice paper or cut them with scissors. (Figure 22)
18. Wet them with green tinted water and allow to soften. Apply each circle to the base of the dry bud with the circle touching the stem. Press to the bud so it is tight around it. Allow to dry completely. (Figures 23, 24 & 25)
19. To make the calyx for the flower: Punch 5 1” circles of rice paper or cut them with scissors. (See Figure 22)
20. Wet them with green tinted water and allow to soften. Apply each circle to the underside of the dry flower with the circle touching the stem. Press to the under-petal so it is attached it. Allow to dry completely. (Figures 23 & 26)
21. Once dry, wrap the stem in green floral tape. Be sure to stretch the tape to activate the glue. (Figures 27, 28 & 29)
22. To make peony leaves: See pattern below. Cut 2 pieces of rice paper for the leaf. Wet 1 side each of the leaf with green colored water. (Figures 30, 31 & 32)
23. Then place the 26 gauge cloth or paper covered or flocked green floral wire between the 2 moistened, lined up pieces and press together until they stick together. (Figure 33)
24. Gently push out any air pockets around the wire. Wet the outside of the leaf with the green colored water in a spritz bottle. Arrange on the leaf former to dry. (Figure 34)
25. Wrap the wire in floral tape. Arrange with the flower the way you want or use separately. (Figures 35 & 36)
I like to use the rotary blade. The rice paper is brittle & scissors tend to make the paper's edges chip. The rotary blade isn't as rough on the sheets and usually cuts a sharper edge.
Use whichever craft scissor edge you want. I have several & like to play around with them to make whimsical edges.
You can freehand the leaves if you would prefer not to use a pattern. I sometimes put two rectangular pieces together and cut out the shape of the leaf before wetting the outside. You have to be quick, before the paper gets too soft to cut easily. It it does, just wait a few minutes to let them dry out a little.
I rub the rice paper after I spritz it until the pattern has smoothed off. You don't have to, though, if you li9ke the pattern. It gives the petals or leaves some interest.
I try to use floral tape close to the color I am making the leaves & calyx. You can always use white floral tape & color it with petal dust. I don't like powder all over my stems, though.
When I am making a colored flower, I prefer to color the water. It is messy, but the food dye comes off usually after a few handwashings. Just do the dishes by hand. (LOL)
Occasionally dry off your hands. The rice paper can get a bit slimy or the water can make your hands too wet.
I don't always add a calyx. If you aren't going to see the underside of the flower, don't bother.
Make the flower as large or small as you want. It's your flower. You know when it's done.
Grain alcohol contains almost no water & dries very quickly. Spritzing colored alcohol on the flower after it has dried will not affect the rice paper.
Don't try using a real lollipop. The sugar melts & gets extremely sticky & messy.
You can use an incandescent light bulb in a lamp to help dry your petals if you are in a hurry. Just don't put them too close & be careful not to burn yourself. I use a 150W – 200W bulb, so it gets pretty hot.
Using gel food color in alcohol makes the gel to congeal. Certain liquid dyes work better than others. Some of them separate out into particles. Unfortunately, the label rubbed off the orange dye I used, so I can't tell you what brand it was. The fuchsia for the bud was Sunnyside Bakery color (Hobby Lobby).
Some of the edible food sprays make the flower opaque, The purple I used was semi-opaque as was white. The metallics were completely opaque.
To make a plastic spoon flower former:
Hot glue gun
Hot glue sticks
Heavy duty cardboard or foam poster board
Heavy duty plastic spoons clipped at the base
Heat up glue gun.
Place a large glob of glue on cardboard.
Attach bowl of spoon to glue.
Attach a line of the spoons at least 1” apart, as many as will fit the cardboard.
You can also do a line of spoons upside down, as I have used above.
For larger petal cups, use plastic serving spoons. I got them in a dollar store.