Photo of Alan Dunn

Tropical Sugar Flowers

with Alan Dunn
Tropical Sugar Flowers
Expand your sugar-flower offerings into tropical horizons. Learn Alan Dunn's expert techniques for creating sprays of bauhinia, hibiscus and gardenia flowers.

Discover an oasis of vibrant sugar flowers and alluring accoutrements with master sugar artist Alan Dunn. Create a breathtaking bauhinia complete with a beautiful bud and hearts entangled foliage. Bring a romantic hibiscus flower to life with eye-catching dimension and complete the look with a realistic bud, exotic berries and heart-shaped leaves. Finally, make an elegant gardenia spray set off with a matching bud, leaves and two styles of succulents that add sophisticated movement to your arrangements. Travel beyond ordinary sugar flowers and give any celebration a window into paradise.

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Lesson plan


Lesson 1. The Bauhinia: Making the Flower

  • Meet your instructor, cake artist Alan Dunn, and get started making your first tropical flower! Form and color delicate stamens and a pistil, then create the five wired petals that make up the bauhinia. Learn how to roll a ridge for a wired petal by hand and discover Alan’s technique for thinning petals with a ball tool. Finally, color and assemble your petals to create this botanically realistic beauty!


Lesson 2. The Bauhinia: Fillers & Arranging the Spray

  • Make exotic bauhinia buds, bracts and leaves as you master forming, coloring and even etching details into your creations. Learn how to make realistic insect nibbles and add to your bouquet as you make petite hearts entangled foliage. Then, Alan offers his tips for arranging your finished spray.


Lesson 3. The Hibiscus: Making the Flower

  • With a five-part pistil and exotic, multidimensional stamens, the hibiscus is guaranteed to be unlike any sugar flower you’ve ever attempted! Alan offers tips for working with miniature elements and demonstrates his technique for wiring petals as he makes this glamorous flower.


Lesson 4. The Hibiscus: Fillers & Arranging the Spray

  • Master the “cage” method for creating hibiscus buds, then finish your flowers with calyxes and sepals as you discover the artistry behind very fine detail work. Explore how brush selection can dramatically change the coloring of your flower. Learn to make radiator leaves and love berries, simple yet modern accompaniments to your lush hibiscuses. Alan shows you how to arrange all of your elements onto a cake and shares his signature wired-paper accents.


Lesson 5. The Gardenia: Making the Flower

  • Discover how quickly this traditional wedding flower comes together! Alan demonstrates how to cut out each petal, 18 in all, and assemble them in a tight spiral to recreate an authentic sugar replica. Then, add the tiny sepals and just a touch of color.


Lesson 6. The Gardenia: Fillers & Arranging the Spray

  • Add gardenia buds to your repertoire and learn the secret behind getting that hallmark waxy look to the petals. Finish your final bouquet with deeply colored gardenia leaves and add two dramatic succulents formed entirely by hand: an African string of pearls and a Japanese rosette. Then, watch as Alan assembles all of these different elements into a beautiful spray, perfect for any occasion.

I have several of Mr. Dunn's books, all of which I love. I never imagined I'd be able to "experience" one of his classes. I'm particularly grateful for the insight into how sugar bouquets are arranged and wired together. It's something I really struggle with. I can't wait to practice the techniques I've learned in this class.
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