Whether you are a home baker looking to give your cupcakes a little bit of added design flair, or a professional cake decorator who wants to take their cake artistry to the next level, edible ink printing could be the solution for you. Here we provide an overview of the basic equipment you will need to get started.
Firstly, you need a printer compatible with edible ink cartridges and edible icing sheets, or wafer paper to create and print your designs. Canon and Epson are the most popular brands offering printer models suitable for edible printing to suit most budget and design requirements. It is important to consider the size of the printed images you want to produce before you select a printer.
Icing sheets and wafer paper are available in standard A4 and A3 sizes, so they are compatible with regular and wide format printers. Whichever printer you decide to choose remember that it should only be used for edible printing – do not be tempted to put edible ink cartridges into a printer that has previously been used for regular ink as this may cause contamination and potentially be harmful. Find out some Tips for Setting up your Edible Printer.
2. Edible Inks
Once you have a printer, the next item on your equipment list will be edible ink. Edible ink is specially formulated water-based food grade colouring. These inks are available in standard CMYK printing colours, cyan, magenta, yellow, and black which are supplied in inkjet cartridges and work in the same way as standard printer cartridges. Refill ink bottles are also available so you can easily top up your ink rather than buying replacement cartridges when ink levels run low.
3. Edible Icing Sheets and Wafer Paper
Selecting what you print your edible images onto really is down to personal preference and the type of finish you require. You can choose from icing sheets (also known as frosting sheets) or wafer paper (sometimes referred to as rice paper). Both edible icing sheets and wafer paper are gluten-free and suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
Edible Icing Sheets:
Edible icing sheets consist of a thin layer of white icing on a plastic backing film making them easy to feed through your printer with the printed image being peeled off ready to use. The smooth, white surface ensures printed images are very clear with a high-quality finish – just make sure you are printing a high-resolution image. Edible icing sheets are available in both A4 and A3 sizes as full sheets with options for pre-cut circles in different sizes - ideal if you are looking to personalise cupcakes or cookies. Once printed you can place the icing design directly onto the cake or other food item. As the icing sheets are soft, they will mould to the applied surface very easily with just a fine spray of water and hey presto you will have a professional finish.
Wafer paper is made from potato starch, water and oil and can be used in the same way as regular paper in your edible printer to produce printed designs. The benefit of wafer paper is that it is available in different thicknesses, just like paper and card, therefore, it is more versatile in that it can be used to print designs that will ‘stand up’ on cakes creating an impressive 3D effect. Wafer paper has a slightly textured look and feel to it in contrast to the smoothness of edible icing sheets – practice printing on both to see which finish you prefer.
So, that’s a quick rundown of the equipment you need to start printing customised picture-perfect edible decorations. Check out the new range of edible inks and icing sheets available now at Cartridge World and start experimenting with your printing – we can’t wait to see your edible ink printing creations.