Help!! I Write Like A 1St Grader

Decorating By dmhart Updated 5 Oct 2008 , 4:11pm by have_your_cake

dmhart Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 11:34pm
post #1 of 34

Is there someone that would be willing to give me a few tips for writing on a cake. I hate to sound stupid but I just can't get it right. My writing looks like my dog did it. I keep thinking practice is the only way to get it right but is there any other things I can do to help.

It looks like it would be the simple part. But I get my cake done and love it, I write on it, then I want to throw it in the thrash. icon_cry.gif

I need some help. icon_redface.gif

33 replies
grossoutqueen Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 11:48pm
post #2 of 34

Wilton makes a nifty message imprint set that comes with a plastic hold that you slide the letters into, to spell whatever it is your writing. You then press the message lightly into the icing and just trace over it. I love it because it really helps me be neater with my writing.

It comes in Italic and script (i think) so you can write messages that are fancy or fun.

Kavingate Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 2:48am
post #3 of 34

I adore Tappits. I think that FMM makes them. They're little cutters, and they make classy looking letters. Nicholas Lodge had some awesome whimsy letter cutters that are my new faves, too.

Here's a cake using Tappits:

Here's a cake with the cutters I got from Nicholas:

I stink at piping, too!!!!!

littlecake Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 6:20am
post #4 of 34

it helps if the icing is thinned.

i like printing curly letters more than cursive script, it's just easier to me.

indydebi Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 12:01pm
post #5 of 34

wilton presses all the way.

dmhart Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 7:00pm
post #6 of 34

Thanks for the tips, I have tried thinning my icing. I think I get it too thin so I have backed off a little on it. I will check on the wilton presses. I just hate to mess up a good cake with the sloppy writing.

Thanks for your help! icon_razz.gif

have_your_cake Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 7:16pm
post #7 of 34

I have ruined more than one cake with my writing, so I know what you mean. I have the tappits and wilton presses. I also find that I do alright drawing or tracing a picture, but worse on writing. It helps me to turn the cake so I'm writing upside down. Sounds weird I know, but then I'm concentrating on drawing a shape not writing.

dmhart Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 8:07pm
post #8 of 34
Originally Posted by neomommy

It helps me to turn the cake so I'm writing upside down. Sounds weird I know, but then I'm concentrating on drawing a shape not writing.

That sounds interesting...Hmmm. I have tried everything, mainly practice but it is still bad. My hands shake, mostly when I go to write. I don't have that problem doing anything else on my cakes. I am going to get a set of the wilton presses. I do okay when I trace, maybe I am not as focused on making a mistake. I thought there has to be an easier way.

BCJean Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 8:27pm
post #9 of 34

I like writing which looks like the decorator wrote it and not perfect. I was told once by a supervisor, make it happy writing.

When you write, you need to move the entire arm, not just the wrist. Steady the right hand by touching it midway between the elbow and wrist, with the left hand. Make the letters tall and skinny, it fits the space better and makes the handwriting not look like it is taking up the whole cake. If you slant the letters it is more appealing than straight up and down. I almost always use cursive unless it is for a child who would be too young to read cursive...then I print. Block letters are never as fun looking, so I don't ever use them. I think it looks more artistic if you make the capital letters quite a lot larger also.

ranbel Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 8:32pm
post #10 of 34

My writng has always stunk. I also have the wilton press letters.
But, I tried something differnt on the last cake I done. I got it from someone here on CC.

I printed and put dots on end of each letter...hard to explain. You can see it on the gator cake that says happy birthday chuck. This was my first time writing like this and I was impressed, helps to hide the imperfections....I think I am going to stick with looks pretty cool too.

kimblyd Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 8:47pm
post #11 of 34

I have the same problem and have tried all of the suggestions made so far. I even bought a cheap projector from Hobby Lobby and ordered the stand to go with it. For piping on a cake using the projector gives me the best results, but I have to get the room fairly dark to have the writing show up on the cake and it is a PITA to get everything working correctly. Of course you could always buy a KopyKake projector (would love one myself) but they are too pricey for me.

When I want to write on the cake board, the thing that works best for me is to type on the computer then print out in the exact size and alignment I want it to be on the board. I then cover my cake board with wrapping paper or cloth, then wrap with clear food-safe cellophane. I leave one side un-taped and slip the print-out underneath. Pipe the letters, pull out the copy, and finish taping the cellophane to the board. If you mess up you can wipe it off again and again. The only thing is you have to be very careful putting in and removing your copy and taping up the board.

The next cake I do I am going to try printing on a transparency sheet and just leaving it on the cake board.



crisc23 Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 8:58pm
post #12 of 34

Tappits!!! They are the only way to go. You will be in love once you get the hang of them.

tracey1970 Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 8:59pm
post #13 of 34

I can't write worth a darn on a cake either. If it's a "plain" cake, I use the Wilton presses. If it's a fancy cake for a big occasion, I choose a font, size it the way I want, and type out my message. I print it off, lay it on something sturdy (cookie sheet, plexiglass, etc.), cover it in waxed paper, and trace the letters with royal icing or color flow (thick). If I make a mistake, I wipe the letter off and do it again. I always make extra for breakage (and there will be some). In about 24 hours, it's dry, and I carefully use my icing spatula to lift off the letters. When I am decorating the cake, I cake place the letters however I want. Just be sure to choose a font that's not too thin and pipe the letters a bit thicker depth-wise, so they have some strength. I can do some funky lettering this way.

ksgirl Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 9:07pm
post #14 of 34

This may also sound weird but one thing I have found is that if I wait until the buttercream has crusted on the cake to do the writing, I can usually take a straight pin or Exacto knife (ones reserved for my cakes only) and am able to sort of pull the writing off. Sometimes it comes off in a string and sometimes it breaks. But many times I am able to pull it right off. I don't thin out my icing for the writing so this could be the reason I'm able to pull it off. Hope this helps!

Kim_in_CajunCountry Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 9:35pm
post #15 of 34

I do the same thing as ksgirl, I wait until my frosting has crusted. I thin my icing enough to flow smoothly, but not so that the color transfers onto the buttercream. Then I can use a straight pin, toothpick, or even a soft paintbrush to lift off any unwanted writing.

I think my writing is OK, but I fell in love with the Funky Alphabet tappits from FMM when I saw them on a cake recently. As I type, the set of Funky Alphabet Letters, as well as the uppercase and lowercase sets of script letters are on their way to me from!

I can't wait to try them!

dmhart Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 11:31pm
post #16 of 34

Kim_in_CajunCountry and ksgirl I do the same as you. I let my bc crust then write. I am able to lift mine off if I mess up, as long as I haven't thinned to much.

I am going to look at the Funky Alphabet tappits. I need something so my writing is neat or at least nice to look at.

One other thing, what tip number do ya'll use? I have play with different ones I normally use a #5.

littlecake Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 12:12am
post #17 of 34

i like a #3

have_your_cake Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 12:22am
post #18 of 34

the tip size depends on the size of the cake and the font I'm going for, but most common is a 3

tannersmom Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 12:47am
post #19 of 34

I use to have the same problem. I' m not perfect but when I started I had avery hard time. So what helped me was practice. Don't waste your time on a cake, use wax paper. I'd make a batch of BC and roll out a piece of wax paper and would practice writing messages on the paper. I've noticed that your writing has to flow. Don't think on it too much. Think of the bag as your pen. Like someone said in an earlier post. Your how arm has to move. Remember that it has to flow. HTH


dmhart Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 1:00am
post #20 of 34

Stephane that does help. I do think about it to much when I am writing. I think I will play with it some this weekend after I finish my orders tomorrow. Thanks for the help.

tannersmom Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 1:09am
post #21 of 34

It helped me. Everyone developes their own technique. Just practice, you will get it. Good thing about using the wax paper, you can save the icing and your cake. LOL


BCJean Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 1:10am
post #22 of 34

I certainly am not the best writer either, but I still think it looks more festive than drawn on lettering. Don't leave too much space between the letters and don't draw them on, just let the icing flow as you move across the cake. Keep the letters the same height and make sure they come to the imaginary line at the bottom. For practice, you can draw a line and make sure each letter touches it.
Another thing which sounds kind of funny....when I write, I make sure my feet are at least 24 inches apart. That way, you start on the left side and as you go across the cake, you are not put off balance. If your feet are together, as you get to the end of the writing, you are leaning to the right and it puts you off balance and makes your arm shaky.

If I am taking a photo of my cakes, I usually take the photo before I write on it so it doesn't show a personal message. This is a writing I did earlier this week and had in a photo.

dmhart Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 1:25am
post #23 of 34

BCJean your writing is lovely! thumbs_up.gif The thing about your feet makes a lot of sense. I was thinking about it as I read it. Just today when I was doing a cake I did just as you were saying, got off balance, and I just now realized why. The arm movement and the balancing are two things I need to try. I would LOVE to be able to write as well as you BCJean!!! I am going to be practicing tomorrow afternoon with my new tricks icon_wink.gif . I will let ya'll know how I am doing.

Ya'll are the Greatest!!!

BCJean Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 1:32am
post #24 of 34

I know you can do it, just keep practicing it will come to you. Another thing, as I come down to the line I apply just a little more pressure, then let up to go back up for the next letter. That makes it kind of sit on that line.

Don't let it frustrate you. It will happen.

bevyd Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 2:48am
post #25 of 34

My teacher showed us cake writing with a #2 tip and she pointed out before you write on the cake, write on a piece of paper with a pencil.When you are writing on the cake be sure and keep a finger on the side of the tip to help keep it steady. HTH

BCJean Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 3:20am
post #26 of 34
Originally Posted by bevyd

My teacher showed us cake writing with a #2 tip and she pointed out before you write on the cake, write on a piece of paper with a pencil.When you are writing on the cake be sure and keep a finger on the side of the tip to help keep it steady. HTH

This is where you really need to practice and try a lot of different techniques. Take all of the suggestions on here and find out what works for you.

I personally could never write if I had my finger on the tip. I do not hold the decorating bag like a pencil at all. Once again, I don't draw the letters on, I squeeze the bag and move it up and down, using the entire arm. You steady that arm with your left hand. I never move the wrist when I write it is just an extension of my arm. I am going to do a youtube some day. It is simple to do but hard to explain. Also I use a #3 tip, or a parchment triangle with a hole that size cut in the tip. If you get a tip too small the line will come out squiggly because you have to squeeze on it too hard. If you use one too large the writing will just be too wide.

AZCakeGirl Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 3:55am
post #27 of 34

I have HORRIBLE hand writing to begin with, so of course when I started cake decorating, that was my biggest downfall (and still is!). If I have to write on a cake, I always put it in the fridge so the icing gets firm & cold. Then, I take a medium consistency frosting & pipe the letters on. They pull right off with no problem if you mess up & you usually have about three tries to get the letters right before the cake starts coming to room temperature again. I like the Wilton press sets too, however I'm determined to get this right on my own someday without any stencils. I did notice that after I had used the stencils for a while, it was easier for me to freehand since the stencils taught me the spacing of where my letters should be on the cake. I like the idea of the dots on the end of all the letters, I'm going to try that one!

BCJean Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 3:55am
post #28 of 34
Originally Posted by bevyd

My teacher showed us cake writing with a #2 tip and she pointed out before you write on the cake, write on a piece of paper with a pencil.When you are writing on the cake be sure and keep a finger on the side of the tip to help keep it steady. HTH

I am soooo silly!

Now I know what you mean....the finger of the left hand you keep on the tip, while writing with the right hand. I have seen decorators do it that way also. It breaks the rhythm for me but it works well for some. I thought you meant to write, holding the bag like a pencil with the finger down on the tip. icon_redface.gif I was having a hard time trying to figure that one out. It wouldn't work for me to write on paper first though. I write completely different on paper than I do on cake. icon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_redface.gif

susies1955 Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 9:26am
post #29 of 34

Ok I can't write very well either. What are the Funky Alphabet & Numbers by FMM used with? Do you just press them onto buttercream? Are they something like a mold that you have to press into fondant to cut them out?
How big are they?
Thanks. icon_smile.gif

Rocketgirl899 Posted 5 Oct 2008 , 2:01am
post #30 of 34

It takes longer, but I mix up some RI and print off a font I like, lay was paper over it and trace away. Then let them dry overnight.

Don't forget to make extras!!!

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