Mar 05


50+ Secrets of a Cookie Decorator

Share it!   


Secrets of a Cookie Decorator – What the recipe books don’t tell you!

I’m here to share them with you, in no particular order, because that would take way more time for me to do than is worthwhile when I could be cookie decorating instead! Here are some secrets you may or may not know about cookie decorating, cookie decorators, and me… I’d love to hear your sweet little secrets too if you’d like to share them. Join me in the comment section below.

Quick side note – these cookie cookies above, are from a plate I bought at the Hallmark store. More on them in another post soon.

1. My cookies didn’t look as pretty when I began.

2. Practice does help. That being said, knowing the right decorating tips will get you on the road to creating pretty cookies, quickly. (Practice helps with photography too – still learning lots about that!).

3. Figuring out icing consistency made the biggest difference in improving my cookie decorating.

4. I have almost all cookie decorating books I can get my hands on. Who says you need to share the bookshelf with your husband?

5. The cookie books are beautiful, but I learned through trial and error. For some reason it just didn’t click when I read, “Your pastry-bag tip shouldn’t touch the cookie surface but rather should hover just above it…” (pg. 104 of Cookie Craft – an awesome book btw. I’m just a hands-on learner! Translation – I’m a little slow). With practice, one day I just did it, and had an ‘ah-ha’ moment. I learn well with video or photos. There weren’t very many videos or step by step photos on decorating cookies when I first learned how to.

6. My hand did want to use a piping bag like a pen when I first began. After all, that’s what my hand knew. It can be re-trained. 😉

7. It does get easier easy.

8. I see the world in cookies. I don’t come up with pretty designs all on my own. I copy many designs with permission and/or attribution to the artists. The world is my inspiration…. Fabric, stickers, scrapbooking paper, ads, nature, holidays, paint palettes, books, art… it all has cookie potential!

9. The Kopykake projector. {I can’t really draw, unless doodles qualify as drawing}. I use a kopykake projector.

10. Alternatives to the kopykake projector. {If you can’t draw, and can’t buy a projector}.

11. Bigger cookies are easier to decorate in terms of detail.

12. I had no real interest in baking until 2003, at age, ahem, never mind, until 2003.

13. Don’t be afraid to “fail”. Sometimes I make cookie designs I don’t really like… and I don’t post them. Like the postcard cookie below – I wasn’t thrilled with my piping there, so I didn’t even end up taking photos of it, hence the screen shot of the video they briefly appear in. Experiment, have fun with it, and if you don’t end up liking a cookie, that’s okay!

13. I’ve stopped talking about cookie decorating with my off-line friends, family, and colleagues. I know the eyes-glazing-over-look now, and just save the cookie talk for you. (Thank you! Mwah!)

14. Truly, my hands are shaky. I don’t even drink coffee. (But generally eat large amounts of chocolate). Resting my arms/wrists on the table when I decorate helps.

15. I once had to ask a friend to change her request for 100 motorcycle cookies to another theme, when I realized I wouldn’t be able to make a nice looking cookie (didn’t have the projector then).

16. When someone gives me a gift, I’m looking at the design of the wrapping paper and wondering how I can make it into a cookie.

17. One of my first cookie decorating heros was Nancy’s Fancy Cookies & Cakes. Her cookies were real works of art. She no longer has a web page. If she ever comes back, and she doesn’t mind of course, I will direct you to her right away. With her permission it would not be considered stalking (I think…LOL).

18. I love love love decorating with all my heart. New cookie designs make me excited and happy to get out of bed in the morning. (Most days).

19. Decorating cookies can be a zen experience in that you focus on nothing else than what you’re doing, so stress and worries fall away, and pretty cookies are the result.

20. Giving away the cookies is so much fun. People (who don’t decorate cookies), think they’re amazing.

21. Cookie decorating makes you feel good.

22. Sometimes, cookie decorating can be frustrating… Spots form on cookies due to humidity, colours bleed, you feel time pressured…

23. But, that can be fixed…. Here’s what to do about humidity , bleeding, and a schedule to help you out.

24. I make mistakes… and I cover them up. One example – The icing ran over on one yellow owl below, so I covered the area later with leaves.

25. I am forever stocking up on icing sugar, butter, meringue powder, and cream of tartar.

26. Meringue powder is expensive – you can’t get around it; except…

27. Michael’s has an awesome 40% off one regular item coupon. That’s how I buy my meringue powder.

28. I don’t like cleaning piping tips.  I need a ‘house elf’.

29. I don’t like preparing piping bags. Again, a ‘house elf’ would be helpful.

30. Sometimes, my husband cleans the piping tips. =) He does not want to be considered a ‘house elf’!

31. If I ever do watch TV, you might find me making piping bags at the same time.

32. I have 75 couplers, so that I can make lots of piping bags ready ahead of time.

33. I have a zillion piping tips between the sizes #00-#10 (Okay maybe not a zillion – 57).

34. Cookie cutter addiction is possible – I have over 400 cookie cutters and won’t take the time to count exactly how many. (Really though, over 400).

35. I know Martha Stewart has tons more (cookie cutters) – I would really like to see her collection.

36. I would also like to see how hers are organized. Mine are half decent, but I know hers would be amazing. She must have a ‘house elf’, or two, or three… Here are some of mine… (Cutters, not house elves):

37. Every where I go, if there are cookie cutters, and I don’t have the shape, I usually buy it.

38. Turns out, the main shapes I use are geometric cookie cutters.

39. Here are my bins of geometric cutters. (Ahem). I was blessed to inherit many classic cutters from my father, who retired as a chef and professor of George Brown College after having taught there for 28 years. (Funny enough, he isn’t a pastry chef).

40. Favorite decorating medium – royal icing. Fondant is fun too, but I prefer the taste of R.I. on cookies.

41. I don’t like squeeze bottles (but that’s just me). I find them harder to fill than piping bags.

42. I can’t make a parchment paper triangle piping bag. Have developed a certain fear of them. 😉

43. Elastic bands and hair ties work in pinch, to tie the ends of your piping bags off, but I prefer the Wilton icing bag ties.

44. I listen to my iTunes while decorating.

45. Sometimes I watch listen to YouTube videos while I’m decorating.

46. My husband puts up with my cookie stuff in the kitchen quite often all the time. He is so supportive. (Mwah!).

47. I would like a bigger house so that I could have a ‘cookie decorating’ room.

48. My husband would like a bigger house so that I could have a ‘cookie decorating’ room.

49. Ribbons make a decorated cookie package look even prettier. My favorite ribbon is American Crafts. Or, ribbon at a store called Mokuba, in Toronto. Michael’s has pretty ribbon too.

50. I’m addicted to sugar tools. I have so many tools, I have lists of projects to do with them which would take years to make.

51. My husband came home one day, and I was hammering nails into our storage room wall, so that I could see my tools and get them easily when I need them. (My husband is an easy-going man). I am a very visual person. I need to see things to be inspired to create. Ahem. We were going to renovate that room some day anyways. 😉

52. I have a million ideas, and not enough time to make them all.

53. Besides online spots like Amazon, Ebay, and various other fabulous sites like CopperGifts and Fancy Flours, some my favorite places to shop in Toronto are the Bonnie Gordon College, Golda’s Kitchen and McCall’s Baker’s Warehouse. There are more super places  – deserves it’s own blog post I think.

54. The only thing which has taken my attention away from decorating cookies is an addictive little site you may have heard of, called Pinterest.

55. I have dreamt of cookie designs.

56. I daydream about cookie designs.

57. I have found my bliss… Who knew it would take the form of royal icing! (Thank you John Snediker for the quote!)

58. I am a cookie nerd, and happy to be one.

59. My blog means the world to me. So do you. Thank you for visiting me here.


p.s. If you’d like to never miss a post, and/or receive more tips on cookie decorating, click on this button below to sign up:


p.s.s. Follow Me on Pinterest

Related Content


  1. Cindi
    August 10, 2013 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    Hello Marian,

    I am so enjoying your blog and look to it each time I have a cookie “dilemma”, lol (In fact I pinned something and I can’t for the life of me find it!) I started out doing cupcakes, but made a batch of cookies one day, for the fun of it, and have been hooked ever since. Last count, 300 cookie cutters (yes, a bit obsessed!)I love your detailed and fun explanations that make me feel like you are just having a conversation. I appreciate that! Thank you for all that you inspire!


    • marian
      August 11, 2013 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      Hi Cindi,
      It was so nice to read your comment – I’m so glad you come back to visit me, and that you enjoy my site! That makes me feel happy. Oh, and welcome to the cookie cutter obsession! 😉

  2. Becky bruch
    August 11, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I love this. i absolutely love your blog. Im a starter cookie icing addict xx

  3. August 14, 2013 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian,

    Your blog is amazing and I am enjoying your blog since this year when I discover the cookie decorated world. I have 300 cookie cutters more or less and I identify with all points!!! It’s really exactly what I feel 🙂

    Thank you to share with all your beautiful creations.

    Silvia from Barcelona, Spain.

    August 14, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Hola Marian! esta publicación me encanto! reí mucho!yo igual compro todo cortador que veo! ya perdí la cuenta! y sueño con diseños de galletas, todo lo quiero convertir en galleta!!!! y la increíble idea que no sabia es el cakeprojector, yo calco mis imágenes en una hoja transparente y luego pego la imagen de azúcar con royal icing! pero esta idea es genial!

    me brillan los ojos cada vez que sale un anuario nuevo de wilton,o cuando ay cambio de temporada en las tiendas (navidad, san valentin, día de la madre etc.)

    saludos me encanta tu pagina!!!

    cuando quieras visitar México eres bien recibida!!!!
    atte: Cintya Ruz
    Hi Marian! I loved this book! laughed a lot! I just buy every cookie cutter I see! I lost count! and dream cookie designs too, all want to become cookie!! and i don´t know the incredible idea of cakeprojector,actualy I calc my images on a transparent sheet and then hit the image with royal icing! but this idea is great!

    my eyes shine every time when Wilton publishing a new yearbook, or when the seasons change in stores (christmas, valentines, mother’s day etc..)

    greetings I love your page!

    when you want to visit México are well received!


  5. Raechal
    August 14, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t read all the comments, so maybe someone else mentioned this already. I HATED cleaning tips too! I saw a tip on Facebook from another cookier. Full a jar 2/3 with hot soapy water. Just drop your tips and couplers in, and shake. Let them sit and soak, do thi a few times. Rinse with clean water til all the soapyness is gone, then dry. So much easier! It’s changed my life! Seriously!

  6. Scott Anthony
    August 14, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    28 & 29…made my day!

  7. franaleey
    August 14, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Thanks marian! i love this post and it made me laugh… keep it up x

  8. Sylvia
    August 17, 2013 at 2:20 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian, I enjoyed every single one of your 59 secrets. Love your page and all you do to help others to have fun working with sweets.

  9. marian
    August 29, 2013 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Hi Everyone!
    Your comments make my day! ***Thank you!***

    • jessie
      May 13, 2015 at 2:11 am | Permalink

      Hi Marian,
      i was laughing so hard (inside tho, my babies are sleeping) while reading your post :)) . You are honestly funny and hilarious and fascinating, and creative. i am new to cookies and i love cookies and cakes. love everything about them!
      thank you for sharing your cookies world!! i love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      p/s this is the 1st time reading your blog, and i already bookmarked it. 😉

    • September 13, 2016 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      Thank you so much for putting this site and blog up for all of us “newbies!” I am so inspired! AND you’re Canadian! Your tips and videos are super helpful and down to earth so I can actually follow along and know (ish) what you’re talking about. Up until now I’ve been decorating with Ziploc bags, or (my fave… really well rinsed milk bags) with just the tip snipped off. But I’m excited to try using tips and couplers, and making the R.I the correct consistency instead of just guessing! My cookies are decent looking, but your tips are going to help big time! thanks so so much, Andrea

    • marian
      September 14, 2016 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Thank you for your comment Andrea! I really do appreciate when someone takes the time to send me a message, and yours was so cute, thank you! Happy, happy decorating!

  10. Sue-z
    October 3, 2013 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Your cookies are beautiful and i look to you for inspiration. Thank you. Please tell me how you did the lettering on the stand mixer cookies – The one that said – Stand Mixer Cookie How to. Did you utilize you KopyKake? Thank you so much.

    • marian
      October 4, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      Hi Sue-z! I mention it in the mixer tutorial post, but those letters are not real icing… they are photoshopped in by my web designer. They are the only cookies I have on the site which have been added to like that, just an fyi. 🙂

  11. Cathy Cappiello
    November 9, 2013 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Reading your comments tonight made me feel more at home than I’ve felt for years. Thanks for sharing the very thoughts I have had for years!! Yo are an inspiration, an artist a a friend in spirit. Rock on! And I wish you So much more success. I will follow you to the ends of the earth!

    • marian
      November 11, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      Awww, Cathy, thanks! I think that’s one of the sweetest comments I’ve gotten to date! xo

  12. December 23, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    This is my favourite post so far xx

    • marian
      November 14, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Hee hee, I think mine too.

  13. Niki
    March 5, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    You are very inspiring!! I just began making dog cookies and hope to incorporate some of your techniques. Congrats on your success!!!

    • marian
      November 14, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Aww thanks Niki! Good luck to you too!

  14. Shan'e Wesley
    March 14, 2014 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Im just starting out I make cookie bouquets.. its my happy place I love making
    Them and its funny because I never liked baking but this is a new passion for me

    • marian
      November 14, 2014 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      I get it, I’m the same way! Have fun!

  15. March 25, 2014 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    I want to be your friend and live next door and make cookies with you! 🙂

    • marian
      November 14, 2014 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      Well what a compliment; I’d like to live next door to you too!

  16. Susan Scott
    April 2, 2014 at 3:28 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for your site and your generous sharing of wisdom! I am 64 and have just gotten into trying to learn to make and decorate cookies. I have done three batches so far and learn something with each one! I really appreciate your tutorials and will watch them over and over I am sure. Thank you again.
    PS. Your cookies are beautiful!

    • marian
      November 14, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Hi Susan,
      Isn’t it great! I’m so glad you found this passion too! xo

  17. jacqueline
    July 14, 2014 at 3:46 am | Permalink

    Love love love this one! ♥♥♥
    I can totally relate to almost everything you listed. Minus the experience. Lol just started cookie decorating for about a year now but have always had an appreciation for edible art! Your blog has definitely been extremely helpful. I love that you made this list. I have been buying decorating supplies for more than 5 yrs not knowing what my “thing” was. I just knew I wanted to be part of this creative world. I bought wiltons 101 cookie set years ago and just recently used it! Lol Now that I know I love making / decorating cookies, its funny to see how many tools I had to make them just sitting in a drawer (I have a baking supply dresser in my kitchen lol). Ive literally been “collecting” supplies til now. Since my first set of cookies, ive added about 100 cookie cutters since then. Lol Your blog is a go to for help! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and AMAZING tips!! ♥♥♥ p.s. I can look at your cookies all day for inspiration! 😉

    • marian
      November 14, 2014 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Thanks sooo much for sharing Jacqueline! I’m the same way… I can’t stop collecting cutters… Whenever I see one and I don’t have it, I just have to buy it! Have fun baking and deeeecorrrating!

  18. Jay
    November 14, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Thanks for letting me into your cookie world, it makes me feels I can make it too, I’m just starting into this and I just love it and thanks to the internet I know I’m not alone

    • marian
      November 14, 2014 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      Hi Jay!
      Thanks for visiting my cookie world. 😀 Please come back any time!

  19. December 4, 2014 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know how I ever missed this part of your blog. I can relate to almost everything you listed. Thank you for being so inspiring…love your work!

    • marian
      January 6, 2015 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Hi Marty,
      Sorry for the delayed response… holiday “cookie” season is over and I’m just now getting caught up.
      Glad you can relate too! 😀 It means I’m not so kooky right? 😉

  20. Lisa Henderson
    December 5, 2014 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    This is why I love the cookie world, one trade where we are excited to share trade secrets, I don’t have any yet haha but without people like you I might never. Thank you for sharing, you are inspiring!

    • marian
      January 6, 2015 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      Thanks Lisa! It really is a nice (and passionate!) community and I’m glad to see you visiting me here. Happy decorating Lisa 🙂

  21. Anita Rao
    February 18, 2015 at 12:49 am | Permalink

    Your posts are always wonderful! I have read them all over the years but this one puts most of us cookie decorators at peace…. To know that it’s most most important to enjoy what you do and ok to make mistakes and to learn slowly! Your work is so beautiful n inspired me to start decorating cookies. Thank you!!

  22. Theresa Rubletz
    February 18, 2015 at 1:55 am | Permalink

    Dear Marian, thank you for your generous sharing of your craft. I learn a lot from you. Thank you for the ‘non-tip’ of the parchment bags. Nice to no I am not alone there. Lol.
    But otherwise will strive for more beautiful cookies thanks to teachers like you.

  23. maham
    May 26, 2015 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    YOU inspire me sooooooooo much that I want to get up and make cookies at 2 in the morning!!!thank you so much!

  24. Aditi
    October 13, 2015 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    Hey! You have inspired me to become a cookie decorator. But I happen to be a vegetarian and I don’t eat eggs as well. So is there a way I can be a cookie decorator?

  25. Michelle
    October 21, 2015 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    i came across your blog while searching for info for decorating cookies for Halloween. I just love your sense of humor. I will be coming back to your blog regularly…

  26. February 20, 2016 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    I adore your tidbits in this post!! Thank you!!

  27. July 13, 2016 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I LOVED this post! Thank you so much for taking the time to write it! I want to start out with cookie decorating but the problem is I want to be amazing from the start! 😉 How long would you say it typically takes to get really good? Like good enough that I would be able to do something like this of yours? Thanks so much!! 🙂

  28. Kellyn
    August 22, 2016 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Thanks for all of your wonderful tips and candid thoughts about some of the more difficult parts of cookie-dom!! Your site is great and I appreciate you sharing so many of the things you have learned through trial and error.

    As an ex-professional baker I was previously non-plussed over the kopycake projector but you have changed my thoughts about it. It looks like it makes your job easier and take less time in general. Your blog has reignited my love for cookie decorating thanks!!

    • marian
      August 22, 2016 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Thanks so much everyone!

      Glad to hear it Kellyn! Wishing you lots of fun experimenting with new designs. xo

  29. Marie Moore
    October 15, 2017 at 1:59 am | Permalink

    Oh my Gosh,

    This is so me! Running out of space for my little baking section in our kitchen and wondering how I could turn the den into a cookie decorating room. And my cookie cutter obsession has now got me watching you tube videos on how to make my own. Oh my gosh I really enjoyed this post. I knew I liked you for a reason! Thanks for sharing Marian! Love your work!

    • marian
      November 20, 2017 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      Haha, made me smile, thanks and have fun decorating Marie!

  30. December 15, 2017 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    I can identify with number. 47. wanting a dream cookie room, I just want a space to be creative, to paint and decorate cakes and cookies. And not worry about my kids getting into anything or my husband throwing things away or eating any of my projects.
    I also dream about designs and I have drawn/doodles tons in sketch books and notebooks. It wasn’t until recently that I got up the nerve to try some of them out. I need a ton of practice but I was getting tired of never actually making my designs and just drawing them.

    • marian
      December 15, 2017 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing too, Janell! Merry Christmas!

  31. Katie
    March 18, 2018 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    #8- YES! For me its my kids clothes- specifically the cute designs on my 18m old girls’ clothes. I got a weird look (for some reason) when someone complimented my twins on a cute shirt and i said “that would be so cute on a cookie”…
    #19- SO TRUE! I have 4 kids and ppl think its crazy that i call cookie decorating “relaxing”! Its totally my “zen place”
    #20- how many other things can be so versatile and personal?? Cookies are just the best

  32. Amanda Hoffman
    February 14, 2019 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Great stuff!

  33. Elizabeth Calise
    June 18, 2019 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    I was reading your tutorial. I am an avid baker. My specialty is cookies. I am always practicing to improve my work. When I have to fill an order I want it to be perfect. I have high standards. Hope to hear from you.

    • marian
      June 20, 2019 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      Hi Elizabeth,
      Thanks, I think it’s great to have high standards! xo

Show Pingbacks & Trackbacks

  1. […] best thing about summer holidays is… having time to experiment with cookie recipes. Me, a cookie nerd?! Yes. Definitely. I hope you don’t […]

  2. […] my thoughts and much of my free time. I’ve shared over 50 secrets you may also identify with here if you’re a fellow cookie nerd or possible cookie nerd, and I think it’s time to […]

Leave a Reply

XHTML: The following tags may be used: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


{Video} Royal Icing Consistency Made Easy – The 10 Second Rule

{Video} Royal Icing Consiste…

375 Comments | Posted February 28th 2011

Privacy | © Copyright 2009-2019, Sweetopia. All Rights Reserved.