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Make-A-Cake Series: Gumpaste Bow

Are you ready to learn how to make a really beautiful cake topper?

We are going to make a gumpaste bow to top any cake.

Here is what it looks like:

The bow makes the cake look like a present. 
Is there a better gift than cake? 
Only a few, I’m sure!

A gumpaste bow is a great way to add that wow factor to the top of your cake. 
Lets get started.


From bottom left to right
  1. Pizza/fondant cutter
  2. ruler
  3. corn starch (that container is for putting power sugar on brownies but it has become my favorite way to sprinkle corn starch. You can get them in the brownie section at Michael’s. I never work without mine).
  4. Gumpaste — I am using white and yellow but use whatever you’d like. You can use just one color…..or many.  Personally I think they look best with 1-3 colors.
The first step is to roll out your gumpaste pretty thin (1/8 inch thick)
We are going to make the loops to our bows 6″ long. 
So take your ruler and cutter and make a straight edge to work with on the bottom.
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Then measure and mark 6″ across the piece of fondant.
Then cut the top of the gumpaste off to make another straight edge.

Next step is to cut the loops.
I just use the width of my ruler and cut strips.
 It’s about 1.25 inches. I would not go much wider than that but more narrow (like an inch) works great too.

You need 13 loops total to make this bow.
And then 2 strips to make the ribbon tails (cut the same size).

You are using 12 strips to make the bow but make one extra just in case you have one brake. 
You will need 12 if doing a single color bow, 6 of one color and 7 of another if doing a 2-color bow, and 4,  4, and 5 of each color for a 3-color bow.

Try to cut all of your strips quickly. Gumpaste starts to dry fast. 

Take your cut strips one at a time and wet the ends with a small amount of water.

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Then drape the strip over a dowel.  
My dowel is 1″ thick that I bought at a hardware store. It is resting on two overturned cake pans to give it some height.

After you drape it, pinch the ends together to close the loop.  Then pinch to make a pleat at the end.
This pleating will help make a tight bow when we assemble it on the cake.

Repeat this step until all your loops are hung.

Take your last 2 strips and cut a triangle in the end. This will make it look like the tail of a ribbon.
Lay it on a flat surface to dry.
Leave your loops on the dowel for 1 hour to set the shape.
Then carefully remove the loops and place them on a sheet pan to dry.
I do this because they seem to dry faster with both sides exposed to air. 
Let the loops dry for 48-72 hours.

Here are all of my little sugar soldiers drying!

We can start to assemble the bow on top of our already covered cake, after the loops are dry.
Need a reminder on how to cover a cake with fondant? Click here.

This bow is meant for the top of a 6″ cake. If you are topping a larger cake you will need more loops.

Using buttercream, make a dollop the size of a lemon cut in half, in the middle of the cake.

Insert 6 of your loops into the bottom of the buttercream, allowing the loops to rest on the cake. Alternate your colors.
Add another dollop of buttercream on top of the loops.
Lay 5 more loops on top of the bottom layer.
The colors will not match up but put those in the back.

Add more buttercream.

Stand your last loop straight up in the buttercream.

Here is what it should look like at this point.

Add the ribbon tails now.
Cut the strip shorter to 3-4 inches. Add buttercream to the end of the strip to get it to stick.
Insert the ribbons into the bow wherever you think looks good.

Do a bit of touch up to get off any visible cornstarch with a damp paint brush and water. 

Not too hard right?

Here is the cake I used this bow with.
I hope you find a special event this bow will be perfect for.
Or just a Wednesday night……….those are special too!

Happy decorating!

Thanks for checking out my Make-A-Cake Series: Gumpaste Bow post. Check out my full collection of DIY Sewing articles. Find even more sewing projects, patterns, and tips for beginners and advanced sewists by Liz Call, Mariah Leeson, Randi Dukes and Tauni Everett.
Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Allison says:

    CUTE!! But are the bows going to be hard and not edible?

  2. Leah says:

    What is the difference between gum paste and fondant?

  3. Mrs. J says:

    I have having a hard time with the Wiltons letters cut outs…they stick too bad in the tiny places…what to do?

  4. Byrd says:

    Thank you so much for the great tutorial! Your work is so clean, great job!

  5. reynaldo says:


  6. Marla says:

    Do you have a recommendation of where to buy the gum paste and what kind?

  7. says:

    This series is SO fantastic! I feel like I've learned so much! Thanks so much for the bow and the gems, I'll be linking.

  8. Courtney says:

    I love this series, I am totally going to make one for my daughter's birthday. Any good princess ideas?

  9. Cherie says:

    I LOVE your cake series! I'm excited to try the bow!

  10. Brittany says:

    Kelli- you can make your own gumpaste but it's a complicated process. I just buy mine.

    Tara– I will admit I get a bit scared and nervous whenever I start a new cake. After I dive in and see the end result it's all worth it! I promise you can do it!

  11. Kelli says:

    I love all of your posts!!! Can you make gum paste or do you have to buy it?

  12. alaskafam says:

    that was so less complicated than it looked at first. Thanks for the great tutorial! Can't wait for next week.

  13. Missie says:

    You make it look so easy! I love it!

  14. laura jones says:

    oh my gosh! SUPER cute! and yeah, it looks like something I could actually do…

  15. Sunshine of Seven says:

    That is so neat and you make it look super easy!

  16. Amanda says:

    Thank you I'm just getting into fondant and gum paste work and was wanting to know how to make a bow… Super Easy! I eagerly wait for a new post from you and haven't been disappointed in any of your post!

  17. Tara says:

    I LOVE this! You make it look like I could actually do it… but I'm still skeptical! :-)

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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