Many wedding cakes, and birthday cakes have butterflies on them that are cloth, or plastic. This step-by-step guide will show you how to make delicate, realistic beautiful butterflies that can be edible, or not to garnish any cake.

Butterflies take a few days to make because of all the drying necessary between each step, so its a good idea to make a lot of butterflies at one time, and save them for later.

In this exampe I have used Vellum non-edible paper

Realistic Butterflies for your cake

View our butterfly cake gallery or upload your own butterfly cake

Items Needed:

    • White THIN
      wafer/rice paper
      (This is sometimes difficult to come by, so if the butterfly
      does not need to be “Edible” you can use thin Vellum paper
      from your local paper store
      make sure it is not colored and non-toxic)
    • Non-Toxic Coloring Pens, or edible ink from your edible  printer
    • Clear piping Gel
    • Luster Dust or Sparkly Petal Dust
    • Black Stamens (optional)


    • A small amount of Royal Icing or 2 in. Ball of black colored fondant
    • Small pastry or art brush


  • Scissors
  • Tissue or Flower Formers


Click Here to Go to Printable images of Butterflies
1. Print an Image of butterflies
on from your printer onto regular printer paper. (if you are using Vellum,
Print directly onto with your edible ink and skip to step 3)
2. Place a sheet of
rice/wafer paper onto your printed image, and using your coloring pens,
trace the image. Wait to dry, then flip over and do the same thing on
the reverse rough side and let dry again.(Drying time may take up to
24 hours)TIP: If you notice that your colors look dull and faded after drying….
don’t worry! Adding the piping gell in the next step refreshes the
3. Spread clear piping gel over over
your butterflies. Piping gel should be spread on as smoothly as possible.
There will be some smearing. Let dry until butterflies become tacky but
not complete dry, otherwise they will be too brittle. Drying time is
usually 12 – 36 hours
OPTIONAL: Before drying, sprinkle fine edible glitter,
or sparkly petal dust on the wings for that extra sparkle. (I have
done this in the example images)

4. Repeat Step 3 on the reverse side,
also allow for drying time.

5. Cut out the entire
6. Place your cutout
butterfly onto a square of parchment paper.
Using black royal icing, I used tip 3, create the body and head.
If Using black Fondant, roll a small amount into the size of the
body you want.(Some
like to cut the wings and insert them one at a time. I prefer
to leave the wings connected and draw the icing through the center. Because
I could never get the wings to stay straight if I cut them)
OPTIONAL: Add the antennae by inserting the
2 flower stamens.7. Some like to prop up the wings using
tissue or paper towels. I prefer to Place the parchemt square with my
butterfly on it, into my Wilton™ Flower Formers. I use a smaller
flower forme if I want the wings closer together, and larger for wings
that I want more spread apart.

STORAGE: To store your butterflies,
simply keep them in any air-tight container or ziploc bag.
The butterflies should not be kept anywhere
moist, like the refrigerator or freezer.They can be stored with silica
gel or other moisture absorbers in an airtight container. Moisture will
make the butterfly wings warp and curl.

Here are some butterflies you can print
out for this method:
click to enlarge images


icingimages Says... 2 Jun 2012 , 6:00am

Here is a different technique using the same technique holtsesl was talking about.

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