If you’re following me on Instagram, you know that I recently co-hosted a music-themed baking collaboration! For my concept, I created a cookie set decorated with the lyrics of the song “Do-Re-Me” from The Sound of Music. Today, I’ll show you how to watercolor paint on Royal Icing so you can use this fun, artsy technique on your next bake!
This technique is quite simple and cheap, but can have such a stunning effect on a dessert or bake! Plus, it’s a fun way to get creative and let your artsy side come out!
How To Watercolor Paint On Royal Icing
First, I’m going to share with you a list of all the materials and tools you’ll need for this project! Then, I’ll walk you through the steps to prepare your “watercolor paint.” Finally, I’ll share some tips and tricks I learned throughout this process so that you can start off strong and confident!
Keep in mind, I’ll give directions based on my The Sound of Music cookie set design. However, you can use this “watercolor paint” method to create cookies of any design or style. You can even use it on chilled buttercream or hardened fondant! The possibilities are endless. Get creative with it and have fun!
So, without further ado, let’s begin!
Materials You’ll Need
Here are the items you will need to watercolor paint on royal icing cookies. I’ve included links (affiliate) for your easy shopping and reference.
- No-spread sugar cookies and a half-batch of royal icing (this is my favorite recipe and royal icing guide)
- Piping bags
- Small, round piping tips
- Food coloring pigment powder
- Food safe paint brushes
- Plastic paint palette with small wells
- Food-grade, clear alcohol (like vodka or white rum)
How To Make Edible “Watercolor Paint”
To create “watercolor paint” for royal icing cookies, chilled buttercream cakes, or dried fondant pieces, simply place a small amount of food coloring pigment powder in a well of the paint palette. You don’t need much, so start light and add more pigment later on, if needed. A 1/8 tsp or so should be plenty.
Then, add a few drops of clear, food-grade alcohol into the well(s) with pigment. Mix thoroughly with a paintbrush before using. Similar to traditional watercolor paint, more pigment and less liquid results in a more vivid color. Comparatively, less pigment and more liquid create lighter, “watery” shades. We’ll talk about how to adjust and test the colors in the next section.
When you’re finished using the palette, instead of washing away the colors, simply set it aside for a day or two. Let the alcohol dissolve naturally, and, once it does, only the pigment remains! You can then wrap this palette in a plastic bag and store it as-is for another time. When you want to reuse the pigment, simply add more alcohol as you did the first time and mix again. This way, you don’t waste any precious color pigment!
How To Use Your “Watercolor Paint” On Royal Icing
First, flood your royal icing cookies with a white or very lightly colored royal icing. Here is a thorough royal icing guide in case you need more information on this step. Let your cookies dry completely – this might take up to a day, so it’s a good idea to flood the cookies in advance.
Next, set aside one or two of your least favorite flooded cookies as “test” cookies, like scrap paper. With traditional watercolor, you can test your colors on similar paper or canvas as the final product. So, to make sure your colors show exactly as you wish on your cookie canvas, we’ll do the same. This step is important as the edible “watercolor paint” shows differently on a towel, paper, and, of course, royal icing cookie.
Using your paintbrush, give your first color a little mix and pick up some of the “paint.” Draw a line or squiggle on your test cookie before moving on to your real design. Then, use your watercolor skills to create beautiful, artistic cookie designs. If your “paint” shows up too light, add more pigment to it, mix, and test again. However, if the “paint” is too vibrant or thick, add a few drops of alcohol, mix, and test again until the consistency looks right on your test cookie.
If you’ve never worked with watercolor paint, you may benefit from doing a little online research about the different techniques. Our edible “paint” behaves very similarly to regular watercolor paint, so methods like wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry, and dry-on-dry translate well onto the cookies. Each technique provides very different visual results, so give some thought to your painting method before starting.
Finally, once the edible “watercolor paint” is dried, feel free to color some leftover royal icing. Then, you can pipe this onto the cookies (overtop of the watercolor) to add a finishing, 3D “pop” of color and texture.
Watercolor Paint On Royal Icing – A Fun, Artistic Decorating Method
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Make sure to leave me a comment below if you have any questions at all – I’m happy to help!
Don’t forget to find me on Instagram so we can keep in touch, and be sure to tag me in any photos you post of your cookies! I love to see your works of culinary art.
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Take care guys! Until next time…