Getting Started with Buttercream Icing

This weekend, I put my ego aside and faced my fear of icing head on. Friend and fellow blogger Katie from Touch of Teal mentioned she was going to try one of Michael’s Wilton Icing Classes, so I invited myself along.

I don’t handle failure very well so as soon as I decided I wasn’t very good at icing, I immediately started avoiding situations that might require it. That’s one of the primary reason I hardly make cakes and cupcakes. What I discovered on Saturday however is that while icing skill is important, having the right icing tools is a bigger part of success.

Our class focused on buttercream icing and was designed for beginners (perfect for me), so we kept it simple with the Wilton decorating tips.

  • Tip 18 - With its jagged teeth, tip 18 is perfect for stars, rosettes and small shells
  • Tip 12 - With a big round opening, tip 12 is perfect for dots of all sizes and dot pulls
  • Tip 104 - This angled tip is perfect for beautiful ribbons and bows

Once I mastered the basic techniques of these tips, I was able to apply them to other decorating tips of similar shape but different sizes. Decorating tip 2D is just a larger version of tip 18, so using the same technique as the rosette, I was able to make giant rosettes on mini cupcakes with decorating tip 2D. When I’m more advanced I’ll learn to make a full rose. Maybe.

Ready to start icing like a pro? Stock up on icing bags and couplers to go along with your chosen tips. Once you have those, turn to YouTube for some tutorials or sign up for your own Michaels icing class.

A couple things to note before you attend an icing class at Michaels. Once we signed up for the class, we were given a list of supplies to bring on class day. I didn’t think much about it until about a week before. Mistake. Plan ahead for your class so that you show up prepared, unlike me who showed up to class missing two of the piping tips. Luckily we never even got to those, which brings me to my second piece of advice.

I probably spent more on supplies for the class than I did on the actual class. I walked away with a ton of leftover everything (especially icing), which I’ll inevitably use, but if you are doing the class with a friend you should consider sharing supplies. For example, the supply list called for a box of icing bags but we only used one bag. One box between Katie and I would have been plenty.

Despite my poor planning and the abundance of icing bags I walked away with, I would still recommend doing a class at Michaels! It’s a great afternoon activity to do with friends, especially those who won’t tattle when you sneak spoonfuls of icing throughout the class. Bonus tip: Bring a notepad and pen. I tried taking notes on my phone and it got covered in icing.

I’ve only just gotten a taste of icing decorating and I’m excited to keep  exploring. I definitely won’t be avoiding cake and cupcakes from now on so stay tuned for loads of fun iced baked goods in the next few weeks!


And now it’s your turn! How are you at icing? Ready to join me in my next icing class?