The Last Word on Letter Cutters

Posted by on Oct 24, 2013 in Cake Decorating | Comments


Funky, curly, or formal, there are letter cutters for every cake occasion. Probably the most popular are FMM Block Alphabet Tappits, but learning how to use Tappits can be tricky.  Not to worry, though! A few simple changes to your Tappit routine should have you tapping them out quickly and easily. This tutorial is the last word on letter cutters!

Cake with Airplane Theme

Photo via Royal Bakery

How to use Tappit letter cutters:

Note: My fondant of choice for cutting out letters is fondant from Wilton. It’s firm, keeps its shape well, isn’t sticky and dries quickly.

Hand Rolling out Green Fondant

Step 1:

Roll out the fondant to a thickness of around 1/16th of an inch. Let the fondant sit and dry out for around 10 minutes.

 Brushing Letter Stencil with Corn Starch

Step 2:

Dust the cutter with a little cornstarch on a large brush. Tap out the excess.

 Pressing Cutter into the Fondant

Step 3:

Press the cutter into the fondant. Rub the cutter back and forth a few times on your mat or worktop. Pick up the cutter and the letter should still be inside. If it isn’t, the fondant is still too soft and sticky. Try adding a little Tylose powder, re-roll, and leave for another 10 minutes.

Rub the edges of the letter in the cutter with your finger or thumb to smooth the fondant.

Removing Fondant from Cutter - Gently Rolling

Step 4:

Here’s how Tappits get their name: tap the cutter on your surface and the letter should pop out. It might take a few taps, or even a few whacks, but if you’ve followed earlier steps, the letter should end up on your work mat. I find it most effective to tap the cutter on something like a rolling pin wrapped in a paper towel to protect it. Not tapping the cutter directly on your work surface stops it from bouncing and damaging the letter that has just fallen out.

 Using a Stick Pin to Remove Fondant from Cutter

Step 5:

Sometimes you might come across a stubborn letter that just doesn’t want to come out. It either won’t budge at all, or part of it remains lodged in the cutter. In this case, use a pin and gently ease the letter out. But rather than tip the letter out at this point, press it back into the mold and tap it out properly. This will help retain its correct shape.

Fondant Letters Spelling "Craftsy" on Mat

Step 6:

Let the letters dry fully before transferring them to the cake so they don’t become misshapen as you arrange them. To help you center the letters on the cake, arrange them on your mat and measure the finished word or message. This should help you determine how much space you need to leave on either side.

Windsor Clikstix are sold with a plunger to help ease the fondant out of the cutter. However, this can leave unsightly indents in the front of the letters. If you would prefer to avoid these indentations, it’s possible to remove the plunger and use the cutters just like Tappits (they can be replaced later if you prefer). In fact, Clikstix letters pop out much more easily because of the larger surface area of the font.

Letter cutters can be used to decorate cakes and cupcakes with any theme and are often one of the first tools a new decorator invests in. New decorators might find Elisa Strauss’ FREE Basic Fondant Techniques class invaluable before moving on to Advanced Fondant Techniques by Marina Sousa.

Would you rather pipe your messages or use letter cutters?

Comments

  1. Adriana says:

    I’ve found that placing a piece of plastic wrap between the fondant and letter cutter is super easy and doesn’t stick! :)

  2. jen says:

    I wish someone would ban the italics one, I can’t stand how many people use them on cakes where they look completely out of step with the design of the cake.

  3. TerraD says:

    I love that bottom font! Where do I find those cutters?!

  4. Vicky V says:

    Hi Peggy thanks for the tutorial it’s a great help…my question is probably a silly one but how do you glue them on to the fondant? I could never get a clean result..I’ve tried water, edible glue but it alwe turns out messy. Thanks

    1. Lesley Wright says:

      Well, actually I’m Lesley! :-)

      I just use water, but a tiny amount on a very small paintbrush. If the letters are dry and firm first it helps. I pick them up on my Exacto blade and slide them into place.

  5. Lorrie says:

    TERRAD, those are from Windsor Clikstix http://www.windsorcakecraft.co.uk/the_windsor_clikstix_range.html You can google them and find them in North America too. Very fun!

  6. sukanya says:

    where can i buy Tappit letter cutters? please e mail . your caka looks so lovely.

    1. Lesley Wright says:

      It depends on which country you live in. In the US and UK you can buy them from Amazon. Other than that, I can’t really advise you. I suggest you just search Google for ‘FMM Tappits’ and see what options it gives you.

      1. sukanya says:

        thank you lesley

  7. sukanya says:

    i wants to makes maroon sugar rose flower . i don’t know how to get maroon color.please help me ,if anyone know that. thx