Cookie stenciling involves these different methods of stenciling:
-airbrushing with stencils
-cookie stenciling with royal icing using a plastic stencil
-silk screen cookie decorating with a silkscreen stencil
Skip to the next section to dig right into cookie stenciling with acetate sheets.
Airbrushing on cookies is so easy to do. I have a more extensive page on airbrushing cookies here. You’ll want to click that link as there are a lot of short video tutorials I made for you (this page will open in a new tab so you don’t lose your place).
For the sake of this page though, I’ve added a different airbrushing video tutorial here:
If you would like to have a mermaid scale stencil, here is free (personal use) art to make your own: Mermaid Scales.
If you are a beginner, know that the hardest part of either kind of stenciling is simply diving into it!
Let’s get started on how to make professional cookies with royal icing stenciling, using acetate sheets (plastic) shall we?
-cookie--the perfect go-to sugar cookie recipe, thick and soft. Did I see FREE download?
-royal icing--delicious and perfect royal icing recipe. This is also a FREE download!
-glaze icing--for those who can't use royal icing or simply prefer a glaze--get this wonderful FREE download too.
-plastic stencil scraper-- the ones I used in the video are from Country Kitchen Sweetart
*Update: when I compiled this video, I used a different scraper. I now prefer, hands down, the plaster scrapers from the Cookie Countess. These have the PERFECT flexibility. As other cookiers have said, "They are a game changer". You can't beat the price on these for something that works so well either. They come in a 3 pack too for only $5 before shipping (at the time of writing this).
If you are interested, go to The Cookie Countess.com and search her bar for 'stencil scraper'.
-stencil holder or magnets
-palette knife/scraper/rubber spatula
*Some people prefer a palette knife, however, I find a flexible spatula the best tool.
The royal icing should be the consistency for piping flowers, so slightly stiff, like toothpaste. Too runny and it will run under the stencil. Too stiff and it won’t spread very well and the scraping motion will force it also under the stencil.
Place your stencil on the cookie, holding it firm with magnets or a stencil holder (as shown in the video).
If you have the icing in a bag, pipe a generous amount on it. If you are using a palette knife, scoop it on. Start ‘scraping’ it off. You have scraped enough when the lines of the stencil appear.
Carefully lift the stencil off.
There is no end to sugar cookie decorating ideas that will blow your customers' minds. This method is just one and is so impressive. You just want to look at it. So will your customers. It will establish you as a professional if nothing else does.
PYO cookies most often use the cookie-stenciling method. (If you click on the PYO cookies link, make sure to check out the PYO Cookie Palettes page for super ideas on how to make your own palettes...video included!)
Here are some helpful tips to remember when stenciling with royal icing or glaze on sugar cookies:
-use medium-consistency royal icing. If you think about the
consistency of buttercream (free download) then you are spot on! I heard one lady say the consistency of mashed potatoes.
-use a flexible spatula for the best results
-peel the stencil off instead of lifting it straight up
Question: How long should you let the royal icing or glaze flood dry before doing a stencil application?
That depends if you are using a dehydrator to crust the flood. If I am using a food dehydrator, I put the flooded sugar cookies on a rack with a Teflon sheet and set it on low for 45 minutes. When the time is up, I like to let them air dry for no less than 8 hours. Typically though, I time my orders so they can set out overnight before I stencil them. If I do not use a dehydrator, certainly I let them set overnight. This may depend on the royal icing recipe. If you use the one on this site, then this is the timing I would use.
Don't worry, the cookies are so full of butter coupled with the royal icing or glaze covering them, they will stay nice and soft!
*Please note: My royal icing is a soft-bite recipe. It means it does not get so hard it's crunchy when it dries. It's a creaminess that works with the cookie. My recipe allows the cookies to be stacked and shipped with proper drying time.
*I'll make a step-by-step video and write a dedicated page for packing and shipping cookies as soon as possible.
...what are silkscreen stencils?
Instead of having an acetate/plastic stencil with a square of silkscreen material over that, this special stencil is all one piece. If you make your stencils, this means you don’t have to worry about editing images like the a’s, b’s, or any enclosed area.
Click here to go to Silkscreen Cookie Decorating to learn another form of cookie stenciling.
What should you charge for sugar cookies? Find out here!
What stage of cookie-ing are you in? Just beginning? Let us know in the comment box here. We are always here to help you! If you have questions, feel free to pop them in the box also.