Hey Besties! I’m so excited to share my experience with a technique that I’ll admit, is pretty new to me! I’ve finally had the opportunity to learn how to use watercolor on royal icing and I’m hooked! Several of our Featured Bakers have incredible talent in painting on cookies and they inspired me to learn! And now my wheels are turning with a whole new world of design options this technique presents. If you’ve been here before, you know we’re always aiming to inspire with designs that have a big impact but don’t require being a master decorator in order to achieve. Watercolor on royal icing presents yet another tool in our arsenal to add new designs, dimension, texture and interest in our cookies. Let’s dive in to the deets!
Before we jump into the decorating technique, let’s cover the basics with the recipes used for both the cookie and royal icing. Because I LOVE this recipe, I used our delicious lemon cutout cookie recipe, which you can find HERE. No-chill, no-spread and incredibly delicious and easy to make, of course! And to let the cookie flavor shine, we used our go-to royal icing recipe, HERE, which pairs beautifully.
Prepping To Paint On Cookies
I love having opportunities to tell a story using cookies, much like we’ve done using cookie sticks HERE before. So when I was planning for my watercolor design, I felt it was another opportunity to create a unique picture or story.
Knowing I was going to paint on these cookies, I baked and flooded them the day before I wanted to paint. I wanted to ensure they had ample time to completely dry overnight before adding any paint.
Here is my canvas, ready to start painting!
I will admit, I was intimidated! I do not consider myself to have much artistic ability in the traditional sense. I’m much more comfortable with a decorating bag, spatula or playing with melted chocolate! But I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and I’m so happy I did!
There are a couple options for using watercolor on royal icing. I used a high-proof alcohol, Everclear, mixed with a TINY amount of gel food coloring. Seriously, l used my scribe to just add a tiny amount of color to my Everclear paint palette pods. Some people use lemon or other clear extracts with their coloring if they prefer. Either way, you want to use something alcohol-based so that it evaporates.
I used these handy plastic paint palettes for my colors, along with brushes I use solely for my cookie decorating. If you don’t already have decorating brushes, I have a couple recommendations for you. I normally recommend THIS set because we’re usually focusing on small details. If you plan to paint using fine details, I’d still go with that set. But if you want to paint with larger strokes, like I did here, THIS is the set I’d recommend for that look.
It’s time to go for it! In this case, I was painting across the cookies for more of a mural effect. I also wanted the colors to be pretty bold, so I painted across the cookies, waited about 30 seconds for it to dry and then added another coat. It took about 3 coats and some bending to achieve the look I was going for here.
I LOVED how this was shaping up, fully appreciating that this technique is forgiving and doesn’t require the ‘perfection’ regular cookie decorating does.
To create some additional dimensions and texture to this cookie design, I opted to add some clouds and balloons using a thicker consistency of icing.
After painting and decorating, I popped the cookies into the dehydrator for final curing. But overall, I found this technique to be very simple, freeing and exciting!
Takeaways from Painting on Cookies
Will I be painting portraits on cookies? No, I don’t have that in me like some cookiers do (looking at you, Tammy)! But will I paint or watercolor on royal icing again? Absolutely! This is just another awesome and simple technique to create endless designs and options! This would also be a fun and unique activity for kids!
With minimal additional tools or ingredients needed to create a new effect, I highly encourage cookiers to give painting on cookies a try!
I hope you found this post all about using watercolor on royal icing helpful and inspiring. And if you have any additional tips for painting on cookies, please share with us in our facebook group HERE! Also make sure you’re subscribed to receive our weekly newsletter! Never miss out on a new recipe, technique, product recommendation or Featured Baker! Happy Baking Besties!
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