One of my favorite things about cookie decorating is that it's a legit AFFORDABLE hobby. Cookies make fun, unique, and thoughtful gifts that honestly don't cost a ton to make + when you show up a work/ parties with fancy cookies you're a hero!
When I started learning to decorate I had a MINIMAL budget, so I learned what was absolutely essential for making beautiful cookies with royal icing... plus some money saving hacks.
These are my 6 must-have cookie decorating tools for getting started with royal icing. You can click
Click HERE to shop my entire tools list on amazon. Or keep reading for the tools, hacks and passionate plea for quality sprinkles from a seasoned pro (and sprinkle snob).
Have any questions about the list or any suggestions that you think should be added? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You simply can not make fabulous royal icing cookies without these. Squeeze bottles are another option, but they're more upfront investment so I'm sticking with the bags for my must-have list. You just snip the tip off and away you go!
*Hack #1: If you have ziplock bags at home you can always fill one with your icing and cut of the corner for a makeshift icing bag... The decorating bags are only $7.99/ 100 so it's not necessarily cheaper to go ziplock unless you already have them on hand.
Royal Icing is very similar to meringue, meaning it calls for several minutes of beating on high and it gets very thick. I haven't tried, but I honestly don't think it's possible without an electric mixer. My preference/ the love of my life? An aqua kitchenaid stand mixer, but....
*Hack #2: If you don't have a stand mixer, don't worry! A hand mixer will do the trick too... and if you don't have a hand mixer, here's one for $27.
Here's another tool you probably already have in your kitchen, but just in case you don't... grab you a super cheap one from Target (or click the link for the amazon version). You'll end up wasting a lot of icing that's stuck to the edges of your bowl without this tool!
Listen to me on this one. I am of the strong belief that sprinkles make EVERYTHING better. Don't have a mixer? Borrow from your neighbor. No spatula? Use a cereal spoon like a heathen. But for the love, get some GOOD sprinkles. This is a beginner's list and I don't want to overwhelm you, so I'll stick to my top 3 recommendations, but consider this your warning. If you've never entered the world of "fancy sprinkles", you're in for a real treat!
Sprinkle Pop Shop Just very fun/ fabulous sprinkles: "Rainbow Road" is my fave!
Fancy Sprinkles (that's the company's actual name and they live up to the hype)
Sweetapolita is darling too. They have great customer service and beautiful mixes!
Just a metal "pin" for smoothing icing and fixing edges + making fun designs once you master the basics. ;) They're pretty inexpensive for the plain version I linked, or you can check etsy for fabulous blingy scribes... welcome to the world of cookies!
*Hack #3: Honestly, a toothpick will work just fine for this job. I got a scribe because I was making so many cookies that I was tired of flying through toothpicks.
GEL food coloring. That's the main thing to remember. Is the Americolor brand probably tip top quality? Sure, but it's also a much higher investment... for starting out I recommend the Wilton brand (linked above) or there is a Hobby Lobby brand called Sunny Side Up Bakery and it's usually only $2-$3/ bottle. My biggest request here: please DON'T buy that watery food coloring that we grew up using, just because you found it next to the cake mixes at Safeway. I get it, it's cheap and you could save yourself a trip to Hobby Lobby, but it's not the same. They color is super washed out/ mellow and it messes with the consistency of your icing. And consistency is KEY when it comes to royal icing.