Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #9 - Piped Lettering

Well, hello there! I am thrilled and honored to be taking over these challenges from The Cookie Architect, who could not have done a more brilliant job in masterminding these challenges. And many thanks to Julia M. Usher for hosting this site and having enough faith to let me pick up right where Rebecca left off. So, without further ado, let's start the show!

 

[EDITOR'S NOTE: But first, thank you to Christine for stepping into big shoes without skipping a beat! I am so impressed - and grateful! To learn more about the talented Christine Donnelly, aka Bakerloo Station, check out her contributor's bio and her amazing body of work here on Cookie Connection.]

 

Those who know me know I LOVE a good challenge, and so I thought I would jump right in and begin with a challenge many of you have called your "kookie kryptonite" (a phrase that I believe was coined, or at least made famous by, Mallory of ButterWinks). Yes, that's right - I am talking about none other than piped lettering.  

 

Fearlessly (or stupidly?), I tend to just freehand-wing-it when it comes to writing on cookies. However, this approach tends to lead to a mixed bag of results. Sometimes they are fairly good:

 

Mod Flowers Birthday - Bakerloo Station

Shakespeare Platter - Bakerloo Station

Teachers Rock - Bakerloo Station

 

And sometimes they are not so good. (Photo unavailable, because the not-so-goods were all eaten.)

 

Now, I think a better, more consistent approach to piping lettering on cookies would be to plan the font you want to use, and then use a device, such as a Kopykake or digital projector, to project your image onto the cookie prior to piping. For example, Aime of The Painted Pastry used her Kopykake to create this fabulous set: 

 

You are my Sunshine by The Painted Pastry

 

And BAKRGAL Barb used a digital projector (and scribe tool) to produce this amazing lettering:

 

Danke Schon by Bakrgal

 

If, like me, you have a digital projector or Kopykake still in its box from Christmas, then here are a couple of tutorials you may want to check out: this one from Sweet Sugarbelle about how to use fonts with your Kopykake, and then this one from Sweet Hope Cookies about how to use a digital projector. Of course, if you want advice on how to eyeball a font and wing-it freehand (warning: there is some combination of prayer and rain dance involved), I'm your gal.

 

Rules:

 

Make a cookie(s) with hand-piped lettering. They can be individual cookies or part of a set. All I ask is that you create at least three cookies with one or more font styles OR one cookie with three or more font styles. And no painted, stamped, or stenciled lettering, please!

 

As always, we ask that you make a brand spankin' new cookie/cookie set for this challenge.

 

When you post your image, please also leave a comment directly under the photo that lets us know if you used a Kopykake or digital projector, or if you went freehand. (Inquiring minds want to know!) Any other comments about your lettering journey are welcome too.

 

Get creative, take some healthy risks, and HAVE SOME FUN.

 

Prize for this challenge:

 

I am VERY excited about the prize for this challenge: a $50 gift certificate to Artfully Designed Creations! Use it to buy stencils and cookie stuff GALORE. And the great thing about this prize is that anyone anywhere is eligible to win (they ship internationally), though combined purchases and shipping cannot exceed $50 USD. Plus, bonus of bonuses, the certificate has NO expiration date.

 

Artfully Designed Creations Logo

 

To enter:

  • Please post an image of your cookie or cookie set to the site under the Practice Bakes Perfect clip set no later than April 19, 2015 at 5 pm central.
  • Because these challenges will be ongoing, we ask that you put "Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #9" in your photo caption (subtitle field) AND in a tag, so we can tell the challenges apart from month to month. Please use the title field to uniquely name your cookies as you normally would.
  • Please also assign other relevant clip sets and tags to your images, as you normally would. (Meaning don't just use the Practice Bakes Perfect clip set and leave it at that, or your photos won't easily be found with keyword searches.)
  • You can enter more than once, but please post only one clip of each distinct entry/cookie set. Multiple clips of the same entry/cookie set are not allowed unless added in a comment beneath the one primary clip.

After the challenge closes on April 19, we will announce the winner in the Saturday Spotlight the following weekend (April 25). The next challenge will be announced after this challenge is closed.

 

And one last thing . . . This is NOT meant to be a competition. The only person you should be competing against is yourself. Period. These challenges are intended to inspire the artist in you and push you to be the best cookie artist YOU can be at this snapshot in time. Remember, the whole point of this exercise is to get you out of your comfort zone - to "take healthy risks," as my wise-beyond-his-years son always reminds me. Plus, prizes are given entirely at random, so healthy risk-taking has its own rewards! 

 

I would love to chat with you as you journey through this process, so if you have any questions about the challenge, are having trouble getting started, need help bringing an idea to life, or need technical advice (which may or may not include prayer and/or rain dance), please leave a comment below. 

 

 

Christine Donnelly began her professional baking career at 16, when she was hired on the spot at her local bakery to work the counter and decorate cakes. After detours to college and law school, she worked as a trial lawyer in Chicago for many years, ultimately leaving that career to become a stay-at-home mother to her two children. In her “retirement,” she continued to bake at home, at last finding her preferred artistic medium in decorated cookies. In February 2013, Bakerloo Station was born with a presence on both Facebook and Instagram. Christine makes cookies to balance her left brain, to inspire and share creative ideas, and to feed those needs that only art can satisfy. 

 

Photo credit: Christine Donnelly

 

NotePractice Bakes Perfect is a bimonthly Cookie Connection blog feature written by Christine Donnelly that poses inspiration or challenges to get you to stretch as a cookie artist - for practice, for prizes, and for fun! Its content expresses the views of the author and not necessarily those of this site, its owners, its administrators, or its employees. Catch up on all of Christine's past Cookie Connection posts here.

 

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I just heard a collective groan echo across the globe... lettering!?! I was planning on this being my first entry, so I guess it's time to just dive in. (But did it really have to be headfirst? Lol!) I don't have a kopykake, an airbrush, or an ipad with an app, so please go easy on me. Looking forward to seeing what everyone else creates.
I KNOW you can do it!  I have never used a KK or digital projector myself, so believe me, you do not need those devices to do lettering.  You just need some patience and a little practice to let your own writing style develop.  I can't wait to see what you come up with!  
 
Originally Posted by Wildflower:
I just heard a collective groan echo across the globe... lettering!?! I was planning on this being my first entry, so I guess it's time to just dive in. (But did it really have to be headfirst? Lol!) I don't have a kopykake, an airbrush, or an ipad with an app, so please go easy on me. Looking forward to seeing what everyone else creates.

 

Originally Posted by Wildflower:
I just heard a collective groan echo across the globe... lettering!?! I was planning on this being my first entry, so I guess it's time to just dive in. (But did it really have to be headfirst? Lol!) I don't have a kopykake, an airbrush, or an ipad with an app, so please go easy on me. Looking forward to seeing what everyone else creates.

I completely feel your pain Wildflower! I really dislike lettering. This will be a huge challenge for me...thanks Christine...

Wow. Lettering...And no painting! Kinda feel my hands will be tied behind my back. So it'll be interesting to see what my toes come up with. It may not be pretty. Great stretching exercise at any rate! Thanks for the great challenge.

Painting is absolutely fine, as long as your lettering element is piped.  
 
Originally Posted by Leaping Toadstool:

Hi,

Awesome challenge, I really like typography
May I ask whether we can paint on the surface of the piped texts or stay clear of paint altogether and do all the decoration with Royal Icing only?

Thank you.

 

Alrighty, thank you for the quick answer!!

Originally Posted by Bakerloo Station:
Painting is absolutely fine, as long as your lettering element is piped.  
 
Originally Posted by Leaping Toadstool:

Hi,

Awesome challenge, I really like typography
May I ask whether we can paint on the surface of the piped texts or stay clear of paint altogether and do all the decoration with Royal Icing only?

Thank you.

 

 

I too avoid lettering because it never turns out for me. I think I have sooo many issues, the first one being my consistency. Then there's the issue of getting it to come out of that tiny tip. I haven't participated in one of these challenges yet, but I know I need this practice so thanks for the push!!!!

I read digital projector can be used too.   How can they be  used to reflect the images in cookies?  Cookies are smaller than walls!  What kind of features must I look for a digital projector to be used on cookies?

 

Miley, if you click on the link in the post regarding the video tutorial from Sweet Hope Cookies, Anita discusses the types of digital projectors and recommends a particular projector.  It is the same type you would use for projecting movies, but when placed on a stand, can be used for cookies!  It is the same one that I have bought (but not used yet).  
 
Originally Posted by Mily:

I read digital projector can be used too.   How can they be  used to reflect the images in cookies?  Cookies are smaller than walls!  What kind of features must I look for a digital projector to be used on cookies?

 

 

I love lettering actually, all thanks to my projector. But I have found two things I have found that help me a lot. First is icing consistency. It has to be correct or you will struggle. Unfortunately there isn't one consistency for writing, it depends on the font and the size of the letters. Second, don't try to form your letters like you would when writing. For example, when I am doing cursive fonts, I don't actually pipe continuously. Instead I think about the shapes I am trying to form that make up each letter and how best to do those. For round letters, I pipe the circles and then add on any additional pieces, like a line for an b or d, rather than piping it in one motion. I find I get much better looking letters this way. Like anything with cookies, it is also just about practice. You are going to have to pipe a lot of letters before you are happy. 

Excellent tips, Loris!  I could not agree more with all of this.  Thank you for sharing!
 
Originally Posted by HappyLorisBaking:

I love lettering actually, all thanks to my projector. But I have found two things I have found that help me a lot. First is icing consistency. It has to be correct or you will struggle. Unfortunately there isn't one consistency for writing, it depends on the font and the size of the letters. Second, don't try to form your letters like you would when writing. For example, when I am doing cursive fonts, I don't actually pipe continuously. Instead I think about the shapes I am trying to form that make up each letter and how best to do those. For round letters, I pipe the circles and then add on any additional pieces, like a line for an b or d, rather than piping it in one motion. I find I get much better looking letters this way. Like anything with cookies, it is also just about practice. You are going to have to pipe a lot of letters before you are happy. 

 

I'm glad everyone else will have to stretch and learn a bit too, maybe we will all be surprised at how good we do! I am already planning to use an edible marker, so that I can trace over neatly spaced and lined up letters. I always have to make a guide, because I can't even write in a straight line with a pencil unless it is lined paper, lol!

I saw an app called Artist's Eye at the Google play store, and picked it up for my phone. (Samsung Galaxy S4) It's just like the Camera Lucida app for ipad, except that it is only a very basic version. I have only done a quick test run, but it seems to work well, though with a bit of a learning curve. Not sure if I will go that way yet, but it's worth checking out.

BTW, you can search online, and there is a great tutorial by Sugarfox(?) for how to build a mini projector out of cardboard boxes and a flashlight, with a clear plastic cd jewel case to hold the image. (copied onto a clear sheet, like transparencies)

One tip for when you're piping freehand, start in the center of the word and work out to the edges. One of the hardest things for me was getting the words centered correctly on cookies and cakes, and that has helped me tremendously.

 

Does anyone have a good online resource for decorative fonts?

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