The Art Of Edible Paper

If you enjoy crafts and have shopped stores like Michaels Craft Stores, you’ve probably noticed how they’ve revamped the store layout and product selection over the past year to prominently feature paper crafts, specifically scrapbooking. But, paper art doesn’t just dominate the home craft scene; it’s making its way into our kitchens, too, in the form of edible paper or icing sheets. Icing sheets can do almost everything that regular paper can, lending a tremendous amount of versatility to dessert makers who want to use simple techniques to add artistic touches.

Edible paper comes in white, chocolate plus a wide variety of bright colors and pastels. The simplest thing to do with it is cut it with scissors. Your cut-outs can be stuck on top of cookies, cupcakes, cakes or other desserts. But, there’s much more you can do.

Designing Techniques

  1. Use white icing sheets to print designs or photos with food coloring from a printer.
  2. Cut out shapes and designs with punches. The craft stores sell these.
  3. Use a variety of different craft scissors to create borders, i.e. wavy lines, zig-zaps, etc.
  4. Use an electronic cutting machine to program in designs or cut out letters and numbers.
  5. Quilling
  6. Use cookie cutters – stick the icing sheets to fondant or gum paste and cut out shapes to create design features for decorating.
  7. Cover the sides or entire cake with a design print.
  8. Use with isomalt sugar

Any decorative element of a cake can incorporate icing sheets from the outside covering, the border, cut-outs or decorative pre-made items added to adorn the cake.

The great part about working with printed icing sheets is that simple cutting techniques put the power to decorate professionally into a novice cake decorator’s hands. Even the professionals incorporate edible paper art techniques into their work.  Television competitions have featured decorators who have used some of these techniques to create their winning cakes. While the techniques are simple, the ability to cut the designs with an electronic cutting machine that can precisely cut any shape or intricate pattern you want is a huge time saver. If you created these details by hand with fondant or hand-painting, they would literally take you days to do. That work is reduced to minutes with the electronic cutter.

The icing sheets are flexible enough to bend around a cake or conform to different shaped decorations you create. It can be applied to your dessert using some moisture. They come with a plastic backing to protect them from drying and also allowing them to go through the printer. They keep for a long time and don’t require refrigeration. Edible paper art is only limited by your imagination. If you know how to do it with paper, you can do it with an icing sheet.

Theresa Happe is a cake decorator and fan of Icing Images where you can find icing sheets and all the supplies you need for printing and cutting them.

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