painting watercolor on cookies

Just thought I’d share a little experimenting with you. I tried my hand at a watercolor-esque painting style on cookies. For these, I topped cookies (and a cupcake) with fondant that I allowed to stiffen for a couple hours, but you can also paint on flooded royal icing that has dried very well, preferably overnight.



Watercolor isn’t much different than just painting on cookies with food coloring, except that you add, um, more water. I added a few drops of food coloring–Americolor Soft Gel Pastes of course–to my palette (by which I mean, a plastic egg carton), then added a few more drops of water. I used small brushes dipped in water first so the application would be wet and achieve the right effect.



You don’t want lots of drips and drops of water flying all over the place, because fondant and royal icing don’t like drips and drops of water. But you can mix the water generously with food coloring and paint in a controlled way without destroying your cookies. Have a paper towel handy in case you can’t control the drips and drops.



Experiment with a mix of small brushes, round, flat, liners… Mix a drop of color into white food coloring and water for a more pastel look. And try dipping each side of the brush in more than one color for a blended look. Or just use the tip of the brush for dots.  I often add highlights in a darker or complementary color on top. And most effects can be created with a single brushstroke. You may also paint a bit on paper to practice before attacking the sweets.


Look, you can even paint cupcakes.



You could also do different shades of the same color, just play around with more or less drops of food coloring mix with water, to make these cookie bites below ombre instead of rainbow-ish.



Have you ever painted on cookies or cupcakes??



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  1. Jeannine DiBart says

    These are absolutely gorgeous!!! LIttle decorating tip…if you mix your food coloring with clear extract or vodka, you won’t have the water/sticky issue with the fondant and painted areas and they would become perfectly dry.

  2. sharon volkommer says

    love the cookies, my friend and i have been doing these for years. we paint christmas card types and sometimes we paint the background and pipe on snow men or cabins, some times a dark blue background with white snowflakes,then we put them in CD sleaves and give out for treats. love pinterest Sharon

  3. Renee Michaelson says

    Could use use vodka as your “medium” vs water? I was just thinking the America’s Test Kitchen method for making pie crust may work here too?

    • meaghanmountford says

      Yes, Renee, definitely! It’s actually preferred, as when dealing with fondant, water can be not so kind and vodka evaporates. However, using just a drop or two of water, as I do here, won’t hurt the fondant.

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