Circles and Ovals

Does anyone have any tips for piping circles and ovals? I am frustrated by the results I am getting. I have tried tracing and using my Kopykake but I still end up with wobbly and uneven circles and ovals and I'd like to be able to do a better job free-hand.

Original Post

This is a tough one, always. My rounds and ovals are always a little wobbly too; when they're especially bad, I conceal the edges with big (usually dotted) borders! But here are a couple of things that work better for me:

 

1. Steadying the tip of my cone with my fingertip when piping; and

 

2. Not outlining first. I usually get more perfectly rounded edges if I just push the icing into place near the edges with the narrow end of a craft paint brush. The icing seems to naturally want to flow into rounded shapes.

 

I'm all for minimizing steps, so if I can avoid tracing and pulling out the Kopykake, I will. I'll be very interested to hear what tricks other people use.

Originally Posted by SweetSentiments:

Does anyone have any tips for piping circles and ovals? I am frustrated by the results I am getting. I have tried tracing and using my Kopykake but I still end up with wobbly and uneven circles and ovals and I'd like to be able to do a better job free-hand.

I'm no expert but I have found the easiest way for me is by using an edible marker and tracing around a smaller circle cutter on the cookie.  I have a circle set by Ateco and just grab the next smaller size than what I used to cut the cookie.  This is what works for me.  I sure hope this made sense.  I have the same set for ovals also and do the same thing.  ughhh Circles and ovals are the worst!!

I've had the same problem, but I read somewhere (I'm sorry, I don't remember whose blog it was on) that if you pipe the circle counter clockwise, it is easier. This method has really helped me.  I'm not sure why, maybe it's easier to see where you're going. if that's the case, i imagine you'd want to pipe clockwise if you're a lefty.
That's funny because I think I tried that once and I did find it easier, thanks for reminding me!
 
Originally Posted by Cathy's Custom Cookies:
I've had the same problem, but I read somewhere (I'm sorry, I don't remember whose blog it was on) that if you pipe the circle counter clockwise, it is easier. This method has really helped me.  I'm not sure why, maybe it's easier to see where you're going. if that's the case, i imagine you'd want to pipe clockwise if you're a lefty.
Originally Posted by SweetSentiments:
That's funny because I think I tried that once and I did find it easier, thanks for reminding me!
 
Originally Posted by Cathy's Custom Cookies:
I've had the same problem, but I read somewhere (I'm sorry, I don't remember whose blog it was on) that if you pipe the circle counter clockwise, it is easier. This method has really helped me.  I'm not sure why, maybe it's easier to see where you're going. if that's the case, i imagine you'd want to pipe clockwise if you're a lefty.

Just to play devil's advocate . . .  I pipe clockwise and I'm right-handed. I find it easier to see how my icing is falling onto the cookie that way. If I go the other way, my hand covers most of the tip of my bag and interferes with my line of sight - but I work with fairly small parchment cones almost exclusively.

You may already be doing this, but my best tip is to pipe with the tip a few centimeters above the top of the cookie, letting the icing fall onto the cookie. This helps to get smooth, straight or curved lines. Another thing to try is rotating the cookie either as you pipe or pipe in sections, rotating before each one. 

 

Lots of practice will probably have you piping perfect circles soon! 

I do the "Push out" method (if it is a method) as well. Pipe you first circle the angle your tip into the inside of that bead of icing and add more icing until you flood your cookie...it will push out your initial piped circle to where you want it to be.  So, the haphazard initial piped circle is not even visible you have a pretty concentric circle.  Hopefully I explained that well. 

 

I am a leftie and I go counter clockwise, but I make sure I am piping about an inch off my cookie and it drops so much better. 

I will either use an edible marker and trace an outline to follow, or I'll press an indent into the cookie itself when it first comes out of the oven.  The latter is much faster - but I don't always have a cutter that is the size that I'd like.

 

And I have to ice clockwise like Julia too.  Counter-clockwise and my hand gets in the way!

I've been a long time lurker on this great site but I recently discovered something wonderful and after reading this thread, I had to join just to post this tip: I too had problems with circles but recently my husband was clearing out a kitchen cupboard and found an old Christmas present my Auntie gave me that has never been used. In the UK we call it a Lazy Susan and just in case you have no idea what they are I'll describe it! It's a round board (mine's glass), typically a chopping board that sits on another board and spins round, so whoever is on the other side of the board at a dinner table just has to spin it instead of reaching over to get whatever product they want. I am sure you can get them the world over! 

 

With round cookies all I do is make sure they're placed in the centre, place my tip on the edge of the cookie (I place it 'west' which is where I used to start my outline going clockwise) and as I squeeze and lift, with my left hand I gently spin the lazy Susan. As long as I keep my icing hand still the icing line falls into the most perfect circle I normally only dreamt about!

 

Seriously, it works perfectly each and every time, instantly, and I've had not one dud circular outline since I've discovered this. I don't for a second believe I'm the 1st one to discover this, but I haven't seen anyone else mention it as a tip.

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