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Cookie Stenciling Questions and Tutorial

Cookie stenciling involves these different methods of stenciling:

-airbrushing with stencils

-scraping with stencils

-cookie stenciling with royal icing using a plastic stencil

-silk screen cookie decorating with a silkscreen stencil

Cookie Stenciling: the wow factor

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.

Cookie Stenciling with royal icing: using acetate/plastic stencils

Using acetate or plastic stencils with royal icing picture

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 plastic 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 and do a search for 'stencil scraper'.

The best stencil scraper, hands down, is from the Cookie Countess!Comes in a 3-pack, and inexpensive

-stencil holder or magnets

-palette knife/scraper/rubber spatula

*Some people prefer a palette knife, however, I find a flexible spatula the best tool.

Consistency with the royal icing will be your friend or foe. If you have that right, they will turn out perfect. Be sure to get this download every professional cookier needs: Royal Icing Tips. Hey, while I'm speaking of tips, here is my page on piping tips that might come in handy: Piping Tips for Cookies

This video shows the cookie decorating technique of 'scraping'.

*The haiku on the cookie at the end is written with my favorite edible markers. This page compares 7 brands: Food Color Markers


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 included!)

Learn the art of stenciling on a cookie using royal icing.

I'm grateful for all the shares and likes. If you found this page helpful, please consider paying it forward. This allows me to continue giving you free information, tutorials, and tips. THANK YOU!!!

Cookie Stenciling: helpful tips

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 30 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.

Cookies with dried royal icing ready to heat-seal in bags.Dried royal icing on the cookies before packing
These cookies are heat-sealed in bags ready to stack and bubble wrap.Heat-sealed cookies ready to bubble wrap
This image shows the same cookies bubble-wrapped and ready to ship.Bubble-wrapped cookies ready to ship

*I'll make a step-by-step video and write a dedicated page for packing and shipping cookies as soon as possible.

In closing...

...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!