Not a bad job for a first try. The only thing I can say is Practice, Practice, Practice. there is no secret, just practice. Take a beginner decorating class, they give you tips and help. Check out this website, lots of helpful advice.
Good Job, and Good Luck. Keep at it and you will be pleased with your improvement, it is also lots of fun.
Practice on cookies, even store bought. They are small enough to practice on. You can ice lots in a short time and try many piping techniques.
Nothing can replace lots and lots of practice. Make sure your icing isn't too thick so you don't have to kill your hand trying to make something pretty. Also, I find that if I just keep moving my lines are smoother. Don't worry too much and go, go, go! And squeeze out plenty of icing to keep the string from breaking.
You're already on your way! Good luck!
I agree with the previous post 100%. Remember that part of the "practice, practice, practice" is learning the icing consistency needed to get various piping results. Wilton talks about thin, medium (most used), and stiff icing consistency. The ONLY way you learn the correct consistency is by practice and learning from your mistakes.
I would suggest taking the Wilton Courses 1 and 2. BEFORE showing up at your first class, make a batch of buttercream using the following recipe. Put the frosting in 3 separate containers that are large enough to have the frosting mixed with a spoon or hand held blender. Bring a bottle of water, 2 cups of sifted powdered sugar, and your hand-held blender. Get to the class early! Ask your teacher to show you how to mix the 3 different consistencies of THIN, MEDIUM, STIFF using the materials you have brought to class. It should only take a few minutes and will be invaluable!
INDYDEBI CRISCO-BASED BUTTERCREAM--(Excellent for hot/humid areas):
(IndyDebi is a very experienced decorator/caterer: http://cateritsimple.blogspot.com/)
Single Batch Recipe:
1-1/3 cups Crisco (BETTER: store brand shortening with 3 grams of trans-fats, or BEST, a specialty cake supply product called high-ratio shortening. As of 2010 Crisco no longer contains trans-fats.)
1/3 to 1/2 cup milk, depending on consistency needed
3 Tbsp powdered Dream Whip (powdered whipped topping mix made by Kraft Foods)
2-3 Tbsp clear vanilla, depending on personal taste (optional: almond extract, or lemon extract )
2 lbs. powdered pure cane sugar
IndyDebi says: There's no wrong way to mix this. I usually mix all but the powdered sugar & milk for a minute or two, then gradually alternate the sugar & milk, but the only reason I do this is to avoid the "sugar-splash" factor. The longer the mixer runs, the smoother it gets. Sifting the powdered sugar before blending helps with smoothness but is not necessary.
NOTE: Based on recommendations from other users of her recipe: 1) I make a double batch so the beaters are totally immersed to avoid air bubbles, 2) I beat the shortening, milk, Dream Whip, and vanilla for 10-15 minutes BEFORE I add the powdered sugar. I refrigerate or freeze leftover icing.
You'll have plenty of opportunity to try different buttercream recipes later, but the recipe above is nearly foolproof AND will withstand a lot of repeated use for practice. You can turn a cake pan upside down and practice on the sides and top, scrape off the frosting, and repeat.
It helps to watch. I made a videoclick on the link in my signature line below.
Are you moving with your shoulder or with your hand?
basing from the picture you posted, looks like you got the basics down. just like everyone said, practice, practice, practice, practice took me a year of practice to get decent piping skills. patience and passion is key
Yes piping is a fundamental skill that you learn in any class, at least when I took them you did. They always started out with basics, then moved on to more complicated decorations. You can buy practice boards and use them. I still have to practice if I go a long time in between cakes.
You also need to make sure your icing is the right consistency. I use medium to medium thin for almost everything. Thin for piping small lines and writing, medium for shells and other decorations.