RUSSIAN PIPING TIPS - What are they & What do they do?

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6 Basic Cake Borders with 1 Tip. A simple guide for beginners.

In this step-by-step video tutorial I’ll show you how to pipe 6 different borders that are standard classics in the cake decorating industry…borders that all cake decorators should know.

These are the borders that I started out with. They are quite versatile. You’ll use them many times for lovely top and bottom borders. All you need is a star tip (the most popular star tips are tips 13-22–tips 16 and 18 are great tips to start out with) and medium consistency icing (not too stiff, not too thin). I’m using royal icing (Wilton recipe with meringue powder) and Wilton tip number 21. Experiment with different tips, have fun with it and remember that practice makes perfect.

Here are a few bonus tips for beginners:

-If you are using a top border on your cake, please note that as a general”rule” in cake decorating the top border is usually done with a smaller tip than the bottom border to create balance. At least this is what I was taught, but as I mentioned to another viewer it’s not written in stone.

-never fill your bags completely full. You’ll have lots of frosting oozing out the opened end if you do, plus it’s easier on your hands and makes for neater piping if you fill it half full or less.

-You should use both hands when piping. The proper way to hold the bag is to hold it with one hand and guide the tip with the other but do whatever feels comfortable to you.

-and use tips according to the size of your cake and by that I mean use smaller tips on smaller cakes and larger tips for larger cakes. The star tip you use and the size of your borders should be in proportion to the size of your cake.

Resources for beginners:

-I also started out using Wilton´s Practice Board. Although I don´t consider it to be a must have item, I did use it quite a few times and it was a pretty helpful guide. Mine had the tendency to shift as I used it and the flap that held the sheet in place would flop down if I weighed it down with a lot of frosting, but I quickly learned that placing a book behind it kept it from moving and bobby pins kept the flap in place while I used it. You could also use it to keep fondant pieces from drying out. I would often use it also on a flat surface instead of the stand that it came with. Wilton´s deluxe board might be sturdier but it´s also a bit pricier. I don´t own it, but you may want to look into it if you´re a beginner. Wilton´s course books were also helpful and the classes were good.

-The Wilton Encyclopedia all 3 volumes have also been extremely helpful to me. If you want to learn more about the tips and how to use them then you may want to look into volume 3, the entire book is dedicated to the use of tubes.
This video/slideshow contains written instructions on how to pipe each border and a brief demonstration of each technique.

Contents of the video:
The rope border: 0:36
The rosette border: 1:27
The star border: 2:17
The zig-zag border: 3:07
The shell border: 3:47
The reverse shell border: 4:33

Please note that the instructions that accompany the visual demonstrations are Wilton´s instructions paraphrased and shortened for your convenience. This is how I learned to pipe them from books and instructors.
To learn how to do a wafer paper transfer for your cakes click here: It’s great for beginners!

Life of Riley by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (

Thank you for watching.
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