Sep 18

Tasty Halloween Crafts Using Stencils For Cookie Decorating

halloween-crafts-using-stencils-for-cookie-decoratingHere’s a Halloween Crafts project that’s not only fun, it’s good to eat. You see, as a stencil designer, I’m always searching for new and creative ways to use stencils. And as a person who loves to eat (especially sweets), it just seemed natural to find a way to use stencils with food, right? So I drew up some scary Halloween stencils (a witch, a ghost, a cat, a bat, a skull and a spider) and went to work trying to figure out how to get the images onto a cookie.

Well, I told you how much I love food but now I have to admit that I’m no Betty Crocker. I can’t tell you how many different ways I tried to transfer a perfect image from a stencil onto a cookie. I bet my husband and me each gained 20 pounds eating all the disasters. Not to mention all the money I spent at the grocery store and the local craft supply house. All of this only to find out that the easiest, least expensive and most obvious way was the best method of all. So, here it is – that is, how to decorate Halloween cookies with stencils. Oh yeah! Don’t miss out on the hints and tips I’ve added at the bottom for some great creative ideas.

Well, first you need to find a few stencil designs that will fit on cookies. There are many printable Halloween stencils on the internet. It’s best to locate a stencil that is a single overlay design (that means it’s finished with just one sheet or layer). You’ll find a couple of designers have stencils made for cookies so they are the right size and proportion. Once you found the stencils that appeal to you all you have to do is print them out. If they are not the right size to fit on a cookie just resize them on copy machine and follow these next steps.

Trace the stencils onto a sheet of stencil film such as acetate or mylar. Make sure the images have approximately 2 inches between them. Use a scissors to cut the traced drawings separate of each other with 1 inch of blank space surrounding them.

Use a craft-knife to cut out the objects of each stencil. You have several options for craft-knives. I prefer to use an X-ACTO with a Fine Point Blade pictured here. Make sure your blade is sharp at all times or you won’t get a good clean cut. I find it’s easier to rotate the stencil so that you are always cutting with your wrist at a comfortable angle.

Since you are working with food, wash your stencils really well and dry thoroughly.

Bake cookies with your favorite recipe. Since I already admitted that I’m not a baker, I’ll let you know that I used the boxed up ready to go version where you just need to add an egg. But if you are a skilled chef, go ahead and make your goodies from scratch. Sugar cookies work best because they have the smoothest surface after baking. A cookie with too much texture is not going to produce a good stenciled image. I like to slightly flatten the tops of the cookies right after they come out of the oven with a spatula. If the stencil can lay flat on the cookie you’ll get a much better image than if it has to roll over rounded edges. Let the cookies cool.

Prepare your “paint” by adding water to powdered sugar. You want to get a thick consistency that is very smooth. It doesn’t take very much water. The mixture should not drip easily off the end of a spoon. Make colors by adding food coloring. For black, mix red, blue and green in equal number of drops.

Place the stencil on top of the cookie. Use a finger to dab the sugar mixture into the stencil openings. Just like with a regular stencil, use a dabbing or up and down motion to dot the surface with color and not a rubbing back and forth which will encourage color seeping under the stencil edges. In stenciling, you always want to use a little paint so that it does not seep under the stencil. No difference here. The best tool is an index finger to lightly dab the confectioners’ sugar and water mixture over the stencil opening. Make sure your finger is not dripping with the “paint.”

Carefully remove the stencil by pulling directly up. You don’t want to drag the stencil over the wet color mixture which will smear the color. It might take a little practice but remember you get to eat the mistakes.

Here are those hints and tips that I promised you:

You may want to make a different size cookie than the normal 2-1/2 or 3 inch circle. No problem! Just take the paper copy and reduce or enlarge the size to fit the area you want to place the picture. Then move on to the tracing. This is great if you want to make a large cookie cake too!

When you are cutting out the images for the stencils, don’t throw away the parts that you cut away. They can be used to make negative images on the cookies. Of course, it’s a bit trickey to remove the stencil piece after you have put the color all around it but with a little practice you can have this down to an art. And just think of the creative cookies you can come up with these new options.

If you use a recipe for a highly textured cookie, like oatmeal or chocolate chip, you can put a base layer of powdered sugar and water to create a very smooth area and then stencil your image on that. Actually that can just add to how creative you can be with decorating cookies with stencils. For example, you can put a background of a black circle on top of the cookie behind a white ghost. Make sure that the first layer of color has dried thoroughly before adding your image.

If you can’t find mylar or acetate at your local craft supply store, try transparency films at an office supply house. Just make sure that the material will accept pen or ink so that you can trace on it and that it will be safe to use with food items. Also, you have a large number of suppliers of stencil films on line.

So now you know how to stencil images on a cookie. You can make little cookie treats for all of you ghosts and goblins that come knocking on your door. Have fun this Halloween and Happy Stenciling!


For some great stencil designs like those mentioned in the article and more ideas for using stencils, visit me at [] You’ll find a collection of 22 different Fleur de lis, an extensive Oriental Designs Collection including 10 symbols, fun Tree Frogs, Wine and Spirits, many children’s stencils and of course holiday themes. Oh! Don’t miss the Old Fashioned Luggage Labels and Travel Posters, great for making art prints. Plus, too many more to mention here. Also, if you are looking for stencil how to and instructional information, try our sister site

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