My Borders Suck!

Decorating By steffy8 Updated 15 Aug 2006 , 2:13pm by frosting111

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steffy8 Posted 13 Aug 2006 , 2:26am
post #1 of 25

I'm tired of always using shell border but have difficulty with other borders. I love the rope border and reverse shell but when I try them they always look funny. Any tips or advice???

24 replies
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TheCakerator Posted 13 Aug 2006 , 2:34am
post #2 of 25

all i can say is i know what you mean! every one of my cakes have the shell border cause i cant do anything else! its frustrating to not be able to do what seems to be the easiest things in the world for everyone else! I would appreciate any advices on this too!

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Gingoodies Posted 13 Aug 2006 , 2:38am
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Make up a batch of practice icing and do just that PRACTICE !! Use an upturned cake pan to practice on.. this way you can scrape the icing off and re-use it. This is the way I was taught many many years ago. LOL This is the way we practiced in class then too.. No baking and frosting cakes and taking them to class. Good Luck!

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Cake4ever Posted 13 Aug 2006 , 2:45am
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Yes, practice is the answer. The decorator board that you can buy from Wiltons that has the guide under the plastic sheet is the easiest and best way to learn how to do the borders.

I recommend a large sheet cake board covered in foil. That way you can keep practicing in a long row as you would on a sheet cake or you can cover a round also if you want to practice for a round cake. Just use a rubber spatula to scrape up icing and re-use.

I've been practicing because I'm in course II. I laugh at myself while doing the reverse shell because I always do it the wrong direction. LOL. I need more practice or something to say to myself to keep them going the opposite direction.

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KylesMom Posted 13 Aug 2006 , 2:53am
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My instructor explained that the reverse shell was like piping a series of C's. This made no sense to me. I had to imagine them as exaggerated question marks. That worked like magic for me. As for the other borders I just had to practice, practice, practice. Good luck.

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BlakesCakes Posted 13 Aug 2006 , 3:18am
post #6 of 25

I'm left-handed and that's another adjustment that gets interesting when watching/learning from righties!

I'm fortunate enough to have taken classes at Wilton in Chicago and borders were strongly emphasized in the Master's & Cakes for Catering. They use formica covered pieces of shelving, about 18x18--you can get these at Home Depot in the pre-fab shelving/closet area. We kept scraping icing off and re-using it. To get the hang of piping on the edge and sides of the cake, we propped the board up vertically (they actually had custom made easels from 2x6s). It's a great way to practice for long stretches of time.

I strongly suggest getting the practice board set and the I,II,& III course books (they have them for about $4.50 each at Michael's & Joann's here). The photos in the books are larger and in color and you can xerox them.

They will get better with practice.
Enjoy!
Rae

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DelightsByE Posted 13 Aug 2006 , 3:22am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steffy8

I'm tired of always using shell border but have difficulty with other borders. I love the rope border and reverse shell but when I try them they always look funny. Any tips or advice???





my borders sucked for a long time too, and they still do sometimes, the only thing that helped me is lots and lots of practice. Get a wipe-off practice board and just spend an afternoon working on them. You will improve with time! I promise!

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sdanczak Posted 13 Aug 2006 , 6:14am
post #8 of 25

The practice boards are GREAT. If time goes by and I haven't done one of those borders, I will get my practice board out and do just that, practice before I put them on my cake. Once it clicks, you get in a groove and the directions of the reverse shell and rope borders come almost natural. Keep up the practice and good luck!

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kjgjam22 Posted 13 Aug 2006 , 4:53pm
post #9 of 25

everything in baking takes lots of practice. play around with different tips and use the same technique for the shell and see what you get. i dont play around enough. icon_smile.gif but just play.

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candyladyhelen Posted 13 Aug 2006 , 5:21pm
post #10 of 25

Everyone is right....practice is the only way to get better in cake decorating.

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LittleLinda Posted 13 Aug 2006 , 8:36pm
post #11 of 25

I do different borders, but mostly shells. To dress them up, I put dots or stars of each color I use in the cake at the narrow end of each shell. Here's one from my photos:

http://www.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=coppermine&file=displayimage&pos=-57688

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notjustcake Posted 13 Aug 2006 , 9:02pm
post #12 of 25

Hey at least you can do a shell border!!! I can't !!!!!, but I do believe if I that if I keep trying they will get better I enjoyed making the rope border on the basketweave
LL

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nenufares Posted 13 Aug 2006 , 9:11pm
post #13 of 25

I agree with everyone..... practice ... practice... practice..... The more cakes you make the better you get.

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texaskitty Posted 13 Aug 2006 , 11:03pm
post #14 of 25

I learned the rope border pretty quickly, but I have just mastered the shell border after several practice cakes. My next border to learn is the reverse shell. I think those are beautiful.

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LittleLinda Posted 14 Aug 2006 , 1:23am
post #15 of 25

I think the reverse shell is easy and works up fast. I do it all in one motion, I don't break each shell off at the ends.

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steffy8 Posted 14 Aug 2006 , 2:33am
post #16 of 25

Thanks all, I took my first and only Wilton class in 1991!!!! Guess I've forgotten everything I learned (which, back then,,wasn't near as much as if I took one today). Just found pics of cakes from back then (before digital cameras). I'll have to post if ya'll promise not to laugh too hard!! icon_biggrin.gif icon_redface.gif icon_redface.gif

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notjustcake Posted 14 Aug 2006 , 2:56am
post #17 of 25

I am new too and I haven't had anyone laugh at anyones cakes

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DiscoLady Posted 14 Aug 2006 , 3:34am
post #18 of 25

I feel your pain ...I too used to suffer from shell-shock icon_rolleyes.gif , but I was determined to try new borders and like veryone else says you just need to practice. Good luck thumbs_up.gif

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Fascination Posted 14 Aug 2006 , 4:09am
post #19 of 25

Hello
Funny.. I had the most difficult time learning to make shell borders, so I tried all kinds of other things..
so in addition to the advice already given, try the following and see if it works for you as well as it has for me:
1) use tip 102, or 103 & do ruffles for the border
I usually do two, one with the larger tip, on the bottom, touching the board, & a smaller one on top, touching the side of the cake & overlapping the larger ruffle; some times I do them in different colors to compliment the colors for the rest of the cake. For an added touch, I put dots on the edge of the smaller ruffle. (the beauty of ruffles is that if they are not exact it does not matter, they still look good)
2) Use tip 133, (the grass tip), you can make some interesting designs just by varying the amount of icing you squeeze out & how far you pull .
3) Use tip 66,67 (leaf tip), & pipe leaf shapes either starting at the edge of the cake & pulled out away from the cake, or pull the leaf sideways along the base of the cake so you have overlapping leaves. This too you can do two layers for effect & depth.
I found the rope the easiest to master; just pipe out an S; then place your tip inside the bottom loop and pipe another S. (this can look really great if you alternate colors; a bit time consuming, but worth the effort)
I hope this helps.
ciao

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DiscoLady Posted 14 Aug 2006 , 7:53pm
post #20 of 25

Steffy8, I just remembered that I have a a folder filled with ideas for alternative cake borders, that I have found thruout the internet. I put them in a Yahoo photo album but I can only send them to you via "invitation" thru email. If you'll PM me your email address I'd be happy to share it with you.
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Monica0271 Posted 14 Aug 2006 , 8:10pm
post #21 of 25

I am laughing icon_lol.gif icon_lol.gif icon_cry.gif icon_lol.gif icon_lol.gif so hard at this cause I can NOT do a shell border either. Look at my latest pic. That no shell border there thumbsdown.gif icon_lol.gif

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steffy8 Posted 15 Aug 2006 , 2:01am
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Monica0271

I am laughing icon_lol.gif icon_lol.gif icon_cry.gif icon_lol.gif icon_lol.gif so hard at this cause I can NOT do a shell border either. Look at my latest pic. That no shell border there thumbsdown.gif icon_lol.gif




There is nothing wrong with that shell and your ruffle border is beautiful.


THANKS Fascination and discolady for those tips!!! I never thought about those different borders. I love this site thumbs_up.gif

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birdgirl Posted 15 Aug 2006 , 1:27pm
post #23 of 25

I like to do a simple bead boarder. I use the #12 tip and pipe beads around the cake. I did my finger in cornstarch and lightly push the tip down to round out the bead. Easy! The shell border takes practice, but you will get it!

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mkerton Posted 15 Aug 2006 , 1:36pm
post #24 of 25

I personally think the reverse shell is easier...I dont think the imperfections show up as much.

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frosting111 Posted 15 Aug 2006 , 2:13pm
post #25 of 25

I always teach my students via using cookie sheets and practice icing first and for swags,drop strings and ruffled borders I teach them again on a turned over Tube Cake pan,cause it mimics the actual side of a baked cake, this way you can practice, wipe the icing off with a rubber spatula and do it again and again. Reverse shells seem to be the hardest to learn for them. I had one lady elongate her reverse shells till she got the hang of the motion and then shorten them to regular size, she got promoted at work and a dollar raise as a result of doing that and improved her hand writing on the cakes as well!.....The only way to perfect anything in cake decorating is practice, I preach this over and over to my students, not something you want to hear when taking a class thinking cause it looks simple it is, come to find out its not, and too some want instant gratification as well...I have very few and far in between students that catch on fast...it all goes back to practice and how bad you want to learn a certain technique..the main thing is to not give up.

I also stress laying out your plans and practicing your fonts and letter sizes on the bottom of the pans you baked your cake in, before actually writing on the real cake, this way it will give you the advantage of placement,best viewing angles and not running out of room on the cake with your letters once you do write on it.

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