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Top 5 tools or equipment for new decorators?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

So I was wondering what tools you would recommend that a new decorator has in their kit? What can you absolutely not do without and if you could only have 5 things what would be on your list? X
post #2 of 32
Wilton 789 cake icing tip, spatula, turntable, couplers, bake even strips.
post #3 of 32
Just 5 is hard, I feel like I have so many icon_biggrin.gif
I love my fondant rolling pins, gumpaste tools (ball tool, etc) I have the Wilton kit. Turntable, angled spatulas, ribbon cutter, edible glitter dusts, clay extruder, various cutters for flowers, shapes,etc.

There's tons of simple things too that I use all the time like toothpicks and lollipop sticks, paring knives, viva paper towels etc.

Sorry I know that's way more than five. I recommend you start with what you feel you'll use the most, there's a lot of stuff out there and it can add up quickly. Maybe figure out what types of cakes you will be starting with and go from there. I started with just buttercream cakes and only bought tools for those initially, then added other stuff later. I also try to improvise with what I find around my house as much as I can.
post #4 of 32
I'm going to tackle this one with the assumption that you already have a few basic kitchen tools, like I did when I started decorating cakes. You probably already have a spatula, whisk, rolling pin, etc. so this is what I would go with:

* Cake Leveler
* Cake Turntable
* Basic Fondant toolkit (Wilton makes one available at Michaels, Hobby Lobby etc)
* A nice, big canvas piping bag (I think they're a lot easier to work with than the plastic ones)
* A set of tips

Thats what I would start with. Then you can just buy a tool every now and then as you need it and build your arsenal!
post #5 of 32
I end up buying new stuff based on the design of each new cake I decide to make. icon_smile.gif (This is especially true of cake pans...seems like every time I design a cake I need *some* shape or size I don't already have.) I'm sure it's different if you're starting a business, but if you're getting into this as a hobby it's a pretty reasonable approach!

I started with almost no special tools -- just basic kitchen items like a serrated knife for carving/leveling/trimming -- and I decorated some very fun cakes with just a shortish icing spatula and a sandwich bag with a hole snipped in the corner for piping. icon_smile.gif Of course those cakes were amateurish but they were cute and the people I served them to thought they were awesome.

Then I decided to get a few nicer tools, like a long offset icing spatula and a basic set of tips, couplers & disposable bags (normally I hate disposable products but piping bags are too hard to wash, it's just not worth it), and a turntable. I use those now on every cake, so I would include them in the top 5 for sure. I finally just got a bench scraper and I don't know what took me so long -- that belongs on the list. If I can count all the piping stuff as one item, that's four, and for #5 I'd probably go with my itty bitty offset spatula that gets nicely into the tight spaces.

After messing around with fondant a time or two I got a fondant smoother and a set of Fimo clay modeling tools (smaller and cheaper than the Wilton basic gumpaste/fondant tool set) which have come in handy. (I already owned a nice rolling pin so I'm not counting that.) But you certainly don't need those things if you're not going to work with fondant. I bought things like food coloring stamps, mini shape cutters, fondant embossing tools and so on when I had a cake design that called for them. My mom gave me a bunch of kind of random decorating stuff one year for Christmas, too, and some of it's been fun to have but hardly critical starting tools.

But you know, I think a lot of what really makes a difference is the "consumable" supplies that "real" decorators know to use: Cardboard rounds, parchment paper, Viva paper towels, dowels or straws for stacked cakes, gel food colorings, luster dusts, and so on. Those aren't tools per se, but they're more important than, say, gumpaste molds or five different sizes of star tip.

post #6 of 32
- a good turntable.
- a large knife (for leveling .... I had a big beef carving knife that had a 14" blade)
- multiple sizes of baking strips
- GOOD pans (I recommend Magic Line)
- A Melvira roller
- bench scraper

My line of thought on these specific items is to get a good base cake. the pans and baking strips bake a nice cake; the large knife gives you an even and level cake; the turntable enables the icing to be put on efficiently and evenly; the roller and scraper help make the icing super smooth.

WIth a good base cake, the decorating part is (as we say in the trade) "a piece of cake"! thumbs_up.gif
post #7 of 32
Everyone else has pretty much covered the basics...but two things I couldn't do without are my Agbay cake leveler (expensive, but worth every penny) and my KitchenAid stand mixer.
post #8 of 32
I think it depends...are you planning to work with just buttercream, buttercream & fondant or ganache & fondant...are you planning to make flowers?...model figurines? or a bit of everything? The tools I'd recommend for someone wanting to work with ganache and fondant would be slightly different to those you'd want if you only plan to work in buttercream.

Having said that everyone needs a good turntable. (If you already have a good, strong, LEVEL lazy susan then that would do), a couple sizes of spatulas (cranked is good) and a good scraper (minimum 4" wide)

The thing I use most of all are my modelling tools...if modelling people/animals etc is your thing then definitely get a set of good basic modelling tools.

I'd skip on the can do the same job with a long knife, using your cake tins as cutting guides if necessary. (And the cheaper levellers are all junk anyway)
post #9 of 32 set spatula
2. turn table
3. a long serrate knife for leveling
4. really good pans, start off with 8 inch rounds, magic line. You can add other shapes and sizes as you need them.
5 a good stand mixer- there are several really good brands.
post #10 of 32
I'm trying to think of the things I use most often:
bench scraper
gumpaste tools
exacto knife
Oh the time I have wasted trying to come up with pithy signature lines!
Oh the time I have wasted trying to come up with pithy signature lines!
post #11 of 32
I think everyone is saying about the same thing..

Good pans
bench scraper
offset spatula
I love my Kitchen Aid!

I have the Wilton turntable and find it a little small and sometimes is drags and doesn't turn smoothly - any recommendations?
post #12 of 32
With so much discussion on turntables, I thought I'd share pics of what I have. There is definitely no name brand anything involved. Basically just two pieces of word on a lazy susan mechanism. Details about it are in the pic caption on the link(s):

Pic of turntable:

Pic of underside of turntable to show the construction:
post #13 of 32
I think it really depends upon what type of cakes you are creating. In my case -

1. Cake Pans - 1/4 sheet, 1/2 sheet, 6"/9"/12" round
2. A spatula (maybe a nice large one and a small one)
3. A decent knife for sculpting
4. Dowels, PVC, wiring, smoke machines, kitchen sink, - hahahaha just kidding - well kinda.
5. That little Wilton's tool kit with all the cutesy multicolored handles (very handy). That's about it!

I usually purchase other little things for each project, but with the stuff above you can create just about everything I have created. Take care - Cakesmith
post #14 of 32
a must-add to cakemaking basics is Dawn dishwashing detergent. nothing gets rid of the butter, shortening, etc

"My Friend Who Bakes"
custom cakes & desserts
"My Friend Who Bakes"
custom cakes & desserts
post #15 of 32
VIva papertowels for smoothing buttercream
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