Painting Cakes

Decorating By vintage_fee Updated 19 Nov 2010 , 6:53pm by PrivateNameHere

vintage_fee Posted 12 Nov 2010 , 12:33pm
post #1 of 19

This has probably been covered in another topic, but I'm wondering about how to paint food colouring onto icing without it bleeding.
My other half and I have experimented with bottled food colouring (bog standard from Tesco) and colouring paste, using it neat, mixed with glycerine and mixed with vodka, having read tips online. Each way, it still bled quite a bit. Any tips?

18 replies
jobueno Posted 12 Nov 2010 , 12:40pm
post #2 of 19

Hi there Vintage_fee. You cannot use regular food coloring sold in your local supermarket. These are very thin and won't give you the consistency of paint. Instead try Americolor food color (sold at your local cake shop) or you can even go with Wilton. the idea is to basically use the vodka as if it were your water. Do not soak the brush in it, just dampen it enough to be able to pick up you color and paint away.

The best medium I have found for painting with a brush is fondant or gumpaste.
If you want to paint buttercreme I would suggest an airbrush with airbrush food color.
There are many ways to paint on a cake! Have fun. icon_smile.gif

vintage_fee Posted 12 Nov 2010 , 12:44pm
post #3 of 19

We tried with Wilton last time and it still bled - tried using various amounts of vodka and even used it on it's own and it didn't dry for days.
We wondered about using powdered colouring - any tips on that?

jobueno Posted 12 Nov 2010 , 1:57pm
post #4 of 19

If you look in my photos I have two cakes that I have painted with all different food coloring. I don't have a complete set of colors of any one brand so I mix and match. It works fine as long as I don't over do it with the Vodka. And yes it does take a while to dry. Maybe you could help it with a fan blowing directly on low but not too close.
The main thing is not to use water at all.

if using the powder food coloring you would still only use minimal amounts of vodka to break it up and make a paste.

jimmers Posted 12 Nov 2010 , 2:31pm
post #5 of 19

Hi, I'm in England too!! I regularly paint on cakes and have never had any trouble with it at far (prob just ruined it for myself!!) I always paint on fondant, have never tried it on buttercream. I use sugarflair paste colours. I have a pot of vanilla extract, make sure there's alcohol in it. I dip my brush into the vanilla, then into the paste and it goes on fine with no bleeding. Took me a while to get the proportions of vanilla to paste right but it dries quite quickly. Just a thought but could it be the fondant you are painting on to??? I'll post some pics of painted cakes later icon_smile.gif

TexasSugar Posted 12 Nov 2010 , 3:16pm
post #6 of 19

I love airbrush colors for painting. icon_smile.gif

vintage_fee Posted 12 Nov 2010 , 3:35pm
post #7 of 19

So far have only tried painting onto Regal Ice (might just be a British brand?) and we found that when we finally got it so that it wouldn't bleed, it would just take a long time to dry. Gave some fairy cakes to my step-daughter at halloween and my other half told me they were still wet five days later! Could be because she put them in the fridge though? (I didn't know there was anything wrong with storing in the fridge until I read through this forum!!)

Would you say powdered colouring is better or worse to paint with? Just the same?

Oh I'm nowhere near brave enough to try airbrushing yet - I'm a complete beginner but have fallen in love with decorating and am very keen to progress. Just wish money would allow the experimentation at the moment!

jobueno Posted 12 Nov 2010 , 9:03pm
post #8 of 19

When it comes to painting I think all forms of color are just about the same the only thing that's going to make a true difference is how much alcohol you use to dip your brush. The food color that I have used, and I think I have used them all, gel, paste, powder and liquid really all difer in how much vodka you use.
Anyway it shouldn't be wet five days later. I wouldn't use that food coloring at all. Discard that one from your experiment and go with another kind.

jimmers Posted 13 Nov 2010 , 10:03am
post #9 of 19

I just uploaded my first painted cake, it's the football crest one. I use RegalIce too, the only thing I can think is that on the artist cake and the crest cake I added a little gum trag to the fondant before I painted it. Don't know whether this makes any difference? Maybe the fondant needs to harden before you paint it? Try not to use too much alcohol, it really is only a tiny amount needed. For my handbag cake, the logo was also handpainted but straight onto RegalIce with no gum (it was gold lustre mixed with vanilla though whereas the others were sugarflair). Keep going cos it can work and is worth it. Hope you get it sorted soon. X

vintage_fee Posted 13 Nov 2010 , 10:44pm
post #10 of 19

Hmm, maybe there was too much alcohol on the brush then? Not sure, we'll have to experiment a bit further.
Once we've got the money we'll try different brands etc - you know how it is at the moment, though!

My OH read about using gum trag and actually suggested we use it in the first place but we weren't sure where we'd get it - we think we'll make sure we use that next time.

jobueno Posted 14 Nov 2010 , 2:55pm
post #11 of 19

Yes, like jimmers said I forgot yout need to apply your fondnat and let it dry before you paint it. Although that really shouldn't make much of a difference.

Lemmers Posted 15 Nov 2010 , 5:41pm
post #12 of 19


I'm in the UK too- I have so far only painted on one cake, and I used Sugarflair black colour on fondant (paste colour)- I didn't paint, but I used a foam print. I just brushed some colour onto the print then pressed onto the cake (it was covered in fondant which was ready made but bought from a cake supply shop). I didn't have any bleeding in the colours and didnt use vodka- just straight out of the pot. I did it, and then panicked about bleeding but it never happened!

Daisy1 Posted 15 Nov 2010 , 6:20pm
post #13 of 19

Try using Everclear. It has a higher alcohol content and dries MUCH faster than vodka or vanilla.

stiffalus Posted 16 Nov 2010 , 9:15pm
post #14 of 19

i have painted on alot of my cakes and cake toppers and have found that the powder colours and lustre dusts mixed with a little pure alcohol works amazing and dries in minutes. i even find it dries too quickly sometimes. but i have never had the problem of it never drying. i painted my whole pirate ship cake for the wood effect and the sides of my guitar cake, i paint on my 3d figures. i paint on fondant and gumpaste and have the same drying time with each.the only time it bleeds is if i mix the paint too runny but that soon dries in up in minutes. hope that helps x

vintage_fee Posted 18 Nov 2010 , 11:47pm
post #15 of 19

I'm not sure why it didn't dry for us - we seriously used a tiny amount!
Where would we find Everclear? We looked it up but have just found results saying that, due to the high alcohol content, it is illegal?!

stiffalus Posted 19 Nov 2010 , 1:53pm
post #16 of 19

hi sorry for late post hope this is still relevent to you but i dont use everclear i use pure alcohol it evapourates really fast. i get it from its specifically for mixing your paints up to paint on cakes. a small bottle goes a very long way i find. just a drop on to a small amount of colour and you dont have to worry sbout the alcohol as it evapourates and just leaves you with the colour. its fab and that is what i would recomend to you if you wanted really good results with painting. i am sure other cake suppliers would sell it to. i have never used anything else such as vodka lemon extract or vanilla extract because that gave me great results straight away and is very easy! hope that helps. thumbs_up.gif

jimmers Posted 19 Nov 2010 , 3:50pm
post #17 of 19

Hi there just another idea for you to try. While spending a fortune in my local cake store, I found something that made me think of this post!!!! It's by sugarflair and it's called rejuvenator spirit. It's used for diluting paste colours, lustre dusts and blossom tints. I just looked it up and you can buy it on ebay. Maybe that might work for you? Fingers crossed icon_smile.gif

stiffalus Posted 19 Nov 2010 , 5:55pm
post #18 of 19

rejuvenator spirit is the pure alcohol thing i was on about just couldnt remember the proper name of it when i posted before. its fab and inexpensive. thumbs_up.gif

PrivateNameHere Posted 19 Nov 2010 , 6:53pm
post #19 of 19

ITA with using everclear and americolor!

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