How to Use an Open Star Tip

This tip creates absolutely lovely patterns and designs that can be used for borders, individual decorating elements or simply to cover a cake surface with texture. Anyone who has created cakes using character pans from Wilton will be familiar with covering the entire cake pattern with rosettes created with a star tip. This tip comes in various widths and should be one of the essential cake decorating tips in your toolkit. Some important tips for successful piping with a star tip include:

  • Make sure your icing is not too soft or the ridges created by this tip will simply fall flat. You want the texture of the icing to be sharp and easy to see.
  • Create multi-colored rosettes and shells by striping different icing colors in the piping bag. You can simply streak the icing using toothpicks loaded with gel color or actually use several shades of tinted icing in one piping bag depending on the effect you wish to create.
  • Practice your star tip techniques on a plate or right on the counter to make sure you have the correct pressure and angles for your desired effect. It is not difficult to create wonderful piped decorations but it certainly takes practice to do it consistently.
  • Do not fill your piping bag up too much or it could end up a mess with icing squirting out the top or you might not be able to get the right pressure for piping. Knowing how much icing to spoon into your piping bag is one of those trial and error things in cake decorating. As your hand becomes stronger, you can sometimes add more with no issue.
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    Cupcakes decorated with a star tip


    rustycanuck / Getty Images 

    This design makes a lovely border when piped in an even row around cakes as well as a gorgeous cupcake topper when done in one large swirl. You simply need to hold your piping bag upright and squeeze while rotating the bag in a slow circle while lifting slightly. Continue this motion until you create a pretty rosette and then slowly stop squeezing the bag and pull off.

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    Alternating Shells

    This is also an effective pattern for borders on cakes because it looks very finished and neat. Pipe a shell angling it slightly to the middle and then lift off the end. Pipe the next shell a little bit lower than the first one, touching it and angling the tail along the same line as the first tail. keep piping the pattern until you have your finished design.

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    Shell Border

    Pipe a shell with the piping bag held at about a 45-degree angle reducing the pressure on the bag to form a tail on the shell. Squeeze the piping bag again to form the next shell on top of the tail of the first one. Repeat this process until you are done the border or design.

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    This design can be done with the scrolls tilting to the left or the right depending on what you need for your design. Hold the piping bag at a 90-degree angle and apply pressure to form a shell while twisting your hand to make a small "C". This will create a curving tail on the shell either up or down. Let off the pressure to create the tail on the scroll. These scrolls can be made in rows or even slightly overlapping to create an elegant curving design that looks vaguely medieval.

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    This piped design looks very complicated but is one of the easier borders to make even for novice cake designers. Hold your piping bag at a 45-degree angle and slowly rotate the bag using constant uniform pressure to make your coiled effect. You will pipe one coil overlapping the previous one either loosely or tightly depending on your needs. To finish this design neatly coil your rope all the way to the first part of the rope and end it with a short tail that touches the first coil. Then pipe a single line in between the last and first coils of "rope".