I Really Stink At Piping....

Decorating By KayMc Updated 16 Jul 2010 , 6:18am by Unlimited

KayMc Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 2:46am
post #1 of 61

I am a newbie - have done 5 cakes now. The first 4 have had gum paste flowers, and they were ok. I didn't mind taking pictures of them, and taking the cakes out for others to see. I also just started Wilton classes, because I wanted to learn piping. The bottom line is that I really stink at piping. The cake I made in class with the nasty cupcake looked like a ten year old made it. (I came home and scraped it all off of the top of cake and applied a fondant bow I'd made.) Tonight I decorated a cake and did it all with icing instead of any gumpaste decorations. Again, it really sucks. It's just not pretty.

Do any of you have a piping problem? Is practice, practice, practice the only solution? How many cakes will I waste in this proces..... icon_cry.gif

60 replies
tesso Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 2:52am
post #2 of 61

I am sorry you are having piping problems.. I think we all have at some poing or another..

good news though !! you dont have to waste cake to learn..and yes PRACTICE is the only way to get better.. Go to walmart find yourself a very cheap.. 50 cent foam plastic place mat and pipe away. Wipe it off when done, or toss in dishwasher and it is ready to practice again. I used it to practice making rose buds.. I still hate them.. but I learned to do them. I also used my cheap place mat to practice making drop flowers, piping swags you name it. Now get off the computer and go give me 50 lines of scallops... icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

KayMc Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 2:57am
post #3 of 61

Tesso, you crack me up! Of course!! What a great idea! I wish I'd thought of it! I will buy that plastic placemat and practice. Thank God - I was thinking I'd be wasting cakes out the whazoo! Thanks again!

HamSquad Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 2:57am
post #4 of 61

My Dear,
Piping gets better with practice. Use cookie sheets, sides of cake pans, wax paper sheets, report cover plastic to practice your pressure in piping. Look at websites for practice sheets, tape the sheets to a table, cover with vinyl or wax paper over and over. Good thing about this, if it doesn't look right, scrape it off and do over again, won't have to waste cake or cupcake. When you feel you have the technique start in on a cake. I know, this is what I've done. HTH
Hammy thumbs_up.gif

LisaMarie86 Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 3:04am
post #5 of 61

practice practice practice. I am getting better after working at a cupcake shop for 4 months and lots of at home practice, I am better but still need lots more practice.

KayMc Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 3:15am
post #6 of 61

Thanks to you all! I will take this advice, and practice. Just like piano lessons, I guess!

tesso Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 3:16am
post #7 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by KayMc

Thanks to you all! I will take this advice, and practice. Just like piano lessons, I guess!




why are you still on here??? you owe me lines young lady !! icon_lol.gificon_biggrin.gificon_lol.gificon_biggrin.gificon_lol.gif

LisaMarie86 Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 3:21am
post #8 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by tesso

Quote:
Originally Posted by KayMc

Thanks to you all! I will take this advice, and practice. Just like piano lessons, I guess!



why are you still on here??? you owe me lines young lady !! icon_lol.gificon_biggrin.gificon_lol.gificon_biggrin.gificon_lol.gif




You might be my new favorite person right now!!

tesso Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 3:57am
post #9 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaMarie86

Quote:
Originally Posted by tesso

Quote:
Originally Posted by KayMc

Thanks to you all! I will take this advice, and practice. Just like piano lessons, I guess!



why are you still on here??? you owe me lines young lady !! icon_lol.gificon_biggrin.gificon_lol.gificon_biggrin.gificon_lol.gif



You might be my new favorite person right now!!




icon_lol.gif

catlharper Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 4:39am
post #10 of 61

LOL...poor thing...but you are NOT alone...I, too, am in the "I need SOOOO much piping practice" crowd and I've begun to make myself work work work to get better. One of the things I found helps is to impress a pattern into fondant and pipe over it. Helps me to memorize the motions needed to copy the imprint. And I also do the matt practice...only way to learn is pipe, wipe, repeat....

Cat

Caths_Cakes Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 4:56am
post #11 of 61

it does take practise, its taken me the better part of year to really get royal icing down to tee, as well as doing certain shapes/borders and flowers . . . . But even after ALL that, no matter how much i practise writing, It looks like i scrawled it with my foot every time haha, but like the posters before me, practise on paper, plastic, your bench if you have to, just dont give up, once you get the hang of it its 2nd nature x

tmac670 Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 5:01am
post #12 of 61
KayMc Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 12:36pm
post #13 of 61

I am SO glad to hear I'm not alone at sucking!!! icon_lol.gif Are there any practice mats in order to follow the design, or do you make your own? I googled it, and came up empty handed. I like the idea of getting those plastic things you impress into the icing, but that won't help for practice, as I'll be doing it on wax paper, more than likely. Or a plastic mat.

Stupid question here: do you always use royal icing, or do you use bc sometime?

KayMc Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 12:36pm
post #14 of 61

I am SO glad to hear I'm not alone at sucking!!! icon_lol.gif Are there any practice mats in order to follow the design, or do you make your own? I googled it, and came up empty handed. I like the idea of getting those plastic things you impress into the icing, but that won't help for practice, as I'll be doing it on wax paper, more than likely. Or a plastic mat.

Stupid question here: do you always use royal icing, or do you use bc sometime?

chellescountrycakes Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 1:16pm
post #15 of 61

You can get those placemats in the kids department that have all kinds of deisgns on them. what a great idea Tesso.

I suck at piping. and have come to the point where I refuse to write on my cakes anymore and ruin them. I try to make a sign to stick on them now. or a banner, or something. And the sad thing is, I have VERY pretty handwriting.

I am learning to work mostly with fondant, and love my clay extruder, so I dont have to pipe as much. Luckily, most of my cakes dont have flowers and lots of shell borders and such. I just dont offer them. and if I have to have a small line or something, I try to make my husband do it, he welds as a hobby. LOL

nonilm Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 1:46pm
post #16 of 61

I have found that it is easier to write neatly or do small/fine decorations if I use a very small piping bag with as little filling as possible. I cut the wilton parchment triangles in half and make small bags. The couplers still fit into these. HTH!

Joshua_Alan Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 2:23pm
post #17 of 61

I almost never pipe in RI, I just make a stiffer buttercream. Of course, I should probably do more with RI though. And almost every cake, before I pipe anything on the cake I pipe it on my cutting board first to get the feel for it.

michel30014 Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 2:52pm
post #18 of 61

Practice makes perfect. Ive only been doing cakes for a few years. My piping is getting much better. I usually use regular buttercream, but sometimes I use the royal icing.. I prefer it for flowers and roses anyway.

-K8memphis Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 3:15pm
post #19 of 61

Piping thoughts for you:

Sure go chichi and blow 50 cents on a placemat if you want but we often just use the counter top--royal is easier to clean up--but just scraper it up--no worries--be sure your icing is a good consistency--use about one cup of icing in the bag--use a 3 or 4 size tip.

For me I pipe from my shoulder--my shoulder has to hang free--I hold the piping bag in one hand and place the index finger of the other hand on it to steady it. I don't use my elbow.

I mean if you just hold the bag like that and squeeze while rotating your shoulder you got great scrolls--the shoulder rotates in a circular motion just get your stop/start down and make beautiful beautiful scrolls alllll over the counter top. Do figure 8's. You will get it.

You might want to stand on a step so your arm can hang over the surface at the right height--I'm 5"8' but I always stand on a step to write on a full sheet cake for example--I need room for the shoulder to be able to keep things rolling.

I really like to pipe and I'm glad you think it's important.
Hope this might help you.

indydebi Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 3:16pm
post #20 of 61

I came from the era of if you wanted to decorate cakes, you had to buy a wilton book and figure it out on your own. Fondant wasn't even heard of back then and there were no wilton classes. So yes, practice, practice is the only way to master it. (There's a reason wilton teaches this stuff in their "Masters" Course.)

Since making the transition from BC to fondant, I believe it's way easier to go from BC to fondant than it is to go from Fondant to BC. It took me months to master BC well enough to make a cake for someone else. It took me one day to make my first fondant cake.

I never use RI for anything cake. Never. I use BC for icing, roses, flowers, writing, borders, etc.

WHat I found to be a great practice tool was just turning my cake pans upside down and decorating the pan. It gave me enough space to do borders and stringwork (and it's much different doing it on the side of a cake than it is on a flat mat!).

It's the little things that will screw you up: KNowing when to squeeze and when to release the pressure; knowing when to press in and when to lift up the tip; a combination of knowing when to release the pressue AND lift the bag! It's the lttle movements in your hand and wrist that yo're not even aware you're making. (Try teaching someone else how to do this and yo'll quickly figure out those little movement!) thumbs_up.gif

-K8memphis Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 3:30pm
post #21 of 61

You said it. I actually pipe roses a little bit lefty. Wilton said to hold the bag so the back end pointed over your shoulder--nuh ugh--that din work for me. I hold the bag so the tip points inward toward my chest.

This one lady--her brain saw the nail to bag maneuver in the negative, the opposite of how everyone else usually does it--she had to do it backwards but she got it!

Funny how the brain works.

KayMc Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 4:00pm
post #22 of 61

Wow, I never thought of the height issue. I'm 5'1", and as soon as you said you didn't use your elbow, I couldn't figure out how THAT would work. I see tons of practice in my future. Will a glass of wine help me in my endeavors, since I won't have time to practice until late at night when all the chores are done????????????????????????

-K8memphis Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 4:07pm
post #23 of 61

Wine wine wine wine--how did I forget that crucial step-- icon_lol.gif

Another idea is to have a bag ready on the counter every night before you go to bed. First thing in the morning --empty it, pipe it all out --only takes a few minutes. Do it for like a week or 10 days.

You just need to find your rhythm. It's as much an exercise as learning to write cursive is--just using a different method.

tracycakes Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 4:22pm
post #24 of 61

I still stick at piping but like everything else, it takes practice, practice, practice.

I took a class with Joshua Russell, master of all things piping. A couple of hints from him:
1) beat your royal icing for at least 10 minutes longer than you normally would. it makes it much easier to pipe.
2) Steady your hand against your cheek. No one can hold a bag perfectly steady. Can close to your cake and hold your hand next to your cheek. It sounds odd but it really works.
3) Small, damp paintbrush. You get off a little, use a damp paintbrush to correct it.
4) practice, practice and more practice.

hth!

Walls1971 Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 4:34pm
post #25 of 61

Wait, wait, wait. . .

Steady your hand against your cheek? With my luck, I'd end up drooling on the cake or sneezing or something icon_eek.gif LOL

KayMc Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 4:36pm
post #26 of 61

I can't picture having my face that close to the cake, in order to steady my hand against my cheek. Aren't you bent over double to do that? Plus, being a nurse, I"m thinking GERMS all over the cake from your breathing... icon_eek.gif

LisaMarie86 Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 4:50pm
post #27 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by KayMc

I can't picture having my face that close to the cake, in order to steady my hand against my cheek. Aren't you bent over double to do that? Plus, being a nurse, I"m thinking GERMS all over the cake from your breathing... icon_eek.gif




Im not a nurse but Im right there with you. Germs and stray hairs all over the cake.

southernswthrt Posted 18 Jun 2010 , 12:54am
post #28 of 61

I stink at it, too! I've finally graduated from the shell border to a rope...lol

And I can't make a decent reverse shell to save my soul....and as for writing...well it's hopeless icon_lol.gif I do think one of my biggest issues is that the consistency isn't always right for what I'm trying to do.

My problem is that I don't have time to practice. I've been meaning to make a batch of "practice" icing, but never seem to find the time...

noahsmummy Posted 18 Jun 2010 , 1:15am
post #29 of 61

my opa is a pastry chef from way back. i suck at piping too. lol. his tips to me is practice practice practice. appparently he used to come home from his shop and just fill parchment paper with cornelli lace.

sooo, i should practise too.. i guess... maybe.. lol. but yeah, you can just pipe onto parchment paper scrape it off, i like the placemat idea too tho. also, if you cant be bothered to make icing, u=you can also use toothpaste in your piping bag. same sorta consistency, and if your only practicing.. who cares aye?

KayMc Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 9:28pm
post #30 of 61

Well, it's official: I totally suck. I took the advice of all you pro's, and today started practicing. I know, ONE time means nothing. I understand that. But I still really suck!!! I even piped that message: "kay's piping sucks". I'm off to make some margaritas now. I'm much better at that....

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