Hey Besties! We had such an amazing response to our gnome royal icing transfer sheets earlier this season, I wanted to share the final product! Now, there are endless options of how you can use royal icing transfers, and this is just one simple, yet adorable way to create holiday gnome cookies. I’ve been lucky to see all kinds of creative ways you all have been using these, which is so fun! And that is always my intention…to give you these free resources to help you create amazing treats. Let’s look at how I used these and also cover some of my best tips for making royal icing transfers!
Royal Icing Transfers 101
If royal icing transfer are new to you, no worries I’ll get you up to speed and making transfers in no time! And if you’re a veteran transfer-maker, you may even find a golden nugget or tip here too! Either way, I’m sharing my best advice for everyone to make beautiful design elements to add to your cookies, or other treats!
If you’re in the first camp and are brand new to royal icing transfers, THIS tutorial will help greatly. This covers all the basics and will get you up and going! Cookiers of all skill levels use and make transfers for all different design elements in their work. But they can be especially helpful for newer decorators for a variety of reasons. First, it’s one of the best ways to spend time learning consistencies for piping and details. It’s also a low-pressure way to make design elements without risking ruining a cookie. Make as many or as few transfers as you’d like, no projector needed, and use your favorite ones to add to your cookies or save for future cookies! They basically last forever when stored at room temp!
I know it can be helpful to see the step-by-step process of decorating, so I did capture that for you in the process of making some of these transfers. Believe me, I remember order of operations being overwhelming in the beginning. But after more practice, you’ll be able to look at a cookie and dissect how they were made.
You can see how these were created with each step, letting them crust in between and then ultimately letting them fully dry overnight. I do use a dehydrator to speed up the crusting/drying process for all my royal icing, so there’s really only about 5 minutes in between each step here. During those times, I’m working on other transfers, so there’s never any time wasted! Next, let’s look at how I used these transfers and then all my best tips for transfer success!
Holiday Gnome Cookies
One of the things I appreciate about royal icing transfers is the versatility it brings to how we make cookies. We can make transfers as a part of a specific cookie set, or we can make transfers months ahead of time and add them to simply flooded cookies to create something unique with minimal effort! Which is basically what we did here. We always keep flooded cookies available in our freezer in a variety of common shapes so we can quickly pull them out and use them for sets any time. So, all I did was thaw some flooded cookies and created these designs, adding the transfers to the cookies with tiny dabs of royal icing as glue.
Then I added some cute wording, and it’s a complete set with a simple, fun theme! Having transfers already made allows us to whip up beautifully decorated cookie sets on short notice any time and I love that. Sometimes we get customer requests that we can fill on short notice with hardly any effort! Or sometimes I decide a friend or family member could use some cookies and it’s basically just a matter of assembling and packaging since the decorating is already done!
Royal Icing Transfer Tips!
So here’s the deal…making royal transfers is very simple, however, there are several tips and tricks that make them easier and more successful to create and use! I also receive a lot of questions about transfers, so I’ll include those tips here as well.
- What consistency is best for make royal icing transfers? You want to use a thicker consistency when making transfers for several reasons. First, thicker icing is going to make the transfer much more sturdy and less prone to breaking. I use a consistency that globs into the bowl off of the spoon with little to no ribboning off of it. It requires light scribing once I pipe it to perfect the icing. It’s pretty thick!
- What surface is best to make transfers on? I make all my transfers on sheet protectors which allow your transfers to dry in under 24 hours with perfectly flat backs that will sit flush on a flat cookie. Parchment and wax paper will curl from the moisture. And cookies who use thicker acetate or laminated sheets can struggle with dry times. If you’re going to use acetate or laminate the sheets, choose the thinnest weight available. THESE are the sheet protectors I use, which are made from Polypropylene, which is a food safe material. Then get wiped clean in-between uses as well. TIP: Companies don’t always use their marketing dollars to promote products as food safe if they aren’t marketing to a demographic that is using their product for food-contacting purposes. I always encourage bakers to familiarize yourself with the most common food-safe materials so you can make informed decisions about the products you use.
- Can sheet protectors go in the dehydrator to speed up drying? Yes, as long as you are using a food-safe material. When using a dehydrator for cookie decorating, it is used on the lowest temp (mine is 95) so contents hardly even get warm to the touch.
- What royal icing recipe do you use for transfers? We use the same royal icing recipe for all of our cookie decorating. We never struggle with craters, color bleed or other issues. The magic is in the METHOD of making royal icing. It’s simple but important to follow the instructions. You can find exactly how we make our royal icing HERE.
- The best way to store royal icing transfers? You want to store at room temperature. I use organizers like THESE to store my transfers. Again, these are made from food-safe material.
- How long are royal icing transfers good for? Basically, forever when stored properly. Although, we almost always use ours within a few months and are constantly replenishing.
- The best way to attach royal icing transfers to cookies? You can add your transfers to dried flood, using tiny dabs of royal icing as glue. Not too much or the transfer won’t be able to sit flush. You can also add to wet flood for a slightly different look. I always recommend letting your wet flood set up for a couple minutes so the transfers don’t sink too much.
- Will transfers bleed? When added to dried flood, there is no chance of color bleed. There is a chance of bleed when added to wet flood. If you are struggling with color bleed in your royal icing, THIS post will help.
Royal Icing Transfer Sheets – Free For All!
In case you didn’t already know, you have a whole collection of free royal icing transfer sheets available to you at all times, HERE. I make and publish these for all home bakers to use for free to help you make amazing designs. New designs are added every week too. Although, here’s a tip: All new designs are released in my weekly newsletter first for subscribers to download and use. A couple weeks later, they get published on the website for all. So, if you’d like to receive all the free transfer designs in your inbox, you can subscribe to receive the free newsletter below. You’ll find all these gnome transfer sheets in the collection online!
I hope this post featuring these holiday gnome cookies has been helpful! All the tips and resources shared here are applicable to any transfers, themes and holidays you’re decorating for! Hopefully I’ve inspired you to make your own transfers and see how great they can be to create stunning designs!
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