Creating an Invisible Outline with Royal Icing

Cookie decorating is more than a hobby, it’s an art.  With time and practice we develop a style and technique all our own.  After four years of practice some of my “techniques” are so ingrained that they’re habit.

One particular technique that seems to interest people is creating a invisible royal icing outline.  I’ve done it for so long that I didn’t even notice until a friend pointed it out. This is what gives my cookies that seamless “poofy” look.  It’s a little tricky at first, but with patience you can create an invisible icing border too.

Pink Butterfly Cookies_SweetsugarbelleBegin by outlining the cookie.  I usually prefer a #2 tip.

Invisible Outline with Royal Icing_1The most important elements of invisible royal icing outlines are icing consistency and an offset spatula.  The icing must be thin enough to flow but not so thin it runs over the edge of the outline.  There are variables such as climate and recipe that might affect consistency, but basically you’re looking for a something similar to honey or shampoo.  It may take a little time to figure out what’s “just right” so don’t give up.

Flood the cookie as pictured below, starting with the outline and moving toward the middle of the cookie.

Invisible Outline with Royal Icing_2You want just enough icing that the outline is full but not so much it overflows.  When the cookie is flooded, use an offset spatula to quickly spread the icing.  The trick  is to cover the outline without going over the edge.

Invisible Outline with Royal Icing_3See?  The outline is almost invisible from above.

Invisible Outline with Royal Icing_4This is one of those things that’s a little easier to understand by watching, so in case you missed it on Facebook here’s the video version.

Since I don’t have the knack for making pretty butterflies, I relied on Al-Bee’s Bake Shop for inspiration.  I’m almost afraid to share the original design as I may’ve butchered them a little, but this is what I was going for.

Pink Butterfly CookiesFor your viewing pleasure, here are more butterfly themed treats:

Join The Discussion



  1. 31
    Sara says:

    Hi Callye!

    When I outline my cookies and try to back in and flood, my icing starts to stiffen, almost crust, so quickly so I don’t get a smooth icing look. What do you think I could be doing wrong? Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated!


  2. 32
    Miranda says:

    What royal icing recipe do you use?

  3. 33
    Tara says:

    So can you give a rough estimate on what timing the flood icing would be?
    I’m assuming since it’s way thinner than 20 second that it’s in the ball park of maybe
    15 seconds?

  4. 34
    Kelly says:

    I use royal icing at work. I ice tons of cookies weekly. Your technique of icing seems incredibly slow. I ice using the backside of the skinny spatula. The icing spreads out and smooths nicely without any bumps or ripples. I never outline then flood. I’d post a picture of the cookies I’ve done but I can’t in this email. Any way, thats my 2¢.

  5. 35
    SEZEN says:

    Please please please answer ! whick pink did you use in tihs video ? i want to buy !!! its really adorable . I want to buy a pink without purple, a warm pink like this. I have to order this evening please anwer immidiately, thank you so much !