Palette Knife Buttercream Flowers Technique!

There are things to do.

LOTS of things to do to keep a family running smoothly.  

But I'm not telling most of you anything you don't already know.

palette knife flowers tall (best)

And I'm one of those people that needs to organize everything and make lists for myself of all that needs to be accomplished on any given day in order to keep the voices in my head happy, and, well... sane.
(What?  You don't have voices?  *Ahem* Weird.)

And when I can't actually accomplish all of a day's written tasks, they are automatically added onto the next day's list.

Some days' lists can get loooong.

Like this past Monday's list.


palette knife flowers top tier

But I was ready to tackle it!  I was awake and dressed with coffee in hand, 'bout to slay that list LIKE A BOSS (so I could get rid of the anxiety that builds right along next to said lists)...

when my (almost) twelve year old bubba boy, Finn, stumbled up to me holding his stomach with THE most pathetic look on his face.

He had a massive stomach ache...and he wanted his mama to sit with him on the couch.

Yes, he is twelve.

And did I mention how long my list was?

But here are the questions that hit me square in the face as I was mulling over those two facts:

How much time do I have left? 

palette knife flowers top angle

How much longer will he want his mama around to comfort him when he's not ok?

Do I want to look back someday, wondering what the HECK was so important on those lists that I couldn't put them off for a day to hold my bubba's head while he was moaning on the couch?

Do I want him to look back, remembering how his mama was always willing to drop anything in order to sit with him when he was sick...or instead, remembering how his mama was just too busy, so he needed to tough it out on his own?

Oh HECK no.

And that was that.

I grabbed my boy's favorite pillow and the comfiest blanket I could find, and I practically ran to that couch so he could lay his head on my lap while we watched a movie together to try to distract him through the nausea...

and I could just BE THERE.

'Cause he wanted me to be.

And the list was...somewhere else.

palette knife flowers top view

I have them, my four kiddos, for just a blink longer.

So I've decided that it's going to be the most attentive, time-given, heart-filled blink that it can possibly be.

'Cause the reality is, there just isn't time for anything less.

And when Thomas and I sit on that couch by ourselves someday in the far too near future, with nobody else sounds in the house at all except the refrigerator cooling and the stupid sump pump constantly running...

I don't want to think back and cry.

I want to think back and smile.

And maybe secretly want my bubba to wish, each time he gets sick, that I was still there with him.  (Though, *ahem*  maybe not mention that to anyone.)  

palette knife flowers wide

Oh, and last week I created this palette knife buttercream flower cake tutorial for members of our Cakeheads family... so last week's list was totally conquered!   

That should keep the voices sane for another week or so, anyway. ;) Xx


Check out the project center of to access the tutorial if you're already a Cakeheads member,

or if you'd like to become part of the Cakeheads family and get access to every tutorial on the website while enjoying the support and expertise of our amazing group of members, you can join HERE!


Some tips on how I made the navy blue, combed, buttercream finish: 

(I like to add the least amount of food coloring possible to my buttercream, so I'm usually looking for some healthier alternatives these days.  And much to my surprise, I found that food grade, activated charcoal made from coconut shells can be added to darken up the buttercream pretty well!  Score!)


  • I first added about 2 tablespoons of food grade, activated charcoal to about 2/3 batch of the Easy Meringue buttercream.
  • I then added a long squirt of both blue gel color and purple gel color, both Artisan Accents brand.
  • Because I wanted the least amount of gel color possible added, I then heated up some frozen blueberries and pushed them through a strainer which gave me about 1 tablespoon of blueberry juice which I also added to the buttercream.  Though next time I plan to experiment more with blueberries, attempting to adjust the buttercream recipe to be able to add more blueberry juice to it without it getting too soft.
  • And then added a touch more blue and purple gel color until I was happy with the result.

REMEMBER, colored buttercream deepens as it sits.  For best results, color the buttercream ahead of time and let it sit covered on the counter for a few hours (or even overnight) and then come back to it.  Most often you will find the color has deepened significantly!


After I colored the buttercream, I iced my cake as usual and then used one of Esther Cakes' fabulous icing combs to create the ribbed finish. 
(I can't find the exact comb that I used on Esther's website any longer, but she has a ton of other amazing ones I'd love to try!)

Meet the Creator

Shawna McGreevy

I love that our Cakeheads members enjoy hanging out together online, learning from and sharing with one another each day.

Being a part of this group is truly one of the most amazing and enjoyable ways to learn the art of cake decoration! 

Come join the Cakeheads family...we'd be honored to have you with us.  Xx

Shawna has been featured in several different magazines such as Cake Masters and American Cake Decorating Magazine and has been a featured artist at the Cake, Bake and Sweets Show, Australia and the Cake Fair in Florida. She’s also taught cake classes around the world, was nominated for the Cake Masters Cake Hero award and has been chosen as one of the top ten cake artists in the United States, 2017 by Cake Masters Magazine.


shawna 2020
Top Ten Cake Artists - Shawna McGreevy
Cake Masters Magazine

Top Ten Cake Artist, USA - 2017

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