Hey Besties! I’m giddy with excitement to share this post because it is going to be a game changer for so many cookiers! Regardless of your cookie decorating level, writing on cookies with royal icing is a skill that can be really tough to master. Learning the perfect consistency can be so frustrating! But we’ve all seen stunning cookies with beautiful writing and want to be able to achieve that. Well, there is an easier way. And today, I’m breaking it all down for you, so you too, can have beautiful writing on your cookies. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how simple and effective this is! Let’s jump in!
No Projector? No Problem!
If you’re brand new to cookie decorating, you may not realize that almost all cookiers use a projector when adding their lettering to their cookies. A projector makes a world of difference in adding not only lettering but other design elements as well. We use ours all the time and it definitely opens up a world of design options. I have a whole post about the projector we use and love HERE, if you want to learn more.
That said, a good projector is not cheap, and can feel like a big investment if you’re new or if you’re a hobby baker. The one we use and is most popular among cookiers has been $219.99 for at least the last two years. Is it worth it? Absolutely. But again, depending on your situation, that kind of investment may not make sense. What’s a cookier to do?!
I totally get it. I didn’t have a projector for a long time when I started decorating cookies and honestly, I just shied away from any complex designs. Or if someone requested something with lettering, I’d rely on stencils. And while I love stencils for some things, it didn’t give me the results I wanted for puffy lettering. And I hated having this limitation! I wish I knew about this technique back then, so hopefully it can help you!
Using Transfers For Royal Icing Fonts
I wish someone had introduced me, and taught me, back then, how to use royal icing transfers to add beautiful lettering to my cookies! It’s such a simple option and honestly, I still make transfers for some of my royal icing fonts to this day! Let’s cover the basics and talk about some of the benefits of using transfers.
A transfer is when you use royal icing to trace over a template or design, let it dry and then can add to your cookies. When your cookies are finished, transfers look the same on your cookies as if you piped the icing directly on them. So, they are fantastic in that you can basically achieve the same finished result, but in a much lower-stress way.
It can be intimidating to pipe designs directly onto your cookies, due to the fear or risk of messing it up. You often feel like you’ve got one chance to get it right! Well, by using transfers, you eliminate that pressure. You can make as few or as many as you’d like, pick your favorites to add to your cookie and there is no risk of ruining your cookies.
Royal icing transfers also provide a great opportunity for practicing fonts, designs and other elements. And I also love making transfers ahead of time and storing them so I can quickly pop them on for future orders, saving a ton of time. They are also great if you’re afraid of color bleed when decorating directly on cookies. And, they are fabulous to make and paint with metallics before adding to your cookies!
And can talk about the PUFF? If you want 3D lettering, this is a simple way to achieve it!
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE ROYAL ICING TRANSFERS
Alright, so we’ve covered why transfers can be so helpful, so let’s get into how you can make them! You only need a few things to make transfers. First, a design template. Most cookiers purchase these design sheets or make their own. We have a royal icing transfer sheet collection that you can always access HERE. I share these designs with you for free and new designs are added every week! Check back often for new designs or subscribe to receive our weekly newsletter to get all the new designs delivered to your inbox several weeks before they are released on the site. We have many design elements available there, the font we are featuring today and MANY more on the way!
Next, you need a surface to pipe on. I highly recommend using food-safe sheet protectors for a few reasons. While parchment or wax paper is more readily available, they curl from the moisture in your icing, so your transfers won’t dry with a flat bottom. Sheet protectors remain perfectly flat throughout the drying process, so your transfers will always have a flat, even bottom. Also, they make it super easy to just slip the transfer sheet into the protector sleeve to keep it perfectly in place while you work. If you use wax or parchment, you need to use tape to keep the design in place. THESE are the food-safe sheet protectors I use, and I use them over and over again.
Next, you’ll need your royal icing. If you need a recipe or don’t love the recipe you use, THIS details our exact recipe as well as how we make our icing. When making royal icing, the how part is critical so you can avoid color bleed and other issues.
So, you’ve got a transfer sheet, sheet protectors and royal icing. Now you just want to have your scribe handy and a safe place to work and let your transfers dry overnight!
Royal Icing Consistency for transfer Fonts
Here we go, now we’re getting to the fun part! Everything in cookie decorating comes down to consistencies! It’s the hardest part to learn, mostly because there is a lot of personal preference involved and a lot of it is based on feel. There is no exact recipe for flood icing, piping icing, writing icing…it’s all the same recipe, but thinned or thickened for the consistency you need.
It’s also worth mentioning that because everyone uses varying recipes and varying ingredients, our royal icing does not behave exactly the same! For example, a royal icing with more meringue powder is going to dry slightly faster than one with less. This can affect how quickly your icing starts to crust. Cookiers who add cream of tartar to their icing will also have icing that starts to crust faster than icing without. It’s important to realize this because your icing may not behave exactly like someone else’s.
The consistency I use and love for transfers is thicker than what is commonly suggested. I love puffy icing that really holds its shape. In my experience, when I’ve tried following other recommended consistencies for writing and transfers, the icing did not stay puffy and pooled too much, not giving me the dimension and shape I wanted.
Some cookiers like the “glob and ribbon” consistency for transfers and writing, but for me, that consistency pooled too much and didn’t give me the dimension I wanted. Now, again, you need to learn what works best for YOU! If you have a consistency you love that gives you the results you want, stick with it! I’m sharing exactly what I use and what gives me the results you see here. But I also made a video to show you the consistency I use for my font transfers!
Watch & Learn: Transfer Fonts Video
Other Royal Icing Transfer Tips
A few additional helpful nuggets for transfer success! First, I usually glue my transfers to my cookies using a dab of royal icing. However, some cookiers prefer to add their transfers to their wet flood icing. You can certainly try that, but I do suggest letting the flood set up just a bit before adding your transfers, so they don’t sink too much.
Also, if you want to use your own transfer sheet designs, just know that very thin fonts or lines are not ideal for transfers. They are far too fragile and will break. Our transfer sheets are created with this in mind for successful transfer designs.
You can also make your transfers and store them in airtight containers for months; some even say years. So next time you have leftover icing and some time, pump out some transfers for future orders!
Transfer Sheet Collection
Because I’m Bestie, I have a transfer sheet collection available for anyone to use, completely free! I’m all about helping you create beautiful designs, so I hope these help you achieve that. You can download the transfer sheets for the font featured in this post, along with many other design elements. New designs and fonts are released on the site every week, so check back often. You can also subscribe below to receive the weekly newsletter where you receive early access to the newest transfer sheet designs before they are released on the site.
I hope your excited to start using transfers for royal icing fonts for your cookies! You can also find a whole post all about using transfers for all kinds of design elements HERE! They really are a great way to elevate your cookies using a simple method!
You can subscribe to receive the weekly newlsetter here! Never miss out on a new recipe, technique, product recommendation, bakery business strategy, Featured Baker and free printables! Happy Baking, besties!
Sign up to receive my newsletter!