Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How to Pipe Letters with Royal Icing. . . Works for Me Wednesday

Piping letters on cookies.....it still makes me nervous. 

Now, my piping still isn't perfect, but here are a few tips I've learned along the way.

  • Use the smallest round tip you feel comfortable with. (I know that ends in a preposition, but "with which you are comfortable" just seemed too fancy.) I like to use a #1 tip.  The larger tip you use, the more likely the letters are to spread.
  • Fresh royal icing is important.  Royal icing can be made ahead of time and refrigerated, but it loses some of its stiffness.  For the most exact lettering, make your royal icing the day you'll be piping.

  • Write down the name or word to be piped on paper Make sure you've spelled it correctly and look at it every so often.  Words tend to look strange when you've piped them 52 times in a row.
  • Start from the middle.  Once you've written the word on paper, find the center letter.  Place that letter in the center of the cookie and work out from there.
  • Practice.  Before plunking down icing on that first cookie....practice.  Practice on a paper towel or a plate or a cookie sheet.  It could be that you were thinking all CAPS, but lowercase looks better. Maybe you want to try cursive.  Try it out first.
{Remember....it's ok if the piping isn't perfect. Our cookies are made by actual humans, not robots.  Although, a cookie robot would be kind of cool.}

    works for me wednesday at we are that family
    These piping tips work for me!  What about you? Do you agonize over piping, or something else about cookie decorating?

    61 comments:

    1. As always...LOVE!!

      Piping letters is one of the hardest parts of cookie decorating, and you explain it so well!!

      Also, if cookie robots ever get invented, I am soooo buying one.

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    2. Lately I've been printing out what I want to pipe, then piping it out on wax paper laid over the printout. Leads to perfect piping every time! :)

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    3. Thanks for the pointers! I'm still trying to get the letters down myself, but I will definitely try a #1 tip next time, I've been using a #2 or 3 and definitely notice my letters tend to spread...not to mention my handwriting is naturally LARGE so trying to cram a word on a cookie with icing definitely makes things complicated!

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    4. Great tips, thank you! Love the cookie robot comment :)

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    5. You don't even KNOW "nervous" until you watch me try to do it! :)

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    6. I always love your writing. You are a great planner...me....not so much. Great tips :) thanks!

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    8. thanks for the tips!! i've been using a #2 most often but would like to become more comfortable with a #1 for letters. all of your cookies are so adorable and the lettering is great!! ~Ka'ala

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    9. Thanks for the tips! I like the one about starting in the center and working out from there.

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    10. I'm grateful for your tips because this is an area that I have a hard time with(with which I have a hard time:)). I have always appreciated how nice and neat your letter piping is, plus I like your style:)

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    11. Como siempre: todo tan bello. Un beso

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    12. Great tips. How do you keep from getting that little tail that sticks up at the end of the word?

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    13. Love the 'start in the middle' suggestion, I'm sure that will be helpful:@)

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    14. Again, so simple yet very helpful! Thanks for sharing your "tips"! (sorry, couldn't resist!)

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    15. Thanks for the tips! I always fret about how off-centered my letters and words are. Who would have thought that the easiest way to fix that is to start in the middle of the word?

      Thanks again!

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    16. I avoid writing on cookies at all costs...I am HORRIBLE at it. It seems like the first cookie is fine and then it just goes downhill after that. Thanks for the "tips"!

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    17. These are GREAT tips Bridget!! I never thought of starting in the center and working out!!

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    18. I try to avoid piping, since i usually make a mess of it. It is something i'd really love to be able to do. Thanks for the tips!!

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    19. Great tips, Bridget. Starting in the middle is the best tip. It really helps center the writing. And, practice practice practice.

      Spot on, baby!!!

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    20. Impressed that you pipe with a #1. My letters are very "wiggly" when I try a 1. Sometimes I want to make 6 inch cookies just so I can use a bigger tip when I pipe. :-P

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    21. Thanks for the tips! My husband actually came across this machine created by engineering students to write on cakes...maybe cookies are next! http://melcakewalk.blogspot.com/2011/01/autofrost-demo-machine.html

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    22. The closest thing to letters I've done so far are laces on a football. The idea of 'spell-checking' yourself is so basic, but I know I'd be the one piping out "Brain" instead of "Brian"

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    23. Such fantastic tips... you are the best girl!

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    24. I have worried myself SICK over this...one of the things I do if I really get nervous is write it on with a food color marker first.

      Isn't it funny how if you write a word on a cookie over and over it begins to look "wrong"? Awesome post! Tons of help.

      You would never know you stress!

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    25. Good timing on your tip as I'll be doing some piping this weekend for birthday cookies.

      Smallest tip and start in the middle - Got it!

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    26. Great tips, I always have the hardest time piping letters. The tip about starting from the middle is a good one, I never have the word centered like I want. Thanks!

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    27. The center letter- that is SO SMART! I am constantly trying to figure out how to center words- thank you for that tip!

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    28. I don't care what you say, Bridget, your piping is perfect.

      I love, love your creations! ~Molly

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    29. I'm horrible at piping because my hands aren't very steady, but I keep practicing! In fact, last weekend I made a huge batch of your cookie recipe for a party. I decorated them using the things I've learned on your blog and they were the hit of the party! :)

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    30. Wonderful tips! This is definitely the hardest part about cooking decorating for me!

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    31. Great info. I'm a complete amateur and never thought about starting in the middle of the word. Now my end products will be so much more centered!

      Thanks!

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    32. I knew I'd learn something once again at your blog. I have never thought of starting in the center of the cookie to pipe lettering. Guess what I'm going to try next.
      Thanks for the great tips Bridget.

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    33. What consistency of icing do you recommend for piping? Even if I use a #1 tip the letters seems to spread. I normally use the 10-second rule.

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    34. It's like when you type something and want it centered. Start in the middle and backspace. I do that when I paint too. Good tip for centering no matter what your artistic medium.

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    35. Great tips! I need to come down for you to teach me, though. Yes. Definitely a class in your house.

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    36. OMG, I love love your blog. I think I just gained 2 lbs by just looking!

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    37. Great tips! I've been working on my letters a lot lately, but they're not very good. Do you pipe close to the cookie when you do lettering? Or further away and let the icing flow?

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    38. "Words tend to look strange when you've piped them 52 times in a row." That is so true. Now I am not alone.

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    39. Very good tips! Once upon a time, before children, I thought for sure my calling in life was going to cake decorating. After realizing I was no good at it, I donated all my tips and supplies to the local thrift store.

      Now that I have kids and they go crazy for decorated cookies and cupcakes and cakes (over plain ones), I'm thinking maybe I can try it out again. (Maybe not as my life calling. lol)

      So, to end my novel, I'm bookmarking this post. Thanks.

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    40. Awesome post! Piping letters in cookies is one of the hardest parts of cookie decorating. Thanks for sharing.

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    41. BRILLIANT suggestion to begin in the middle! That's why YOU are the bomb at this cookie-decorating (and baking) biz!

      What cracks me up about writing with icing on cookies is how it never looks like your own handwriting!

      Great post (as usual!)

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    42. Those are great tips! I detest writing with icing, but you're right, the more you do the better you become. :)

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    43. Great tips. Piping letters is one of the hardest things for me.

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    44. Thanks for sharing. I love decorating cookies but have always been afraid of piping letters. You have helped with your tips.

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    45. I am intimidated by all things fancy, and royal icing definitely falls into that category. But my eleven year old twin daughters took a cookie decorating workshop recently and we have been graced with fancy cookies every weekend! This is a wonderful technique for letters, which I'll definitely share with them! Thanks.

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    46. I am intimidated by all things fancy, and royal icing definitely falls into that category. But my eleven year old twin daughters took a cookie decorating workshop recently and we have been graced with fancy cookies every weekend! This is a wonderful technique for letters, which I'll definitely share with them! Thanks.

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    47. As usual Bridget, a fabulous post! I find piping letters one of the most challenging things; the next time I have to do it, I'm coming back here to re-read this!

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    48. Piping scares me, so I really I appreciate how well you explain it here. Now if only my handwriting weren't so bad!

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    49. Good tips! get it?! haha anyway thanks for the advice, I'd be so honored if you took a look at mine! http://everwys.blogspot.com/2011/02/snowflakes-no-two-are-alike.html It's like the student turning in their work to the master! Keep the ideas coming!

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    50. Lettering doesn't bother me. I always get nominated to make signs and stuff too. I do find the middle letter, but other than that I just go for it! :D

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    51. Your lettering is so beautiful, I am amazed by your talent. And your "cookie robot" comment makes me laugh. Have you seen Despicable Me? They have cookie robots!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgDLryzDzYg&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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    52. This is great advice! I can't tell you how many times I've started writing my text/letters from left to right and run out of room. Also, I always use parchment cones for lettering, mostly because it requires much less icing and the cone gives me a nice amount of control over the process.

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    53. You have such gorgeous piping skills!

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    54. Thank you so much for this explanation! I've never been able to figure out how to pipe letters well.

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    55. Bridget, thank you so much for these tips. The whole starting the word in the middle thing...this is going to change my life...haha! No seriously, that explains why my words were never centered.

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    56. Where can I find a squre cookie cutter like the one you used for the "Thank You" cookies??

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    57. Yay! I have been looking for help on this forever! So excited.

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    58. Thanks for the advice. I'm trying this for the first time ever this weekend!

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    59. Love the tips and more than that I love the Cookie Robot thing. All I could picture was an old scientist going - Boogie! - And Gru going - No, no, I said Cookie Robots! Cookie!

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    60. What second count for writing letters?

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