How to hold a piping bag
Your dominant hand should hold the twisted part of the piping bag nestled between the index finger and thumb, with the bulk of the bag cradled by your hand. This hand will be the one applying pressure to the piping bag. Your other hand will guide the piping bag, usually using one or two fingers laid against the side of the bag near the tip, as you pipe.
Any buttercream or pipeable frosting
Any size open or closed star piping tip
Reusable or disposable piping bags
Different sized star tips, and whether you use an open or closed star tip will create different looks and effects.
- Stars or Pull-up Stars: Hold a piping bag fitted with any size star tip (open or closed), almost touching and perpendicular to the surface you plan to pipe on. Apply even pressure to the piping bag, depositing a small amount of icing. Release the pressure on the piping bag before pulling the tip away. This will create a star. For pull-up stars, apply even pressure to the piping bag, depositing a small amount of icing while slowly pulling straight up and gradually releasing the pressure as you reach the desired height that you want the pull-up star to be. A pull-up star is a ridged “kiss”.
- Rosettes: Hold a piping bag fitted with any size star tip, about a half-inch above and perpendicular to the surface you plan to pipe on. Start at the centre and apply even pressure to the piping bag, creating a “star” of icing in the middle; this is the centre of the rosette. Without pulling away from the surface, continue piping in a concentric circle and applying even pressure until you close the outer circle. Decrease the pressure on the piping bag as you reach the end of the rosette. An open or closed star tip will create different petal effects. Larger star tips are appropriate for cupcakes where you plan to make a single rosette on top or piping on larger surfaces, such as a cake.
- Shells: Hold a piping bag fitted with any size star tip at a 45-degree angle from the surface that you are planning to pipe on, squeeze with even pressure, not moving until a mound or “fan” builds in front of the tip and slightly rolls over itself. Release the pressure while moving the bag away from the mound and down towards the surface, creating a tail. If creating a border, pipe the next shell near the end of the tip, and allow the mound to build and cover the tail.
- Hearts: To pipe a heart, you will be piping a “V”. Hold a piping bag fitted with any size open or closed star tip perpendicular to the surface you plan to pipe on. Squeeze the piping bag with even pressure as though piping a pull-up star, but instead of pulling straight up, pull the bag down and slightly to the right while releasing the pressure, creating an upside-down teardrop. Repeat the process on the right-hand side of the teardrop, pulling the bag slightly to the left and overlapping the tails.