vintage Christmas gingerbread cookie decoration

Sugar scrapbooking – an easy way to create unique food decorations

Have you ever heard of “sugar scrapbooking”. Maybe I created this name and maybe I didn’t, but the principles I will be showing you in this and the next few articles suit this name 100%.

“Sugar” because these decorations are made with so-called “sugar paper” which is wafer and fondant paper. And “scrapbooking” because I will be using about 80% wafer paper scraps and leftovers for these decoration ideas.

Some history…

We have a tradition in our family – every Christmas I make a new collection of decorated gingerbread cookies for everyone’s home. This goes back more than 30 years, since I was a little girl. I love making these gifts! And, of course, they have to be different every time or at least not to repeat the colours and the design in the same decade. Do you know why? Because my auntie is saving a minimum of 5-7 cookies every year. Yes, I know… But she says they are beautiful, and it is a sin to eat such beauty.

Do you know… They are also tasty, but this is a different story.

This Easter I worked out how someone like me can not only enjoy his or her hobby, but also save time making multiple gifts for beloved people. I am a paper lover, so finding the beauty of sugar paper prints made me really excited. And this Christmas I am preparing not only one, but 4 different designs.

Here is how…

The best thing with sugar paper prints is that you don’t need to have the perfect cookie nor the perfect icing. You also don’t need to be able to draw to make beautiful sugar decorations. You can be an absolute beginner in the art of sugar decoration and still create amazing professional looking cookies. The only things you need are to have the passion to explore, the love to cut out little pieces and to pay attention to the possibilities a small paper leftover can give you.

It will be helpful, of course, if you have some paper craft instruments, but – believe me – with some designs (like this one) even only a small pair of scissors will be enough.

Today, I am showing you how to make the decoration appearing on the cover photo and how easy is it is. If you like the designs, here is the link to the shop you can find them.

sugar scrapbooking - wafer paper prints for vintage Christmas cookie decoration

How to start…

Print the chosen designs on sugar paper (with eatable inks, of course). The ones from my project are printed on wafer paper, which makes the petals of the Poinsettia so gentle and beautiful. Cut out the shapes.

wafer paper printable designs for gingerbread cookies

Take a cookie and with a clear water brush gently wet the top. Be careful to not make it too wet! Also, wet the print piece from the white side. Here is important to pay attention and not allow the water to touch the printed side, because it will melt the ink.

gingerbread cookie Poinsettia decoration

Then just press the print piece on the top of the cookie with your dry palm and hold it for a few seconds until the wafer paper sticks on the cookie surface. If some of the edges didn’t fix, put some water with the top of the brush and press again.

The next step will be only to make simple white dots with royal icing or add some other decoration. And you will have beautiful, vintage style cookie – a perfect gift for someone you love.

vintage style Christmas gingerbread cookie with Poinsettia decoration

How to make a 3D Poinsettia gingerbread cookie…

Stick the print piece on the top of the cookie the same way as before.

Vintage Christmas Poinsettia cookie decoration with wafer paper print

Then cut out the petals with small scissors.

Using a strong alcohol, like whiskey or vodka, with the top of the brush wet the white side of the petal. Don’t do it with water, because water dries very slowly compared to alcohol based drinks.

Then on the opposite side press very gently with a paper or sugar dough shaping tool. You can substitute the professional instruments with the round end of a pencil. Or you can just press carefully with your fingers to sculpt the petal a bit. If you don’t have a shaping mat, a simple kitchen sponge pad makes a great substitute.

instruments for shaping wafer paper Poinsettia flower petals

Leave the sculptured petals somewhere to dry. It is not necessary to use a sugar flower drying mat. The kitchen sponge mat will do a great job too as will a dry, creased, cotton tea towel.

shaping Poinsettia flower wafer paper petals

After the alcohol evaporates and the petals are dry, stick them to the cookie with water. You will need less than a drop of water. Only wet the contact point with the top of your water brush and this will be enough. Press again until the petal “glues”.

Vintage Christmas gingerbread cookie with 3D flower

You know the next step – apply whatever icing decoration is easiest for you. For me, this is dots which work well even if the icing itself is not very well made. And this can happen because I make my own icing and sometimes the “chemistry” doesn’t work…

Vintage Christmas gingerbread cookie Poinsettia decoration with wafer paper and royal icing - sugar scrapbooking technique

If the icing doesn’t spread well…

Don’t worry, this happens sometimes even in the best kitchens and often to a non-professional cookie decorator.

round gingerbread cookie with icing

Again – cut small petals and using the water technique “glue” them flat on the top of the icing surface.

round gingerbread cookie with royal icing and wafer paper Poinsettia petals decoration - sugar scrapbooking technique

The result will be a bit like a little Pavlova cake inspired decoration. And when you once again add some little dots, the result will be beautiful and artistic.

round gingerbread cookie with royal icing and wafer paper Poinsettia petals decoration

And, don’t hesitate to explore different ways… Create beautiful decorations as a gift and be proud. Because the best gift we can give someone is a little piece of our precious time on this planet.

vintage Christmas cookie decoration with Poinsettia flowers

If you are curious to see my Christmas gingerbread cookies from previous years, here they are:

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