Hi everyone, I'm an amateur with no training whatsoever, and though I've made a few decent looking cakes, I'd like to backtrack and get a little bit of technique under my belt. So my husband gave me a gift card for Michael's for xmas to do their Wilton classes. What are your thoughts on this decorating course? It seems like that's the only thing that all the craft stores around here offer, but when I've called to get a little info, I dunno, I'm not very impressed. Example: they tell me that I need all this gear on the first day, and that when everyone shows up, they get the list, and then spend the first 20 minutes of class shopping (with a discount, of course!). I have a fair amount of stuff already, so I convince someone to read me the list of "necessary" items. It's like a page and a half long, and has things like "a one-gallon ziplock bag" and "an apron" (like I'm going to buy an apron right there at the Michaels??!!), and 6 flat sugar cookies. And you have to get the Wilton 'beginner's decorating kit'--"what's that"?" I send the resentful employee off to find out what's in it. I have 3/4 of the contents of said kit sitting in my kitchen, and am not about to buy it. I don't know--am I complaining about nothing? What can people tell me about the content of the courses? Because right now it just seems like a vehicle for making money for the craft store and for hocking Wilton products. Aside from going to pastry school, which is not an option, does anyone have any better ideas than this? Thanks for listening.
I've taken the Wilton classes as a lot of people here have. It is a basic, introduction to cake decorating. Michael's does not carry the class books in their stores. At Michael's the book is given to you in class. At JoAnn's & Hobby Lobby you have to buy the class books. I forget how much they are but it is only around $4 and you can use a coupon to buy them. You can buy the books at JoAnn's & Hobby Lobby and it has listed in it what you need for class. Hope this helps.
I took the first two courses at Michael's and didn't bother going back to finish the last two. I wanted some basic knowledge, which I got. However, due to very different experience levels (and I'm no expert), the class seemed slow at times, and we weren't able to cover what we were supposed to during each lesson. I checked the boxes for each class kit before buying and found I already owned them or something similar. It seems like it would be pricey if you bought all of the equipment. Some of it is necessary and you probably already own it. I can only speak for the class that I took. I'm sure you'll find that everyone has had a different experience. Personally, I'm looking into more specified classes elsewhere given by established bakers/decorators. HTH.
AC Moore and JoAnn's sell the Wilton Course books, so you can look through them to see what the classes cover and it if it would be worth it to you. I did take the 3 courses and found them beneficial, but I also went in with zero decorating experience... I think whether or not they are worth it is really a personal decision based on what you already know and what you want to learn. There are a lot of youtube videos that cover the same topics and more, so that may work for you too. Also, if you do decide to take the classes, you do not have to buy all of the items, and can just use the items you already own. The apron, for example, is just recommended...you don't have to buy it at Michaels or even have one at all.
I'm start by saying that I am a Wilton Instructor...
As far as the list. You should get the supply list when you sign up for the classes, so that you would have it before hand and would be able to be prepared. Instead of talking to a store employee anytime you have questions about the classes it is almost always better to see if they will give you the WMI's number or have her call you. The WMI's usually have more answers.
If it comes down to it and I have a student that didn't get the list before class, then I always send them out to get the Decorating Basics Kit and a small can of frosting. Some things on the list you can do with out, like the apron. Other items are to help you be able to carry your dirty supplies home.
You do not have to buy the Basic's kit if you already have some of the supplies. But you will need everything that comes in it during the class. Some things you can buy seperately in store, some things aren't sold alone. So if you were my student it would depend on exactly what you had and didn't have on what I would suggest you do. Sometimes it is cheaper to buy the kit using a coupon than it is to buy some of the parts.
Here is a 40% off coupon for Michaels good for this week: http://mic.michaels.com/20101231WNAMUSLP.aspx?reg_source=MICWNAM1210&utm_source=MICWNAM&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MICWNAM122310
As far as what is in the class, it does teach the basics, and for some that isn't enought. For those that have no experince at all then they are great. And I have even had students that did have experince that enjoyed the classes because they picked up tips and tricks along the way.
When it comes to the Wilton products, Wilton classes and the craft store, it is about business to them. Of course if you took classes in a cake supply store, it would be about business to them as well. Michaels, Hobby Lobby and JoAnn's offer the classes, because the students will buy the supplies and the store makes money, that's the store's bottom line.
There are other places you can take classes. Some of the cake 'greats' travel around or have places they offer classes so there are other ways to learn besides pastry school and Wilton Courses. The difference is that Wilton classes are local and are usually affordable. Where as alot of the other classes start with prices in the $200 and up for a one day lesson, and include travel and often times a hotel stay.
Going to cake competitions would be another way to learn since they usuaully have pros come in and give lesson during, before or after. And there is always the ICES Convention.
But if you are looking for basic techinques, affordable classes and a few hours away from the real world once a week, the Wilton classes are great.
Ditto to everything TexasSugar said. I think you want to be sure to talk with the instructor before signing up for the class. Like everything, there are good instructors, and not so good ones. My husband and I took the classes together in AC Moore. There is a Michael's right next door, and we got some of their students for course 2. Their instructor was a beginner and not a good instructor. We had a real professional and learned so much and had so much fun in the all 4 classes. We kept asking if there were anymore we could take. Yes, it costs alot of money taking the classes, just getting all the supplies, but if you have them already, that's a bonus. I was known as the coupon queen because I always printed enough coupons for everyone in class. As with the 2 stores side by side, they take each others coupons here, so we'd go back and forth between the 2 stores, both before and after class and getting our supplies. I think what you get out of the course largely depends on your particular instructor.
I took the Wilton courses that Michales offered and had a great experience. The instuctor was awesome, she was always giving us one on one help and even stayed after class for those of us that needed it.
I also took the wilton classes.... My instructor was amazing......so I have to tell you I took them a second time....She was very helpful, friendly and informative.... Good start for a hobby beginner like myself...
Thanks to everyone for your thoughtful replies. It sounds like it's a good place to start, and a pretty standard first step for someone with my lack of experience. I'll try out the Michael's course and hope to get as good an instructor as it sounds like many of you have had.
i just bought the lesson booklets at joanns and they are really very straightforward and helpful. i imagine the class would be fabulous! but the book alone seems liek a great place to start for me.