We're passionate about cakes and sugarcraft

Our 10 step guide to Stencilling

Stencils are not just for walls and are so versatile for cake decorating!  There are so many different designs to choose from and you can stencil with royal icing, buttercream, liquid or dust food colours.

Our favourite way to use stencils is to use edible dust onto a separate piece of paste and then add the finished stencilled design to the cake.


1. Mix your paste

Mix your paste - the paste we use is ‘½ and ½’ - that is the same quantity of flower paste to the same quantity of sugarpaste. This means that the paste can be rolled out much finer than sugarpaste can and will harden a little, but won’t be as hard and brittle as flower paste. When placed on a cake, the cake can still be cut easily through the stencilled design.

2. Roll out

Roll out – using a little cornflour, rollout your paste to the approximate size and shape of your stencil. The paste should be fairly fine, but thick enough to hold its shape when picked up. We prefer to rollout onto batcher’s wrap or thin cellophane paper – this allows us to roll out much finer and then move and work on the piece without risking it distorting. It is also useful for when drying the pieces into shapes.

3. Position your stencil

Position your stencil – when in position lightly roll the stencil onto the paste so that it stays in place and all the fine details of the stencil are lightly sticking to the paste. This will give your stencilled design nice crisp edges. Cut away any excess paste outside of the edge of the stencil and wrap so it can be reused.

4. Add colour to the design

Add colour to the design – using a small flat dusting brush, take a little bit of edible dusting powder into your brush and then tap it lightly onto kitchen roll. Using only a very small amount of dust on your brush, lightly dust the colour onto your stencil design.

5. Using multiple colours

Using multiple colours – start with the lightest colours first and add the darker colours last. Use as little dust as possible, so that excess dust doesn’t go into the parts of the stencil design used for other colours. For very dark colours or very small parts of the design, I use a slightly pointed brush to be as exact as possible.

6. Add some shimmer

Add some shimmer – if suitable for your design, after adding the colour you could dust the whole design over with an edible shimmer dust in white / cream / pale gold. This is lovely on Celtic or antique designs to give a nice depth to the colour.

7. Remove the stencil

Remove the stencil – blow away any excess dusting powder and then carefully remove the stencil, taking care to release any fine parts of the design that may have stuck as you don’t want to damage the stencil or your piece.

8. Cut out the design

Cut out the design – if the design is for a boarder or plaque, cut out the shape needed otherwise cut around your stencil design leaving a 2-3mm edge with a fine sharp knife or scalpel tool.

9. Steam (optional)

Steam (optional) – to seal in the colours or create a nice sheen, we would sometimes steam the piece with a cake steamer or over the spout of a boiling kettle for a few seconds. You really need your piece to be on butchers wrap for this, as it will make the paste tacky.

10. Position design

Position design – add the piece to your cake either whilst still soft, which is best for side designs or where it will wrap around an edge or corner. Or you can wait until the paste hardens and then there will be less distortion of the design when moving it to your cake. To add a bit of movement to your design, you could dry it in a shape or over curved surfaces.

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