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Game-changing royal icing transfers. How to really energize your sales.

Royal icing transfers are not something I started until well after they were popular. I was hooked the first time I used a transfer sheet to pipe the shapes. Now I can’t imagine not having this medium to fall back on when decorating sugar cookies.

You can use them to make professional sugar cookies for sure. 

If you are a buttercream cookie artist, you can still pipe royal icing transfers and then place them atop the cookie. You won't even need anything to adhere to it with. I offer you a free download of a simple and delicious crusting buttercream here: Best Buttercream Frosting

What you will experience on this page:

-What are they? (this section)

-Why you need them

-Problems you may encounter

-Adhering RI (royal icing) transfers to cookies

-News about my new shop

So what are royal icing transfers?

Royal icing transfers are images piped from a template, usually. You don’t have to use a royal icing template (sheet), but it helps to keep them the same size and take all the guesswork out of it. It goes much faster this way.

If you do not have transfer sheets, you could use a cookie projector if you have one.

Royal icing transfer sheets are used to pipe images on for access to quick decorating.

I usually like to use a #2 or #3 round piping tip. When I pipe circles or balloons (little to no detail), I use a #4 or #5 round tip. See 6 of the styles of tips you need when first starting to decorate here: Piping Tips for Cookies

Once you have piped however many you need on a sheet with either royal icing or glaze, let them air-dry for 24 hours to 4 days, depending on humidity where you live.

After I pipe them, I use my food dehydrator on them for an hour then let them dry for at least 24 hours. This, again, depends a lot on humidity (see an exhaustive list of royal icing tips and how to avoid icing catastrophes).

You don’t have to worry about them getting too dry. More is better with these puppies (or whatever shape you pipe, ha ha!)

Keep in mind if you are making a bunch to use here and there in the future, they will tend to glue themselves together by drawing in humidity if they are not sealed in a nice airtight container. Dollar stores carry a great array of stackable sizes. The best are with rubber, not plastic lids.

I have made a habit of piping loads of different shapes so they’ll be done when I need them. There are many decorating ideas with these. It’s unbelievable the amount of time these royal icing transfers save. It doesn’t take much time to pipe them on the royal icing transfer sheets/templates either. 

I find piping these are quite relaxing.

One kind of royal icing transfer is PYO cookie palettes for the PYO Cookies. Pipe whatever size circle on the templates, let them dry well, then either airbrush them...

Airbrushed royal icing dots, made using a royal icing transfer sheet(the royal icing was too think and turned out bumpy, but you get the idea)

A tip to follow is if you airbrush the dots, do not remove the dots before you airbrush or they will kind of blow around.

Another method to use royal icing transfers is using a food-grade paintbrush and painting them with gel food colors mixed with lemon juice or Ever Clear. No, you won't be able to taste the lemon and the alcohol evaporates quickly too.

Painted royal icing transfer dots for PYO cookie palettesLet the piped royal icing transfer dots dry well before painting them.

Royal icing transfers. This is why you need them.

As inferred above, you need to use them because of the time-saver they are.

The busier you get with sugar cookie orders (know how to price cookies here), the handier you’ll find them.

The template sheets come in many sizes.


You are booked. A customer says ‘But I just need a dozen (of your best and most delicious) sugar cookies, any theme/colors you want to do is fine, I just need them’. Your response?

‘Let me see if I can squeeze you in…

...okay, I can’. How can you do that when you are booked? Easy. First, always try to have a couple of dozen sugar cookies baked and in the freezer. Second, outline and flood them. Third, pop those royal icing images on those bad boys! Wow, that was easy and fast...and profitable, huh?!

The other reason you need to use royal icing transfer sheets is they allow you to make more money, like the scenario of the order I just gave.

Royal icing transfers of long dresses

Royal icing transfer sheets—problems you may encounter…

Piping the royal icing transfers is pretty much self-explanatory.

Let’s address some things to make sure they turn out beautiful.

Tip #1

Is your Icing (or glaze) quite stiff in the bag but relaxes and spreads out on the template?

The answer is that the royal icing has been mixed too much. Meringue powder (or egg whites) is the ‘glue’ for the icing to hold its shape and puffiness. The remedy is making sure to use freshly made royal icing with a soft toothpaste consistency.

*Note: I have heard you can add in more meringue powder and re-whip it. That makes sense. However, I have not tried it. When I do, I’ll update this page with the results.

UPDATE: I have officially remixed meringue powder to royal icing that has been frozen and/or overmixed. Sure enough, this works like a charm. I made flowers, which held their shapes beautifully.

Tip #2

If you are making extra transfers for the future that need the added touch of edible food color markers, like eyelashes or fine detail, do not add the detail until you place the transfers on the cookies. The marker colors will bleed and look terrible. So make sure to wait to add those features until you are placing them on that delicious cookie!

Tip #3

If you have piped several colors of the same design, say dresses, do not place them in the same air-tight container. They also will eventually fade one color into another. The key is humidity...that doggone culprit anyhow!

Royal icing transfers can be done with the wet-on-wet technique or allow each color to dry thoroughly before applying the next color like my unicorn shapes. These were done with wet-on-wet for a couple of months before using them. Again, do not add any food markers until ready to put them on the cookies.

Click on the unicorn cookie to buy this royal icing template sheet

Down arrow to buy the unicorn royal icing template
Royal icing unicorn transfer

I came across this site for free royalty-free images. It has thousands of clipart you can use:

Royal icing transfer sheets. Adhering piped image to the cookies.

Could it get any easier?

Simply take your royal icing in a bag and dot the back of the transfer shape. Slap that time-saving gem on the cookie, add a border, and you just worked yourself right into a knock-out masterpiece!

Make more knock-out masterpieces with all of these techniques to decorate sugar cookies.

Royal Icing Transfer Sheets. Welcome to my brand-new shop!

I’m excited to bring my own, WeCookier’s growing collection of royal icing transfer sheets to you, among tools for cookie artist, and supplies of all kinds. The shop is new, but I am adding products at least weekly.

To roll out the WeCookier’s shop, I have started with instant download royal icing transfer sheets. Being inexpensive, these will help to catapult your sugar cooking decorating to new heights as they save you loads of time during that process.

Each template adds up the lines to tell you how many you have piped. This way you won’t have to keep recounting.

See the shop here: Shop WeCookier's Gotta-havs!

I’m a little old school, meaning I like tangible products too. Digital is great, but if I’m low on ink to copy something off, I like the idea that I can order through the mail and receive it in the physical world. That’s why I also will be offering the royal icing transfer sheets in that way.

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