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April 02, 2014

Tips for Perfect Icing Colors | The Icing Color Wheel

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about mixing icing colors.  At the time, I was creating heirloom pumpkin sugar cookies and tinted the icing to match the exact pumpkin.  I love mixing colors.  I always have.  In fact, I do this sort of weird thing when I see an interesting color on a wall or in a fabric (ready to think I'm crazy?) - I break it up into how I think it was made.  Undertones of yellow, subtle hints of blue, etc.  I guess the color wheel lesson from elementary school really stuck with me.  To say the least.

Referring back to the color wheel is the big secret.  The trick to mixing pretty colors is to dull them slightly.  Meaning, if you want to make a pretty blue, you need to add its complimentary color, orange.  Because I like to keep my spice drawer simple, I just add some red and yellow (equals orange).  It might not sound so simple, but I've illustrated some of my favorite icing colors below.

You can use food coloring from the grocery store to make most of these colors - they are just a bit more diluted than the rich gel colors (that I'm currently sold out of - sorry!  bad timing).  I do still have some of the cookie cutters left, so you can make all of these beautiful cookies at home for Easter.

Copper Cookie Cutters for Spring

I'll be posting a new sugar cookie and icing recipe later this week along with some packaging just for Easter.  Many of you have requested them, so I am doing a couple of Easter Tags & Cards that will put in the store on the site Friday... along with some new ribbon you'll love.

Here is a link to my classic Sugar Cookie Recipe & Royal Icing Recipe that are shown in the cookies below.

The trick here (as I mentioned above) is adding a bit of red and yellow to the blue to sort of dull the blue.  This also works if you think your color has gotten too bright - just add a little of the opposite colors.   Be sure to start with small amounts of coloring - especially with pale colors.  You can always add more.

This cookie was made with my Copper Bird Cookie Cutter, found here

A robin's egg blue is a little more saturated, so add more blue and a touch more yellow to bring out the green/blue tone.

These were made with my Egg Copper Cutter.

Brown is easier than it sounds.  It can be tricky, but I found that adding more yellow gives me the chocolate, warm brown that I like.   Don't add too much black, or it will dull the brown.

By warming up the bright yellow with a touch of red, you can create a more subtle looking yellow. 

You might be surprised to learn that even my pink has a touch of yellow.  I tend to like creamier pinks that have those warm undertones.
I rarely just use black to highlight the cookies (with legs and eyes), but it is usually a dark grey.  Without tinting the grey slightly, it can end up with a blue undertone.  So to offset that, add a touch of yellow and red.

This year, I've packaged my cookies using my Easter Basket Supplies - tags, wooden baskets, cello bags and cotton ribbon.  You can get more details in my post, here.

Easter Tags & Place Cards

Every season I design a new set of Tags to attach to treats, and Folded Cards to use as Place Cards or Gift Cards.  This time, I created two sets - one with a classic bunny and one with this very sweet lamb, both in a "pen and ink" vintage style. 

Bunny "Hippity Hoppity"

Easter is always a very colorful holiday, so I like to use more subtle colors (like this graphite grey for the bunny) for tags and cards to make any treat or gift look beautiful.  These Bunny Cards come in both Tags & Folded Cards.

My collection of Spring Copper Cutters come with a printed card of my cookie recipe and tied with an Everyday Occasions logo ribbon - a great gift.

Bunny Copper Cutter
Chick Copper Cutter
Bird Copper Cutter
Egg Copper Cutter

I just signed up to bring dessert for our Church Easter Egg Hunt this weekend, so it looks like all of the cookies I'll be making will be needed!  Hope you all are having a good week. 

- Jenny

Here is the easy-to-pin strip!


  1. LOVE this post! You really have the most lovely icing colors. I can't wait to try my own for our family's Easter celebration.

  2. This is really helpful! Thanks!

  3. Love this post! Thanks! I will be referencing it a lot, I'm sure!

  4. What adorable cookies! That's a nice new photo of you by your table, too. You are so talented, young lady!

  5. I don't think you're crazy. I break down colors the same way all the time! I love your color palette in frosting and products.

  6. Your cookies look amazing!

  7. Christina6:28 PM

    Ah, but purple, any purple is the bane of my existence! I pride myself at being able to mix any color, even a huge variety of flesh tones, but purple makes me want to throw a brick through a window! I gave up and just bought it!


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