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Airbrush Cake Decorating – Lesson 3. Stencils, Freehand Lettering and Decorating

You’ve seen a little something about borders, now I’m going to take it a step further. We’re going to do a design – a graduation design. Graduation cakes are very popular – so I’m going to use this silhouette stencil and I’m going to lay it down on the cake, like so – again, making sure that the icing is set up and has a little bit of a crust so that the stencil doesn’t stick to the icing.

The graduate is going to be in black and I’m going to choose red and blue for school colors, because those are pretty popular colors. Starting with the black, we’ll do the silhouette first and move on to the border colors. As long as the stencil is flat on the cake there is no need for you to really hold it down – just try to keep the airbrush spraying straight down so it doesn’t blow the stencil off the cake. If you get air underneath there it flutters like that so just keep the airbrush aiming down at it. Maybe you might want to use your fingertips just a little to keep the edge down if necessary. I’m just keeping the airbrush a slight distance away from the stencil – get too close and it makes it flutter. If you hold it too far away you might get overspray and then you’ll see black on the edge – outside of the stencil which you don’t want. If that ends up being a major concern – one thing I’ve done in the past – is just held a piece of paper or cardboard, just as a mask so that any overspray from inside the stencil will just go on the paper rather than the icing.

So, I’m going to hold that up to the stencil as I pull my airbrush back a little farther now to darken the center of the silhouette. This is a lot quicker than taking a drawing or a picture of a graduate – whether it be freehand or with a projection machine. When it’s time to remove the stencil just get your finger underneath and pull it off. You get a nice clean edge.

I’m going to get rid of the black an go to red. I’m going to start with a wide spray in the background – keeping it far away from the surface. I’m also keeping it a little more subtle, a little more pale. Now I’m going very close to the cake with a fine line. I’m not happy with how straight the line is – it’s a little crooked – so what I’m going to do is go over it again and move the airbrush back a little to compensate. That’ll hide the goof up a little bit. I want that line to be nice and straight. I’ll do the same up here – holding my right hand steady with my left hand helps me make a straighter line.

Okay, it’s time to tie in some blue. I’m going to make another parallel line – not getting it too close to the red. I don’t want to let the red and blue overlap where you’d get a little dirtier color. Red and blue together make burgundy, and we don’t want that.

Now we can do script with this airbrush because we can get it nice and close. If you want to write with your airbrush on the cake and get a real fine line, you should probably turn your air pressure down to about 10 lbs. 20 lbs might blow a hole in your icing. If you get your airbrush this close, like I have it here, that pressure would probably blast a hole in through the icing so you are best off turning the pressure down if you intend to get that close. There are different things you can do now. You can go back and make the writing a little fancier, you can widen or accent the big letters and the tall ones. “Congratulations”. We’ll just say “Congratulations Graduate” – and we’ll do that in a different color. Now if you are not comfortable writhing with an airbrush on your cake you can do that out of icing. That actually tends to be the more typical way of doing it, but if you are comfortable you can always airbrush it.

Now it’s up to you, when you are doing the artistic work, if you think that’s enough color on the cake – then leave it at that. You can always take it a step further and add flowers – you can do dots down the side, you may or may not like that – it’s entirely up to you. One thing about airbrushing is that it’s a nice effective way of filling in space the extra handwork. It’s speedier. The final step would be to border the cake with icing – otherwise, that’s the finished product.

Now if you think you’ve got this down, I’m going to promote you to Cake Decorator.

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