Painting and Stenciling and Embroidery, Oh My

After making my Valentine’s Day cookies, I thought it would be fun to decorate some more hearts, particularly with some more brush embroidery. I tried out a few things differently than with the Valentine’s day cookies, by placing the brush embroidery in different places on the cookie. I stuck with the same brush embroidery border for a few cookies (light and dark blue, below), but I also experimented with moving the brush embroidery around to different parts of the cookie. On the top cookie below, I tried out a triple brush embroidery border. On the bottom cookie, I only added brush embroidery to the top ‘humps’ of the heart. I also tried some cookies with only one of these ‘humps’ filled in with brush embroidery. Although these experiments were fun, I think I’m still happiest with the look of the full brush embroidery border.

brush-embroidery-feb-2

Next, I tried out a few different styles. For the top cookie, I alternated flooding stripes of turquoise and blue down the cookie. I didn’t like the look of the stripe on  their own, so I added a black lace overlay. This was actually easier than it looks, though a little time consuming. For this cookie, I followed SweetAmb’s video. Her cookies are absolutely stunning and I love drawing on her Instagram and Youtube for inspiration. First, I drew horizonal lines, then filled in the spaces with short, offset vertical lines. The final step was connecting these vertical lines using a zigzag pattern, which gave the little hexagon shapes across each row.

stencil-lace-and-mermaid

I bought some stencils a little while ago, and for some reason in my past attempts I’ve always used a topcoating or flood consistency icing. Stenciling works so much better with the same thick consistency royal icing used for brush embroidery, because you can just brush on the icing with an offset spatula, and it doesn’t have the tendency of leaking out from under the stencil.

For the third cookie in the picture above, I started by covering the cookie in white brush embroidery. Then, once the brush embroidery was dry, I painted each row of the brush embroidery using three colours: turquoise, sky blue, and avocado (all by AmeriColor). I mixed my food colours with a little vodka and some of my edible pearl dust to add a little sheen. For now I’m calling this a mermaid’s tail design, because it does remind me a bit of bright fish scales.

At the end of all of my decorating I still had some plain flooded cookies. Now, of course these look nice on their own, but it’s always fun to spice up a plain cookie.

Flooded Cookies Shades of Blue.JPG

I started with some painted on flowers. I’ve seen a few of these done by various people on Instagram. I mixed some purple and some white AmeriColor gel with vodka (separately), then used two of my paintbrushes to draw horizonal lines at the centre of my palate, with purple on the bottom and white on top. Then, when I dipped my larger flat brush into the colour, it had purple ‘paint’ on one end, and white on the other. The general idea of this technique is fairly straightforward, as each petal of the flower is painted on using an upward sweep, a few bumps along the top to define the outside edge of the petal, then a downward sweep to finish it off. I think if I do this technique again in the future, I would lightly rinse and dry my  brush between each petal. You can see that both cookies have more white on the right side, where I started painting, but that the colours started to blend as I moved across. I think it would be nice to have a little white at the edge of every petal, not just one of them.

painted-flowers

To finish off, I was feeling fairly optimistic about my brush embroidery skills, so I decided to try some brush embroidery roses. I followed the video by My Little Bakery on Youtube, because I wasn’t confident enough to try a rose from scratch. I made three attempts: the first was the dark blue cookie on the bottom right, and you can see I spaced out the bottom petals a little too far from the middle. Second, I tried the rose on the light blue cookie. this one was a little better, but I think I tried too hard to space the petals too close together without thinking enough about the overall look of the flower. The turquoise cookie was my last attempt, and I’m quite pleased with this one. With the third cookie, I tried to think more about how each petal related to the flower as a whole. It actually helped to be less concerned about the exact shape of each petal, as it make for a better looking flower overall. I think to improve on these in the future, I might need a slightly thicker royal icing (this was just shy of a good thick icing for brush embroidery), and a slightly thinner brush, as it’s pretty difficult to get into some of the small spaces between the petals.

brush-embroidery-roses

I really like the look of these roses and the painted-on flowers above, and I’m looking forward to expanding these techniques to other plants and flowers. I like the look of one full flower more than the brush embroidery with a few small, generic flowers placed along the sides of a cookie, as I’ve tried in the past. I think it would be fun to try something like a lilly (a little simpler), a carnation (a little more difficult,with so many petals), or something entirely different with a bluebell, though I’m not sure if that would lend itself better to paint or brush embroidery. Having never been very artistic before (I’m great at copying existing images, not so great at starting them on my own), I’m not sure how any of these will turn out, but I’m excited to try and see what else I can come up with!

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