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I also paint by extending petal and luster dusts with alcohol-based extracts. The alcohol evaporates quickly so you rarely have to worry about getting a cookie too wet with water and dissolving the underlying icing. However, the paints made with dusts, even luster dusts, dry with a more matte finish than does food coloring extended with water or extract. The latter always dries a little shinier, at least that's been my experience.

Liz, that's exactly what I was thinking when I was writing my first reply, it's like my kindergarden pictures but now I know to use MUCH less water!

@Julia, I also use Vodka with my luster dust etc. ~ I learned the hard way when I first started and the luster dust didn't have instructions ... so from experience (and a ruined beautiful set of cookies) NEVER USE WATER WITH LUSTER DUST! What a memory that is! ;-)

Originally Posted by Debbi Hook - The SPI Flip Flop Foodie:

I'm quite new to painting cookies and I use vodka to thin the gel paste in the same way I use vodka with luster dust.  I found it very helpful to view Arty McGoo youtubes as well as SweetAmbs.  I have also experimented with the Crystal Colors powdered food color (hydrated with vodka).  I used them with a stencil and paint brush - very vivid color resulted. 

Interested to try this!  I used water with my first cookie painting, and I think vodka might be my preference!

My setup goes something like this:  
*I prefer Wilton as it has a more paste-like consistency rather than gel and I think it dries better.

*I prefer to put my colors out on a palette and let them dry so I can use them just like watercolors, but I will use fresh.
*I don't dilute the colors in the palette.  I dampen my brush and take on the color as needed.  Darker, more opaque colors needed?  I take less water onto my brush, sheer, lighter colors: more water.

*I HATE HATE HATE white food coloring!    For me they never dry, it muddies up everything and I do not use it.  Did I mention that I hate it?    One of the very rare exceptions for painting with white is the blackboard cookies.  On those I use CK powdered white food coloring which works amazing and actually dries.  I also use water with that.

*The black can be a "problem" color and I will put that in my palette and pour alcohol over that so it dries it out better.  If there is ever any smudging, it's from the black so I find this helps.  I also will use powdered black if I'm worried.


I hope these tips make sense!  There are several ways to paint, and this is just the way I do it.  I know a lot of people use white, but for some reason, it doesn't work well for me.  If there is white in my design it is because I've either worked around the background white of the frosting or do a wet on wet white.


The mermaid cookies:  Those are all wet on wet, except the outlines were painted in a dark brown.  


One other thought:  cookies can take a lot more water abuse than you would think   I have painted, "erased" by brushing off all the color with a damp brush, repainted, and even repeated that process again before on a single cookie.  I think the key is that your royal icing has some corn syrup in it.  It helps to make a nice canvas that is more "waterproof".  

Originally Posted by Royal Icing Diaries:

Those cookies came out great!


Is there a certain type/brand of paint brush everyone uses to paint on cookies? How about sizes? I've never painted on cookies and I'm amazed at what people can do. 

Hi, Royal Icing Diaries, Kim Coleman talks a lot about paint brush choices in this recent Cookier Closeuphttp://cookieconnection.juliau...-in-the-truest-sense


I would also suggest that you start a new forum topic on this subject since it is a different question than the one at the top of this forum - typically it's best practice to have one question per forum so questions and answers can be easily found later. Thanks.

I've been mixing them until I get the color I want. I put a drop of each on the palette and then mix them in a separate area, taking a little of each on my brush until I get the right shade or color.
Originally Posted by Jenny's Cookies:

Hi, can I ask a further question related to painting on cookies.... It's something I never tried but I will in a near feature... it's becoming an obsession!

Can you mix gel colors in the palette (almost the same way you mix it in the RI) to create a new shade? 

Or the result could be a mess????

Thanks for all these amazing tips of this topic!



Originally Posted by PublicDisplayofConfection Liz:

Arty McGoo did a Q&A on FB a few days ago and this came up.  You may be able to post chase it to find all her goodies!  She said she actually lets her gel colors dry on the palette...then uses a small cup of water to wet her brush.  Reminds me of the old school waterpaints from elementary school.  I cant wait to try!

I have my colors in an Styrofoam egg tray (sanitized) and let the colors dry too.  I use vodka and now and then water.  I tap the end of my brush on the side then tap on a towel too.