Stenciling with an Airbrush
Stenciling is a great way to add pattern, color and dimension to your cookie decorating.
To get started you will need the following:
- an airbrush machine
- airbrush food color
- And while optional, magnets are also a great item to have to keep your stencil in place. Or a Stencil Genie!
You will also need cookies that have been flooded with royal icing, and allowed to dry completely. (You can also use this same technique on fondant.) To avoid the look of getting any airbrush color on your cookie base, try to pipe and flood your cookies right to the edge, without leaving a "naked" border.
Place your cookie on a covered workspace. If you are using magnets to hold your stencil in place, work on a magnetic cookie sheet. Place 2 stacked magnets in a square around your cookie, this should bring it to about the same height as your cookie . Then place your stencil on top, securing it in place with another row of magnets. If you are using a Stencil Genie, simply pop the stencil in between the 2 frames and place over your cookie. Remember that the Stencil Genie has different thicknesses on each side. Pick the side that gives you the tightest fit on your cookie. If you are not using magnets or a Stencil Genie you will need to secure your stencil in another way, or hold it in place with one hand while you hold your airbrush with the other.
After you have added airbrush color to the well of your gun, do some test sprays on a paper towel to make sure it is spraying cleanly. If your airbrush machine has an adjustable speed or compressor, it is always best to start on low or medium, as you get comfortable with airbrushing. When you begin to spray your cookie, do so in evem sweeps, keeping the gun about 6 inches away from the surface. Try to aim straight down at the cookie to avoid lifting the stencil with the air pressure. If you are trying to achieve a highly saturated color, do so in layers of airbrushing. Do not try to do so by getting closer to the cookie or holding your airbrush in one place for too long, this will cause the color to pool. Better to do multiple sweeps letting it dry for a bit in between.
To finish carefully remove your magnets and lift your stencil quickly straight up off the cookie, to avoid smudging. Let your airbrush color dry completely before packaging or adding details on top.
You will want to clean you stencil, or blot it at the very least, after every couple uses. Color can get to the other side of your stencil and mark up your next cookie if you don't. Stencils can easily be cleaned by running under warm water and blotting on paper towels or clean dishcloths.
If you are feeling nervous about stenciling for the first time, using a Notta Cookie practice cookie is a great way to work on your airbrushing skills without baking a single cookie!
Want more? Watch this Periscope replay about airbrushing basics!
If you do not have an airbrush machine, you can also use food airbrush cans, or stencil with royal icing. For tutorials on both these techniques you can visit Sugarbelle's wonderful website here.
For some great information on airbrush guns visit Lisa the Bearfoot Baker's blog.
For instructional and inspirational videos please visit and follow my YouTube channel and my Katch.me page!
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