— The Purple Owl —
Let's Pipe
A Royal Icing Transfer

A free sugarcraft tutorial: Learn how to make sugar art the iSugarfy way :-) with this royal icing transfer shown on an owl cookie.

For The Purple Owl Tutorial

The following only applies to you, if you expect to pipe a very nice-looking royal icing transfer from the get-go: It would be advantageous that you have a good feeling for icing consistencies. And you should be able to pipe arched outlines fairly accurately. Having experience with drying royal icing with your chosen method as well as your climate in mind, will also help.

But that being said, if you think more like me, then of course, just jump into the deep icing sea! Make this a practice piece and learn on the job :-)! And because we pipe this owl as a transfer and not directly onto a cookie, the only thing you'd be wasting is royal icing.

A big advantage of piping the whole owl as a transfer, of course, is that you can also place it onto a cake or any other suitable pastry. Or just frame it - as I did with mine :-)! I made this mosaic sugar art frame with isomalt accents for her, which of course, will hold much longer than if it were on a cookie:

Free sugarcraft tutorial: How to make sugar art the iSugarfy way :-). A royal icing transfer placed in a mosaic sugar art frame.

Of this Royal Icing Tutorial

  1. Since this is my first complete royal icing tutorial, I'd like to start with giving you an idea on how I go about finding the layers and piping sequence for a royal icing artwork. I will not do the same for any other future tutorials, so don't fret, LOL! Cause yes, as you will see, it's a bit long, and I can lose myself in details (as I'm sure you can tell :-P). But feel free to skip it, if you don't care for such "musings" ;-).

  2. Next up will be the colors used, and some general guidelines, incl. how to cut and measure the cone tip openings. Please do read these, before following the tutorial.

  3. Only then comes the video with its timestamped transcript and the link to download the template. 

  4. And since I really would love to see you're finished owl and read about how your piping went following my instructions (so I can learn how to improve my tutorials), I thought it would be neat, if you could share a photo of her and your piping story here.

    So at the end of this page, you will find an invitation to do just that. You will get your own unique webpage address, too, that you then can share with family and friends. It will also contain a comments section, so that they and others can leave their thoughts about your artwork.

  5. Then on the last page of the tutorial - after the transcript-, you will have the chance to ask any tutorial-related questions you might have, while being able to refer to the specific section in the video (timestamp) in question, post pictures to problems you might be experiencing, etc.

So... if you haven't done it yet, please do read my general considerations on layers and piping sequences on the main royal icing tutorials page. And then let's get to the example at hand:

Figuring Out the Layers & Piping Sequence
Of The Purple Owl

For me, the eyes on an owl are most important. I want them to pop out. One way to do this is to make the eyeballs protrude and be higher than the rest, so they have to have rounded dimensions.

With the wet-on-wet royal icing technique, like many use for eyes, you'd never get the dimensions as in the photo below, because it's not suitable for this purpose. You could pressure pipe and then paint them. But I'm better at piping, so I'm going with that.

Free sugarcraft tutorial: How to make sugar art the iSugarfy way :-). Showing dimensions of the royal icing transfer owl eyes.

Now if you were to just pipe the different parts of the eyes, i. e. pupils (7), irises (8), and the white of the eyeballs (9) {the numbers in brackets refer to the illustration below}, let them dry and then attach them on top of each other, there would be gaps where a flat surface hits the rounded one below it. Not too nice.

Thus we have to pipe the pupils first, let them dry, and add them to the wet irises, so they can sink slightly into these, combining the two nicely without gaps. Then we do the same with the irises and the white of the eyeballs, but not with eyeballs and the facial disc parts (3), as we hide that connection with the dark dots.

So with the eyes there are drying times to consider, and they should be done before the rest of the owl, except for the facial disc parts: If you're good at piping and/or not too picky about precision, then you could just pipe the lines on them freehand.

But I'd like them to be somewhat exact at least, so will transfer the design. And for that, the royal icing of the facial disc parts has to be absolutely dry, and have to be piped right after the pupils to have ample time to harden until we get to the design transfer.

Free sugarcraft tutorial: How to make sugar art the iSugarfy way :-). Parts of The Purple Owl to figure out the layers & piping sequence.

1 - Crown
2 - Ear Tufts
3 - Facial Disc Parts
4 - Facial Disc Rings
5 - Eyelashes

6 - Reflection Dots
7 - Pupils
8 - Irises
9 - Eyeballs
10 - Beak

11 - Heart
12+13 - Inner + Outer Wings
14 - Branch
15 - Feet
16 - Tail Feathers

So now we have established that we have to pipe the eyes and facial disc parts first and can now go...

On to the Other Parts:
Finding the Main Layers

  • There is the crown (1) that is below the ear tufts (2),
  • while the ear tufts are below the facial disc parts (3),
  • and the facial disc parts are below the eyes.
  • The facial disc parts and the heart (11) are above the wings layer (12, 13),
  • which is above the tail feathers (16).
  • Now the beak is a bit higher than the heart, so we should pipe the heart before it.
  • The details on the facial disc rings (4) are covering the sides of the beak.
  • These details then will make our topmost layer.

Having fun yet :-D?

So this gives us the following 5 layers:

  • 1st bottom layer: crown (1) and tail feathers (16)
  • 2nd layer: ear tufts (2) and wings layer (12, 13)
  • 3rd layer: facial disc parts (incl. the eyes)(3) and heart (11)
  • 4th layer: beak (10)
  • 5th and topmost layer: the gilded facial disc ring with details (4)

To make these parts appear layered, we will use different royal icing consistencies and filling techniques.

Once You've Finished Your Owl,
Please Come Back Here and...

Share Your Artwork & Piping Story

So you've followed The Purple Owl tutorial, and are now the proud owner of a super sweet owl artwork :-)!

Please share your piping adventure with us!

Was it easy-peasy, challenging, cool...?

Did something funny, nerve-wrecking, etc. happen?

Have you learned something useful?

Others will be able to comment on your owl and/or story.

Please be aware that visitors to this site might pin your photo on Pinterest. If you can, please add your watermark to it. In case you don't, I will watermark it with "Artwork by (your name)" and the iSugarfy logo.

If you don't want your photo pinned to Pinterest, then please don't upload one. You still can share your story with us.

Want to keep me motivated to share sugar art tutorials and demos with you?


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