Basic Cookie Decorating Instructions


  • Twelve-inch disposable frosting bags
  • Scissors
  • Food coloring*
  • Couplers

  • Decorating tips, numbers 2 through 5
  • Rubber bands
  • Food coloring
  • Toothpicks

*For food coloring, Americolor soft gel pastes are recommended. Find information on buying at their web site, You may also substitute concentrated pastes, available from most major craft stores. Find all of the other tools in any cake decorating supply store or major craft store.

    Assemble your frosting bag: 

    Snip 1/2 inch from the tip of a disposable decorating bag. Unscrew the ring from a coupler and insert the coupler into the decorating bag with the small end towards the tip (the coupler should fit fully inside the bag). Hold a decorating tip over the cut end of the bag onto the coupler and screw the ring back on the coupler over the decorating tip. Fill bag with frosting about halfway full, and tie closed tightly with a rubber band.

    Pipe your frosting: 

    To pipe a design on a cookie, hold the bag with your dominant hand as you would a pen at an angle above the cookie. Squeeze with your dominant hand and hold your other hand over your dominant hand for support. With consistent pressure, outline your design, let the frosting set about 15 minutes, and pipe frosting back and forth in a continuous zig zag motion to completely fill the cookie. Let sit overnight uncovered at room temperature until dry enough to handle and package cookies. Use toothpicks to unclog tips as necessary.

    Tips: Practice decorating first on a piece of wax or parchment paper. If you make a mistake on your cookie, simply scrape and start again.

    Flooding with frosting: 

    To “flood” with frosting, pipe an outline on your cookie with frosting as instructed above. Let set well, about 15 minutes. Spoon some frosting in a bowl and thin with water, several drops at a time, stirring until the frosting is the consistency of thick glue. With a small spoon, pour thinned frosting onto center of cookie and let spread to the piped outline, encouraging the icing with the back of the spoon as necessary. Let set well, about an hour or more, before adding decoration on top. Let dry uncovered overnight at room temperature before packaging cookies.

Also, see 8 Decorated Christmas Cookies.

Recipes and photos by Meaghan Mountford, author of Cookie Sensations and editor of Craft Gossip.

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