This blog post includes all the information from my vintage rose cupcake class. This information is based on products available in Australia, and the hints and tips are relevant to Queensland, which is usually hot and humid.... bad cake decorating weather!
There are two different types of paste to use, and I recommend buying both, feeling the differences and finding what works for you.
Pastillage comes in a powder. Mix it following the instructions on the bag. Once mixed it keeps for a couple of days, but must be wrapped tight in cling film. As soon as you have it out in the air you must be moulding it as it starts to dry and will crack quickly.
Pros: It drys rock hard and keeps shape for petals really well. It also handles the humidity really well and can be dried gently in the oven at a very low temperature.
Cons: it's soft and not good for the silicone moulds. It also takes a lighter shade of the gel paste than the gum paste.
Flower paste, Mexican paste, Gum paste, modelling paste... Essentially the same stuff, different names depending on the country... UK or USA.
Pros: It is great though for the moulds and free hand modelling. It also rolls really thin as the gums make it more elastic than pastillage. Takes the gel colours really well, you get a nice depth of colour and a smooth finish.
Cons: If your have air con, you'll be at an advantage. Doesn't dry to well in the oven, melts easier than pastillage. In QLD it will rarely dry hard, especially in the humidity, and literally run melts if left out to 'dry' overnight
Then there is fondant. Fondant is for covering the cupcakes and cakes, and is useless for modelling work as it's too soft and isn't made to dry hard.
To colour the pastes, you need a gel, the best brand is sugar flair which comes from the UK. It's thick and has a great range of colours. You can buy it on ebay.co.uk Americolour is good, and Wilton is good too, but I don't find either have the depth and range of colours that sugarflair has. For these cupcakes we used Wilton Rose Pink and Wilton Sky Blue which are available in spotlight.
Silicone moulds are used to make the buttons, they are available on Etsy, Ebay, online cake stores... there are many different types. You can even buy silicone packs and make your own moulds. Cool huh!
There are a million cutters for flowers... again, I would look online and order from Ebay.co.uk or Etsy before a store in Australia as the stores here seems to be so overpriced! My favourite store though, is a local Brisbane online store www.bakingpleasures.com They have the most competitive prices and do quick delivery. If you are around the south side of the city you can arrange a pick-up time and avoid postage costs! Gotta love that!