What are the essential tools you would suggest to a new decorator? I really want to start doing some cake decorating but have no idea where to even begin. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Hmmm...that's an interesting question, I would love to see how everone else would respond!
First you need a few decorating bags. I like the bigger bags, so that there is less mess (I use a 16" for bordering, and 10"-12" for smaller detail work).
Couplers are nice to have, makes it so easy to changes tips on the bags.
When I started out I bought a sampler pack of colors, and replaced them with larger bottles as I ran out and saw what colors I actually like to use.
I would highly recommend getting a turntable to decorate on. Not only does it make decorating easier, by being able to rotate the cake. I find that I am more comfortable decorating the cakes at a height a little taller than my countertop.
Next, you will just need to decide what size and shapes of cakes you would like to do, and start with those basic pan sizes. As you do more cakes, add to your pans (WARNING: my collection of pans is taking over my kitchen! LOL!)
After you get more established you can add other "toys" to your collection. I now have a nice collection of cakes stands, a beautiful KitchenAid 6 qt Pro mixer, an airbrush, an edible image printer, and a very basic projector (not expensive but it works great!)
I used to feel very guilty for how much I spend on cake toys, but my husband is an avid hunter, and spends major $$$ on guns, scopes and hunting equip, and I figure I am nowhere near as indebted to my hobby as he is to his!
If you have a local crafts store that offers Wilton Cake Decorating classes, they are great! I want to warn you...this is a highly addictive hobby and you can easily spend a lot of money...but it's worth it. You have to buy a class kit that has some of the essentials, (tips, disposable bags, regular bags and some other good stuff) then when you get your book on the first night of class there is actually a whole list of essentials. I think that I still have my first book at home and will get you a list of things. GMCAKES is right. A turntable is very good. I love my Kitchen-Aid (but they are expensive too). Some craft stores offer Wilton starter kits with a little carry-all box. If you are just starting out, Betty Crocker has a cake decorating kit that isn't too expensive, I think that it has maybe 100 or so pieces. Then if you really get into it, you can go from there. Hope that helps until I can get you that list.
First of all- if you haven't already, take some classes.
Next- resist the temptation to purchase one of those big boxes of tips-cause you won't ever use most of them anyway! Here's what I recommend multiple tips (at least 2 of each) of
round tips# 2,3,5,10,12,
Star tips #14,16,18,21,32
petal tips # 102,103,104,126
basketweave # 47 or 48
leaf tips # 67,69,352
"grass/hair" tip #199 (? I just had a brain freeze on that one!)
#7 flower nail
"drop flower" tips...eh....that's up to you. I don't really use them much.
Invest in good quality bags! I use Wilton 12"
Also good to have a supply of disposable bags
have at least 3-4 couplers
as stated before, the Wilton student color kit is a good place to start- just add a brown and a black to it.
Invest in a good quality turntable...and a roll of non-skid material! cut a square of it to place on top of your turntable-keeps the cake boards from sliding!
purchase a quality set of 8" rounds, a set of 10" rounds and a 9x13, and a 12x18 (with square corners!!!)
at least 2 large (8" ) angled spatulas and at least 3 small spatulas
If you don't have a stand-type mixer, get one! You can start out with a cheaper Sunbeam stand mixer if a KA is too much for your budget right now.
As for boards and boxes, you can buy Wiltons, or purchase foamcore board at your hobby store and cut your own. Or locate a paper supply distributor near you to buy boxes.
at least one roll of a silver, gold or white foil to cover boards
other "toys" on my "must have list for beginners" are:
from Wilton(or other sources): scroll pattern press set
message press set
little things to stuff into your decorating box are a set of paintbrushes just for cakes, an x-acto knife, scissors, viva paper towels, waxed paper and or parchment paper and a CAMERA!!
And yes...this is quite addicting, and your supply box will soon overflow into a cupboard, which will overflow into a closet, which will eventually take over your basement!
I came home to look at the book like I had promised and "cakedout" pretty much covered everything . Make sure that you take pictures of ALL of your cakes...even the bad ones and you will see your progress and will be amazed!! If you decide not to take a cake class, I would also recommend buying a practice board to practice your decorating on before tackling the cake. The student kit for class 1 has one in it. It really helps. And remember...practice, practice, practice!! Also another valuable little tool is a tip brush for getting frosting out of your tips (bend it a little so it won't go down the drain!) I also recommend using Dawn dish detergent when washing everything...it really gets the grease out of everything. Don't be afraid to ask more questions and read other people's questions in the forums and the answers that they are given. I have learned a lot that way.
Good luck and if you need help...just ask!!
Thanks for the insight!! I was just going to make a cake for my sister in laws baby shower and now it has turned into a hobby. I am looking forward to taking some cake classes soon.
Thanks for this post it is really helpful!
gmcakes, do you mind sharing what projector you have and where to get it, I would love to get one, but can't see spending the money on an expensive one when I'm just doing this as a hobby. Thanks Andrea
Oh my goodness! They've all said it...It is a very expensive addicting hobby. BUT I LOVE IT! I would say take your first Wilton Class and go from there. You will have a lot of things to buy just for the class and then you can see if it is something you want to do. My supplies/tools/pans are taking over my kitchen and dining room.