This is a topic that used to scare me. The first few times that I tired royal icing transfers, I failed. Miserably. It was frustrating and I felt defeated. So, I researched and tried again and again. As usual, all my sweet friends over at Cookiers R Us has the answer: page protectors! 

The anchor cookies are one of the first royal icing transfers I tried. Sit back and I'll tell you the saga that ensued... The night before I was going to decorate the cookies I printed out my anchor designs, put wax paper over the paper on a cookie sheet and piped away. I was sssoooo smart and put them in the oven to keep them 'safe' from dust, knocking off the counter etc. The next day I preheated my oven to do some non-cookie cooking... and a little while later I smelled burning plastic. Yep. The wax paper was melting onto my cookie sheets and the transfers burned to a crisp and were ruined. I had to quickly make new ones and only had about 6 hours to let them dry. Y'all, that's NOT long enough! They ALL broke and I had to piece them together. Very frustrating.

Needless to say, there were a lot of very valuable lessons learned that day. Let's talk now about what you should do:
1-make your design the size you need (you can do this is in a number of computer programs, whatever works for you) and then print it out
2-slide your paper into a clean page protector and put this on a cookie sheet or other flat, easily moved surface (bonus for using the page protectors, you can slide that puppy right into your Cookie Book when you're done, never know when you might need that design again!)
3-pipe over your design, I like to use 15 second icing, thinner than that and you will get more breakage
4-let them dry at least overnight
5-very slowly and carefully peel the page protector away from the transfer. If you've let them dry long enough they should pop right off with no problems! Just go slow, start at one edge and work your way across the page and don't worry if one or two break, it is inevitable. (Everyone has a slightly different technique for doing this, and I'm going to be annoying and say that you'll find what works best for you and what 'feels' right.) 

Below you can see an example of some cardinals I have done a few times. I usually fill in the black for about 8-10 of them and then go back and do the white on the eye, there is less bleeding if you wait just a minute or two. After waiting 10-15 minutes (again to avoid bleeding, black can be a bit tricky that way) go back through and add the red feathers and yellow beak.
After you've let them dry overnight, it's time to put them on your cookie. Flood your cookie and wait a few minutes before dropping on the transfer, this will reduce the change of bleeding. This a much bigger concern when doing cookies where are dropping a dark color transfer onto a white background. Because I am super paranoid after making past mistakes, I will usually put them under a fan to help speed up the drying time, so far this has prevented any bleeding issues.
Once you place them on the cookie, you do have a little bit of time in which you can nudge them around a bit to get the positioning correct. You can't move it too much, but a little touch here and there can help you center and straighten them.
One last tip for you: make more than you need. There will be breakage, it is unavoidable, especially with smaller, more intricate designs. There is nothing more frustrating that having to piece together transfers or having that last one break on you and not having any extras! If you do have extras, put them in a sealed container and save them for future use! Also, don't turn on your oven if you're using it for 'storage' purposes...it ends badly :)


As always, it's your turn! What are you tricks or tips to getting your royal icing transfers to work?
2/24/2013 07:40:57 pm

This is great! Thank you so much for sharing and I can't to try it! I'll let you know how I do! :)

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Meghan
2/24/2013 08:18:27 pm

I love RI transfers - once I figured out the pitfalls from consistency, drying time, and removal. After that - smooth sailing! And it makes me look like I have mad skills! :) Love your blog - keep it up!

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Dawn
8/12/2013 02:33:27 pm

I love the anchors!! I will be doing them on cupcakes and a cake for a baby shower this weekend. Would you be so kind and tell me what size tip you used? Thanks so much for your help!

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