Cake Decorating Blog

Sheet Happens: How to Use Sugar Sheets

If you've never become acquainted with how to use sugar sheets, then you are in for a real treat. These edible sheets of decorating paper, often with fun patterns, are flexible in more ways than one: not only can they physically be manipulated into shapes, but they are also extremely versatile in their assorted cake decorating uses.

How to Use Sugar Sheets in Cake Decorating

There are typically two types: sheets which are designed as borders, and sheets that can be cut out. The sheets designed as borders will be long and skinny, so that they can easily wrap around a cake's perimeter. The sheets designed for cutting out will be around the size of a sheet of paper and will be printed all over with a pattern. Shapes can be cut out either by hand using food-safe shears, or using food-safe punches.

How to store sugar sheets

Storing Sugar Sheets in a Sealed Bag

Before you get started with sugar sheets, it's good to know how they should be properly stored, as they are very sensitive to the elements (heat, cold and moisture). Storing them properly will ensure that they're flexible and in good condition when you use them.

The sheets come in resealable packaging and are attached to a clear backing (sort of like stickers or labels). Only remove the backing from the portion that you'll use, as the sheets will store better on the backing.

After you've removed the portion of the sheet you'd like to use, place the unused portion back into the resealable package right away -- don't let it sit out while you work. Press out any excess air and seal using the bag's built-in seal.

Don't store different designs in the same bag, as they may bleed into one another.

Store in a cool, dry place, but do not refrigerate or freeze, as this can dry the sheets out.

How to use sugar sheets

Cutting Sugar Sheets -

Step 1:

First, plan your design before you start decorating. Choose the elements you want on your cake, including borders, single shapes or toppers.

Step 2:

Now, ice your cake. It is important that the sugar sheets have something slightly tacky to stick to. A cake freshly iced with buttercream is ideal, but you can use the sugar sheets on the firm surface of a crusting buttercream or fondant-topped cake if you use a little gel icing or royal icing as "glue." To make sure it doesn't show through, use white or a light colored icing. You can also lightly mist a cake with water to help the sugar sheets stick.

As for the icing, a fairly flat surface will work best for adhering sugar sheets, so smooth fondant or buttercream to as flat a surface as possible.

Step 3:

Now that you have your cake iced, gently remove the sugar sheet from its packaging.

Cut off the amount of the sugar sheet you think you will need, and return the rest to the package. You can go back in for more later if you need it.

Cut out or punch out the designs that you'd like on your cake.

Here are just a few ideas for using your sugar sheets, including creating border designs for cakes, shape designs and toppers for cupcakes.

To create a border

The sheets that are designed for borders can simply be adhered along the perimeter of your cake. Go slowly to ensure that you are applying the sugar sheet evenly; you may even find that it is easier to apply if you leave the backing on the sugar sheet, and remove it as you smooth the sugar sheet onto the cake. Once adhered, you can use an offset spatula run along the edge to gently flatten it.

Removing Backing from Sugar Sheet

If a cake is exposed to humidity, the sugar sheet may slightly ripple. Run an offset spatula gently along the edge again to smooth any wrinkles or ridges.

Adding Sugar Sheet to Cake

Do you have scraggly edges where you applied your sugar sheet border? Don't worry.

Either gently clean the messy part with a very slightly wet paper towel, or simply cover it up (prettily) by piping a border with buttercream. Problem solved.

Adding Piped Border to Bottom of Sugar Sheet

To adhere shapes on top or on the sides of cakes

Simply cut out (or punch) the shapes you'd like to use, and adhere to the top or sides of your cake.

Cutting Shapes from Sugar Sheet

Make sure that the backing has been removed after you cut out your shapes.

Heart-Shaped Sugar Sheet - Craftsy

Very gently press in place to make sure the sugar sheets have adhered to the icing.

Don't press too hard or you will leave a dent in the icing. You want a smooth, seamless look. If needed, you can gently smooth any rough edges with a small spatula. Cake Covered in Sugar Sheets

Cupcake toppers

Cupcakes are the perfect canvas for sugar sheets. Here's a simple way to create adorably decorated cupcakes.

First, cut out a circle that is about the same size as the circumference of the cupcake. Next, ice the cupcake with buttercream, and smooth the top and sides.

Prepping Cupcake for Sprinkles

If desired, you can dip the sides in sprinkles.

Adhere the circle cutout on top, and gently press into the top of the icing -- if the cutout is slightly larger than the iced area, gently pressing will spread the icing to the exact size of the cutout.

Cupcake Topped with Sprinkles and Sugar Sheet

What if my sheets crack?

Uh oh. This means that your sugar sheets have become dry. Happily, they may still be salvageable. Try this fix: brush a little (little!) bit of water on the shiny side of the sheet -- the side that would be adhered to the icing. Let the sugar sheet sit for about 15 minutes before cutting; this may save the day. If the sugar sheets still crack, you may need to purchase new ones.

Storing cakes with sugar sheet decorations

If your cake or cupcakes are decorated with sugar sheets on the tops or sides, they can be safely refrigerated for frozen. However, quick changes in temperature or humidity can cause wilting or rippling, so if you have chilled the cake, allow it plenty of time to slowly reach room temperature in a cool, dry place before serving.

Have you ever used sugar sheets?


D. Nordstrom

Thanks for posting this most educational article. Please consider adding to this information with details about how to use sugar sheets on candies, as I see many truffles decorated with these.. Beautiful!


It’s chocolate transfer sheets that get used on truffles.

Shauna Tate

Wow! This is quite an interesting find for me! I stumbled upon this article because apparently KFC will/is offer(ing) a new product. And that product is…an edible cup of coffee! While reading the press release is where I’d learned that the edible cup’s outer perimeter is lined completely w/red colored sugar paper, company logo emblazoned on opposite sides. Then I asked myself “What in the heck is sugar paper?” So after a quick Google, I found you. I found your article’s description to be clear, concise, with easy to understand instructions(and hints too).

I simply love this idea! And I can barely wait to try it out, and experiment with it some.

Kinda off topic…I’m usually designated as the ‘family baker’ whenever there’s a family gathering, and there’s food served. And I think this sugar paper product just might solve my never ending problem of finding a new, different, and exciting dessert to make. I’m always on the lookout for dessert that’ll leave everybody astonished, wondering how in the heck did I create something so professional looking. And this is just the product that could pull it off.

But before I continue, I have a confession. While I love to bake my butt off, I never bake cakes from scratch(Betty Crocker all the way baby!), because the mix is as idiot-proof as it gets. Where even an amature baker can almost/always count on the company’s guaranteed result of consistently tasty cake. But despite my preference to premade batter, I simply hate using the manufacturer’s suggested method of decoration(usually pictured on the front of the box). I find slathering on thick, swirly, gobs of canned frosting to be boring, sickly sweet, and visually unappealing. With that in mind, I always keep an eye out for easy, breezy ‘hacks’ that can take something as simple as store bought cake mix, and turn it into something that looks good enough for the cover of Monthly Desserts Magazine. Where they fawn over my keen eye for perfection in every little decorative detail, And having others think I spent a small fortune @my local bakery.

But, in the end I always fess up to everybody on how simple it actually was(humble brag). Using it as an opportunity to spread the baker’s gospel to every non-believer, showing how they too can bake like a semi-pro. Changing someone who once couldn’t even crack an egg properly(damned bits of shell!), into a baking convert.

My lastest ‘discovery’ of easy-to-make desserts was an icebox cake. And during my company’s monthly potluck, I decided to try out two types. The first one was made using both chocolate, and Nilla Wafers. But, since a few of my coworkers(me included) find chocolate to be very bitter, I made the second one with just Nilla Wafers. Topping both off w/Cool Whip Frosting(a new & hard to find item apparently), and chocolate shavings. While it wasn’t fancy like the cake that’s pictured in the article, it’s great for those days where it’s just tio hot to bake.

Now that I read your piece, I plan on doing at least a couple of kitchen tests before trying it out a the next potluck.

Wish me luck!

By the way, where can I find sugar paper? Supermarkets? Or do I have to go where, or only online? Also, is it possible to find blank sheets, and use something similar to a print screen method to add designs? Possibly been using it just like a canvas, and just hand paint whatever I want?

Jessie Oleson Moore

Shauna: I think you will love sugar sheets. I find that they’re most readily available at either cake decorating supply stores, if you have one in your area, or craft supply stores such as Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, if you have one of those nearby!

Enjoy – it sounds like you enjoy your kitchen adventures!


We are doing cupcakes for our Relay for Life team’s bake sale. I have bought some sugar sheets (in the cancer colors of team mates we are honoring and remembering) and a cancer ribbon cookie cutter. I would like to stand these up on a piped iced cupcake. Is there a way we can do this with sugar sheets? Can we let them dry before we place them on or something? Would they keep their color? Or would it be best to use some other type of product? I was just wanting something easy since we are going to be doing a whole lot of cupcakes… Thanks so much!


My sugar sheets are a little stuck to their backing. How do I remove them?


This article is VERY helpful! I do have one question. Can you write on top of a sugar sheet with icing? Or will it get a little soggy?


hi can you help me please
i print my pictures but when i want to remove from the plastic the sugar sheet to much soft and demage if someone can explain what I need i will throw all the sheet😭😭😭


Will the sugar sheet gets hard to do design on .

diane french

hi today i found sugar paper plain white no backing at a bulk barn store for 49 cents a sheet my question also is what can you use to paint with when making your own drawings


I found food grade markers at my local walmart! Right in the same aisle as the sugar sheets.
I will be using them to make my daughters birthday cake this month.

Hephzibah Tosin

Can I use disney frozen sugar sheet on fondant decorated cake? Just got one to be used on Sunday.


Hi..I want logo to be printed on sugar sheet and use for h chocolates…as transfer sheet is nt availvale.. Plz suggest


I have had a problem in the past with images with black on them turning green
After they have been applied to buttercream and sit overnight. Any suggestions on how to prevent this?


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