The Dos and Don’ts of Making Sparkly Buttercream

A buttercream cupcake with a touch of shimmer is bound to be an attention grabber! It’s easy to add sparkle to fondant, but what about delicate buttercream? Keep scrolling to find out how to make sparkly buttercream.

Tips for making sparkly buttercream

How to make sparkly buttercream two ways

Adding glitz and glam to buttercream is a little tricky. You can’t simply paint it on due to the wet, soft and squishy nature of buttercream.

If you tried, you’d just end up with paintbrushes covered in frosting and a less-than-perfect swirl. Therefore, it’s important to know the dos and don’ts of sparkly buttercream.

DO use luster spray

How to easily add sparkle to your buttercream

Luster spray is the easiest and most pain-free way to get pretty, sparkly buttercream. You can grab a can of edible shimmering luster spray or airbrush it on. Spraying your sparkle is much easier than painting or sprinkling.

Luster spray for sparkly buttercream

To get started, lay down some newspaper or parchment paper on your work surface. A covering of paper will make tidying up quicker and easier.

How to make sparkly buttercream

If you’re spraying on a cake or another large creation, set it on a turntable. If you’re spraying something smaller, like a cupcake, just hold it in your hand.

Hold your spray bottle 7″ to 10″ away from the buttercream, then spray with a sweeping motion while rotating your cake or cupcake.

DON’T sprinkle luster dust

Should you use luster dust to make sparkly buttercream

If you sprinkle luster dust on buttercream, it’s unlikely to create an even sparkle. If you look closely at the above photo, you’ll notice concentrated splotches of white shimmer on the buttercream. It’s hard to control those bits of shimmer, and you’ll almost never get full coverage. Sprinkling luster dust also makes it hard to dust the sides of your treat.

DO brush on luster dust

What brush to use to dust with luster

If you do decide to take the luster dust route, you need to have the right brush.

Large, fluffy makeup brushes like the ones we use above are perfect. They cover a larger area with sparkle. The fluffiness also means there’s less chance of any harsh unevenness. Always opt for good quality brushes — cheap is never cheerful, especially when those bristles come loose.

You’ll also want to buy animal product–free brushes. Make sure that any makeup brushes are brand new or have only ever been used on edible or food items.

How to dust with luster

Rather than dusting straight from the pot, pour some luster dust onto a clean plate or bowl. Swirl your fluffy brush around and then gently tap the brush over your buttercream.

If you simply dip your brush into the luster pot, you’ll end up with uneven splotches.  

DON’T mix luster dust directly into buttercream.

If you try to mix the luster dust into your buttercream, the sparkle will get lost in the frosting. Basically, sparkle only works as a coating or sheen. It needs to sit on top so the light can hit it.


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