Too Pretty to Eat! Cookie Decorating for Beginners with IOD Stamps

Are you looking for an easy way to give your royal icing sugar cookies some IOD pizazz? Look no further because we’re about to show you how to “WOW” the crowd with these sweet treats. Whether you’re an experienced sugar artist or a total cookie decorating beginner, this ‘cookie decorating for beginners’ tutorial is one you won’t want to miss!

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how to use IOD stamps on food

Lori, one of our talented stockists and owner of the shop Milton’s Daughter in Brooklyn, NY shows you exactly what to do in this quick 8-minute video tutorial.

Watch her video below or keep scrolling for a supply list and step-by-step instructions.

In this tutorial, Lori uses the Crockery Stamp, but she also shares examples of how you can use the Butterflies stamp, the Kindest Regards Stamp, the Farm Animals stamp, and the Queen Bee stamp to get a look you’ll love on your cookies.

All of the stamps she uses can be purchased from an approved IOD stockist. To find a shop local to you, click here. To find an online store, click here.

Here’s everything you need to decorate your cookies.

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Cookie Decorating for Beginners: Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Make the cookies. 

Use your grandmother’s recipe or buy pre-made sugar cookie dough in the refrigerated aisle at your grocery store – whatever works. The important thing is that you use a dough that allows you to roll the dough out so you can use a cookie cutter to get just the shape you want.

Follow the baking instructions in your chosen recipe or on the package.

Step 2: Make the icing. 

Again, you can make your own (Lori used this recipe) or buy the royal icing pre-made. Both work equally well so it’s just a matter of personal preference. 

Step 3: Create your piping icing and your flood icing.

Using the base royal icing, create two consistencies of icing by adding water a little bit at a time. The first one will be your piping icing and you want to mix in just enough water to make a toothpaste consistency.

royal icing piping consistency for sugar cookie decorating

For your flood (or fill) icing, you will add a bit more water until it’s the consistency of shampoo. 

flood icing consistency for beginner cookie decorating

Step 4: Ice the cookies.

Fill one of the pastry bags fitted with a #2 tip with your piping icing (thicker consistency). Using even pressure, hover the tip above the cookie and let the icing fall from the tip around the border of the cookie.

piping icing for beginner cookie decorating

Be prepared for some yummy mistakes as this part takes a little practice.

Fill a second pastry bag with the flood icing (thinner consistency). Fill or ‘flood’ the area within the border of piping icing. Don’t go all the way to the piping icing.

cookie decorating for beginners with flood icing

Carefully pick up the cookie and gently shake it from side to side to spread the icing. 

shake the sugar cookie to spread the icing

Finally, use the popsicle stick to carefully tease the flood icing all the way to the piping border.

use a popsicle stick to spread the royal icing

Step 5: Do NOT refrigerate your iced cookies.

Take it from Lori’s hard-earned experience – this will cause condensation to form on the surface of the icing. This moisture will cause any decoration – include a stamped image – to slide right off.

Instead, keep them at room temperature and give them a good 8-10 hours to dry out a bit so you get a beautiful, clear stamped image. 

Step 6: Stamp all the cookies!!!

This is our most FAVORITE step because it’s where all the fun happens.

Start by squeezing out a generous portion of the royal blue soft gel paste on a clean, flat work surface. This can be a plate or silicone sheet – anything that’s food safe and won’t stain.

use royal blue soft gel paste to decorate cookies with stamps

Next, lay your stamp backside down so that the raised design is facing you.

Roll your brayer through the gel paste until it’s fully covered.

roll the brayer to get the soft gel paste ready for cooking decorating

Then roll the brayer on the stamp to transfer the gel paste. Roll in different directions and note that you may have to reload the brayer with gel paste and roll it on the stamp more than once to give it a good coating.

Note: If this is your first time using a brand new stamp:

Make sure to condition it first by scuffing it in two different directions with a fine grit sandpaper. Then thoroughly wash the stamp before using it with the gel paste. For more details on how to prep your IOD stamps when you first get them, check out this post

Now, pick up the gel-loaded stamp and flip it over so the design is facing down. Hover the stamp over the cookie to decide where to place it and then commit by laying it on the cookie. Be careful not to shift the stamp as you lay it down or you’ll smudge your design. 

lay the IOD stamp on the cookie

Use one finger to stabilize the stamp and with your other hand, gently run your fingers along the backside of the stamp to make sure all the details of the design make contact with the icing. 

Then, holding the edges of the stamp, lift it off the cookie – again being careful not to shift as you lift. (This might take a bit of practice – but we promise you’ll get it!)

Step 7: Let the gel paste completely dry before plating or storing your cookies.

cookie decorating for beginners with IOD stamps

Now you’re ready to be queen of the bake sale, master of deserts or whatever other delicious title you want to give yourself!

And remember — IOD stamps aren’t the only product that’s food safe. You can also use IOD moulds to shape cookies, create beautiful fondant decorations or even decorate a pie.

Food decorating with IOD molds on a pie crust

Watch the short step-by-step video below to see how Gina of Vintage Charm Homestead in Livertyville, IL makes the gorgeous pie crust you see above.

What scrumptious delight are you going to make with Iron Orchid Designs? Share with us on social media – we’d love to see!


If you love the Crockery stamp that Lori used on these cookies, check out this post for tons of ideas for other things (besides gorgeous cookies) that you can make with it.

If you love sugar arts, try your hand at cake decorating with this step-by-step tutorial: How to Use Fondant with IOD moulds

We also have a video tutorial on using both moulds and stamps in cake decorating – check out the post: A Sweet Idea. Let Them Eat Cake!

Do you love Sugar Arts (or just like looking as beautiful sweet treats?) Join our private Facebook group dedicated to Sugar Arts with IOD products by clicking here.

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  1. Anonymous on August 1, 2020 at 12:56 pm

    This is just a gorgeous way to show off your cookies and desserts. I was trying to share this with my sister but I didn’t see a share button. I’ve purchased your Molds, Transfers, ink pad, and ink. I’m working my way up to purchase the rest of your items. I love everything I’ve purchased. I pray God’s Blessings upon you and your Sister……thank you

    • IOD Customer Service IOD Customer Service on August 3, 2020 at 8:48 am

      Hi there,

      We have some share options at the top of the post or you can copy the link and share it that way. 😍👍

  2. Julie C. Parrish on August 18, 2020 at 8:23 am

    so beautiful! these would be lovely for bridal shower or wedding. how does royal icing stand up to heat and humidity, I wonder?

    • IOD Customer Service IOD Customer Service on August 19, 2020 at 7:29 am

      Hi Julie,

      Once set they should be alright for a short time however any humidity or moisture would most likely cause them to start bleeding a bit. Thank you so much for your interest. 😊

  3. Nadine G on August 18, 2020 at 9:47 am

    My mom used a Royal Icing when she decorated wedding cakes. Once the icing had “set”, it held up to hot summer temperatures. I feel like the gel paste would hold up the same way? Yummy. I would like to try this stamping with Christmas themed stamps

    • IOD Customer Service IOD Customer Service on August 19, 2020 at 7:29 am

      Hi Nadine,

      This a great idea for Christmas cookies! We may try the same. 👍

  4. Mary H on August 18, 2020 at 9:55 am

    Thank you for the ideas. Ingenious! I’m thinking of molding and putting on cookies after seeing your idea of the cookies and pie.

  5. Anonymous on August 18, 2020 at 10:35 am

    So neat❤️Thank you for sharing

  6. Linda on August 18, 2020 at 11:38 am

    These emails are such a gift, thank you so much . I could never achieve that caliber of artistic surroundings on my shoestring budget without some serious coaching.
    Outrageous cookies, and the Pie is so beautiful !
    I have not bought the IODs yet, am almost ready to launch into the deep.
    First I’ll clean up the house , give my dusty old craft junk away , then start some new spectacular masterpieces.

  7. Sandy on August 18, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    Hi I’m curious. Once our stamps have been used with ink and we clean them, would we dare use them for the cookies or need new stamps. I would think the moulds will be fine washed after using air clay, correct?
    Thank you. These are beautiful! Oops I just heard her say use separate moulds for food. Would make sense.

    • IOD Customer Service IOD Customer Service on August 19, 2020 at 7:20 am

      Hi Sandy,

      Yes! We would suggest having a separate set for working with food. 😊

  8. Patrizia Boszko on December 15, 2020 at 6:11 pm

    Did you use them directly from package to stamp cookies or were they pre washed?

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