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Watch-Learn-Create Challenge #57: Stenciled Royal Icing Transfers with Manu


Hi, everyone! Welcome to Watch-Learn-Create Challenge #57. The topic of this challenge is stenciled royal icing transfers, and - surprise! - I am the featured guest! For beginners who might be participating, royal icing transfers are nothing more than royal icing piped (or spread) on some other surface than cookies (usually parchment paper, acetate, or silicone); it is then allowed to dry before it is transferred onto cookies. And, stenciled royal icing transfers are simply transfers created by stenciling royal icing into a particular shape.

But before we get too far into the details of this challenge, let me first introduce our special guest host: Evelin Milanesi of @Evelindecora. Award-winning cookie artist, amazing teacher, and active member of Cookie Connection, Evelin was also one of the first featured guests in our Watch-Learn-Create series after it was introduced in July 2022. In her challenge, Evelin demonstrated her distinctive piped crochet technique, which, lucky for you, can be watched time and time again simply by purchasing her kickoff video on Cookie Connection founder @Julia M. Usher's site. To learn more about about Evelin, please check out her in-depth Cookier Close-up interview and her Cookie Connection portfolio, both here on this site.

By wearing the hat of guest host in this challenge, Evelin gave me the chance to experience these challenges from the guest point of view (something I've wanted to do in order to better appreciate how these challenges are received) and also to challenge myself for the first time with a full-blown video demo. I thank Evelin ever so much for supporting me in this way. In the sneak peek of my kickoff video (below), you'll see that, in addition to all of her other talents, Evelin is a natural-born host. She asked me just the right clarifying questions at just the right times, and I couldn't be more grateful!


If you've been following my Cookie Connection Made by Manu tutorials for any amount of time, you know that I like royal icing transfers in general, and that I use them in a lot of my cookie projects. Why? Simply put, I'm in my comfort zone when I can pipe on something other than cookies! I'm less likely to mess up cookies with piping mistakes; plus, transfers give me lots of flexibility. I can rearrange them until I get my cookie designs just right before I "glue" anything permanently in place. Below you'll see some photos from my Cookie Connection tutorials that are almost exclusively focused on transfers, though mostly piped ones. (Again, this challenge centers around stenciled royal icing transfers, not piped ones.)

Royal Icing Transfers

My Kickoff Video

In my kickoff video for this challenge, you will learn how to make two kinds of stenciled royal icing transfers. Both of these transfers also involve a two-step process: (1) stencil the icing to make transfers of a certain shape and then, once those transfers are dry, (2) assemble them with more icing into a larger transfer.

The first time I heard about stenciled royal icing transfers was in 2016 from @LilaLoa, a blog by Georganne Bell, in her post “How to Make Your Own Custom Sprinkles”. To make her sprinkles, she used tiny stencils and a single-step, single-swipe process (a single pass of icing over the stencil without any additional assembly). While her post was very likely the spark of inspiration behind my wax seal royal icing transfers featured in Part I of my challenge kickoff demo (also pictured above, upper left and lower right), these transfers, though 2-D (flat), involve at least two steps as noted above. First, the center portion is stenciled, and then, once that part is dry, it is set in more royal icing that simulates the puddle of wax around a real wax seal. I also embellished the center parts by personalizing them with piped and stenciled royal icing.

In Part II of my demo, I make stenciled petal royal icing transfers, both 2-D and 3-D (contoured) ones, and then assemble them into dimensional flowers. I've wanted to make stenciled petals ever since making piped ones for my water lily project, which, ironically, was first created for Cookie Connection Challenge #27! What better occasion than this 57th challenge (30 challenges later!) to try out the stenciled approach?!

With that brief intro, let's take a look at this sneak peek of my demo:

To read more details about what my one-hour video includes, click here to be taken to its listing on Julia's site. If you want to purchase it, just click the button (photo) below to grab your Cookie Connection members-only discount code. This code will give you my video for a mere $5 (normally $30) if you purchase before the close of the challenge on July 7, 2024 (5 pm central time). Once you've gotten the code, follow the prompts on the discount code page to go to Julia's site to purchase the video, and then apply the discount code at checkout.

If you're not a Cookie Connection member and want to watch the video at a discount, that's fine too. Just click the same button above, and you will be prompted to sign up for this site first (it's free). Then follow the exact same instructions above. Of course, you can also skip the joining of this site, and just purchase at the normal price by hopping to my video listing on Julia's site.

My resource list is also included in the video price, and will automatically be delivered to you once you purchase the video. You can watch the video without ever creating a challenge entry, though I really hope you will! Let me remind you that you don’t have to use fancy tools to participate in this challenge. You can cut your own stencils using only acetate or parchment paper, a sugarcraft knife, and my templates. And cutting them is super easy, as I demonstrate in my video!

Julia and I thank you in advance for purchasing the full-length video. Your video purchases support our featured guests, and make it possible for us to continue to bring top-notch guests and content to these challenges.


Remember, this challenge (like all of our challenges) is open to those of all skill levels because it is not a cookie competition; it is a learning experience and a chance to practice new techniques while connecting with me and other participants. For this challenge, I leave you with four simple rules and the freedom to otherwise create as you wish:

  1. You must create a cookie project or set comprised of one (1) or more cookies that contains at least two (2) different types of stenciled royal icing transfers. At least one (1) of these types must be one (1) of the two-step assembled concepts that I demonstrated in my tutorial, that is either my wax seal transfer or my flower transfer, or both. Variations of these concepts (such as different seal and petal shapes) are, of course, allowed. You can also include your own original stenciled transfer designs that complement your overall cookie or cookie set design.
  2. Your original transfer design(s), if you choose to include one (or more), can be simple single-swipe embellishments, or they can be assembled multi-piece transfers (like my flowers and wax seals). They can be 2-D (flat) or 3-D (contoured). They can be left plain or further embellished with stenciled or piped royal icing (like my wax seals). In other words, the sky's the limit! Just be sure they make sense with your overall cookie project/set design.
  3. Embellishments other than stenciled royal icing transfers can be included on your entry, but they should be kept to a minimum. The stenciled royal icing transfers should be the focal point.
  4. Enter as often as you want, but each entry should be a project/set of one (1) or more cookies with two (2) different types of stenciled royal icing transfers, at least one (1) of which is one of my two-step demo concepts per Rule #1. Let your creativity lead you!


As you know, each entrant is eligible to participate in the random drawing that will determine this challenge's prize winners. I encourage multiple entries because the more times you enter, the greater your chances of winning. There will be two prizes and four winners this time! The first three randomly drawn entrants will receive a set of my homemade stencils that includes hearts, circles, ovals, and various petals. And I will ship these sets anywhere in the world!

W-L-C #57 Challenge Prize - Set of Stencils Designed by Manu

The treats are not over though, because there's that second prize I mentioned. It's offered by @Julia M. Usher, founder and host of Cookie Connection.


That prize is a surprise goodie box (retail value: ~$150 USD) filled with decorating tools and ingredients that Julia picked up on her recent teaching trips to Australia and Miami, and it will go to a fourth randomly drawn winner located in the United States. Thank you, Julia! . . . Please also allow me to send Julia massive congrats for her recognitions received during each of those same trips. The Australian Cake Artists & Decorators Association (ACADA) awarded Julia the 2024 Global Sugar Hero Award at International Cake Show Australia (ICSA) back on April 13. Then two weeks later on April 27, she received the Industry Icon of the Year Award at the American Cake Awards (ACA). So well deserved! [EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks for this shout-out, Manu. April was an exciting month, for sure. But above all, I am most grateful to those who nominated me and, in so doing, validated me and the often crazy work that I do! ❤️ ~JMU]

To Enter

  • If you have any questions for me as you are developing your entry, that's great! We encourage questions and learning at every step of the process. Please enter all questions in the comments area under this post, so that everyone can benefit from the Q&A. And please tag @Manu biscotti decorati so I am sure to see your question(s) and respond in a timely way. Again, I have also provided a resource list that will automatically be delivered to you once you have purchased the demo.
  • This challenge will last a long nine (9) weeks, not only to allow you plenty of time to create, but also to avoid the final weeks of Julia's annual cookie art competition when she will be quite busy. That said, please post an image of your entry to the site under the Cookie Connection Challenge clip set no later than Sunday, July 7, 2024 at 5 pm central time.
  • Because these challenges will be ongoing, we ask that you put "Watch-Learn-Create Challenge #57" 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. (Don't use just the Cookie Connection Challenge 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. Multiple clips of the same entry are not allowed unless added in a comment beneath the one primary clip.

On July 13 (or thereabouts) in our weekly Saturday Spotlight, I will reveal the 10 top-trending entries (as determined automatically by our site-trending algorithms*) as well as the randomly drawn prize winners. The next challenge will be announced soon after this challenge has closed. *Note: The site algorithms use members' collective likes, comments, and reactions to each entry to determine our Spotlightees.

If you are new to Cookie Connection and need help posting your entry, please let me know and I’ll be happy to assist you.

Again, a huge thanks to @Evelindecora for always being game to take on any Cookie Connection initiative!

Ciao, Manu (and Evelin)

Manuela Pezzopane, affectionately called Manu by her friends and family, is the author of the blog feature Made by Manu, where each month she shares the method behind a magical cookie of her own making. In March 2022, Manu also assumed the role of host of our rebranded and reformatted Cookie Connection Challenges: Watch-Learn-Create Series, which debuted in a virtual video format in July 2022. A fan of everything handmade, Manu professes to have tried every possible hobby. However, it wasn’t until the end of 2014, when an American friend invited her to a Christmas cookie exchange, that she first discovered decorated cookies. In 2015, after watching Julia M. Usher's videos and signing up on Cookie Connection, Manu finally attempted her own designs. Since then, cookie decorating has become Manu’s passion, and her mesmerizing video shorts have earned her a large and loyal following throughout the global cookie community. Manu harks from Rome, Italy, where she currently resides. You can email Manu at, follow her on Facebook and Instagram, or explore her past challenges and large library of Made by Manu tutorials here on Cookie Connection.

Photo credit: Manuela Pezzopane


Images (4)
  • Watch-Learn-Create Challenge #57 Banner: Royal Icing Transfers and Photos by Manu; Graphic Design by Elizabeth Cox and Julia M Usher
  • Royal Icing Transfers in Manu's Cookie Connection Projects: Royal Icing Transfers, Cookies, and Photos by Manu; Graphic Design by Manu
  • Watch-Learn-Create Challenge #57 Prize #1 - Set of Homemade Stencils by Manu: Stencil Designs and Photo by Manu
  • Watch-Learn-Create Challenge #57 Prize #2 - Julia with a Simulation of Her Surprise Goodie Box: Photos Courtesy of Julia M Usher and George Dolgikh (royalty-free from Pexels); Graphic Design by Manu

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Comments (11)

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WOW!!! It really never gets boring here!!! ...

Another great Challenge, another great theme!!
Thank you sooo very much dear Manu, Evelin and Julia for this possibility!! ❤️
@Manu biscotti decorati   @Evelindecora   @Julia M. Usher

Can’t wait to see your entry (or entries), Gabi!

Inspiring down-to-earth video instruction on a technique that I am eager to engage with!  Love (Evelindecora): "It may happen, therefore we need more and more"!    And, great connection to tips that work in the arena of creating contoured cookies.  Thank you @Manu biscotti decorati @Evelindecora and @Julia M. Usher

@EAC posted:

Inspiring down-to-earth video instruction on a technique that I am eager to engage with!  Love (Evelindecora): "It may happen, therefore we need more and more"!    And, great connection to tips that work in the arena of creating contoured cookies.  Thank you @Manu biscotti decorati @Evelindecora and @Julia M. Usher

I smile every time I watch the video - it's a delight to see the friendship these two have forged and to witness the mutual respect/admiration they have for one another. It shines through in the video, I do believe! (@Evelindecora & @Manu biscotti decorati)

@EAC posted:

Inspiring down-to-earth video instruction on a technique that I am eager to engage with!  Love (Evelindecora): "It may happen, therefore we need more and more"!    And, great connection to tips that work in the arena of creating contoured cookies.  Thank you @Manu biscotti decorati @Evelindecora and @Julia M. Usher

Thank you @EAC, I am glad you enjoyed the techniques! Yes, prepare more spare petals especially if you decide to create a flower with contoured petals. And always be careful while handling the flowers as you could see at the end of the video 😉
Flowers created with flat petals are a little bit sturdier. Having more petals available is anyway a good thing as you may want to add one or two at the very last second while the flower is taking shape. Also a combination of flat and contoured petals allows you to create a nice flower.
Can’t wait to see your creations!

This could not have been better timed! @Manu biscotti decorati, I can always count on you to show me how to do something smarter. Love the switch-up, too. @Evelindecora did a fantastic job!

Thank you, Samantha 💙 I hope you enjoyed the video. @Evelindecora is definitely a natural also as a host and I was definitely in good hands!

Hello everybody! The video is incredible! The techniques are super nice and there are many tips and it is very pleasant to see them both together, thank you, the tutorial is divine. now to work with the challenge entries

@Yazz Ross posted:

Hello everybody! The video is incredible! The techniques are super nice and there are many tips and it is very pleasant to see them both together, thank you, the tutorial is divine. now to work with the challenge entries

Hi Yazz! I am so glad to hear this. We can’t wait to see your entries!

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