As cake art continues to grow more complex, detail work becomes more important than ever. But finding new ideas for detail work doesn't have to be a chore.

Carol Bova from Designer Stencils shows that you can stencil 3-D designs with little more than royal icing, stencils and a spreader. You just need to take note of a few important tips.


  • If you want to stencil royal icing on buttercream, be sure to let the buttercream harden, such as by freezing it.
  • When you're ready to stencil, simply place a dollop of royal icing on the stencil.
  • Use a styrene spatula to spread it over the stencil, just as you would use spackle.
  • If you don't have a spatula, a plastic hotel room key also works.
  • Be careful not to press too hard, or the hardened buttercream will crack.
  • Once you're ready to lift the stencil, hold it down with one finger and gently peel it off.
  • For stenciling the side of a round cake, you can use a dressmaker's pin to hold it down; clipping it around the side with springy pre-wrap (for ace bandage) also works. Or, you can just get help from an extra set of hands.

An easy way to use up your leftover royal icing is to stencil a 3-D harlequin pattern. Place the stencil on parchment paper and load up the royal icing on the stencil as thick as you can - the thicker the better. After you peel off the stencil, shake off the excess in order to get rid of any puckering. Let it sit to dry for 24 hours, and you have a quick 3-D piece to add to any design.

However you use royal icing to stencil, the possibilities are endless. Stenciling royal icing can give your designs an artistic, textured look quickly and easily. You can also use it on cookies, such as for decorated egg-shaped cookies for quick and easy Easter merchandising. Combine stenciled paint with stenciled royal icing for added color, texture and depth for the spring and Easter season.