Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Blue Morpho Butterfly in Gum Paste

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It is the time of year for engagement parties.  Congrats to my nephew Bradley and his fiancee, Kristen.

Kristen is a fabulous artist and a lover of all creatures great and small.  Including BUGS and REPTILES.  Interesting girl.  For her last birthday I made her a cake in the shape of an angry Leaf Beetle, but for her engagement party she wanted a more traditional cake with roses and a large Blue Morpho Butterfly.

Honestly she is the artist and not me, so I tried to get her to make/paint the Morpho that would adorn the cake, but she didn't take the hint.  In the end I struggled and came up with something that was at least presentable.

I started out by cutting 4 individual gum paste wings using guides I made from wax paper.  I smoothed the edges of the gum paste, and then cut shallow lines to represent the markings on the Morpho's wings.  As a final step I inserted floral wire into the wings.

Here are the 4 wings waiting to be painted.

The Morpho butterfly is mostly blue with some iridescent teals and purples.  I started out paining the center section with some Wilton Teal food color gel.  I mixed a little bit of gel with some vodka and then just painted it on.

Next I added some AmeriColor Electric Blue

And finally I trimmed the edges in Wilton Black

Once the paint was dry, I used the embedded wires to twist the wings together.

And then I built a body on top of the wires.  I also added some sparkly gems to the edges to mimic the white spots on the Morpho's wings.

Then I painted the body black, and inserted some thin wire for the antenna.

Sadly, the twisted floral wires weren't strong enough to hold the butterfly wings together, so I had to use some hot glue to hold everything in place.  I also hot glued a wire loop on the back so I could hang the butterfly from the cake.

So here is the original sketch from the bride-to-be...

And here is the finished cake. She wanted the colors to be Coral and Turquoise.  In the beginning I thought it was a bold and inventive combination, but now I realize they are the trending colors.  <<I am so out of the loop.>>   I also added a few more flowers than her sketch showed.  I had some extra gum paste roses, and I felt bad about throwing them away and not using them on the cake.

So all in all it turned out well.   Congratulations Brad & Kristen. Ya'll make such a cute couple.

Happy Decorating,



  1. Hello Carol, Another very *pretty* cake!!! The coloring of your gumpaste blue Morpho butterfly was spot on. I’m sure your nephew’s fiancée, Kristen, loved it. I’m a huge fan of your blog because you always offer such a wealth of information. I was hoping maybe I could share with you two thoughts I have about working with gumpaste. One thing I learned after my share of trials and errors with gumpaste petals, leaves, etc. is to try to make these items as thin as feasible so the weight of the dried gumpaste is not such an issue with the finished project. Another idea that might help is to use floral tape to attach wires together rather than twisting the wires as you will have more control in the wires' placement. I look forward to your next posting! XXxxx, Edith P.S. Your painting is great also.

    1. Thanks for the tips, Edith. I will definitely try wrapping the wires in floral tape next time, because twisting the wires didn’t work. The twisting force also pulled the wire from one of the wings! (Thank goodness for hot glue.> My next cake is in the birch tree style with love birds and flowers on top. I will remember your advice and roll the gum paste as thin as possible.

      Thanks again, Carol