Make Your Cookies SHINE!!!

Remember this pink and gray collection I made for Half Baked Cake Blog?  Well, since then I have had many people ask, “How do you make shiny icing?”

This question always beings back fond memories, because it’s one of the first questions that I had as a beginner.

I thought it must be an amazingly involved, complex technique, but making cookies shimmer is actually SUPER easy.   It is done using one of three products, pearl or lustre spray, lustre dust, or with an airbrush.

My favorite of the three are pearl/lustre sprays.  I’ve tried most brands on the market.  Until recently, PME was my favorite, followed by Duff brand from Michaels. I used it on several of my recent cookie collections.  It is easy to apply by simply following the directions on the back of the can.  This one was lightly misted with Wilton Gold.

Wilton has only recently begun selling pearl spray.  I know they often get a bad rap when it comes to certain decorating supplies, but I have to say, I LOVE their lustre spray.  I came across it in Michaels about a month ago and I FELL in love.  The colors are wonderful, it gives good consistent results, and the price is right.

I used Wilton pearl to cover these cookies.  This was a much heavier application than I used on the gold collection above.  I held the can about ten inches from the cookies and lightly sprayed while moving in gentle sweeping motions.  To get the heavier coverage I did a double coat.

Again, amazing results.  I am crossing my fingers that Wilton will follow PME’s lead and make other colors such as shimmery light blue and pink.

Keep in mind that spraying cookies can actually completely change the color of a cookie.  These cookies were actually the same blue and green that I used on the baking cookies below BEFORE I sprayed them.

A good example of how lustre spray can change the color of  cookies are Pinterest inspired sunburst cookies.  When I made them, they were white {with the exception of the last one} before I applied lustre spray.  I used PME gold for the first cookie, Duff silver for the second, Chefmaster pearl for the third {which I was not happy with} and the fourth was a black cookie sprayed with Duff silver.

The base icing color will determine the finished color so, keep that in mind as you decorate.

All of the looks above can also be accomplished with an airbrush.  It works in pretty much the same way as the sprays.  I have an airbrush, but I broke it the other day, so for now, I’ve gone back to the sprays. If you do a lot of shimmery cookies, I highly recommend getting one. I am not so good with mine yet, but I love it.

If you would like to see what an airbrush can really do, my friends Marilyn {Montreal Confections} and Ali {Ali-Bee’s Bake Shoppe} have it mastered.  I’ve linked to some of their airbrush work, just click on their names to check it out.  PS…don’t stop there.  Explore.  You’ll be amazed!

If you NEED an airbrush, Karen’s Cookies carries them in her shop.  That’s where I got mine, and when you don’t drop it and break it, it works WONDERFULLY!  Click HERE to tell Santa where to shop.

The last way to make cookies shimmer is to paint them with lustre dust.  As much as I like my airbrush and lustre spray, they cannot replace good old lustre dust.  As a matter of fact, I’m kind of infatuated with it.  I have several colors and I want MORE!

I used lustre dust to give a little sparkle to a baking set I made.

Using lustre dust is really very easy.  Mix a small amount with lemon extract or vodka in a small bowl, and paint it onto the cookie with the appropriate sized brush.  Use a medicine dropper to add liquid to avoid a disaster.  Trust me!

Be careful not to have too much liquid on your brush.  Treat it like you would nail polish.  Use the side of your bowl to take a little off before painting on the cookie.

For the record I actually mix mine with Everclear now.  My friend Landa suggested it to me once, and I’ve used it ever since.  Besides evaporating REALLY quickly, I get a kick out of the looks I get when people stop by and I have a bottle of Everclear sitting on my counter =)

If you are worried about putting alcohol on your cookies, don’t.  It evaporates away.  You probably get more from your morning mouthwash.  But if this bugs you, use lemon extract.  It has alcohol also, but it seems to make people a lot less nervous than hard liquor.

Oh yes, and when you’re finished, don’t you dare throw out the leftover!  It costs too darn much.  Leave it sitting out, and after a bit, the alcohol will evaporate ad you’ll be left with dry powder.  When I need a little shimmer, I just add more alcohol, and it’s good to go.  I make sure to always work out of a bowl that I don’t mind having out of commission most of the time.

You can also apply lustre dust dry for a toned down shimmer.  I like to do this on things that should be a little translucent.  Think of it like make-up.  A little goes a LONG way.  Work out of the lid, dip the brush, clean it off a little on parchment then brush it onto the cookie.

It’s so subdued, it’s almost hard to photograph.  See the light pearly sheen?

I use lustre dust all of the time to accent my cookie creations.  From eyeshadow, blushing cheeks it’s a fun way to add a little “bling” to your cookie creations.

Thanks for reading and encouraging my cookie craziness.  It means so much to be able to hang out with and learn from people who share the cookie love.

For a complete list of the cutters I used to create this set, check out my post, Creative Baking Theme Cookies Using Common Cutters.

Eleven more days until Christmas!  Happy Holiday baking!

Join The Discussion



  1. 81
    Olivia Helm says:

    Hi Callye! I was wondering if I would be able to use clear vanilla extract in place of the alcohol or lemon juice. Thank you!

  2. 82
    Laura A says:

    I tired using luster dust last night, using the vodka method, (your blog have me the courage to try icing cookies!) and I ran into a minor problem. It seemed to melt the icing where painted leaving small craters. Any suggestions? Thank you so much!

  3. 83
    Tracy Salyer says:

    Hi there!!

    First, I would like to say how beautiful your cookies are!! I’d also like to thank you for all of your advice and tips when it comes to decorating…I’m amazed by your talent!!!

    I’m noticing when I make dots on a cookie with the royal icing, I end up with a hole in the middle after it dries. How can I prevent this and what am I doing wrong?

    Thank you!!!

  4. 84
    Keisha says:

    I am obsessed with your cookies and I was wondering if you sold them. I was also wondering if you could give detailed tutorials on how to make the cookies above and what instrument you used for each step like for writing the word joy and outlining and how you make those decorations in the middle of the ornament.

  5. 85
    Faye says:

    I like everyone else love your fabulous cookies. I was wondering how long does it usual take to decorate a cookie. How do you keep a cookie fresh? Is there a certain recipe for the plain cookie you use?
    Sorry for all the questions. You have me fully fascinated with the cookies.. maybe trying to make one.. Yes one cookie LOL
    Thank you so much.

  6. 86
    maricela quintero garcia says:

    quisiera que mis galletas brillaran quedan muy opacas

  7. 87
    Patty says:

    I am thinking about purchasing PME pearl lustre spray for my Christmas cookies but I wonder if the spray alters the taste of the cookies any! I am so inspired by reading your cookie blogs. Thank you!

  8. 88
    Carole Hague says:

    Doing pink ballet point shoes, I have gold luster dust but should I use another color?
    Any help would be appreciated…thank you.

    • 88.1
      Sweet Sugar Belle says:

      I would go with pearl and make the pink a little brighter than you would like the final product to be.


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  5. […] In this case the dust is applied dry although you can also use an alcohol based liquid to create a wet solution, which you can read about HERE. […]

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  7. […] If you plan on covering a large surface area it is probably best to use an airbrush or color mist spray.  You can read more about that and more HERE. […]