Piping Tips from Paris

Get Paris Cutler's top tips for piping! There's information on equipment, materials, piping design and more.

Equipment and Materials

At Planet Cake we make our piping bags from parchment paper because we pipe all day long. However disposable plastic and material icing bags are perfect for home decorating; remember that if you have a material bag will also need a coupler as well as a piping tip.

Piping Tools

Piping Bag, Piping Tip/s, Coupler, Royal Icing, Colour Paste and Palette Knife. (Coupler attaches the piping tip to the bag and required for material and some disposable piping bags).

TIP: The round piping tips used for royal icing come in an assortment of sizes #00 - #12 the numbers correspond with the size of the hole, #00 being the smallest. #1 piping tip and smaller could be frustrating for new decorators, start with #2 tip or bigger and gradually work your way up to fine piping. If you are only piping in royal icing and not butter cream you will only need a couple of round piping tips to start. Fancy tips are usually for buttercream icing.

Filling the Bag

Only fill the piping bag 1/3 full with royal icing. Make sure the icing is pushed down toward the piping end of the bag and give it a few squeezes to get rid of the air pockets. If you find it difficult to hold the bag and fill it at the same time you can place the bag in a glass to hold it while you fill it.


If you have never piped anything before then the best way to practice is to pipe some icing lines. Fit the piping bag with a plain piping tip and size you desire, hold the bag correctly with two hands - one hand to guide and the other to squeeze the bag. Hold the piping bag at a 45° angle just above the work surface and apply pressure and see the icing emerge from the tip. Secure the end of the icing thread to the surface then pipe along allowing the thread to fall into position, creating lines.

Piping Design

Piping is an obvious choice when decorating a cake, but it is easy to be discouraged by complicated piping designs. Start with a simple design and practice until you are perfect. To create board messages you need to learn a ‘font’. Your piping font will be as individual as you are and I can still recognize who made a cake years later just by the piped font on the board. Practice as much and as often you can; on the side of a cake tin, on a sheet of baking paper or on the work bench. Practice with nutella or toothpaste - it is easy, cheap and always ready. Our trainees practice daily.

TIP: When you have to pipe a design, stencil it onto your cake with the tip of a needle. That way, when it comes time to pipe on your icing, you have a guide to follow. The stencil is invisible to the naked eye, so no one will know if you muck up your first time!

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