In the art form of gum paste sugar flowers, the need to join several wired pieces together into one decoration is often frequent. Floral tape is used to accomplish this. Keep in mind, there are many brands of floral tape. Not all of them perform in the way.
My favorite brand is “Floratape”. It offers a lighter green color, for instance, and also has a good amount of a wax coating on the tape so that it adheres to itself as it wraps the cotton or paper covered wire. If you found that your variety of tape unravels when wiring your pieces, it is probably too old, or too dry a floral tape without this wax coating.
Often I come across sugar artists who do not take the time to split the tape down the middle of the 1/2” (1.2cm) tape roll. You see, I almost never wrap gum paste parts together with the 1/2 inch width as it is. I always take a very sharp scissors down a strand that is held taught. In a flash the scissors will sever the tape in the middle without having to snip the length many times to cut it in half. So in other words, I usually wrap all my sugar bits together with 1/4 inch(.6cm) width of tape.
If you have something that you can put the ring of tape loosely over like a bobbin post, and then release several feet of tape with no sag from the roll, the scissors should easily be able to be scooted down the middle without too much guidance. By doing this, the tape will not build up too fast making stems too thick, and one also gets double the length of tape from one roll.
There are tape splitters on the market if one has difficulty cutting the tape. I just use sharp scissors with tension on the tape, and it cuts down the middle rather easily.
Steps for attaching a length of tape to the main stem.
And remember when you start attaching tape to a wire, make sure you set only a corner of it past the wire, just a little bit, and then reach forward with the index finger to rub the tiny bit to the stem against the thumb. That way it will adhere faster and have a strong start to the wrapping process. If you set the tape perpendicular and past the wire to much at the start, it is harder to get it tightly started. And always tug a bit at the beginning of wrapping to check that it will not unravel from the wire before joining other parts. Best to do it then, rather than wait until the third petal to find out the beginning was not secure.
And angle the tape at a 45 degree downward slope while wrapping a branch so it moves quickly down the stem instead of over-wrapping itself and causing too much thickness again.
Here’s one last hint about finishing up a stem or branch. Nature always mixes the green and reds together to create the lifelike brown variance that often exists in nature. So once a green-floral-tape-wrapped branch is done, consider dusting the stem with a little pink or red to vary the obvious, green only, look of the tape. It will surprise you how suddenly the wrapping of the tape disappears looking more woody. Even flower stems that should remain mostly green, need a splash of the red hues, at the base of flowers where they grow from along the plant.
Here is a brief moment from my upcoming DVD #8, “Spring Flowers in Sugar”. This prep step for sugar pieces is important so that the wired pieces, either leaves or petals, you are attaching fit flush with the main wire. If you don’t bend the wire close to the sugar like this with your thumbnail, the petals won’t fit as tightly together. Prepare all wires in this way before begin attaching them.