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The Complete Guide to Decorating Cakes With Edible Icing Sheets

Edible icing sheets may seem like a mystery, but they’re actually a cake decorator’s dream! Follow my tips for icing sheet success, and you’ll be whipping up dramatic and trendy cake designs in a flash.

How to Decorate a Cake With Edible Icing Sheets | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

What are edible icing sheets?

Edible icing sheets are paper-thin sheets of flexible, printable frosting that easily adhere to buttercream, fondant, chocolate, isomalt and royal icing. Icing sheets come with a plastic backing that helps keep the frosting pliable until you are ready to work with it. The matte surface of an icing sheet can be colored with petal and luster dusts, shimmer sprays, food coloring markers, or with a printer fitted with edible inks.

How to Decorate a Cake With Edible Icing Sheets | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

What’s the difference between icing sheets and wafer paper?

Pretty Pinwheel Birthday cake With Edible Icing Sheet

Pretty Pinwheel Birthday Cake by VictoriaJanebakes in Perfect Party Cakes

Icing Sheets

Pros: Takes color very well. Images come out bright and clean. Because they’re made of sugar, icing sheets meld into whatever edible finish they’re applied to. Taste is sweet and blends easily with most cake or cookie finishes.

Cons: Can run $2-$10 per sheet depending on the design. Needs to be stored in an airtight bag and used shortly after opening. Very difficult to use once it starts to dry out. Not quite as flexible as wafer paper. Needs to be applied to something else (fondant, gum paste, etc.), too fragile to hold a shape on its own.

Wafer Paper Flowers

Wafer Paper Flowers by Craftsy instructor Stevi Auble

Wafer Paper

Pros: Very inexpensive. More flexible (with the use of steam). Hold’s its shape — doesn’t need to be applied to another medium to use. Wafer paper should also be stored in an airtight bag, but it doesn’t dry out as quickly.

Cons: Printed images not as bright and bold. Not typically eaten. Wafer paper is usually unflavored and has a crispy mouthfeel. Paper can curl or wrinkle when printed. Doesn’t cut as cleanly when used on the sides of a cake.

Coloring Icing Sheets | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

Images via

Coloring edible icing sheets

There are a few different ways to apply color on an edible icing sheet:

  • Petal and luster dusts: Apply dusts dry with a paintbrush for an opaque, cloudy look. Thin with clear liquor or extracts for bolder, more saturated colors.
  • Airbrush or food color sprays: Hold applicator a few inches away from the surface of the icing sheet. Avoid holding in one place for too long, so that the color doesn’t pool or oversaturate the sheet. Allow the color to dry before handling the sheet. 
  • Food color markers
  • Printers: Be sure to use a printer that hasn’t also been used to print with inedible inks. Use food colorings that have been specially formulated for use with a printer. Allow the image to dry before handling. 
Cutting Edible Icing Sheets | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

Cutting edible icing sheets

Cutting icing sheets is as simple as cutting a piece of paper! Use scissors, a craft knife, paper guillotine or paper punches. Detailed images or monograms can be traced in reverse on the plastic backing and cut out with scissors or a craft knife. Icing sheets can be cut with or without the plastic backing still attached. Bend and tear the icing sheet for more of a torn-paper effect.

Cutting Edible Icing Sheets | Erin Gardner | CraftsyApplying Edible Icing Sheets | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

Applying edible icing sheets

Remove the plastic backing when you’re ready to use your icing sheet. Icing sheets will stick when directly applied to a ganache-covered or buttercream-finished cake. If using edible icing sheets to decorate a fondant-finished cake, first brush the fondant or back of the icing image with a tiny amount of water or edible glue.

Apply small edible icing images just like a sticker. Larger pieces or wraps will need to be applied slowly, from one end at a time, to avoid bubbles from forming under the icing sheet. Further embellish your edible icing image by brushing on a dab of edible glue and sprinkling on nonpareils or edible glitter.

How to Decorate a Cake With Edible Icing Sheets | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

Learn to Use Edible Icing Sheets Like a Pro!

Perfect Party Cakes Class on Craftsy

Add trendy techniques to your decorating toolkit when you learn to work with edible icing sheets in Perfect Party Cakes. Whether you’re wrapping an entire tier, creating die-cut trim or forming adorable flowers, you’ll come back to these versatile designs again and again.Enroll Now »


Starr Lee

Hello thanks for explaining the difference. I am in the market for an edible printer. Can you recommend any?

Erin Gardner

Hmmm, I wish I could, but I don’t use one myself. If anyone else has suggestions, please chime in!

Shannon White

I’ve just bought one myself, well my moms bought it for me as a Christmas present so I haven’t got to use it yet but from what I’ve read elsewhere it’s great. Don’t be deterred by the reviews as I’ve checked out other actual sites and they haven’t had any problems. Will let you know Christmas day how it turns out


From what I’ve read you can use a regular printer but must use edible inks which you can buy on eBay, Amazon etc for most of the big print companies.


You can use a regular printer with edible inks that are compatible. However, if you plan to use your existing printer, make sure the inedible ink is removed and the printheads are clean prior to installing edible ink. I bought a regular printer (Canon MG7520 on Amazon) and purchased compatible edible ink cartridges. We have a regular printer but we use it for day-to-day stuff. It would be too expensive to purchase printhead cleaner everytime I need it for edible images, so a an additional printer worked out. Hope this helps and good luck.

lana mcintire

do you have any suggestions for how to apply a edible image wrap onto a BC cake. It will be my first time trying it to so any information will help. I’ve read to leave the image out at room temp or to pop it in the freezer for 10 minutes before applying it to the cake. What do you recommend?

Erin Gardner

Hi! I’ve always applied edible images when they were room temp, but the cake is super chilled. You want to make sure the buttercream is very firm. That way you don’t mark up the buttercream or have the cake lose its shape while you’re pressing the image onto the cake.


Anyone having trouble after applying it to chocolate that the icing sheet gets hard?

Jacob Lewis | Edible Cupcake Topper

Edible icing sheets enhance the charm of the cake and adorn it with its grandeur. Undoubtedly it is important to use it the right way to get a neat design. You have certainly given a great insight about the edible icing sheets and its right use which will be quite helpful the next time I try my hand in it. Nevertheless, a professional can certainly do a great job with it.


How do you apply glitter to edible icing sheets?

Erin Gardner

Brush on a very thin layer of piping gel, then dust the paper with the edible glitter before applying it to the cake. Hope this helps!


I am looking to apply icing sheets on cookies and then put them in cello bags. Do i make a royal icing so that it hardens before putting in the bags? Thanks.

Erin Gardner

Yes, that’s what I would do. Frost the cookies with royal icing, apply the image while the icing is wet, then let it dry completely before putting it in the bag.

Erin Gardner

Yes! Royal icing is exactly what I would use for that job.


I would like to make cookies which look like a framed picture. Thought about using edible icing sheets and covering them with isomalt. I am concerned the sheets may melt if I poured the hot isomalt on top of them. Wondering if there is something I could use to adhere them after I have poured the isomalt and it has set up. Thanks!

Erin Gardner

I think there’s a good chance you’d be just fine pouring the isomalt over the image, especially if you do a thin layer. Definitely give it a try first! If you wanted to apply it after then I would use a little bit of piping gel to adhere it.

jayne sullivan

Please can someone help this is driving me mad! I print on edible icing sheets inside lollipops. I have seen glitter text printed and no idea how this would be created any ideas


I’ve used an edible icing sheet before on a BC cake and left it out over night at room temperature in the box but covered the lid with cling film, in the morning the icing sheet had softened and flopped where before it was standing up slightly above the top of the cake, and was very wet to touch. Basically it had sweated! Has anyone got any ideas on how best to store this if you decorate the night prior???
I’ve heard the fridge is bad as it will also sweat but I don’t want to leave it out un covered!


Try without the plastic film. the box ix enough to keep the cake from drying out but breathable enough to not make the cake sweat.

Betty. Green

I just bought a canon ts6120 it is easy set up and prints beautiful. Got off amazon


If you put the edible image on a buttercream cake the day/night before the event will the picture bleed?


I’ve never had my image bleed. I’ve put them on even two days before and never had a problem.


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