Whether you’re new to cake decorating or just want to brush up on your piping skills, these 9 beginner piping techniques are all you need to get started. From classic cupcake swirls to piping buttercream flowers and borders, these simple cake piping techniques are sure to have you enticed to ice!

Master the classic cupcake swirl using a 1M decorating tip. Perfect for topping cupcakes, pies, cakes and more, this piping technique is easy to do with buttercream or stabilized whipped cream frosting. You can also switch up decorating supplies and use tip 2A or tip 2D for a different look and texture.

The star is perhaps one of the easiest, and most versatile, of the beginner piping techniques. The great thing about the star is that the tip does all the work for you…simply squeeze and pull away. With a large variety of star tips available, you can use this piping technique as a border or to fill in a large character cake with frosting. So grab a piping bag and get moving!

Perfect for borders, piping meringues or adding simple decorations to cakes and cookies, the dot is an easy technique to master. Using any round decorating tip, simply squeeze the bag to form a dot. If your dots have small points after pulling the tip away, you can dip your finger in cornstarch and pat it down to smooth it out.

Rosettes make lovely floral accents and are a quick and easy way to decorate your desserts. While these are traditionally made with star tips, you can also pipe rosettes with drop flower tips for different petal effects. Use standard tips to add small rosettes to a flower-covered cake, or use larger decorating tips, like 1M or 2D, to pipe large rosettes and take your cupcake decorating to another level.

Often thought to be the most popular piping technique of all, the shell can be used for adding accents, making hearts and flowers and can be used as a border around your cake. Any star tip can be used to make a shell, though we suggest star tip 21 for classic borders and decorations.

A fun technique for borders or adding texture to the sides of your cake, the zigzag is created by moving your decorating bag side to side. When piping zigzags, think about the movement of your arm and the pressure on your bag.

Your arm determines the distance between the waves while the pressure while holding the bag determines the thickness of the line. Traditionally zigzags are piped with a star tip, like tip 16, but you can create this technique with any decorating tip you’d like.

Add some fun and furry details to your treats with the specialty grass tip. With multiple openings, this tip creates texture with ease. Simply squeeze the bag to release the icing, then pull up and away to form grass or fur.

For a more natural look, pull the tip slightly to the left or right instead of straight up. Remember to keep clusters close together so the cake doesn’t show through.

Give your buttercream flowers realistic detailing by adding a few piped icing leaves. Made using decorating tip 352, leaves can be piped right on your treat or can be made on a flower nail and frozen for later use. And remember, leaves don’t always have to be green! Leaves can be piped in different colors and lengths for added effect.
A twist of the wrist is all you need to make a swirl drop flower. Made using tip 224 (for standard flowers) or tip 2D (for larger flowers), these blooming beauties start off similar to a star but, as you squeeze the icing bag, you twist your wrist outward to create overlapping petals. Use a large nonpareil sprinkle or a dot of icing for the center and you’ll have a garden full of sweet flowers in no time!

What’s your favorite piping technique? Have any piping tips we missed? Let us know in the comments below or take a picture of your piping skills and tag us on Instagram @wiltoncakes.

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