Introduction: Cupcake Stencils

Picture of Cupcake Stencils

While frosting is delicious, some cakes are decadent enough not to really need any. Creating pretty stenciled designs on top of cupcakes, tarts, or brownies is fun and easy, and makes for an extra special presentation.

Step 1: You'll Need. . .

Picture of You'll Need. . .
  • Computer with image editing software and printer, or depending on what you want to stencil and your skill level, you can free-hand a design (Photoshop used here, but G.I.M.P. or even Microsoft Word would work fine)
  • Pen or magic marker
  • Sharp blade/Exacto knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Shrinky Dink plastic ("Frosted Ruff 'n Ready" is used here)
  • Baking/cookie sheet

Step 2: Select Your Image

Picture of Select Your Image
  1. Decide what you'd like on your cupcakes: Simple bold images, line drawings, or letters work best - a single letter for a person's birthday, for example. While images with more detail (like the awesome robot shown here) are fun, they can get a little blurry when stenciling so something simpler is suggested. You can also make multi-stencil designs (as shown here) if you want the end product to be two-toned (that's a bit more complex)
  2. Open your image-editing software and create a new file
  3. Add the image you have selected to this new file
  4. Make adjustments to the image or text so that it will stencil properly. If you have areas that are "floating" you will need to find a way to connect them to the area around the portion of the stencil that will be cut
  5. Resize the image so that it is 3" at the largest point. This will make the stencil the correct size for the top of a standard cupcake
  6. Print your image

Step 3: Making Cuts

Picture of Making Cuts
  1. Place a piece of Shrinky Dink plastic over your printed image and trace the outline using your pen or marker
  2. With the plastic on the cutting mat, carefully cut out the interior portion of the design. If you're making a multi-stencil design, cut each portion from a separate piece of Shrinky Dink and make sure to add orientation marks so your stencils will line up properly when cutting

Step 4: Getting Baked

Picture of Getting Baked
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Place your cut plastic onto the cookie sheet and bake for approximately 3 minutes. It will curl up while baking but will flatten completely when done (note: Sometimes the plastic can curl up in odd ways and begin to stick to itself. If this happens, remove the pan from the oven and very carefully pull the stuck portions apart - it will be really hot so be careful!)
  3. Remove from the oven and allow to cool fully

Step 5: Stencil Your Cakes!

Picture of Stencil Your Cakes!
You can use your awesome stencil on the tops of frosted, fondant covered, or plain cupcakes and achieve some awesome results! To use your stencil:
  1. Place the stencil directly on top of the cupcake - if your cupcakes aren't flat, you can ice the tops or apply fondant to get a flat surface
  2. Put a few tablespoons of stenciling material in a small sieve (you can use powdered sugar, cocoa powder, powdered peanut butter, or a combination of these (or other materials) for multi-color designs)
  3. Dust over the stencil to apply the stenciling material
  4. Lift off the stencil and behold your awesome design!

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