Non-Decorating Tools For Decorating

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When I go to the store my cart will occasionally look like this:

When I'm lucky enough to score some pulp trays from the produce section, I do the happy dance out of the store. The reason why is that they're great for drying gumpaste with a slight curve, and they're pretty impossible to buy. Unless you like storing 100,000 of them, since that was the smallest order I could find of them online.

There are a lot of things that you can use for random decorating that are also cheap or free. Go to the dollar store for a lot of them and load up.

Emery boards: These can be used to smooth out rough edges on gumpaste flowers that have dried. You probably have a bunch of these in a junk drawer somewhere.

Coffee stirs: You can use them to attach gumpaste vines to the side of cakes, or to poke small pieces of gumpaste out of cutters.

Poultry lacers: These are intended to be used to truss up a turkey before roasting it, but I use them to get food coloring out of little pots, nudge semi-set isomalt into the corner of molds, and to remove dried gumpaste from the crevices of cutters. You could also use them to decorate cookies or poke holes in fondant to prevent cake tumors from developing. I like them because they're cheap, food-safe, and washable.

Flexible plastic cutting boards: I use these to ice individual cake tiers on so that I can move them in and out of the fridge easily. You can also cut piece out of them to make buttercream smoothers or stencils if  you can find them in the right thickness. You can usually find these at the dollar store.

Drywall scrapers and putty knives: Get the plastic ones and use them to smooth your buttercream. They're dishwasher-safe, too!

Plastic combs: Use these to make a wavy pattern with food coloring or buttercream. You can use them to press a texture into strips of fondant to make a grosgrain ribbon pattern, too.

Baby bottle brushes: If you can't get your piping tips clean, get some bottle nipple brushes from the baby section at the grocery store. You can pick them up pretty easily and you don't have to worry about going to search for them at the craft store.

Rubber stamps:  I've seen some clear rubber stamps being sold for cake decorating recently, but they've been using these for years for scrapbooking. I did a project with my daughter's art class when she was in middle school using them on cookies. Dig around in your craft stash for all the ones that you bought and never used (I know you have some), or keep your eye on the scrapbooking aisle sales, and get some cheap.

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC,  online cake supplies at and

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