Cake Decorating Blog

The Ultimate Guide to Piping Nozzles

If you’re anything like us, then you’ve amassed quite an impressive collection (or hoard) of piping tips and nozzles! We even have tips we’ve never used that we just can’t part with just in case we ever do need them. Sometimes with all the tips in your tool box, it’s hard to visualize how your piped buttercream or royal icing is going to look. Here’s are super handy visual piping nozzle guides to help make cake decorating easier!

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Open star piping nozzles

What shapes do open star piping tips make

Open and closed star tips are very popular when it comes to frosting pretty cupcakes. They can create lightly textured ruffles when swirled continuously. Used at an angle, these tips create small shell -type dollops of buttercream or royal icing — perfect for adding cute borders at the base of iced cakes. Otherwise, piped directly overhead and in short bursts they make “gems,” which are great for piping out meringue kisses, mini-cupcakes or tiny bursts of buttercream on top of a home made cake.

Tips and nozzles used

The Wilton 1M was used to pipe the shapes on the left. This is a versatile piping nozzle great for shell borders, adding “gems” to cakes or piping cupcakes.

On the right, we used the Wilton 4B to create the wonderfully textured shells and gems. This tip makes pretty pastry or buttercream piped features.

Closed star piping nozzles

What patterns do close piping tips make

These types of nozzles and tips are perfect for piping ruffled buttercream on top of cupcakes as well as adding borders to cakes a cookies, depending on their size. Closed star tips create a more defined texture than open star tips due to the ridges of the tip being tighter.

Tips and nozzles used

To the far left is the Ateco 846, which is a wonderful tip for piping shell borders to cakes or for adding small swirls of buttercream to a design.

The Wilton 1F (in the middle) created lots of ruffled and textured drop flowers. This tip is good for borders, drop flowers and even piping smaller-sized cupcakes.

The Wilton 2D is a more tightly closed star tip, which pipes out ruffled drop flowers. Due to its closeness it can be a little temperamental when piping borders.

Plain round piping nozzlesEasy piping tip cheat sheet

We use large plain round piping tips to pipe the simple and rounded swirls on our cupcakes. In small sizes, they’re great for adding dots of details onto cakes, adding centers to sugar blossoms or even for piping out names. Small seamless tips (such as the PME Supatube range) are perfect for piping swiss dots onto cakes with royal icing.

Tips and nozzles used

Any of the PME Supatube rounds make great piping tips (especially with royal icing work). We used the 2.5 nozzle to pipe the scroll work and dots on the left.

The Ateco 808 was used to pipe the generous dots to the left. This nozzle is perfect for piping cupcakes or adding buttercream borders to cakes!

Petal or ruffle piping nozzles

Create pretty ruffles with petal piping tips

The name says it all! These tips are ideal for adding gorgeous buttercream ruffles to cakes or for piping out impressive flowers on top of cupcakes and cookies. Always make sure that the fatter end of the piping tip is closest to the cake, with the thinner end facing upwards. This will ensure super delicate and defined ruffles and petals!

Tips and nozzles used

To pipe gorgeous 3-D ruffles onto the sides of cakes, try the Wilton 124, which is featured on the left above. We used the Wilton 104 on the right to pipe wonderfully subtle frills with buttercream. 

Leaf piping nozzles

Piping nozzle cheat sheet

Piping tips that help you create pretty leaves are handy for adding quick detail to cakes and cookies. They’re also perfect for adding foliage to drop flowers or to rosette-piped cupcakes. The trick is to practice holding your leaf tip at different angles to find out what works for you.

Above, there are two main types of leaf piping tips: One has a large V notch in the tip, which creates a smooth leaf that is full at the base and tapered towards the end. The tip with the smaller opening has a cut along the top and sides with a tiny notch in its middle (see below). This helps make a more ruffled leaf.

How to use leaf piping tips

Tips and nozzles used

The piping tip on the left is the Wilton 352, which creates the less ruffled, smoother leaf. On the right is the Wilton 67 piping nozzle, which pipes lovely ruffled leaves.

Specialty piping nozzles

How to use speciality piping nozzles

There are some quirky and fun specialty piping tips out there. One of our favorites is a tip that pipes out a grass-like effect. They’re fun and while you’ll find that you may not use them often, they’re still pretty handy to have in your tool box. Another fun option is a tip that creates a basketweave texture.

Tips and nozzles used

To pipe the grass effect buttercream on the left we used the Ateco 133 (grass tip). This is great for creating hair and fringing detail, too. The Wilton 48 (basketweave tip) created the textured piping on the right, which we then used to make a basketweave look.



sue anna

I would like to try your free class would like to hopefully I can learn to new things

Becky Leary

Looking forward to taking this class. It’s a subject that I love and I’m anxious to get some new techniques.

Joyce Atkins

please tell me where I can buy fondant.


You can buy fondant pretty well anywhere that sells baking supplies. Bulk Barn, Michael’s, etc. It comes in a tub, and in different colours and flavours.

Joyce Atkins

Where can I buy fondant?

cherry cortez

hi..i got lots of ideas upon reading ur posts
i am eager to learn more, just asking, is the tutorial on linencoz im from the philipines

Thelma Nieto

Love your site


I found this post so helpful.Thank you

varsha sharma

want some photos on cake decorathon and teach how sperad wipped cream iceing perfectly


Very useful and would like to follow your tutorials.


what are the tip numbers in the uk???


Hi How do I tell which tips or nozzles are the smallest. I can identify the smallest writers but which are the smallest open and closed stars and leaf tips? For example I have one tip, labelled # 42. Is there a similar one which is slightly smaller or bigger? I am interested in different shapes than the 42 as well. Thank you for your advice. I am not planning to use these for icing. I have used them for making tiny clay objects for dollhouses.
Thank you


I recently bought a set from a company named kootek. It came with 30 tips…. No ne of them have numbers or anything…. How do i identify each one for practice

Lisa J

I’m planning to buy tips, so I’m glad I came across your article. I really got some great ideas.

I already have reusable piping bags, icing bag ties, and couplers from Chefast. I bought their set on Amazon and all the items I got look of great quality. However, I still need some icing tips as the ones you mentioned in your article.

What’s the best brand of icing tips should I use? I’m on a tight budget right now, so I prefer to buy the best decorating icing tips without spending too much money.

Thanks in advance for your answers!


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