There are a few different gum paste mats on the market. Here, I'll discuss the two most popular.
The others on the market are pretty similar to the two seen here. There are many places to buy them. I would take the time to shop the online stores that deliver to your area.
The PME foam mat
This gum paste mat usually comes as a set with two pieces: a soft white mat and a stiff blue mat with five holes. The blue mat is used when making sugar flowers using the Mexican hat method, which is ideal for making primrose and the calyx for roses. The mat is used by pressing gum paste into the hole, rolling out the leftover gum paste on top of the mat and then cutting out your shape. When you remove the flower from the mat, you then have your shape with a small tail or stem. Nicholas Lodge demonstrates this technique when making a calyx in The Ultimate Sugar Rose.
The white mat is used for thinning the edges of the flowers, ruffles and other decorations.
To try this technique, use the ball tool with the ball half on the mat and half on the petal, and gently slide the ball tool across the edge to ruffle it slightly, as seen above.
The same technique is used when thinning ruffles, as seen above.
To try this ruffle technique, simply glide the ball tool across the edge with the ball half on the ruffle and half on the mat. Both the thick mat and the white mat work well to ruffle fondant.
To master the fondant ruffling technique, check out Maggie Austin’s Fondant Frills Craftsy class.
The Wilton mat
Wilton also makes a foam mat that is very useful. It also includes two mats: a thick, soft one and a thin one. The thick soft mat is a little too soft to thin petals, but it's great for cupping petals and can be used to thin ruffles.
When using the mat for flowers, poke a small hole in the center of the mat. Then, when attaching your petals on the flower, you can place them on the thin pink mat and thread your flower wire through the hole. This will hold your petals so they do not tear, crack or deform while you work.
Sugar flowers are such a fun way to unleash your creativity. It is amazing to take a lump of gum paste and turn it into a beautiful creation. Gum paste mats can help bring your sugar flowers and ruffles to a thinner and more beautiful finish.
Craftsy has a wide assortment of amazing sugar classes available. Why not try one out today?
Tomorrow on the Craftsy blog, we'll be celebrating Halloween all day long! Don't forget to enter our Jack-o'-Lantern Carving Showcase and our Creative Halloween Crafts Contest! Winners will be announced tomorrow at 5pm MST!