Where Do I Start??

Decorating By scrapperjade Updated 16 Sep 2008 , 6:16pm by strawberry0121

scrapperjade Posted 16 Sep 2008 , 3:51pm
post #1 of 13

I am so overwhelmed, lol! I have always wanted to decorate cakes for fun. My mom decorated awesome cakes, and I grew up watching her and wanting to do it too. I've only decorated like 2 cakes, and they weren't fancy. The better of the 2 is posted in my gallery, I made it last November. I had a blast doing it, and my nephew loved it!

So now I've joined this uber talented community, and have been reading the forums, searching the gallery and marking my favorites. And thinking how intimidating it all seems!

I want to start decorating, playing & getting my hands dirty! But my question is: WHERE DO I START??? I have no idea. I'm thinking of starting with cookies and cupcakes until I get the hang of things. Do I jump right in with MMF and gumpaste, or should I stick with buttercream & icing tips? I don't have any idea!

Note that I won't be doing this for a business (unless I get good eventually, but I'm not holding my breath, lol), more for fun, for family & friends.

I have a 50% off coupon for Michaels that I want to use towards something useful, like a Wilton tip kit or their food coloring kits. Are those the best use of them? I have NOTHING so far.

Thanks in advance! I'm so confused!

12 replies
cylstrial Posted 16 Sep 2008 , 4:01pm
post #2 of 13

You could start with cookies and cupcakes if you want.. or you could start with cakes. Have you signed up for the Michael's cake classes? I know a lot of us on here have taken the classes.

Personally, I purchased a lot of stuff and books and decorated on my own for a couple of years. However, I'm a visual person and did a lot better when I decided to take the Michael's classes.

There are all sorts of free video's available on the internet to help you get started. And there was a forum a couple of days ago about whether or not to take some internet classes (you'd have to pay for them). Maybe somebody could get that link to you!

Goodluck with whatever you choose to do!

scrapperjade Posted 16 Sep 2008 , 4:10pm
post #3 of 13

I would love to take the Wilton course at Michaels, but the closest one is an hour away, so its not an option for me (so sad!!).

I did see that online class thread as well! I forgot about it! I'll have to go searching for it.

Thanks for your input!

Cyndi1207 Posted 16 Sep 2008 , 4:13pm
post #4 of 13

You know I honestly learned everything I know online and mostly through this website........through trial and error. I did purchase a set of tips but quickly realized I only needed a few of them. I think your best bet is to create your own kit. You will need a turn table. I started out with the trim and turn by wilton. Super cheap but I used it for like a year before I upgraded. You can try making MMF----its really easy and tasty and gives a great finish. You will need color gels and pans. I started out with Wiltons since that's all thats available around here. I soon realized that I needed something different and now use americolor. You will see as you start that you need quite a few things.............and let me tell you that never stops. You will always be buying something because something better always comes out and new gadgets. PM me if you ever need any help. I'd be more than happy to help. I personally would suggest starting out with cakes and doing simplet designs. HTH.

ETA: I'm sure I left a ton out but I just wanted to give you an idea and this is what rolled out of my head at this time icon_lol.gif

tx_cupcake Posted 16 Sep 2008 , 4:20pm
post #5 of 13

I think JoAnn's also has Wilton classes, if there is one near you.

If you can't find a class, I would just pick out a picture of a cake you like in the gallery and just go for it. You'll make tons of mistakes, but you will learn a TON. And what's really cool is that you'll basically be teaching yourself.

That's how I started. I was asked to make a cake for a friend's baby shower. She wanted a big baby block. So I just went at it. I didn't know anything about torting or the evils of Wilton fondant, so it was a five (maybe six) layer brick covered in nasty tasting fondant... BUT, it was a heck of a learning experience! In retrospect, I'm glad I just dove in!

ThreeDGirlie Posted 16 Sep 2008 , 4:24pm
post #6 of 13

I'm relaiely new - just really started decorating thid spring.

I would say that you should stary playng with the medium that you really want to work with. I (primarily) want to make beautiful cakes. Cupcakes and especially cookies are a lot different. I don't have the patience to do all the olittle detail work to make the beautiful cookies that I see here. And even making cupcakes, it's just different than cake... It's just a different set of skills. Some of them transfer, but not all.

roseyrider Posted 16 Sep 2008 , 4:31pm
post #7 of 13

My first cake was one inspired by the cakes here and was a two tierred topsy turvy! With fondant icing and gumpaste accents. I got all the instructions from this site and just winged it. I have also learned everything I know from here and trial and error. You remember things alot better if you have made the mistake and learned from it. Sometimes you just have to jump in feet first and hope for the best! Besides its so much more fun working witrh gumpaste!!! GOOD LUCK!!!

scrapperjade Posted 16 Sep 2008 , 4:35pm
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyndi1207

You know I honestly learned everything I know online and mostly through this website........through trial and error. I did purchase a set of tips but quickly realized I only needed a few of them. I think your best bet is to create your own kit. You will need a turn table. I started out with the trim and turn by wilton. Super cheap but I used it for like a year before I upgraded. You can try making MMF----its really easy and tasty and gives a great finish. You will need color gels and pans. I started out with Wiltons since that's all thats available around here. I soon realized that I needed something different and now use . You will see as you start that you need quite a few things.............and let me tell you that never stops. You will always be buying something because something better always comes out and new gadgets. PM me if you ever need any help. I'd be more than happy to help. I personally would suggest starting out with cakes and doing simplet designs. HTH.

ETA: I'm sure I left a ton out but I just wanted to give you an idea and this is what rolled out of my head at this time icon_lol.gif




Thank you for your reply! I was wondering if most of the tips would go unused... maybe I will just steal my mom's and buy something different! I can see that a turntable is a must (from doing my previous cake, it was a pain in the butt to move around it, or trying to carefully turn it, lol).

The thing is, I'm not planning on doing this very often, lol. I LOVE cake, but if I made cake as often as I craved it, well, you know what I'd look like, lol! So I'm not wanting to spend a whole lot of money for 2-3 cakes a year. I am just so unsure of what I want to do.

I guess I could just buy colors, bake a cake, make some MMF, and go to town, and write down things I think would have made it easier, and go from there??

scrapperjade Posted 16 Sep 2008 , 4:37pm
post #9 of 13

Oh and another question (or 2 or 3!)... Its about the tips in a round-about way. When making flowers, is it easier to do them with stiff buttercream & decorating tips, or is it more common to do them with gumpaste?

And what would be the best icing to use for decorating sugar cookies? I'm making some bra & bum cookies for a good friend who's getting married this weekend, and don't know what to use for decorating!

amoos Posted 16 Sep 2008 , 4:39pm
post #10 of 13

Definately just dive on in! You'll scream and cry, laugh and pull your hair out.....all within a few hours, but you will learn alot that way. Definately trial and error and never forget PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT icon_smile.gif Pick out something you love and hope to be able to do it....I started w/ BC as I prefer that, although I'm getting better each day with fondant.

Donnagardner Posted 16 Sep 2008 , 5:09pm
post #11 of 13

You can buy the Wilton class books at Hobby Lobby and they give you step by step instructions in them for the lessons. It is always better if you can see someone do it but the books will give you a good bit of information to go with and they are fairly inexpensive even sithout the coupons. Everything needed for the class is also in a kit that you can purchase if you dont have the correct things. You can always come here for help too.

tx_cupcake Posted 16 Sep 2008 , 5:44pm
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrapperjade

Oh and another question (or 2 or 3!)... Its about the tips in a round-about way. When making flowers, is it easier to do them with stiff buttercream & decorating tips, or is it more common to do them with gumpaste?

And what would be the best icing to use for decorating sugar cookies? I'm making some bra & bum cookies for a good friend who's getting married this weekend, and don't know what to use for decorating!




For flowers, it just depends on where your strengths lie. I personally found it difficult to wing it making bc flowers on my own, but after I took a class it was easy. I'm a visual learner, so having someone show me how to do it was key. I think that gp flowers are easier to make on your own without someone physically showing you. That's just my opinion.

For sugar cookies, I use Antonia74's royal icing here:
http://www.cakecentral.com/cake_recipe-1983-0-Antonia74-Royal-Icing.html

You can either water RI down to flood the cookie, or you can use a glaze. This one is my favorite:
http://www.texasmonthly.com/2000-12-01/recipe.php

strawberry0121 Posted 16 Sep 2008 , 6:16pm
post #13 of 13

I am a mostly self taught decorator, as well. I did finally take the Wilton classes just so someone would show me how to make the flowers. It is much easier to have someone show you how to do those.
Here's a thought, our Parks & Rec offers basic decorating classes, including flowers, etc. Maybe you could check into that. It is inexpensive and local. Also, we are a small community and our Wilton instructor teaches the class for Parks & Rec.

Other than that, I say DIVE RIGHT IN!! Journaling is a great idea if you plan to have a long gap in between cakes. You can probably find used Wilton sets on e-bay, maybe even the class books. They would be pretty beneficial if you can't get to a class.

I use Michael's coupons for large purchases like sets of pans (WOW, what a savings!). I had a tilting table but didn't care for it. I would however, love to have the professional grade one. That would be a good use for that coupon. Btw, they normally put those out every 2 weeks.

I agree about the homemade fondant, BUT, for $5 you could get some Wilton fondant to learn what the texture should be like and how it feels to manipulate it. So, that might be a good learning medium.

If you are interested in videos, I recommend any and all of Sugarshack's DVD's. They are informative and thorough.

Feel free to PM me with any questions you might have. I love to help!

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