The Easy Way to Add Calligraphy to a Cake

Adding stylish hand-painted names, greetings and even monograms onto fondant is always nerve-wracking. It doesn’t matter if you’re a pro who’s painted thousands of cakes — those nerves can still get the better of you. With our tutorial (and handy tips) for painting chic cake calligraph, your freshly baked treats are sure to send a sweet message!

Tips and tricks for painting calligraphy fonts onto cakeTips of hand-painting messages onto cakes and cupcakes

Materials needed for cake calligraphy

  • Fine, food-safe paintbrush
  • Edible food paint (or gel/paste food color and a drop or two of vodka)
  • Large, fluffy, food-safe paintbrush
  • Clean, food-safe paintbrush
  • Painter’s palette
  • Edible ink marker (optional)
  • Printed template or sketch of your message or word (optional)

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Top tips before you get started

The best tools for beginners

If you have an unsteady hand or if you’re new to painting onto fondant, here’s our best tip: Use an edible ink marker! It’s much easier than using a paintbrush because you can get the basis of your text down by simply writing on your fondant. Be gentle and light-handed. If you press down too hard as you write, you’ll end up stabbing or dragging holes in your fondant. 

Break it down

Working in small sections makes hand-painting words less stressful. Remember that you don’t need to be a wiz and have messages perfected with just a flick of a brush. It takes small bits of preparing, sketching, over-painting and then smoothing curves and edges. Breaking it down into a number of tiny steps makes everything feel more manageable!

Use a new paintbrush

We go through an unbelievable amount of fine paintbrushes a year because after a short while the bristles can dull, separate or break apart into fan-like shapes. That’s totally normal. We’d suggest replacing your thin paintbrushes every so often. Short, fine brushes that have a little stiffness to them are much easier to paint with than long, thin brushes, so keep that in mind before purchasing your next paintbrushes.

How to paint cake calligraphy step by step

Tricks for perfect hand-painting messages onto cake

Step 1: Practice writing the words

It helps to map out what you intend to paint onto your cake or cupcake. For text, this generally means finding the perfect font on your computer and printing it out in the right size. If you’re working with handwriting, you’ll need to work out your style and sizing by hand. Preparation is key!

For our “pop, fizz, clink” cupcakes, we wrote down the words on paper first. We opted for a more on-trend, hand-written look with the first and last letters featuring elongated tails running off the toppers. 

We wrote our words initially in pencil so every letter featured the same thin line. We then went over them in a brush marker to work out the thickness of parts of the letters. To achieve a calligraphy style, make the downstrokes thicker than the upstrokes. If you’re working from a computerized font, those thin and thick lines will already be featured.

Tips for perfect cake calligraphy painting

Step 2: Paint a light guide

First “sketch” the word in with a super fine paintbrush and some lighter edible paint. Using this technique may seem scary, as it never looks perfect at this stage, but you will later trace over the light guide using bolder edible paint.

If you mess up slightly, you can gently remove your mishap with a clean, food-safe brush and a little vodka. Remember to let the area dry before re-doing it or you’ll end up in a worse situation than before — a wet patch means runny paint work!

How to add painted cake calligraphy messages onto cake

Step 3: Add the details to the letters

Now it’s time to look back at the prep work you did in Step 1 (feels good to have prepared, right?). Working on top of your sketched message and referring to your example, add in the thicker sections of each letter carefully. You can use a slightly thicker brush for this step, but we generally use the same fine brush for every stage of painting text onto cakes. You can practice on a scrap of fondant just to get a feel for it before committing!

Step 4: Smooth out the text

If you have any slightly shaky lines, wait until your work is dry before carefully going over your painting to smooth out the text a little more.

How to hand-paint cake calligraphy onto cakes and cupcakes

Hopefully our tips on how to paint cake calligraphy on fondant have made this terrifying task a little less daunting. Remember to work in small sections and that every artist plans, sketches and makes mistakes beforehand!

Paint Your Most Beautiful Cake Yet

Hand Painted Cake Bluprint Class

Learn essential hand-painting skills to give your cakes a design that matches your vision. It’s all in this free online, on-demand video class.Enroll FREE Now »

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