Using a Kopykake Projector

Do you know what this is?  This here is a Kopykake projector.  You may or may not have have already heard of Kopykake projectors and might even be lucky enough to own one.  But, if you haven’t, listen up. This is important stuff.

When I first got into the cookie thing, I’d never heard of a Kopykake.  As a matter of fact, I cookied for almost a year  before I got wise. It took another six months and a bad night with Princess Tiana before I finally decided to buy one.  I was really nervous about spending a ton of money on a cookie machine, so I hesitantly bought the cheapest one available {at the time}.  A couple of years later I can honestly say it’s one of the best cookie investments I’ve ever made. Kopykakes aren’t miracle machines and there is a little bit of a learning curve, but they really are an invaluable decorating tool.

As I mentioned, the KR-100 was the least expensive option at the time, so I went that route.  However, if I had it to do over I would go with the 300XK model, like the one below.  This one actually belongs to my buddy Lisa, The Barefoot Baker.  I had the opportunity to try it while visiting her last year, and I like it a little more than the model I have.

If you want to go all out, you could definitely get the K1000 model, which uses two 250 watt bulbs instead of just one.  However, since it’s about double the cost of the others, unless you find a great deal, I’m not quite sure it’s worth the extra dough.

Now for the fun stuff.  This is what the inside of a Kopykake looks like.  There are clamps to hold the image, a bulb {it came with a 300 watt bulb, but I use a 200 now and it works just fine}, and a mirror to project.  The neat thing about this model is that you can place books over the open projector door to project images without tearing them out.

To use a Kopycake, you must first prepare the image you want to use.  It can be clip art, words written in a specific font, or even a pattern. The key that the image is as clear as possible so it projects well.  If you’re using an image, you can often simplify it with photo to pencil sketch web apps like this one.  I learned this trick from One Tough Cookie, Gail, the queen of practical cookie decorating tips.

Before printing, try to get the image as close to actual size as possible.  You can then use the lens for any final adjustments that might be needed. I don’t have a reduction lens {I don’t think they’re really necessary}, so I do most of the work before I print.  There are about a gazillion and one ways to do this, which we will talk about later.  Until then use the method works best for you.

Once the image is ready, open the cover and clamp the image inside.  It needs to be placed upside down so that it will project right side up.

Close the cover and turn on the machine.  You should see the image projected on the surface below.

Place a cookie on the work surface and move the lens up and down until the image is properly positioned.

Finally, pipe the image.  I use different consistencies and tips depending on the look I want.  It may take a little practice before you learn how to do this without your hand or shadows getting in the way, but don’t give up.  It gets easier, I promise.

Remember, you can project almost anything if it’s clear.  I’ve done words, characters, and patterns.

I have heard people say that using a Kopykake is cheating but this is simply not true.  Just like any tool, it takes a fair amount of skill and planning to use it to it’s full potential.  There is always more to learn.  There are several informative Kopykake articles floating around in Internetland.  Here are a couple of my favorites:

Although I love my Kopykake, I don’t recommend them for everyone.  They are bulky and expensive, so if you aren’t making lots of cookies, they aren’t really practical.  If you look closely at the photo of my Kopykake, you can actually see a dusty hand print on the lid.  That’s because before this post it was sitting in my storage room gathering dust.  These days, it’s almost not worth the trouble of dragging it out for a few cookies.

If a Kopycake isn’t for you, there are other ways to transfer  images to cookies. Here are a few of my favorite tips:

If you’re still trying to decide whether or not to buy a Kopykake you can read my take on the pros and cons by clicking HERE.  There’s also the option of an edible image printer, which Bridget explains HERE.

If you’re in the market for a Kopykake of your own, you may want to check out Jerry’s Artarama.  Not only are the prices low, they frequently offer coupons and free shipping promotions.  Right now, if you use the 10% coupon and free shipping promo, you can purchase the 300XK model for about $167 dollars.  That’s a DEAL!

This is a ton of information, so I’ll let you chew on it awhile, but stay tuned, because I have a few Kopykake tricks that I cannot wait to share.

Have a great week, everyone!