I have been asked on my Facebook Page recently if I do tutorials. Easy answer, no. Why, well because somehow I seem to make the simplest things WAY more complicated for me than any other person would. My husband would say that is because I don't "read" directions and just look at pictures. Well, that is true and that is also how I tend to express myself. But I am going to give it a shot!
I thought a video showing how I piped, may be the best way for all of you to see how I do it. Well, turns out making a simple video, for me of course, is getting way more complicated than need be. But here it is. Please do look at it with forgiving eyes, its very amature.
Below I have listed a few tips and tricks that work for me. I can't pipe and talk at the same time, so study up and then watch. ;)
Tips that work for me:
1. Consistency of icing:
You know the saying... "Consistency is the key!" Well that certainly is the case with piping lettering. Too thin and your letters will slowly blend together. Too thick and it won't come out of the icing tip smoothy. That is when you get curling and bending.
I typically use a thicker icing that will eventually settle on its own within approximately 20 second. I haven't really timed it perfectly but thats a good average.
2. Icing tips:
Last year I discovered the PME tips. They are very similar to the Wilton's except for two very distinct reasons. They are stainless and are seamless. It is the lack of this seam that I feel helps so much with piping lettering or frankly any smaller piping.
I usually use a PME Tip #1 or a #1.5 for most of my lettering. I have never been able to get a #0 to work and don't even show me a #00- I may hit you. The Barefoot Baker has a fantastic post on how to strain icing in order to get your 0 to work. But remember what I said about me + simplest things?
These tips can be found at Karen's Cookies
3. Boo boo stick/ scribe tool:
Whether it is a boo boo stick, toothpick or a scribe tool, I have found this to be an important part of piping lettering. Sometimes the #1 is not small enough and I use the stick to pull/spread the icing to fine thin tapered point. Or if my icing is not settling into a smooth finish, I use my scribe to blend it. That is what you see me doing in the video.
I love my scribe tool. One can be found here on SweetAmbs website store.
4. PULL vs PUSH:
The icing tip that is. Make sure your icing tip is leading the way. Your icing line will be much cleaner if you icing falls behind your tip. Eventually, after some practice you may find that if your wrist finds it more natural to pull the icing towards yourself. If that makes sense. For me, this comes from drawing. It is so much easier to draw a smooth circle if you pull your pencil towards you rather than away. Go ahead give it a try!
When piping letters, look for a starting point where I can pull a line from top to bottom. This may mean I am stopping during one letter and switching the angle of my hand to continue to get a smooth line. An example of this is how I piped the large letter "L" in my video. When I got towards the bottom, I stopped for 2 reasons.
1. I felt i could get a better feel from a different angle and
2. I wanted to thicken the rest of the letter before I did #1.
5. When to squeeze and when not to squeeze:
In the video you can see me doubling my lines on the letter "L" but for the rest of the name I just squeezed a little harder on the icing bag and kept my tip lower on the cookie and slowed down. That way I get a nice thicker line. Then to get the thin line, I barely let the icing fall out of the tip. The name in the tutorial is a pretty large font but in other smaller font cookies such as this one...
I just use a tip #1 and barely let the icing fall from the tip. In this case the icing can be a little thicker since it doesn't have to blend to make thicker letter. These cookies are just over 3 1/4"
*I really hope this is making sense- because it certainly feel like I am babbling....
6. Low and Slow, Low and Slow... ok sometimes a little high:
I guess I covered the low and slow in #5. However there are sometimes, I like to lift the icing tip high off the cookie. Usually when I am doing I curvy line or letter. For instance, above, I would have started at the top of the "C" and once I did the little curly cue, I would raise the tip to get the icing to just fall down and around the curve.
And last but not least...
7. GET A KOPY KAKE PROJECTOR!!
I put off getting one for the longest time. Some of which is cost, some of which was getting over the feeling that using one was NOT "cheating."
I purchased mine from Jerry's Artarama
*I really hope some of these tips helped and that this post didn't sound like a rambling fool.
Please comment down below and let me know if you would like to know more.
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Ali Bee's Bake Shop Tutorial on Piping Writing: