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How to Stencil a Cookie with Royal Icing - Video Tutorial!

How to Stencil a Cookie with Royal Icing - Video Tutorial!

With a little practice you can be an expert at cookie stenciling!

In this video I will show you how to use a cookie stencil using a stencil frame or a simple set of magnets. I'll also show you a few common mistakes. In my years of doing this, I've found the most important key to perfect stenciling is the right icing consistency.

Find my recipe for royal icing here! This will yield a stiff white icing that is a great starting point for your cookie stenciling.


We sell all the tools shown in the video!


Video Transcript

Using a Stencil Genie

Start with a stencil - you want to pick one that fits nicely inside your cookie shape.

You also will need some royal icing. You'll notice the royal icing is pretty stiff, it's definitely stiffer than a flood icing and it's still a little stiffer than your piping icing might be similar to what you would use to pipe flowers or something like that. So pay attention to your icing consistency.

You'll need a spatula and you'll also need a stencil scraper to remove the excess icing off the cookie.

It  also helps to have your cookie as flat as you can get it, this one has been flooded with royal icing, you could also do this on a cookie that was covered in fondant.

Next you're going to want something that can hold the stencil in place - either magnets or the Stencil Genie frame. For this first section [of the video] I'm going to use the Stencil Genie. You'll notice in the four corners of the Genie are little magnets built in, this is going to hold your stencil in place so you just pop it in and put the second part of the frame on top.

Now I'm going to place this over my cookie. I'm also using a little non-slip round mat here because I'm working on that baking sheet that could be a little slippery so this way that cookie doesn't slide out from underneath me.

Once you have your stencil centered where you want it you're gonna pick up a good amount of icing you don't want to try to skimp on the icing you'll notice as I'm laying the icing down I'm definitely using more than I need and when I'm doing this I'm really just kind of thinking about gluing the stencil to the cookie with the icing. I'm not pressing down too hard and I'm definitely leaving behind a lot more than I need.

Now I'm going to go back in and scrape with my scraper. It's best if you can try to go in one direction if the stencil you're using

Once you start to see the design come through you can stop and pull your stencil off. Be careful to pull it off carefully and not to smudge it, and you'll be left behind with this really nice crisp image from your stencil.

Using Magnets

Next, I want to show you how to stencil using magnets. I am using a set of a dozen magnets. I'm going to stack two of these magnets in each corner laying my stencil on top and then I'm putting one magnet on top.

Since I'm working on a cookie sheet all this is anchored down onto the cookie sheet so this is another option you can use to hold your stencil in place you can also just hold the stencil with your hand and hope for the best… but it is great to have something else that can hold it down for you.

You can see again I am using a lot of icing and more than I need but I'm not scraping down to the

level of the cookie just yet. I'm just getting icing over all the openings and now I'm going to start to pull across with the scraper and it's nice to do this with a big wide scraper like this because then you won't have any track marks kind of coming through the image so the image will look nice and even.

Then carefully remove the top magnets and then you can peel the stencil off. It's really fast way to decorate, if you are piping these words it would certainly take a lot longer and I know my piping skills are not that good!

Now I want to show you some common mistakes.

Here is more of a flood consistency icing, and when people start out sometimes they don't realize that you need a stiffer icing; so what happens when you use a really thin icing is that it  immediately seeps right under the stencil.

It’s hard to keep it in one place when you scrape it. It is even smushing down underneath that stencil even more. You are going to see that the letters are smushed and the icing got underneath. It does not look very clean especially when you compare it to our original cookie. So, remember the consistency makes a big difference - too thin you're going to end up with it seeping underneath.

Here is another example of some icing that maybe is a little too thick, and there’s too little icing. I also see some beginners doing this where they only put a little bit of icing down and then they try really hard to just use that little bit of icing and keep scraping it across the cookie and what happens here is that you end up pushing the stiff icing underneath the stencil. So again, you are going to get that same bleeding as you did with the thin icing. Also, it's drying so quickly as you push it around you end up with dry marks on it so you can see here once again it's not very crisp and it has smudged underneath.

So, not too thick, and not too thin. You want to find that right consistency for stenciling once you get the hang of it, it’s really quite easy and you can decorate a lot of cookies at once.

With a little practice you can be an expert at stenciling with royal icing just remember you need the right consistency and a few tools, and you'll be on your way!

Previous article Coconut Spice Cookie Recipe, Puerto Rican Coquito Inspired


Nancy - March 23, 2023

I just tried my stencil to practice. After a few tries, the stencil started to tear . Now I can’t use it. What did I do wrong?
The Cookie Countess replied:
Hi Nancy,

It’s possible that you may have been scraping too hard. You don’t need to scrape the stencil fully clean every time; just scrape evenly until you can see the design coming through, and then you can stop. Trying to scrape down to bare stencil can put too much pressure on the stencil as you pull and tug at it. I hope this helps.

Anna - November 11, 2022

Do you clean the stencil each time you use it? If so how do you clean them? Also, do you buy more than one of the same stencil ?

Thank you!

Raenell - October 20, 2022

Can you use stencil on buttercream and use RI on the stencil? I’m not a fan of the taste of RI.
Thank you
The Cookie Countess replied:
Hi Raenell, I would say that you can stencil on a sturdy, crusting buttercream with airbrush, but not royal icing. Buttercream icing will not be able to stand up to the amount of pressure needed to stencil with royal icing, in my own experience. Thank you for the question!

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