Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tips for Edible Images, Icing Printers & Frosting Sheets . . . Works for Me Wednesday

Last year, I bought an icing printer.  It hasn't been all sunshine and lollipops, but it has been kinda fun.  Here are a few of the cookies I've made using it:

First, let's talk about the printer itself.  You can go one of two ways....
  • buy a printer specifically made for icing printing, like the one sold here,
  • or, buy a NEW printer that is compatible with the food coloring "ink" cartridges.  (A list of those printers is here.)
I bought one of the compatible printers.....I chose an Epson WorkForce 30.  (I bought it from Amazon.)

Next, let's talk "ink."  Food coloring cartridges are, well, expensive.  Go to the list of compatible printers and find the edible ink that you need.

The ink for my printer is $90.  Yes, $90!  How long does it last?  Well, it depends.  Depends on the images printed, how much ink is wasted cleaning nozzles, running print checks, etc.  My guess is, you can get 30-40 pages out of a full set of ink.

The best tip for the ink that I've found is to refill is with these ink refills They are $10 a color and are SO nice to have on hand when you realize that you're out of magenta and your printer won't work without it.

{Refilling the tanks can get messy and I won't pretend I know any tricks to doing it, other than batting your eyelashes and seeing if you can get your hubby to take over.  Worked for me.}

Getting ready to print:

Scan your picture or save it on your computer.  Use a photo editing software (I like PhotoScape) to crop it to the size of your cookie cutter.  The easiest way to do this is to view the image at 100% and hold your cookie cutter up to the screen.  I like to make my images just a tad smaller than the actual cutter.

Put as many pictures as you can fit into a Word or Open Office document.  I typically get 6 per sheet, of course, you'll get more if your cookies are smaller.  The frosting sheets have a printing area of 7.5 x 10".

BEFORE PRINTING:
  • Run a nozzle check of the printer.
  • If any colors are not printing, run the print head cleaning (you may need to run it twice).
  • If one of the colors is still not printing, turn off the printer, remove the specific color and swab the nozzle with a damp QTip.
  • Print a test page on a plain sheet of paper.  (Once you see that it is printing correctly, you can cancel the print job to keep from wasting ink.)
 
Now, print the image/s onto the frosting sheet

There are a few ways to apply the sheets.  (And, I'm only talking cookies here, not applying to cakes.)

Once printed, I find the sheets a little easier to work with if they have "aged" a little.  Now, this could be because I live in a really humid area, I don't know.  But, when I've tried to used them immediately, I have had problems with tearing.

So, if I'm using them right after printing, I leave them out on the counter for a bit....at least 15 minutes to dry out.  You don't want to leave them out too long, or they will become brittle.   If I'm not going to use them the same day, I store them in a gallon-sized baggie.  Then, before using, I'll cut them into the size needed and let them sit out while I prep the cookies.

Method #1 (my favorite): Prepare the images by cutting the size needed, set aside. Outline and fill the cookie with royal icing.  While the icing is still wet, remove the backing from the frosting sheet and gently place on the cookie.  Pat the edges and corners down.  This may make up to 48 hours to dry.

Method #2 (I used this method on these St. Patrick's Day cookies):  Prepare the images by cutting the size needed, set aside. Thin piping consistency royal icing with water until it is loosened.  It should not be runny, just easily spreadable.  Remove the backing from the image and gently cover the back with the loosened icing.  Adhere to the cookie.  Because the icing is not as wet underneath, these don't take as long to dry.  (I like this method for when you don't want to add or see a border.)

Method #3 involves brushing corn syrup on the back of the image and applying it to a dry cookie.  I haven't had any luck with this method.  The corn syrup seemed to tear and stretch the sheets and the ones that didn't tear felt sticky to the touch. 

A few more tips....
  • "Hot hands" can tear the images. My hands are cold all the time....except when I decorate cookies.  If this happens to you, wash your hands in really cold water and dry thoroughly. Repeat as needed.  I also will take the ice pack for kiddo's lunchbox out of the freezer and hold onto it for a while.
  • A piped or sprinkled edge is a really nice way to finish the cookies or hide uneven edges.  I love a #16 star tip!
  • Use your printer once a week....even if you don't need to...to help prevent ink clogging.
  • Wait AT LEAST 24 hours before packaging. Tap gently on the image to see if it's dry.
  • Never use your icing printer with real ink. :)
Now, here's the real deal....would I buy one again?  I'm not sure.  It's nice to have, but the troubleshooting hasn't been fun.

If you don't have an icing printer, but want to use edible images, here's what you do.   Format your pictures and take your file on an SD card or flash drive to your local bakery supply (or even the grocery store).  Call first, but more than likely, they can print FOR you!  Our bakery supply charges about $7 per sheet.
works for me wednesday at we are that family
I'm not an expert at these edible images, so if I come across any other tips, I'll be sure to pass them along!

60 comments:

  1. Technology amazes me...seriously, who would have thought 20 years ago we would have icing printers?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, so true.......... :)

      Delete
  2. I am SO SO glad you did this post it's not even funny...I have thought that I wanted an icing printer for YEARS...but now...seriously rethinking that!! :)

    Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. My favorite part of this post - batting the eyelashes tip! Man, does that little tip cover soooo many things! :)

    Love it!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just what I wanted to know, and then some. I'm all about wordy, LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Lots of useful tips here Bridget and you have done some wonderful cookies with the edible images. I thought I might like an icing printer but I spend enough money on my *paper only* printer as it is. I think I've decided what my next big baking investment is going to be and it doesn't take any cartridges...just bulbs!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I can definitely see some advantages, but at the same time, I know that my military commissary will print icing sheets for me if I ever need them (so far, I've not ventured into that part of decorating!). I appreciate your frank & honest endorsements. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Excellent tips! Gosh, your cookies are beautiful - not gonna be buying a printer like this any time soon, but dang those cookies are gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  8. you are one smart COOKIE.
    and I know cookies.

    ReplyDelete
  9. great ideas!!! Love those icing sheets, it's amazing all the fun things they have now to play with int the kitchen :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Bridget, you are amazing! This information and advice is priceless. I have been thinking about getting one of these printers for a few years. There are so many more available now. I had no idea. Thanks for sharing your expertise! ~Molly

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you so much, Bridget! I'm with Kristan -- thinking I'll give decorating another few months before I decide to invest in an icing printer, given that it's not as easy as I'd thought. And my hands are always hot so I'm scrod there. :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I needed this. Oh, how I needed this!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. you are WAY more patient than I would be!.....but I would maybe love to take my project to a bakery, have them print for me, and give this a try!!

    Thanks for doing all the leg work for us Bridget!!

    See you at the class today!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. These tips are wonderful... you probably saved people hours of headaches by writing this post!! Great job girl!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Very interesting. So many gadgets available for cookie decorating these days.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Great post Bridget. I really want an icing printer, but the troubleshooting would drive me insane.Since I do not use it a lot,I will stick with going to the grocery store and get the work done there.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow this is awesome! I've always wanted to get an icing printer but never have gotten up the courage to do it ~ it always seemed so overwhelming. Thanks for these great tips!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Amazing the things you can do with a printer nowadays!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thank you for all the tips! I actually purchased a printer, inks, sheets back in September and it's all still in the packaging! ): BUT, I have a couple of orders for logos and I'm going to try and get it out this weekend! Not looking forward to the troubleshooting part, but am hopeful all goes well...especially with all your tips! Thanks for sharing! I've learned so much from you!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I don't have one of these fancy printers, but for Method #3, can't you apply the corn syrup onto the cookie instead onto the back of the image? Maybe piping gel would work, as well?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Ah, that's how it's done. Thanks! That opts out my consideration of purchasing a printer for myself. I think I still prefer piping with icing better.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Bridget! Another tip I have used in the past is stick the icing sheets in the freezer for a few minutes and they come right off without taring. This may be an issue in a humid environment though!

    ReplyDelete
  23. We watched a TED about printing out organs. I mean human organs for people who need transplants. Printers are cool, eh? Everything from icing to organs. But NOT that page I need to print. Aghhh!

    ReplyDelete
  24. So fascinating! I mat give this a whirl once *birthday season* hits!

    ReplyDelete
  25. What an awesome post! I was so close to buying ink today for my new printer but I had to be sure that the cartridges were compatible with my Canon MX870 printer. Since I wasn't 100% sure, I didn't buy them just yet. The ink is a little more expensive in Toronto...about 22.00 per cartridge and I need 5 for my printer. In any case, I will definitely use some of your suggestions when I finally buy the ink.
    Thanks,
    Melissa :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. I LOVE edible images. They're so much fun and make for some fabulous memories. Thanks tons for these tips, I'll be linking.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I have just recently bought a printer and have been making edible images. As you mentioned, I have had some troubles along the way. I have spoken to the company that makes the ink and frosting sheets about 15 times over the phone. You are actually supposed to use REAL INK to clean the print head. They are non toxic, and can easily be interchanged with the edible ink when it comes to print time. I drained an entire set of edible ink cartridges (eeek!) cleaning the print head. The company told me the edible inks are water based and should not be used for cleaning the print head, but to use the real inks. (Because they are non toxic.)

    I just thought I would leave that little note for anyone who may have some serious head cleaning issues, like myself. =)

    ReplyDelete
  28. I still haven't tried the edible images... Yours always look so perfect, though!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Wonderful tips! I hope to try making edible images someday!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thank you so much for taking the time to break this down for us! I do edible images from time to time (but usually on cakes) - but wasn't sure if it was worth the cost/hassle of investing in, so for now I just get what I need from the cake shop... thank you for explaining!

    ReplyDelete
  31. These always amaze me. They are so adorable! Thanks for the honest post. I'll just come over when I need an icing sheet printed. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  32. How would you even begin to price a project. Say, per cookie? I have a cake business and sometimes I do the bakery method which is cheaper but the images don't always turn out the way I want them. I am still wondering if I should bite the bullet and purchase a printer for my own use.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I love those old pics ;) I need your address could you email it to me :)I want to make sure I have the right one :) Love XXOO

    ReplyDelete
  34. While everyone can use frugal cooking tips, no one needs to cut back on food costs more than a mom. When you have kids to feed, it becomes even more important that you provide them with cheap, nutritious food. Gone are the days when ramen noodles could sustain you for months . . . now you need healthy food on a tight budget!

    Healthy cooking tips

    ReplyDelete
  35. Yikes! I wanted to get an icing printer, but it seems like such a challenge. I think I like the idea of taking my image to a bake shop to print! Thanks for the tips.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thank you so much for the images on cookies post. Your work is beautiful! I purchased a printer so I could do logos for one company here in town and last weekend they all stuck to the parchment. I will try your method with more success, I'm sure. Thanks for the tips!

    ReplyDelete
  37. wow..They are really edible..I can't believe this..They are looking so beautiful..Thank you so much for this great post..I am looking for such interesting post..keep it up..

    ReplyDelete
  38. I know this is an old post but I hope you can help. I had Wal-Mart print some images for me and I know you said it takes 24-48 hours for it to dry (I'm also in Woodlands area so maybe closer to 48 because of humidity). How long will the image on the cookie be good for? I'm trying to figure out how far in advance I can make them and as is my first time using them. Thanks for your help.

    ReplyDelete
  39. i just start in the industri of decorate cookies,and i woul love to print all kind of edible cookies

    ReplyDelete
  40. cookies for my mother with an old cheesy picture of the whole family.

    ReplyDelete
  41. How fun! I think I'd make cookies with my girls' picture on it. They'd get a kick out of 'em. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  42. I would love to make a 40th Birthday cake for my husband, using a picture from when he was born and a current picture. What a great way to celebrate his birthday. He and my kids would love this.

    ReplyDelete
  43. i think I would take a picture of my greatgranddaughter, Mia Potesta, who is half S. Korean, and wow she is a beauty, and I would love to have this to make my daughter, Jennifer, a birthday cake with Mia's face on her 40th birthday cake. They have had a very difficult time, as so many, but this would make Jennifer smile for months. Thank you, kerbe

    ReplyDelete
  44. I have been using edible images for a few years now and my favourite cookie "trick" is to flood the cookies with royal icing and let them dry completely (12-24 hours) before applying the images. Once the icing is dry, I paint a thin coating of cookie glue ( 2:1 of water:corn syrup) onto the cookie with a clean artists brush. Then just apply the edible image. smooth out any bubbles and voila! You can then finish the edges with piped lines, rosettes, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  45. This is amazing. I would take a picture of my girls who would just go wild.

    ReplyDelete
  46. I would make cookies of my husband in his Halloween costumes and give it out to his friends so that could laugh their heads off all over again!

    ReplyDelete
  47. This website can be a stroll-

    by way of for the entire information you wanted about this and didn’t know who to ask.
    Glimpse right here, and also you’ll

    undoubtedly uncover it.1
    There may be noticeably a bundle to learn about this.
    I assume you made

    certain nice points in options also.
    Here is my blog ; http://filme-online-hd.net/jurassic-park-iv-2012/

    ReplyDelete
  48. Thanks , I've just been searching for information approximately this topic for a while and yours is the greatest I have came

    upon so far. But, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you certain in regards to the source?
    My webpage - fod.ac.cr

    ReplyDelete
  49. PROBLEM IN PRINTING HUMID SHEETS.

    ReplyDelete
  50. i have a epson t 13 , my blank sheets are very humid, i cant print , printer not print that sheet.

    ReplyDelete
  51. So, I finally bit the bullet and bought a compatible icing printer (only because it was on a great sale). The frosting sheets and ink came in today so I'll be trying it out soon. I've been back to this post a few times now and keep re-reading all your tips. Just want to say thanks for sharing all this information.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Hi there! Have you tried the Kopykake free software, or is there a special reason you've chosen the one you recommend? Do you have a way to format the images in the software you use onto 2 inch circles? Thanks so much, and such a wonderful post!

    ReplyDelete
  53. I print edible images as a business from home and believe me it is not all gum drops and lollipops. You can tell what kind of day I have had by the ink on my hands. No ink good day, if my hands look like an Easter egg dont talk to me lol. These things clog like crazy which is quite frustrating.

    ReplyDelete
  54. That sure do look easier to do than I expected. I could definitely try that sometime. I like that.

    Wholesale Canvas Prints

    ReplyDelete
  55. These are some great pointers although viewing an image at 100% is not recommended if you are using that to gauge the size of a printout. Different screen resolutions will make that 100% image appear much larger or smaller than the actual printout.

    If your looking for edible ink cartridges or printers, Island Ink-Jet now carries edible ink printers, cartridges and combo sets.

    ReplyDelete
  56. I'm trying to make some cookies with edible image for January25. When should I have the images printed? Is monday the 20th too early?

    ReplyDelete
  57. Have you had any luck freezing cookies with the edible images on them? I haven't tried it yet but have noticed that when I've used these on cookies stored at room temp, the edible image has tended to get hard after a few days, so was nervous about freezing them. Maybe I'm just not using the right brand of image sheets though!

    ReplyDelete
  58. Using HP ink and HP photo paper together provides you with photos that can last for generations.

    a0 printing

    ReplyDelete
  59. Amiable articles and the blogs really helped me a lot, thanks for the valuable information.
    from this site

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! Happy baking! :)
(Comments, especially on busy giveaways, may take a minute to show...thank you for your patience.)

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Pin It button on image hover