Be A Smart Shopper

When I first started cake decorating, I went to my local craft supply store and purchased just about everything in the aisle. I'm not kidding, everything was so shiny and pretty! I was convinced that I needed all of it (Shh! I hid the receipt from my husband). It wasn't until I had decorated four or five cakes that I realized I had duplicate tools. I had tools that I didn't even know what they were! I still don't! It took me a while to sort through the necessary items and the figure out just what I needed. Don't make the same mistake I did.  Let me help break down the most important tools for the beginning decorator.
Top 3 Decorating Tools
  1. Decorating tips/tubes.
    If you are just starting out, there are 6 basic tips that everyone starts with (script, shell, open star, closed star, drop flower and rose design). Metal vs plastic? It's a personal choice. 
  2. Pastry bags.
    Silicone, cloth and disposable are the choices. Silicone is my favorite. It doesn't hold stains, can go in the microwave and the dishwasher!
  3. Spatulas.
    Invest in an offset and a straight spatula.
Can't I just buy a kit?
Of course you can! Fat Daddio's has several decorating kits available. Let me help you decide which one is right for you:
Premier Student Decorating Set~SPSET-008. Includes 6 polycarbonate decorating tips, 1 silicone bag (12") and a coupler.
It's a nice 8-piece set that has tips to write, make the shell, open star, closed star, drop flower and the rose design. Since the pastry bag is silicone and the tips are polycarbonate, they are safe for the dishwasher and microwave. This is the perfect set if you are only going to decorate occasionally. Maybe you make cupcakes for your kid's bake sale, a birthday cake and fancy Christmas cookies. This is the kit for you.
Intermediate Decorating Set~TS-29. Includes 26-stainless steel tips, coupler and flower nail, in a plastic storage box.
This is a more serious set than the basic set.  I would recommend it if you plan on getting a little more adventurous than the occasional cupcake. This set has 26 tips! Of course the basic 6 tips are included, but it has a greater variety so that you can create more intricate roses, leaves and stars. Best of all it comes in a handy-dandy storage case.
Spatulas~ Be sure that you get a straight sided as well as an offset spatulas. 
The offset are great to keep you hands out of the frosting when you are decorating. It gives you a little lift! The straight spatulas are ideal fore getting that smooth surface.

QUICK TIP: When placing polycarbonate tips in the dishwasher, place on the upper rack in a closed basket. This way you won't have to dig them out of the bottom of the dishwasher.

For more inspiration, visit our Tools of the Trade Pinterest board.