But then I decided I wanted to do a cookie painting project and make stained glass window cookies. I knew I wanted them to be as intricate as they could be. Plus which all the color is done in glazes, as opposed to opaque icing layers, so any mistakes in the drawing would show up in the final cookie. I wracked my brain trying to figure out a way to easily transfer the design and also something that would be easy for the readers to do too. Like all great inspiration it came to me at 2 o'clock in the morning!
And it worked. And I was happy! I will show you how to do it and then you can be happy too!
I began by covering the cookies in a glaze icing tinted a pale yellow. I used glaze instead of royal icing this time because glaze has a translucent look to it and it also flattens out perfectly smooth. ( The glaze recipe is super simple; 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons corn syrup, 2 tablespoons milk.) I tinted it pale yellow because I wanted to be able to use white in some areas and the white had to stand out from the background. I also thought it would look like a warm light coming through the window. Let the cookies dry completely before you start decorating. If you use glaze, better give the cookies a couple days to dry.
Part 1 - Transferring the design to the cookie without a projector
- To get started you'll need your design, a small liner paint brush, gel food coloring and a piece of heavy weight clear plastic vinyl like they sell in fabric stores for tablecloth covers.
- Place the vinyl over the design and trace the design onto the vinyl with your black food coloring and brush. The food coloring will bead up a bit on the vinyl but that's okay as it's only going to be a guide.
- After tracing the design flip the vinyl over and carefully position it on the cookie.
- Hold the vinyl in place and gently rub the design onto the entire cookie. Be careful to always hold it in place, you don't want it to slip!
- Gently lift the vinyl and you'll have a guide for piping or coloring! Easy right?!
You'll notice that the design on the cookie is the mirror image to your design because you flip the vinyl over. If the direction of the design is important, such as in writing, your design will need to be in reverse.
Part 2 - Painting the Cookie
Once you have the outline transfered to the cookie the painting is really just a matter of filling in each piece like a coloring book.
- To create a transparent effect start by filling the section with a thin glaze of color.
- While the area is still wet add a little more intense color and blend with a clean brush. (The white of the flowers is white icing color)
- To make a delicately tinted "glass" first glaze a section with clean water.
- Dab in a small amount of thinned color.
- Blend with a clean brush.
- Finish glazing the background with soft color of varying intensity.
- Outline the sections in black. At first I had planned to do this step with black piping icing but some of my designs had too much detail and I was worried the sections were too small especially since I don't have any of the little size 0 decorating tips. I have a pretty steady hand so I finished them with the liner brush and black food coloring.
The Easter set of cookies at the top of the post was done the same way as the floral cookies but using a little more intense color.
A few tips for painting stained glass window cookies;
- Start thin and work up to strong color. You can always add more, but it's difficult to take it away.
- Don't over fuss the surface of the cookie with too many strokes and too much liquid. You run the risk of breaking down the smooth sugar finish of the base coat. Try to fill each section in as few strokes as possible. Using the biggest brush you can get away with will help keep you from over fussing an area.
- Stained glass is often a mixture of transparent and opaque pieces of glass. Adding a little white icing color will give a milky opaqueness but can also make it look cold and chalky. Try adding a tiny bit of yellow to the white to warm it up.
- Leave some areas empty like clear glass. It will give the eye a place to rest.
- Dover Publications has many books on stained glass designs and their copyright allows for full use. Many of the books also come with CD-Roms of the designs which is also very helpful.