Here’s the step by step tutorial to make your own custom cookie stencils.
It’s really so easy to make a stencil and it opens a whole new world of possibilities for your cookies (or cakes, even.) For example, I used my grandson’s name and you won’t find a stencil like that just anywhere. Also, the Cricut Design Space and Silhouette CAMEO software allows you to design extremely detailed stencils because you can trace images and then fine tune the image. You can also use purchased stencils for part of your design and then create your own stencil for the personal details. Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Read my full disclosure policy here for more details. As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.
If you’re curious, or just in a hurry:
✅ THIS is the absolute best machine for cutting stencils.
I have two brands of machines, but if I had to only have one, this would be it.
So, let’s get started making your custom stencils!
- Vinyl. I use Oracal 651 .
- Something to cut the vinyl with. I used a Cricut Maker, but you can also use a Silhouette CAMEO, or even an xacto knife.
- Stencil Material. For the mesh stencil, I use silkscreen mesh material and for the hard stencil, I use Grafix .007 plastic
- Royal Icing. The recipe is in my free Resource Library. You can get the password for the Resource Library by filling out the form at the bottom of this post.
- A stencil design of your choosing
- A cookie!
- Transfer tape
- A stencil holder to hold your stencil steady and in place
- Something to spread the icing with, such as a spatula
First, decide on the cookie shapes you’ll be using.
Measure the dimensions of the cookie cutter so you’ll know exactly what size to make the stencil design.
You’ll be spreading the icing on top of an already flooded cookie which has dried 8 hours or overnight.
For the silkscreen mesh stencil:
Cut out the design (in my case, the “MOM,” the “DAD” and the “declan”) from vinyl. I used a Cricut Maker (check current price here ) to do all my cutting in this particular tutorial, but you can also use a Silhouette Cameo, an Xacto knife or scissors. Most stencil holders are 5 inches by 5 inches, so you’ll want to have the vinyl to be slightly larger so it will fit in the frame with a little extra hanging over the side. I use 5 1/4″ x 5 1/4″. So your vinyl itself will be 5 1/4″ by 5 1/4″, and the design itself will be centered within that square and sized to fit your cookie.
I used a colored Oracal 651 vinyl because that’s just what I had on hand. Also, the color helps demonstrate in the tutorial because it’s easier for you to see. However, this vinyl is easier to work with overall, because you can see through it and see the placement of the design on your cookie as you’re decorating the cookie.
Weed the vinyl (that is, remove the excess you don’t want.) If you’re not sure what to remove and what to leave, remember the icing will flow through the areas you weed out, resulting in the finished design.
Apply the vinyl to the silkscreen. This particular one is the exact silkscreen I used. Use transfer tape to apply the vinyl to the silkscreen just as you would to any other surface.
Finally, trim the silkscreen around the edges of the vinyl to keep it from fraying. It should look something like this. Using scissors, just trim off the teensiest bit of the vinyl and silkscreen at the edges and it will not fray.
The mesh is fine enough to allow the icing to flow through the mesh part, while the vinyl keeps the icing OUT of the places you don’t want. Using mesh instead of the plastic stencil described below gives you many more options especially when stenciling words. For example, you can do script or other fancy fonts and get away from the “stencil letter” look. It also allows for much, much finer details.
If you do use colored vinyl, here’s an easy way to perfectly align it on your cookie.
RELATED READING: Learn to hand paint on cookies for stunning results!
For the plastic cookie stencil:
The mesh stencils can lay right on top of the cookie while spreading the icing. Not so for the hard stencils. You’ll be applying a good bit more icing, and the icing is of a stiffer consistency. This results in the icing being raised on the cookie, which gives the design more dimension. Therefore, you need a different way to keep the stencil steady other than just holding it with your hand. I use a Stencil Genie, and love it!
The Stencil Genie holds a 5″x5″ stencil, so make your stencil slightly larger than that as described above and center your design on it. Design it in your cutting machine software, and cut it out on plastic stencil material. It should look like this after you cut it, place it in the Stencil Genie, and lay it on top of your cookie.
Time to apply the Royal Icing through the cookie stencil!
For the mesh stencil, place the stencil on top of the cookie. Hold the stencil on one end, and spread thinned Royal Icing over the mesh stencil, being careful not to move the stencil. Go over the Royal Icing with a spatula or scraper to press the icing through the mesh stencil and remove any excess royal on the stencil surface. Immediately remove the mesh stencil. You can stencil several more cookies if you work quickly, otherwise, rinse the stencil in warm water and hand dry before using it again.
Tip: Royal Icing for Mesh Stenciling should be thin consistency. If the Royal Icing is too thick, it will not go through the stencil well, leaving parts of the design unprinted or pale. Likewise, if the Royal Icing is too thin, it will smear underneath the cookie stencil. Experiment with icing consistency on a piece of parchment paper before stenciling directly onto a cookie.
For the plastic stencil, place the Stencil Genie on top of the cookie and proceed as above. When lifting the stencil, be sure to lift it straight up and not to one side.
Icing for Plastic Stenciling should be medium to thick consistency.
Can you airbrush through silkscreen?
Do I need a special blade to cut my stencil?
No. Just use the one that came with your machine.
Confession of this cookier
These cookies were not my grandest cookies of all. My grandchild was due when I began making these custom stenciled cookies. Originally, I planned to make them far more detailed, with such cutesy little anchors on the backgrounds and such. However, things never do go as planned, do they? Especially when it comes to babies! In the end, I had to hurry up the cookies so I could take them to the new Mom! So in a last minute frantic dash, I simply outlined the MOM cookies and topped them off with sanding sugar. Sanding sugar cures almost as many ills for cookies as glitter does for crafts! In the end, no one even noticed.
Oh, and if you know an expecting Mom yourself, let her know about this totally free Beginning Prenatal course . It’s written a labor and delivery nurse, so she really knows what she’s talking about.
Shop my favorite cookie stencil supplies here.
RELATED READING: How to align cookie stencils for perfect placement
So are you ready to do this? If so, here are the recipes!
Get the password for the Resource Library with the free recipes by filling out this form. If you make custom stencils, I’d love to see them — send me a photo at [email protected] or post it on https://www.facebook.com/missaudreygail