How to Preserve Your Sugar Flowers as a Wedding Keepsake Sugar Flowers by Kelsie Cakes
How to Preserve Your Sugar Flowers as a Wedding Keepsake Sugar Flowers by Kelsie Cakes

How to Preserve Your Sugar Flowers as a Wedding Keepsake

Sugar Flower FAQs

I still have the sugar flowers from my own wedding cake, and I recently spoke with a woman who still had the sugar flowers from her wedding cake– over 40 years ago! She’s now helping her daughter plan and design her wedding cake, which is just the most beautiful tradition to pass down!

Though Sugar Flowers are made from edible ingredients, they can be stored for years (as seen in the examples above!) with proper care and handling. In this blog post, I’ll walk you through my tips and tricks.

purple and cream Sugar Flower dahlias, roses, hellebores on a gray marbled background

Start with the Right Sugar Flowers

I’ve worked with many different forms of gumpaste to make sugar flowers, and some recipes are sturdier than others! My recipe contains a high-quality tylose powder to set the gumpaste and help it dry rock-hard. This keeps the flowers safe during shipping and leads to their long shelf life.

If you’re really concerned about the long-term durability of sugar flowers, you could also consider using cold porcelain, although I don’t have any personal experience with this medium or how it holds up over time. I’ve heard good things, though!

Prepare Your Sugar Flowers After the Wedding

Before you store your sugar flowers as keepsakes, you’ve got to prep them properly to ensure they remain beautiful and intact for as long as possible. Here's how I recommend prepping your sugar flowers after the wedding:

gold and black open rose sugar flower wedding cake by kelsie cakes

Carefully Remove from Cake

If the stems are tightly bunched, you may need to use needle-nose pliers to remove the flowers from the cake. Alternatively, you can just use your gloved hands! Grasp the flexible floral wire * under the flower head and pull it straight out of the cake. Gently lay them on paper towels or another protected surface on the table.

Handle with Care

Sugar flowers are delicate, so handle them with care to avoid breakage. Especially when they’ve been displayed on a wedding cake all night, the moisture from the cake and the buttercream icing can slightly soften the gumpaste. Hold the flowers by their stems rather than the petals, as the petals can easily break off or the colors can run.

Remove Excess Icing

If there is any excess icing or frosting on the sugar flowers, gently brush or wipe it off. You can use paper towels or a soft brush. Be sure to wipe down the floral-wire-wrapped stems as well! Do not use water to wipe off the icing. If anything, use a high-ABV alcohol-soaked cloth to clean off the petals. Note that the alcohol may rub off any glazing or color of the petals, but it shouldn’t cause the gumpaste to melt or soften. Use as little liquid as possible! Be careful not to damage the delicate petals or stems. Set the flowers off to the side to dry after wiping them with alcohol.

Inspect for Damage

This step can be done in conjunction with the previous step, but you’ll want to inspect each sugar flower for any signs of damage, such as cracks, breaks, or missing petals. You can use needle-nose pliers to remove the stems of broken petals. If the damage is minimal, you can still use the flower as a keepsake *, but when arranging them for display, just tuck the broken pieces behind another flower or petal and no one will notice the difference!

White moth orchid petals for sugar flowers against a peach replica surface

Allow to Air Dry

If your sugar flowers are not already 100% dry, allow them to air dry completely before storing or displaying. Place them on a clean, dry surface in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight or heat sources. You can also use desiccant packets to help remove more moisture and humidity.

Consider Reinforcing Stems

If the stems of your sugar flowers are very thin (like a 26g wire), consider reinforcing them with thicker wires (like 20g or 18g) and floral tape *. Often, the stems are already thick enough so they can be displayed on the cake!

Keep Your Sugar Flowers Dry

How to Preserve Your Sugar Flowers as a Wedding Keepsake Sugar Flowers by Kelsie Cakes
This is what you DON'T want your sugar flowers to do! This flower is wilted, dusty, and discolored. Our gaol is to prevent this look!

Moisture is the enemy of sugar flowers’ shelf life! Your flowers could ‘wilt’ or melt if they have too much humidity. So the goal is to keep them as dry as possible. This is possible even in humid places like Florida (where I live) if you follow the right protocol!

I recommend using silica gel/desiccant packets to keep humidity levels down. I recommend the Dry & Dry brand. In fact, when I ship my flowers, I make sure the box contains the packets!

Put the packets underneath the flowers or tucked away in the back of your storage container out of sight so they keep working but don’t interfere with the decor!

Another idea? Using resin to preserve the flowers. I have no experience with this, but I’ve seen some really cool videos about it on Instagram. I tried to find them to link to them in this post, but unfortunately, I can’t remember where I bookmarked the links! I will update this post if I can find it.

How to Preserve Your Sugar Flowers as a Wedding Keepsake Sugar Flowers by Kelsie Cakes
Make sure you remove the fondant, buttercream, and cake from the flowers and stems before you get ready to store or display them!

Maintenance and Care for Long-Term Sugar Flower Storage

Prepping and drying your sugar flowers is just the first step in making sure they remain beautiful for years to come. Proper maintenance and care are essential to maintain their gorgeous look and prevent damage. Here are some tips for caring for your sugar flowers for the long haul:

Dust Free is the Way to Be

Regularly dust your preserved sugar flowers using a soft brush or a can of compressed air. Be gentle to avoid damaging the delicate petals. I do not do this step very often with my wedding cake flowers because they are fully enclosed in an acrylic box * (more about that later!)

Avoid Direct Sunlight

Display your preserved sugar flowers away from direct sunlight, as prolonged exposure can cause the colors to fade over time. This is especially true for purple and blue flowers, which are most sensitive to light. White colors can also become more yellow over time, and certain lightbulbs, like fluorescent bulbs, also cause fading!

Control Humidity

Sugar flowers are so sensitive to humidity, so it's important to keep them in an environment that is as dry as possible. Avoid storing them in areas prone to high humidity, such as garages or kitchens. And make sure you use those desiccant packets!

Handle with Care

When moving or handling your sugar flowers, be gentle to avoid breakage. It's best to hold them by the stem to prevent damage to the delicate petals. Sometimes, dust or grease on your fingers can also cause petals to discolor.

How to Preserve Your Sugar Flowers as a Wedding Keepsake Sugar Flowers by Kelsie Cakes

Inspect Regularly

Periodically inspect your sugar flowers for any signs of damage or deterioration. Look for any discoloration, mold, or other signs of decay, and take appropriate action if needed. Discard any moldy flowers! If a petal or two has ‘wilted,’ you can always clip off the flexible floral wire * stem of that petal with some wire cutters.

Store Properly

If you need to store your sugar flowers for an extended period, place them in a box or container lined with acid-free tissue paper. Store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

How to Preserve Your Sugar Flowers as a Wedding Keepsake Sugar Flowers by Kelsie Cakes

Avoid Moisture

Keep your sugar flowers away from sources of moisture, as this can cause them to become soft or sticky or look ‘wilted.’ If they do get wet, gently pat them dry with a soft cloth and allow them to air dry completely. Hang the flowers upside down to keep the petals’ shape as much as possible. Please note that getting the flowers wet is the fastest and easiest way to damage them!

By following these tips, you’ll help make sure your flowers are just as beautiful and vibrant for years to come as they were for your wedding!

Displaying Sugar Flowers

magnolia sugar flower in white and gold with brown and green leaves displayed on a wooden cake stand

Okay, now that your Sugar Flowers are prepped and ready to go, it’s time to display them! Of course, if you don’t want to display them out in the open, you can always store them similar to how I recommend storing the flowers before the wedding. But if you want to display the flowers in a way that showcases their beauty and keeps them safe from damage, here are my suggestions!

Shadow Box Display

Get a deep shadow box to arrange your sugar flowers. Make sure the shadow box has a glass front to protect it from dust and damage. A deeper shadow box works best for sugar flowers because of their rigid nature.

Bell Jar or Cloche

Display your preserved sugar flowers under a bell jar or glass cloche. This not only protects the flowers but also creates a beautiful, elegant display that adds a touch of sophistication to any room. I love the fancy, vintage vibes that cloches provide!

How to Preserve Your Sugar Flowers as a Wedding Keepsake Sugar Flowers by Kelsie Cakes

Acrylic Display Box

Similarly, you can use an acrylic display box—think the kind that sports memorabilia is stored in! The acrylic will also help block UV rays that can fade colors, and this display option gives a really clean and modern look.

How to Preserve Your Sugar Flowers as a Wedding Keepsake Sugar Flowers by Kelsie Cakes

Table Centerpiece

You could place your sugar flowers in a vase or bowl (or even arranged on top of a decorative cake stand) to use as a table centerpiece, though I don’t recommend leaving them out for too long this way. They’re likely to get dusty, and it’s hard to control for humidity. One idea is to keep the vase of sugar flowers stored away in a china cabinet and only bring them out occasionally! (My mom has the very first sugar flowers I ever made– when I was in high school! – stored in the china cabinet in her dining room)

Wreath or Garland

Another idea is to use more floral wire * and floral tape * to attach the sugar flowers together into a wreath or garland. Just like the table centerpiece, I recommend keeping this stored in a closed glass cabinet so it is safe from dust and humidity! (Don’t forget those desiccant packets!)

How to Preserve Your Sugar Flowers as a Wedding Keepsake Sugar Flowers by Kelsie Cakes

Picture Frame Display

My newest favorite way to display sugar flowers is with a clear acrylic picture frame! This creates a stunning visual effect and allows you to enjoy the beauty of the flowers up close. I use this effect to take some really cool photos, and I think it’s a fun way to display sugar flowers. Like always, I recommend keeping this arrangement in an enclosed space to protect it from the elements!

How to Preserve Your Sugar Flowers as a Wedding Keepsake Sugar Flowers by Kelsie Cakes

Additional Resources

If you want to learn more about sugar flowers, be sure to check out these posts:

These videos and articles are also helpful:

And if you’re looking for some of the best ways to clean and store your sugar flowers, here are some of my favorite products from Amazon to use —

As always, let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. I’d love to hear from you! I hope you found this guide helpful and that your sugar flowers bring you joy for years to come!

How to Preserve Your Sugar Flowers as a Wedding Keepsake Sugar Flowers by Kelsie Cakes

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