Hand Painted Sugar Cookies




Introduction: Hand Painted Sugar Cookies

About: Hi, I’m Renee. Welcome to Sugar Hi Confections. My mission is to spread a little joy through beautiful, delicious cakes, cookies & desserts. After leaving a fast-paced career as an executive in an automot…

Decorated sugar cookies are perfect for many occasions - holidays, weddings, showers, birthdays, etc. I have made lots, and have been up quite a few late nights finishing them because piping intricate designs with royal icing can be very time-consuming. If you want a quicker, easier alternative, try painting instead. The "canvas" is a cookie covered with a base coat of royal icing. The "paint" is edible food coloring. They look super cute and are fun to make. Even if you aren't a great artist, I'll show you how to copy and transfer designs to your cookies, which you can then paint with impressive results.


  • sugar cookies (For my recipe & baking instructions, see my Sugar Cookie House Mug Topper Instructable here: https://www.instructables.com/Sugar-Cookie-House-Mug-Toppers/
  • royal icing, flood consistency
  • piping bag & tip (I used the Wilton #2 round tip)
  • tissue paper
  • edible marker
  • gel food colors
  • vodka (to thin the colors)
  • food grade paint brushes (sold in hobby stores and online)
  • paint mixing tray

Step 1: Cover the Cookies With Royal Icing

For the base coat, flood the cookies with royal icing. Fill a piping bag fitted with a #2 round tip with flood consistency royal icing. First outline the cookie. Then fill in the entire cookie. Use a toothpick or scriber to even out the icing and pop any bubbles. Shake or tap the cookie if necessary to get a smooth surface. Let dry completely, 4-5 hours or overnight.

Step 2: Draw or Find Images

While the icing is drying, find or draw images to transfer. You can certainly paint freehand directly on the cookies, but if aren't quite that much of an artist, you can find and transfer images to the cookies. Either sketch images or find clipart and print on paper. Make sure that they are scaled correctly to fit on your cookies.

Next, cut squares of tissue paper the size of your cookies. Trace the images on the tissue paper using an edible marker. Then turn tissue upside down and trace the image on the back side.

Step 3: Transfer Images to Cookies

Make sure royal icing on cookies is completely dried and set. Place the tissue paper with image right side up on top of cookie. Trace over the image again with the edible marker. Carefully remove the tissue paper. Design should be transferred to the cookie.

Step 4: Paint!

Next, mix the paint colors. In a paint tray or on a plate, mix a tiny amount of gel food coloring (I used a toothpick). A little goes a long way! Add a few drops of vodka and mix with your brush. The thinner the mix, the lighter the color will be on the cookie. Don't worry about the vodka - the alcohol will evaporate quickly off the cookie so it won't leave a taste.

Dip the brush in paint. Dab a paper towel to remove excess paint. The more you remove, the lighter the color will be on the cookie. Then brush lightly across the cookie. Try different brushstrokes until you get the effect you like.

Let dry between colors. Once all the colors are painted, let dry and then outline the design with a black edible marker (or you can paint lines using black gel color.) Then make sure to let the cookie dry completely before stacking or bagging.

Step 5: Share & Enjoy!

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    8 months ago

    Such beautiful work!

    Ronna Farley
    Ronna Farley

    8 months ago

    Your cookies are adorable!!