Amifsud Posted 5 Mar 2009 , 9:14pm

Jenwhitlock, I use those purple bands too and I love them, what I do to mark the different bags is before I fill the bag I write on the outside of the bag with marker what I filled with and the tip #. I also find it really handy to put the empty bag in a tall glass to put the icing in the bag without try to have to hold too many things.

TracyLH Posted 5 Mar 2009 , 9:18pm

Thanks, Jen! I was really worried everyone would think I was a little weird for doing that! icon_lol.gif I just find it makes things faster for me. Before I had colored rubberbands, I would use wider rubberbands for my thicker RI and thinner rubber bands for my thinner RI or divide up accordingly if it was just a matter of tip size. I just buy the cheap pack of rubber bands from Staples.

Amisfud - great idea with the marker!

Oh, here is another one of my favorite things to do if someone hasn't heard of it. I dread the chore of washing pastry bags. icon_sad.gif Not fun. (Yes, I use disposable, but I still wash them. I can't see just throwing them out). What helps me is to make an 'icing insert'. I played around with the idea a bit with small ziplock bags with so-so success, but then saw a better form of it posted here on CC. You basically take a rectangular piece of cling wrap and lay it out flat. Put your RI in the center, somewhat towards one end, but not too close. Now fold one of the long ends over onto the other, enveloping the icing. Now take that extra on the long side and pull it over, so you are mimicing the shape of your pastry bag (a 'V'). Make sure there is a big enough opening for your RI to come out, but not to big - just a bit smaller than the actual bag. Now that you have that 'V' and the edges are wrapped around to cover the crease, drop your icing insert into a pastry bag that is standing up in a glass (pull the sides down over the glass to make it easier). Twist the extra cling wrap into a knot. Twist your pastry bag and seal as you normally do. Once you are done, pull out that insert and you will find you have much less icing to left inside to contend with. This has made my life a lot easier!!! thumbs_up.gif

JenWhitlock Posted 5 Mar 2009 , 9:54pm

my Wilton instructor used to do that.
I do it sometimes, but mostly I'm lazy.

when I found it most useful is when I do two colors of BC.
(e.g. my fireman cupcakes)
I usually put these instructions in my response to the requests I get for the fire/water templates.


the fire on the cupcakes was done with two colors of buttercream and a star tip.
split your icing, color each half a different shade of yellow/orange.
(my Wilton intructor taught me this...)
lay out a piece of plastic/saran wrap.
place a lump of icing in the middle.
pull half the wrap over the icing, and sqwish into a cone gently with the outside edge of your hand.
wrap the remaining plastic wrap around and cut a small whole at the bottom.
repeat with other color.
now place both color-cones into a pastry bag with a star tip.
twist the top closed and start icing... voila! two colors that won't mix all the way to the end...

TracyLH Posted 5 Mar 2009 , 10:42pm

Oh, this is too funny! icon_lol.gif I just started to make my icing inserts for balloon cookies and realized I needed to say that once you fold it over, to cup your hand and push it into a cone shape before wrapping the remaining cling wrap around.. but, Jen covered it already! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif Thanks for watching my back, Jen! icon_lol.gif (sometimes I think we have some kind of brain meld!)

Okay, you took it one step further with the two color idea! How cool is that???!!! I love how we all share ideas! It is so fun to learn something new!

Well, back to cookie-ing! icon_biggrin.gif

luv2bake6 Posted 5 Mar 2009 , 11:27pm

Wow! I didn't expect so many replies! Thank you so much all you cookie decorators for sharing your techniques.
I would love to hear more about stenciling and where you guys get images to use.
Thanks again.

sgirvan Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 4:37am

Tracy- I have been doing the "insert" method for a long time now but I do it a little different

I use saran wrap and place my RI in the middle leaving enough room to tie a knot in the top and twist the bottom. Once I have placed the RI on the wrap, I roll it up then tie and knot in one end and twist the other. I take the twisted end and feed it through my pastry bag - pull it down as much as it will go so that the icing is deep into the bag, I then snip off the extra wrap and place my tip and coupler as you would normally. I do this for both my regular and royal icing. If it is really thin icing I will usually use a parchment bag.

TracyLH Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 4:57am

Sgirvan - Thanks so much!!! Your method is much better and will keep the pastry bag a lot cleaner! Thanks very much for passing that on! icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

Luv2bake6 - I haven't tried stenciling yet, so no advice there. In my eyes, Cookiemookie is the reigning expert on that as I see her do it a lot and it always looks fabulous. I have seen others try it though and it looks great also. Eventually, I will play with that so I look forward to seeing what response you get.

Regarding images, for my part I look at the object itself, do some sketches, maybe peek around at related clip art, do more sketches and come up with my design. A great place to start with is clip art and you can tweak it to the way you want. You can also find inspiration from rubber stamps, stickers, fabric and just about anywhere. You may be at a store and see an image on a plate or a real flower in nature and think, "Hmm... that would be a neat cookie" and then fiddle with it to come up with your design. Inspiration is everywhere. I remember Jen got inspiration for a really cool cookie at the pumpkin stand. It's all over the place. If you are new to designing, clip art is a great place to start to get a board to bounce off of and gather ideas.

luv2bake6 Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 5:06am

Thank you so much. I'll try my best with the clipart. How would i go about enlarging a pic from a clipart?

Peeverly Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 11:47am

I haven't been creating lately but I'm still looking for great design ideas. I have looked at peoples clothes, wrapping paper, magazines. Anything is game! I'm always thinking, Oh, that would make a great cookie!

JenWhitlock Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 12:28pm

while I have a gift for copying stuff, I don't have a gift for illustrating.
when I get an idea for a theme, I look for lineart that would work for cookies.
as mentioned, CC, clipart, online.

with clipart (e.g. inside microsoft powerpoint) don't just look at the whole image, look at the pieces, sometime there's good stuff masked by some ugly stuff icon_lol.gif
as for online, do a google image search on your keyword + coloring pages
or I go to and search the illustrations.

once I find an image that I like, I import it into powerpoint and resize it to the cookie size that I want. print and cut the cookie!


TracyLH Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 1:36pm

Luv2bake - I resize things with Word (I am not as advanced as Jen! icon_lol.gif ). I can import copy clipart into there, click on it and reduce and enlarge. My favorite thing is to do my sketch of design I am working on, scan it, click on the thumbnail and copy that into Word. This way I can reduce and enlarge my own sketch and thus have the size I want for my cookie without running to the library to use the copier to do it! (My 13 year old had to show me that trick! icon_lol.gif )

Jen brings up a great point about just picking and choosing which part of the clipart you like. One of my designs may incorporate several different clipart aspects, my own sketches, inspiration from a photo, etc. When I am thinking of a subject, I will cut and paste all sorts of images into Word, do my own sketches as well and then I go back over all of it to pull together my design. I keep files of ideas, so if someone says, "I would like a baby carriage cookie", well, I already have a file going as I saw a cute baby card the other day and scanned that as I thought the wheels were cute. I can combine that with my own sketch of the body of the carriage, look around at clip art for a handle image to play with, do some more sketches, put it all together and viola! A cookie is born!

However, some lucky souls have the inate ability to just pick up the pastry bag and just start decorating on a blank cookie. I am just not one of them! icon_lol.gif

sallene Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 2:40pm

I'm so glad to see this thread. I'm another one good at copying designs I see or things from clipart, etc., but I have a hard time being particularly creative.

It's great to see what everyone else is doing to get their inspiration, how they go about doing it, and lots of tips!!!

luv2bake6 Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 6:09pm

Thank you guys so much yet again. I guess that regardless what you do (aside from straight copying), you really need to have that special eye for detail which i don't have.
I guess that's why i'm interested in how people do the stenciling as that is a no brainer when it comes to putting it on the cookie.

TracyLH Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 6:42pm

Luv2bake - Don't be hard on yourself. Seeing detail and putting it on a cookie comes with time and practice. Actually, a couple of my cookie idols here on CC don't do a lot of detailing, but their cookies are phenomenal. I will say that even though I may spend a ridiculous amount of time in the planning stage for highly detailed cookies, my cookie does not always end up looking like my final artwork. I play and play with practice cookies, but honestly, I am a bit Type A about cookies. I think that using less detail and being able to create a great cookie with that technique is preferable and is something I am working on. For starting out, don't bite off something too big. Find a piece of clipart with simple lines that you like and give that a whirl. With time and confidence you will be able to branch out and add your own touch. It is all a learning process. icon_biggrin.gif

Somewhere I saw where Rose (cookiemookie) talked about her stenciling technique. If I can find it, I will post the link in case she doesn't see this.

GeminiRJ Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 7:13pm
Originally Posted by TracyLH

Luv2bake - Don't be hard on yourself. Seeing detail and putting it on a cookie comes with time and practice.

So true! I used to think I could only copy other people's work...that I would never be able to come up with anything new or original. But after a while, it's like you develop a "cookie eye". There's a special thrill that comes from seeing something and being able to turn it into a cookie design. It's like a drug....addicting!

TracyLH Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 8:12pm

I found that I had indeed saved what Rose had written about stenciling as I hope to tackle that one day. Here is what I have when she was asked how to do it (I don't know how to do quote boxes so I have italicized her words):

First off I want to thank everyone for the nice comments. It means a lot. I havent been at this very long.

Here is a quick how to.

First I flood my cookie (I use Antonias Icing which I thin for flooding) I let this dry several hours or overnight.

Then I use another batch of Antonias Icing. I barely add any water to the original recipe. I used a thick consistency for the stencil part.

I positioned my stencil where I wanted on the cookie and carefully held it down. When I first started I held it too tight and cracked the flooded icing. I then used a palate knife with a long head and took the icing and used a long sweeping stroke to apply the icing over the stencil. I tried to always go the same direction. When all areas were covered, I carefully lifted the stencil and Viola!

While the icing was still wet, I sprinkled it with cake sparkles or sanding sugar to get a different effect.

The only suggestion I would offer, especially if you are doing a lot of these is to have more than one stencil of the same design. You have to wash and completely dry it before you do the next. That was the most time consuming part of it.

I looked through some of my scrap booking supplies and found some stencils that I have never used.
You can also get stencils at I got the heart stencil (came with a cutter and 3 designs)

I highly recommend the culinary stencils simply because they are made well and not flimsy. Some of the other kind bend very easily and will make it much more difficult. for some video how tos

Hope this helps.

Here is a link to a posting that I saw that mentioned stenciling. I just opened it and Cookiemookie has helpful info there as well:

Hope this helps! You may also get more info if you open her profile pics to see what she says when people ask her questions. She is pro at stenciling! thumbs_up.gif[

luv2bake6 Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 5:22am

Thank you so much TracyLH for the encouragement and the info.
I have ordered from culinary stencils and like to use them with cocoa butter on chocolates. I havent quite gotten the knack of using RI to stencil as i never have the right consistency. I'll keep trying and testing.
Thanks again. I love this forum.

dandelion56602 Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 6:02am

I've yet to use stencils, but am waiting for the chance. If I practice too much I'll gain way too much weight.

But when I started I just winged it & they never came out like I wanted. Then I started tracing around the cookie cutter onto paper & drawing in detail. There have been cookies that I look at the cutter & say WTH? That's when I go looking for images of cookies b/c lines just seem "off" until you can see another cookie similar to what you want

For my next cookie project I'm making corset cookies for my SIL & I've had a time w/ them (the color combo is throwing me for a loop). Finally tonight I traced them onto paper & colored them w/ a marker. Taped wax paper on top, got my different RI's out & went to town. This way I was able to scrape it off & start over if I didn't like it. After about 45 min I came up w/ 3 designs I like, which will be right in front of me on Wed. This is the first time I've done this. I normally just sketch on paper, erase, re sketch, erase, resketch, etc. But I'm telling you, pink corsets w/ white & black accents is tough--one or the other not so hard.

But I love cookies, prefer them over cakes!!!! and you'll start finding inspiration on mugs (at holidays for me), plates, napkins, scrapbooking things, etc. And the more you practice the better you'll get. I'm probably the only person on the planet who does this, but I roll my own cellophane bags---like WBH does for chocolate transfers. I love it!!!! Squeeze it out when you're done & throw it away. Snip the end to be teeniny or huge. I've tried parchment & regular & disposable bags. I just don't like them as much---hate having that "pool" of icing that stays in the tip. I can get some tiny detail w/ my cello bags & I love it.

Well, I've rambled b/c I'm tired, but practice, practice, practice (on cookies or paper!)icon_smile.gif

TracyLH Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 12:49pm

Dandelion - You have a really, really great idea to will save time and help save my waistline a bit! I do my sketches first and then do prototypes on cookies (which too many times call my name), but I think I will need to play around with your idea.

Are there instructions here on CC for making your own cello bags? Have you ever tried those with a tip? Thanks for your help!

dandelion56602 Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 2:49pm

I haven't tried them w/ a tip. They are quite "flimsy", but that's the way I like them---my hands really give me a hard time icon_sad.gif But if you taped the entire seam up the bag it might work. I've even taped around the opening w/ disposables so icing doesn't come through. Coupler, I highly doubt it

But I've had success w/ just snipping---for a round tip & also a leaf tip & I can get those babies teeny tiny too. Going to try snipping like a rose tip to see if I can use it for lace on my corset cookies.

As far as I know there are no instructions. I can post here if anyone wants.

TracyLH Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 5:24pm

This is really helpful! Thanks so much! I think I will give it a try. So tired of washing 'disposable' bags! icon_lol.gif

kimsmom Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 5:57pm

Here is a list of where I look in person and on line for inspiration after I've checked out the cookie Masters here on CC. (Bowing humbly!!!)
I know that some of these have already been mentioned.
Clip art
Coloring pages
Greeting cards
Wood painting patterns
Felt patterns (the ones for Christmas ornaments etc.)
Stickers ( I especially like the new 3-d flower ones)
Embroidery patterns ( The simple ones)
Stained glass patterns ( these are great for starting out as the leaded lines can be the outline or detail design.) Some of my flower cookies were inspired by these.
Just be specific when you Google in images, ie. stained glass rose etc. and you'll get a lot of different images to look through.
I'm sure there are more, but I hope this is helpful.

HeidiCrumbs Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 7:17pm

Wow, what a great thread! I finally took the time to read all of your ideas and LOVE them! I'm still not getting the idea of a homemade bag out of saran wrap but I'll go back and re-read, I'm a little slow without visuals most times.

Last night when I was putting my son to bed I was looking at his bedsheets, which have little cars and trucks on them, and thought to myself what cute cookies they would make. That's when you know you have it bad, lol.

GeminiRJ Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 7:28pm
Originally Posted by HeidiCrumbs

Last night when I was putting my son to bed I was looking at his bedsheets, which have little cars and trucks on them, and thought to myself what cute cookies they would make. That's when you know you have it bad, lol.

Yep, you've got cookieitis!

dandelion56602 Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 8:20pm

Here's the link to the frosting plug (that just sounds nasty. I hate the word plug)

Anyway, hope this is what others are talking about:

HeidiCrumbs Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 9:20pm

Brilliant! Love that there's pictures to go with it. I don't see how you wouldn't get frosting in the very tip though and then still have to wash it out a bit. Not anywhere as much as a full bag though. I sitll swear by my dollar store zip lock baggies that are $1 for 100. For flooding they're a lifesaver, not so much for fine details, but if I keep practicing maybe my technique will come around. Anyway, thanks for posting that link!

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