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Apr 11


How to Marble Royal Icing

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If you’ve tried cookies like these before you know how simple they are to make, and if you haven’t, you’re about to find out just how easy they are to create.

It’s called marbling, feathering or swirling, which is basically when one or more colors of icing are applied to a base coat of icing, and then a toothpick, cake tester, pin or skewer is dragged through the icing to create a marbled or swirly effect.

Each combination of colors creates another look.

Just by changing the way you set up your lines and drag the toothpick, completely different designs emerge.

You can incorporate the swirled icing into your design, like these feathered cookie friends:


How to Make Marbled, Swirled or Feathered Decorated Cookies

If you’d like to try the marbled effect, the most important thing for your success is the consistency of the icing.  To help you with that, my cookie decorating tutorial goes over some tips and the 10-second rule here.

Once you have your cookies baked and icing made, it’s time to begin by piping your outline.  I like to use a piping bag fitted with a coupler and #2 tip.

Fill or flood your cookie with royal icing right away.  You could leave the outline to set to create a solid dam, but you’ll be able to see the border when the icing dries.

Once you’ve filled the whole cookie in, shake it gently left to right on your work surface, to help smooth the icing out.

Add your second (or more), layers or colors of icing.  Work as quickly as you can before the icing sets.

Take a toothpick, pin, skewer or dough tester (hey, whatever works!), and drag it through the icing.  In this case I drew S-like shapes.  The image below shows which direction I dragged the toothpick in.

Finish off the edges with dots or another design of your choice and you’re done!

The hearts are made by piping dots and dragging the toothpick through the center of each dot.

Let your cookies dry, package and ribbon.

Simple, easy, fun and impressive!

If you prefer video, I’ve got a video tutorial on marbling here for you to watch.


I’d also like to send out a big thanks agian to Bridget at Bake at 350 for having me as a guest contributor for her blog a few weeks ago.  In case you didn’t see the post, it’s what I’ve shared with you here today, and if you haven’t seen Bridget’s eye-candy cookies and baked goods of all kinds yet, check them out by clicking here!


Happy marbling!



p.s.  Update – I’ve received so many emails asking where I got my square, fluted cookie cutter, so here’s the link for you.

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  1. November 19, 2010 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    Marian, thanks for all the tutorial. I just thought of trying to decorate cookies, found your blog, and read up on the lessons. Your work is beautiful and inspiring!

  2. Tereza
    February 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    It is so easy and sooo beautiful!!! Thank you for inspiration!

  3. Joy
    April 18, 2011 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian,

    I love you site! As a matter of fact, it pulled me from my love of cupcakes.

    My question…is the chocolate cookie recipe available?

    • marian
      April 18, 2011 at 12:52 am | Permalink

      Hi Joy, thanks! I appreciate it!
      I’m still tweaking the chocolate cookie recipe, sorry!

  4. June 21, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Wow you are amazing! I love all of your beautiful cookies and cakes and everything!!! They are just stunning! And you give excellent step by step guides! I love your site and can’t wait to try this marbling technique!!! Thanks so much!!!

  5. Megan Marsden
    December 17, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    I love your site, tips, tricks, and help-I am just getting “back” into baking and after searching ALL day for holiday cookie decorating ideas-you nailed it! 🙂

    Best of luck!

  6. Maru Medina
    January 29, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    How GENEROUS! Thank you, and gracias for the inspiration. You are amazing!

    February 3, 2012 at 7:29 am | Permalink


  8. Rocio
    February 22, 2012 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    I can’t see the video. The turorial is fantastic

  9. Cynthia Kanyak
    February 23, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much, your easy to understand decorating ideas can make me look like a pro, ty ty ty! 🙂

  10. marian
    February 25, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Hi @ Rocio: You may need to install updates on your computer.

    Thanks everyone!

  11. Celeste
    March 8, 2012 at 4:20 am | Permalink


    I cant stop visiting your site! I follow you on twitter and cant wait to see what creation you come up with next!! Thanks so much for sharing all your wonderful ideas. I am from South Africa (have lived here all my life) and the baking business has only been picking up for the last 5-10yrs. so, looking at your work really inspires me as a beginner to see what I can do and how far I can push myself. Thank you so, so much for your generosity, I personally really appreciate this.

  12. marian
    March 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Hi @ Celeste: Thanks so much. =) All the best to you in your new business!

  13. Olivia
    July 15, 2013 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    I found this tutorial by browsing some baking questions I’ve always wanted to know. After seeing this post I had to look more on your website. I am completely inspired, as an aspiring baker, to try everything myself! Thank you very much.

  14. November 14, 2014 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for sharing all these wonderful tips. Your website is absolutely beautiful and such an inspiration.

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  1. By Christmas Gingerbread | Cooking Crusade on December 29, 2010 at 6:18 am

    […] and well written tutorials – the photography is stunning as are the cookies! Check out the post on how to marble royal icing here. Sweetopia is basically a cookie-heaven blog so I also recommend checking out the rest of the posts […]

  2. […] can find a more detailed explanation about marbling here and a video […]

  3. […] of my favorite sites for cookie decorating inspiration, Sweetopia has a wonderful step-by-step tutorial for […]

  4. By How to Decorate Mardi Gras Mask Cookies | Sweetopia on November 7, 2011 at 5:38 am

    […] Wet on wet marbling technique:  Pipe dots onto your wet icing and drag a toothpick through the dots.  For a video click HERE, for a how-to post click HERE. […]

  5. By St. Patrick's Day Decorated Cookies | Sweetopia on March 12, 2012 at 9:08 am

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  8. […] For a how to on how to marble, or swirl together two or more colors of royal icing, click here for the tutorial. […]

  9. […] técnica de decoración con glasa que me encontré investigando por internet… en concreto en Sweetopia, la verdad es que no me han quedado tan bonitas como a ella pero… bueno, para ser la primera […]

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  14. By Cream Cheese Glaze Cookies on February 4, 2014 at 10:00 am

    […] than the original recipe I was using in my first few attempts.  I also found a great tutorial on How to Marble Royal Icing by Sweetopia.  I used my normal cookie recipe here and made about 18,  3 inch cookies from one batch.  I used […]

  15. […] the round tip is not boring at all. You can frost a scallop cake with it, as well as use it for feather icing, pearl swags, or drop-strings. Share this:TwitterFacebookGoogleLike this:Like […]

  16. […] than the original recipe I was using in my first few attempts.  I also found a great tutorial on How to Marble Royal Icing by Sweetopia.  I used my normal cookie recipe to make these cream cheese glaze cookies and made about 18,  3 […]

  17. By Lingerie Sugar Cookies on January 27, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    […] can find a more detailed explanation about marbling here and a video […]

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