Decorate Your Cakes Like a Pro: Making Roses and Icing Bag Tips

published by 32 BarClay on Mar 4, 2009

Make roses for your cakes! It’s easy, I promise! Included also are piping (writing) tips, filling icing bags easily and avoiding carpal tunnel, wrist and hand injuries common in the field.


Roses make a beautiful addition to any round or sheet cake. Additionally, adding small roses to sugar cookies and brownies make it look like you spent a fortune at a bakery. These roses only take 5 seconds to make and can be frozen for future use.

Tools You Will Need to Make Your Elegant Roses:

(For more decorating information: Decorating Your Cakes Like A Pro: Tools and Tips)

A Rose Nail: (included in Wilton’s Deluxe Set)

Rose Tips: (included in Wilton’s Deluxe Set) One rose tip for each pastry bag/color you will use. Your Rose tip looks like a slot with one end bigger than the other.

Pastry bags: (Can be purchased from Wilton. Use the disposable, plastic ones) One for each color.

Couplers: Using a coupler is optional and is included in the Wilton Deluxe Set. You put a coupler in the pastry bag so that you can change tips on the bag if using the same color so that you don’t need to make a new bag with a new tip. If using the coupler (usually round and white) place inside pastry bag and cut the hole for the coupler. Add the tip you want to the outside. Personally, I don’t use couplers. I keep enough tips and enough bags to accomodate my needs. I keep the already assembled bags in a large Tupperware so I can use them next time. This would be a great idea if you are streching Christmas cookie duty along a few days or a week so that you’re ready to go next time.

Icings: Color your white buttercreme icing with the professional color pastes or powders. (See linked article above for purchase info. Make sure you pay attention to your measurements to ensure a good color match for your entire cake if you need to make more. I just like to make a TON the first time so there is no need to worry about color matching later.

Small scissors, spatulas and a damp towel

How to prepare your Icing bags:

1. Tear off one disposable pastry bag. It will come to a point at one end and open at the other end.

2. Place your rose tip (or any) inside the bag and let it slide down to fit into the uncut pastry bag tip.

3. Move the rose tip upward a bit so that you can cut off the tip of the pastry bag to allow room for the tip to come through. (Cut a little at a time until you can fit your tip snugly into the hole.) You want the tip pointing out just so it is not obstructed by the pastry bag seam. If the icing is coming down the sides of the tip and/or out the front…your best bet is to start over and make a new bag. You don’t want icing splattering on your cake.

4. Fold the large, open, top-side ends of the bag over like a sleeve cuff. Fold it way over so that it covers your entire hand and you only have room for half a bag of icing to fit.

5. Spatula small amounts of desired buttercreme (any color you want your roses to be) into the pastry bag. You should only be able to get a couple spatula-fulls into the bag.

6. Unfold the “cuff” upward and twist off.

7. You’re ready to go!

Be Easy On Your Hands!

Many cake decorators develop carpal tunnel syndrome and need to have surguries to relieve the pain in the hands and wrists caused by improperly holding the icing bags and balancing cakes incorrectly.

To properly hold an icing/pastry bag while decorating your cakes:

Hold the entire bag in your left hand (weak side) and choose a point a few inches above the decorator tip. Adjust the icing within the bag so that you can twist off that bottom portion of the bag. Hold the bag below this point only while decorating. If you try to hold the enitre icing bag your hand will get noticably tired quickly and that constant strain can lead to injury. Additionally, you will have better control of your pressure and achieve better results with your decorations by holding the bag this way.

Writing (Piping) on your Cake

I will discuss handwriting later but wanted to introduce the best way to fill and hold an icing bag for writing.

Fill only one tiny spatula-full of icing for your writing. You don’t need much at all. The tip to use is a #3 or a #4. (See your Wilton Deluxe Set guide) I prefer the #4. If right handed, hold the entire bag with right hand and guide with your left pointer and/or middle finger above the decorator tip. Move arms back and forth and up and down as you write. Don’t write with your wrists or fingers.

It is unneccessary to twist off the bottom of this bag because you have very little icing in this bag and squeezing this tiny bit will not cause injury.

____________ROSES! The Grand EVENT____________

Assuming you are right-handed.

Hold rose nail (looks like an upside-down saucer on a carpenter’s nail) in your left hand’s fingertips.

Hold your icing bag with rose tip and desired color in right hand. (Twist off near the bottom so you don’t hurt yourself. Make sthe bag more managable too)

Place the tip in the center of the saucer and start squeezing, moving your icing in a circle upward. (Like you are adding aerosol whipped cream in a circle on top of your hot cocoa) Make this tower about and inch or so tall in the center of your rose nail.

Look at your rose tip. Make sure the SMALLER end is on top and the BIG end is on the bottom and hold it straight up and down. Your fist should be like you are pounding on a vending machine, thumb facing you)

At the top and center of your “one-inch tower” start squeezing WHILE twisting the nail around. Go all the way around so that you have a small center for your rose.

Keeping your hand the same way start a little lower on the tower and make one arch at a time (These will be your inner petals) Twist your rose nail as you go. Keep your rose tip straight up-and-down with the SMALLER end on top.  You can fit 3 arches here when you overlap the bottoms of the petals. Make one arch. Then, your starting point for your second arch is the MIDDLE of the bottom of your first arch.

Change your tip to lay at a 45 degree angle, SMALLER end away from you. Do the same Arches, about 5-7 of them. Overlap these arches too.

Congratulations! You have a Rose! But is is stuck on the nail, yes?

Getting Your Rose Off The Nail and Onto Your Cake

Carefully take your small scissors and squeeze the bottom of the row in between the scissors. The rose will rest on the scissors but don’t cut all the way yet.

While holding the scissors to support the rose, pull the rose nail toward you. The rose will slide off and you will now be holding the rose which is resting on the scissors.

Place your rose at the desired spot on your cake.

Using the end of the rose nail as a guide, squeeze your scissors all the way and guide the rose onto the cake with the end of the rose nail.

Ta Da! You Did It! Congrats!

Wilton’s 3-5-7 (Yes!)

Should we talk about leaves?

Ok. Leaves will make your rose look pretty, finished and cover up any messed up icing parts.

You don’t need a tip for this one (unless you have a leaf tip that looks like an arrow or upside down “V”)

To cut the bag, make an upside down “V”. The little end of the “V” should be upward and the big end of the “V” should face the cake.

To make a leaf, turn the bag so that you only see a profile of the “V”. (After the first leaf you will see what I mean)

The more you squeeze, the longer the leaf. Pull outward and upward as you wish.

Adding leaves to a lopsided rose is a great way to support it and orient the rose the way you would like.

Speed Decorating!

6 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. # 1 by M A Bhanpurwala
    March 4th, 2009 at 1:39 pm #

    Wow what a good recipe to decorate cakes,

  2. # 2 by jo oliver
    March 4th, 2009 at 1:50 pm #

    That is a beautiful cake. It would be a lot cheaper than paying for a pro cake, but I still doubt that I can make anything that beautiful. But, my moms bday is coming up. So, I am going to bookmark this pg and give it a try. Let you know how I do.

  3. # 3 by 32 BarClay
    March 4th, 2009 at 3:33 pm #

    A video on making roses would be helpful in explaining the process. It sounds way more difficult than it is. I am going to research one and edit it into this article.

    When I learned roses I thought, ugh! I made a gorgeous rose my first try and you can too! The tricky part is getting the rose off of the nail and onto the cake the way you want it.

  4. # 4 by jo oliver
    March 17th, 2009 at 1:51 am #

    Thanks for the update A. That will help me a lot when I go to try it out. It does look easy, but so does skiing LOL

  5. # 5 by 32 BarClay
    March 17th, 2009 at 9:04 pm #

    Ouch. Yes, I tried snowboarding during our Easter trip last year. I won’t ever do THAT again! I pinched a nerve and get pains down one’s of my legs now. I’m a student so I sit a lot and, I think it’s called the sciatic nerve, acts up. I’m 26 I’m too young for this! (oh yes, I’m a great whiner)

  6. # 6 by 32 BarClay
    March 25th, 2009 at 12:57 am #

    It never fails. My videos are not usually placed where I wanted them to go. I will try to fix this. <3

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