I use royal icing transfers A LOT.
And, even here:
Royal icing transfers can be pretty awesome. They allow a beginner to copy a design quite easily. But, they’re fragile and take a bit of work. I think they’re worth it though! I’ve mentioned them before, but I wanted to create a more in-depth tutorial to navigate the complicated world of RITs. Ok, they’re not really that complicated. Here, I’ll show you!
To make a royal icing transfer, you will need to the following tools:
- Royal icing (duh)
- Shortening (I have found that Crisco works best)
- Sheet protector (you can use parchment paper, but I’ve heard horror stories of wrinkly transfers. I’ve never had any problems with wrinkling with sheet protectors!)
- Pastry bag, coupler, and tips
- Printed graphic/image you want to copy on a regular sized sheet of paper
1. Insert the paper with your graphic on it into the sheet protector. The sheet protector will not only give you a nice, smooth surface on which to pipe the transfer, but it will also keep your graphic in place. Score!
2. Grease the surface of the sheet protector with shortening. I always use Crisco and never have a problem with sticking. Just a nice thin, even layer will do. Also, you probably want to lay your sheet protector on top of a cookie sheet to allow you to move it around and keep the transfers level.
3. Now, you’re ready to pipe! You pipe on the sheet protector the same way you would pipe on a cookie with the same icing consistencies for piping and flooding. Only you get to use the graphic showing through to guide you! Obviously, a royal icing transfer won’t be as helpful if you need to pipe a base and then pipe more on top, since the graphic will no longer show through.
4. Important: plan to make more transfers than you need! One of the unfortunate cons of transfers is that, no matter how gentle you are, they can break…and frequently do! ALWAYS make extras…I mean it! Luckily, the time it takes to make a couple copies of each transfer isn’t that bad, considering the time you are saving by having the graphic to guide you.
5. Let the transfers dry overnight. They must be completely dry before you try to move them.
6. There are a couple ways to remove the transfers. You can pull back the sheet protector from the transfer, essentially peeling it off and gently catching it in your hand. You can also use a boo-boo stick or a toothpick to gently dislodge the transfer and then slide it off the sheet protector. I use one of these two methods the most. If the transfer is quite fragile, I don’t try to remove it until I’m ready to put it on the cookie – no reason to jostle it more than you have to! However, if it is a sturdier transfer, then I might collect them all on a plate or in a bowl before adhering them to the cookies.
Make sense? Really, if the sheet is greased properly, they shouldn’t stick that much. I usually don’t break transfers when I’m removing them; it is when I’m…
7. Trying to place them on the cookie! There are two ways to do this:
- Dry method: You allow your royal icing base on your cookie to dry before using a tiny bit of royal icing to adhere the transfer to the cookie.
- Wet method: Shortly after the flooding the cookie, when it is still wet, you gently drop the transfer onto the cookie. Once dry, the transfer should be properly attached.
Which one should you do? It is really up to you. I started off by using the dry method, but I’ve been increasingly using the wet method. My main qualm with the dry method is that having to hold the transfer to add the royal icing “glue” was another opportunity for breakage. But, with the wet application, it is much harder to adjust the transfer if it was not placed in the exact right position. So, pick your poison!
No matter what method you choose, when flooding the cookie, make sure that the surface of the icing is as smooth as possible. If the transfer is flush to the cookie, it will be less likely to break!
8. Admire your handiwork!
Have a question about royal icing transfers? Let me know in the comments!