All you need to know about pastry bag decorating tips
How to use the coupler with a pastry bag
You place a coupler and insert it into the pastry bag before you fill the pastry bag with butttercream, icing or whatever you wish to use depending on what you are working on. The advantage of using a coupler, is that you can easily attach different tips to the pastry bag without having to empty the contents of the bag. Here is how you go about this.
- You must first separate the coupler into two pieces.
- Place the conical portion with external threads into the empty pastry bag, and push it through the narrow-mouthed end of the pastry bag.
- Cut the bag if necessary up to the very first thread. Do NOT cut further or the opening may be too big to hold the coupler in place, anotherwords, the pastry bag must be discarded.
- Place the pastry tip of your choice onto the narrow-mouthed end of the pastry bag.
- Place the coupling ring over the tip onto the threads of the inner coupler, so that the tip will be held in position.
- If you need to change the tip, loosen the ring and take off the tip and replace it with another tip and tighten the ring back in position.
Pastry tubes (pastry tips)
Another essential part of a pastry bag is the pastry tube or pastry tip. It is essential to have the correct pastry tube so that you can provide your creations with a flair of uniqueness. Most of the pastry tubes available these days are either made of metal or plastic. All the pastry tubes must be washed by hand and should be dried right away after washing. Based on the shape and size of their outlets, the pastry tubes are categorized into various groups. Each pastry tube in the group is allotted a figure which will create decorations very much like the others in its own group. Some of the common tips used in a pastry tube are leaf tip, rose tip, star tip, round tip and various unique specialty tips.
Learning to work with the correct tips
Plain pastry tips OR Round pastry tips
Star pastry tips
There is a vast number of tip shapes available in the market. Some are very specific to doing a particular shape, like the St-honoré tip (shown below) or the basket weave tip (shown below). Believe it or not, some star tips and round tips are all you need, in the beginning anyway.
St Honoré pasty tip
Basket weave pastry tips
Most of the time, it is common sense as to which tips to use. For example, if the batter you wish to use is very delicate (full of air which you do not wish to loose) would you use a small or larger round tip? Of course you would use a large tip, to minimize the pressure to the batter, so the batter will not loose its volume.
Don't be afraid to experiment with different tips to see the end results of each tip. One of the tips we would recommend for cake borders would be tip #842 or #843 tips.
No. 843 pastry tip
The best way to learn these tips are trial and error. Prepare some buttercream or Italian meringue buttercream or even better chocolate Italian meringue buttercream to begin practicing your piping. We recommend Chocolate Italian meringue buttercream because it is stiffer than regular buttercream, giving you more time to practice your piping. You can use the buttercream numerous times for practicing your piping.
IMPORTANT: When you are done practicing your piping techniques, refrigerate the buttercream, and make sure to cover it with plastic wrap. Give it a label as 'DO NOT EAT' to avoid anyone in your family from getting food poisoning.
One more pastry tip that is often used are the rose pedals pastry tip (shown below) and the leaf pastry tip (shown below).
Leaf pastry tip
Rose pedals pastry tip
Piping technique tips
To learn the pastry bag while you are practicing your piping techniques, you must pay extra attention to the pressure you apply on the pastry bag. Try to memorize that pressure to get consistent results.
How to practice cake borders
You only need 4 items to practice your cake borders (as shown on video);
When practing shells start very slowly, focusing on the shell's appearance, and then, slowly work on your speed.
Pastry tip technique for making shell borders
Technique working your right hand (advanced method): Squeeze the pastry bag while dragging the tip slightly forward then upwards, dragging backwards while gradually going downwards, then release the pressure while still dragging.
Technique working your right hand (easy method): Squeeze, release and drag quickly
For better understanding watch our video demo below;
Let your imagination take over and create whatever design you wish.
We will make a more detailed video on cake borders in the near future.
Do you have what it takes?
Just on using a pastry bag and pastry tips, you need to spend a few months of practicing full-time, just so that you can become consistent in whatever you are making, a word that you will hear over and over in the trade. For example, if you are making a cake border using a star tip making shells are very popular. When making the shells you will have to make each shell of identical size and form, as well place the shell at the exact position at the edge of the cake all throughout. This may sound easy but it's not once you give it a try.
Using a star tip does not only make you a shell but various other designs such as a stars, rosettes, etc. Your imagination is your limit.
The specialized tips, you will have to try them one by one, and experiment to see what they have to offer in terms of designs.