Spring has not yet sprung (at least not where I live), but hopefully it's just around the corner! In anticipation of the arrival of spring, I decided to make a cookie wreath. Now, I've done my fair share of bird-related cookies, but when I came across this pretty spring wreath on Pinterest, I couldn't resist. I was also inspired by my early cookie designs, like this spring bird nest I did last year and this spring birdhouse cookie I did the year before. So, without further ado, let's get started!
What you will need:
- Cookies baked according to instructions below (I used 4 1/2-inch and 1 3/4-inch Easter egg cutters, and a mini bird cookie cutter that's about 1 1/2 inches)
- Piping consistency royal icing in chocolate brown
- Piping bag fitted with Wilton tip #233 (grass tip)
- Medium consistency (12-second) flood icing, tinted light green (you won't need more that a couple of tablespoons)
- Stiff dry brush
- Petal dust in shades of green and brown
- Soft dry round brush
- Medium consistency (12-second) flood icing in blue and white
- Two piping bags fitted with tip #2 and tip #1
- Brown gel food coloring with a bit of clear extract/alcohol
- Rubber/clear stamp with a pretty pattern (optional)
- Clean make-up sponge (use a new one)
- Small amount of fondant, tinted burlap brown (refer to my previous tutorial)
- Even smaller amount of fondant, tinted blue
- Edible glue
- Small piece of wafer paper
- Mini alphabet stamp set, similar to this one (I found mine in a dollar bin at my local craft store)
I know this seems like a lot of supplies, but I wanted to make sure to include everything in the list, even the most obvious! Please don't be taken aback by the length of it!
Here are the cutters I used for this project. The large egg-shaped cutter is actually a circle cutter that I re-shaped to resemble an egg. And the bird cutter started out as a mini cardinal cutter. I turned it into this bird shape using pliers.
Use the larger egg-shaped cutter and cut out the base cookie; then place the smaller cutter in the center of that cookie and cut out the middle to make an oval-shaped ring. Use the bird cutter to cut out two bird cookies. Flip one, so they face each other. Bake the cookies.
The cookies are baked, cooled, and ready to decorate. I wanted to mimic the look of a grapevine wreath. Using brown icing of piping consistency with the grass tip, pipe the vines, going over the oval ring a few times. I did three layers. Let the icing dry.
Use the green flood icing and the stiff dry brush to add "moss" to your wreath. With a stippling motion, dab the icing in random places. Add a couple of layers, letting the icing dry for a bit in between the layers.
Dust some of both the green and brown petal dust onto the moss with the soft round brush to give the moss a more realistic look. You can use a damp brush at the end of this process and dab the moss to bring out the color just a bit.
Let's move on to decorating the birds. For them, I wanted a scrapbook-like, shabby chic look. I used equal amounts of Wilton cornflower blue and teal with a touch of ivory for my blue shade. Flood the bird cookies with the tip #2 and add white wet-on-wet polka dots using the tip #1.
When the icing is completely dry, it's time to add a weathered and rustic look to the birds. To do this, apply a touch of brown food coloring (you need very little) on a damp brush to the cookie. Concentrate mostly along the top edge. Try not to overwork an area, and do not apply too much water. Too much water and friction from the paint brush will break down the royal icing.
To add more interest to the birds, I stamped them using a clear stamp with a swirl pattern. Mix the brown gel coloring with a touch of clear extract or alcohol. Use the make-up sponge to apply the color to the stamp. Decide where you'd like the stamp to go, place the "inked" stamp on the bird, and press gently with your fingertips to stamp the image. I decided to do a partial print along the top edge. Please note that there are many ways to stamp cookies. Some people use undiluted coloring and stamp pads to apply it, others use airbrush coloring, others use wood-mounted stamps, and so on. This is how I do it, and it works for me!
Another tip on stamping: I'm no expert on the matter, but I learned this little trick a while back from a YouTube video, so I thought I'd share it with you. Most of my stamps are clear and cling stamps. When I use them for the first time, I take a new nail file and file the stamp to "rough up" the surface. This produces a more clear image. Wash the stamps with warm soapy water and let dry on paper towels before using.
For the bird's nest, I made a fondant ribbon rose. Begin by making a burlap-textured fondant strip (about 2 x 6 inches); then fold it in half lengthwise and start rolling from one end, gathering and pinching at intervals to make pleats. Pinch the bottom and cut off the excess. Press down the middle to make room for the eggs.
Take a little bit of blue fondant and divide it into three equal parts. Form each one into an egg shape. Use brown coloring to add speckles. Adhere to the nest with a bit of edible glue.
For the little notes, use the mini alphabet stamp set with brown gel coloring and stamp the message onto wafer paper. I used the phrase "hello spring", but any spring-y sentiment will work!
It's time to assemble this wreath! Arrange the birds and the nest on the base cookie. Once you are happy with their placement, use a bit of leftover icing to adhere them in place. Add the little notes where you see fit. Use just a touch of edible glue to adhere them, and that's it! The spring wreath cookie is done!
Isn't it cute? Now, I can't wait to see your take on this cookie. If you've got a question, shoot me a message. I'm happy to answer your questions.
Be creative! Let your inspiration guide you, and let your imagination run wild!
And don't forget, please send me your sparks of ideas (photos, notes, doodles, or whatever) to help fuel my future posts! Thanks!
Pamoda Vanderwert is a hobbyist cookie decorator who found her passion for decorating cookies while being a cake decorator. She started decorating cookies in early 2013 and hasn’t looked back since. She launched her Facebook page Sugar Pearls Cakes & Bakes around the same time as a way to connect with other cookiers, and also to share her creativity with the rest of the world. When she is not decorating cookies, she keeps herself busy as a mother of two young children.
Photo credit: Pamoda Vanderwert
Note: Get Inspired with Sugar Pearls is a monthly Cookie Connection blog feature written by Pamoda Vanderwert, which explores how to go from source inspiration to artful cookie design through creative cookie tutorials. Its content expresses the views of the author and not necessarily those of this site, its owners, its administrators, or its employees. To catch up on all of Pamoda's past posts, click here.