It has a lot of points, it comes in many sizes, it usually only does one job, but it does it well. What is it? A star tip! This time around I’m going to share 5 little things you can do with your star tip, I’ll be using a number 22, if you are wondering. Also, sometimes the tips come with the points all pointing inward, almost touching. I always jam a pen or stick in there to flair them out. The frosting comes out much more full and puffy. Just don’t use your finger! The points are sharp and you may instantly regret the decision. You’re going to have to trust me on this one.
1. Fantasy flowers. Here’s a secret. Fantasy flowers are decorator code for “I know these don’t actually look like a flower you find in nature but I think they look pretty so I’m going to do it anyway.” I did one of these cupcakes with long, drawn out stars. Just squeeze and pull back. The other I did by making shell shapes that all meet in the middle. Isn’t that more fun than the usual blob of frosting on top? Then you finish off with a round tip to make the center of the flower.
2. These little sheep cookies would be so cute at a baby shower. Or make some up in the spring! Using your little star tip you just make small circular motions, covering the surface with puffy fluffiness. Draw on the face with a round tip and dot your eyes. I have also made these on upside down cupcakes, equally adorable.
3. Monster face! The best part about this idea is there is no wrong way. You can draw long drawn out fur, short push star style or small swirls. You can sweep the hair up, down, over the eye… You get to be a hairstylist with frosting. Finish your face by making crazy eyes and a creepy smile with your round tip. You can decorate cookies, cupcake tops, or even a cake.
4. The “not really basket weave but at a distance might fool your friends” idea. So doing basket weave can be time consuming. Don’t get me wrong, it looks great, but it’s definitely an upper level skill when done correctly. Here’s an idea for giving the same woven look in a fraction of the time. Start at the bottom of your iced cake. Do a shell border in the clockwise direction. Once you’ve gone all the way around do a shell border above that in the counter clockwise direction. Try to line up the puffy part of the shell with the tail of the shell below it. Think of it as laying brick. Continue your borders all the way up the side of your cake to create the basket weave look.
5. Borders! Yeah, I’m sure you were thinking this would be some mind blowing, original idea. Well, guess what. It’s time to leave that push star border behind. Yeah, I’m looking at you. You want to decorate? Good. Let’s get you making a real border and not one of them frosting pile caterpillar borders!
A basic shell border is made of… shells! Ok, that wasn’t much of a shock. The part to master is the shape and how you connect them into a border. Yes, there are shell tips, it looks like a half star, but I don’t use them anymore. I was confused on my first day on the job. How could I make shell borders without shell tips?! Feeling silly I was told to use the star tip and I haven’t looked back. I think the borders look so nice and full with a star tip. Plus later on, when you want to get fancy, you can make more ornate shell borders.
To make a nice little shell first make sure you are holding the tip at the correct angle, go for about 45 degrees. If you are making your border from left to right have the opening facing to the left, this is assuming you are right handed. Now give a squeeze. The frosting will flow out. When the puff is the size you want you pull and move your hand to the right at the same time releasing the pressure. This should cause a tapering effect on the end of your shell. Basically you are making a puff and a tail, over and over. Practice making little puffs first. When they look like the individual puffs in the photo, try linking them together. Make a puff, draw out a little tail, then the trick is to give a little push/flick to the left while beginning the squeeze for the next shell. This should make the puff over lap the tail you just made previously. Puff to tail, puff to tail, puff to tail, over and over.
Without the little tapering tail your border will start to look like a conga line of shells. Look at the side shot of the borders. See how in the second to the top row the puffs are just in a big piggy back pile? Try to make borders like the bottom two rows. The piggy back look tends to get taller and taller, sometimes leaning over. If you find you are just making a wavy frosting pile you need to work on squeezing and relaxing as you go to create the contrast between shells. It will make your border look much more professional. And don’t feel bad! It’s a good start, you just need more practice!
From there you can make so many variations. Big puffs and very long tails, 2 puffs and a tail, the scroll border! the reversing scroll border! and beyond!
I hope you try a few ideas out or at least practice your borders. Remember, you don’t need all the tips in the store. Just a few tried and true favorites and some creativity.
Coborn’s Cake Decorator
Sauk Rapids, MN
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