How to make fondant leaves

What you need

  • Green fondant (buy ready made or mix with green food colouring)
  • Tylose powder
  • Floral wire (the bigger the leaf, the thicker the floral wire needs to be)
    When using floral wire it needs to inserted into something that won't be eaten. The simplest thing is to roll a ball of fondant to stick on the cake and insert the wires into that. NEVER insert the wires straight into the cake
  • Rolling pin
  • Washed real leaves (or leaf templates or leaf cutters)
  • Knife tool or leaf veining tool
  • Ball tool
  • Foam petal pad
  • Foil

Step 1

Mix some tylose powder into your fondant to turn it into a gum paste. Wrap it in cling wrap and place in a sealed zip bag. Let it sit for 1/2 an hour or longer.
The general ratio is 1/2 a teaspoon of tylose powder into 250 grams of fondant. You can mix up a whole batch and store what you don't use for later, or you can just add a pinch or two of tylose powder to a small amount of fondant and mix as you go. If it is too dry you can add more fondant.

Step 2

Roll out a small amount of your fondant until it is about 2-3mm thick. The amount will depend on the size of the leaf you want to make.

Step 3

Gently place a real leaf on top of the fondant. Trace around the edges of the leaf with your knife tool, cutting out the shape of the leaf. 
It doesn't have to be exact. Leaves in nature are all different shapes and sizes, even if they are off the same tree.
If you don't want to use real leaves, you can use a leaf cutter to cut out the shape of the leaf.

Step 4

Remove the leaf and cut a strip of fondant about half the length of your leaf. 
This will be used later to cover the wire (if you don't want to make a wired leaf you don't have to cut this strip).

Step 5

Press a leaf with thick veins or a leaf veining tool onto your cut out fondant to make veins.
Alternatively, you can draw in the veins by gently running your knife tool over the fondant.

Step 6

Transfer your leaf to the foam petal pad.
Run the ball tool over the edges of the leaf to give a ruffled effect. The closer you rub to the edge the more ruffled it will be. Try experimenting on a few leaves to see what effects you like best.

Step 7

Turn your leaf over and place a piece of floral wire at the base of the leaf. 

The length you choose will depend on the size of the leaf and its application. If you make the wire too long you can cut it off a bit later.
Remember, floral wire should never be inserted directly into your cake. 

Step 8

Wet one side of the the strip of fondant and place over the wire, covering it all the way to the base.

Carefully press down on the strip to ensure it sticks to the leaf.

Step 9

Scrunch up a square of foil so that it looks a bit like this

Step 10

Place your leaf, with the veins facing up, onto the foil. No leaves are completely flat, so use the foil to shape the leaves a little.

The foil is good because it gives a fairly natural look, and no two leaves are ever the same.

Step 11

Allow the leaves to dry. Make sure they are completely dry before going to the next step. This can take some time, depending on the thickness of your fondant as well as where you live. I usually leave mine overnight. 

Step 12

Paint your leaves. 
Use the leaves you collected to cut out the shapes as a guide for painting. Some leaves are dark with burgundy highlights, some have browns and yellows in them, some are shiny and some have a matte finish. Layer your colours and see what you can come up with.  
For these leaves I have used Emerald Green powder colours. I mixed a small amount with water and also used some dry colour.
First I painted the leaf a light green on both sides with the green water mix. Don't use too much water, as this can make the fondant go slimy or soft again.

Then, while the leaf was still damp i used the wet brush to pick up some dry powder. Brushing down from the outside towards the inside I painted a much darker layer.
Let the paint dry and you are finished your leaf. Now you are ready to use them in your arrangements.

Here is a picture of a few different leaves I made.

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