Cake Borders

This section will give you ideas on different borders that you can use on your cakes. The majority of cakes have some sort of border on either the top, bottom or both. A cake border can be created using buttercream icing, royal icing, fondant and just about whatever else you want to try.

Cake Borders Using Fondant

Using fondant instead of traditional icing with give you more cake decorating opportunities. Fondant cake borders can be just as easy to make but give you can a different look. In case you are unfamiliar with fondant check our our resources below.

Fondant Resources

Fondant Ball Border

This is a particularly easy cake border to make. This is also a great border to use if you are decorating with children. The hardest part is making all the individuals balls the same size, that is if you want them to be! This fondant border technique can be however, quite time consuming. To make this border, Roll a small amount of fondant into a little ball, pipe a small amount of icing on the bottom and place at the bottom of the cake tier/layer. Repeat the process until you have covered the cake with the ball border. You can use all one color, alternating pattern or anything else you can come up with to have a little fun with your cake.

ball cake border ball cake border

Fondant Ribbon Border

This is common fondant border technique that can be found on all kinds of cakes from simple to elegant. Cut an even piece of fondant in a long strip, long enough to wrap all the way around the cake. Using a little water and wet the fondant and place around the edge of the cake where you want the ribbon border. Be careful though, fondant can stick and tear easily when trying to adjust where it sits on the cake. Donít be surprised if you have to try this more than once at first.
This type of cake border can also commonly be accompanied with a fondant bow as well. Take a look at the pictures bellow. For more on fondant bows and other fondant techniques see our working with fondant section.

fondant ribbon cake border

Fondant Swag Border

To make the swag effect cake border, first roll out your fondant 1/8 inch thick and place over top of at least 3 parallel straws or dowels. press gently in between the straws to form the arches in the fondant and pull out the straws. Gather the ends and pinch them together, use water or icing to stick your swag to the cake.

fondant swag cake border

Fondant Ruffle Border

Making a fondant ruffle border requires only a toothpick! Cut of your fondant as long as you need and about 1/8 of an inch thick. Take your toothpick and roll it back and forth about and half inch wide. Repeat this step right next to your previous ruffle and once you roll a few, the ruffle will start to puff up and form.

fondant ruffle cake border

Fondant Rope Border

Roll out your fondant into 2 long snakes about double the length as your cake. Twist your snakes as loose or tight as you like and wrap around your cake using water to keep the ends together and to stick it on your cake.

fondant ruffle cake border

Cake Borders Using Buttercream Icing

Buttercream is the most common icing to using when decorating cake borders because it is a very versatile type of icing allowing for an endless number of cake decorating ideas. Some of the cake borders below you will recognize as they are very common and easy to do. Royal icing and cream cheese icing can also be used to create several of the different cake border effects below.

Icing Resources

Shell Border

Create Border Using Piping Tips #16-21

This is done by holding your the bag so that the tip is slightly above the surface. Squeeze hard, letting the icing fan out as it lifts the tip. Gradually release your pressure as you lower your tip to the surface. Once on the surface, stop pressure and pull away without lifting it off the surface. Start again at the end of your first shell to create the chain of shells.

shell border example picture

Reverse Shell Border

Create Border Using Piping Tips #21

Start by forming a shell and curve the icing around then pull away. Repeat this step curving the icing in the opposite direction, covering the tail from the previous shell. This is not the easiest cake border to make, if you are new to cake decorating, we recommend a regular shell border instead.

shell border example picture

Star Border

Create Border Using Piping Tips #16-21

To crete this effect, hold your bag straight up and squeeze bag to form a star. Increasing or decreasing the amount of pressure changes the size of the star. Stop squeezing completely before lifting your tip. Repeat to create your border. This is a great a border idea, it is also a great way to cover a cupcake! Using a larger wilton piping tip number such as 21 will create a larger star than tip 16.

star border example picture

Rope Border

Using steady pressure, move the tip sideways in a "S" curve. Stop pressure and pull away. Insert tip under the bottom curve of the "S" and with steady pressure move up and over the tail of the "S" creating another "S". Keep spacing even and you will create a clean, continuous look of a rope.

buttercream rope border example picture

Rosette Border

Create Border Using Piping Tips #16-21

Rosette's are an easy an elegant way to border your cake. Start with your tip slightly above the surface, squeezing out icing to form a star. Without releasing pressure, move the tip in a tight rotation. Once circled all the way around, stop pressure and lift tip away.

Rosette border example picture

E-Motion border

Create Border Using Piping Tips #3-7 or #16-21

Starting from the bottom, squeeze out icing with even pressure and move tip up to the right and around as if writing the letter "e". Repeat to complete the border using steady, even pressure.

emotion border example picture

C-Motion border

Create Border Using Piping Tips #3-7 or #16-21

Squeeze out icing with even pressure curving tip down and around the to the right creating a "C". Repeat with even pressure to complete border.

C motion example picture

Zigzag border

Create Border Using Piping Tips #16-21

Squeeze icing out with steady pressure moving up and down in a tight motion.

ZigZag cake border example picture

Zigzag Puff Border

Create Border Using Piping Tips #16-21

Start by piping with light pressure and gradually use heavier pressure moving toward the centre in a up and down motion. Return gradually with light pressure to form the tapered end. Repeat in a row to create the puffs.

ZigZag Puff Border example picture

Dotted Border

Create Border Using Piping Tips #3-7

This is a very easy cake border for anyone to try. To create, hold the bag straight up slightly above the surface, squeeze bag gradually until you've reached the size of dot you prefer and stop pressure completely before lifting the tip. Repeat to create the border effect.

Bead Border

Create Border Using Piping Tips #3-7

This border is very similar to the shell border above. Hold the bag at a 45 degree angle and, like the shell, squeeze and lift icing slightly to let it fan out. Relax pressure as you draw the tip down to the surface and bring the bead to a point. Start again at the end of your first bead to create the border.

bead border example picture

Drop String Border

Create Border Using Piping Tips #3-7

This border can be done with a single, double or triple drop string. You will want to measure where your string will start and finish or cake so that the border is even. While squeezing the icing, move bag toward you and allow icing to drape naturally into an arc. Return to the first drop string point and drop a string slightly shorter than the first. Repeat for the third. Always start with the longest string first. Try overlapping the groups of strings to create an intricate border effect.

Unique Cake Borders

There are other items and ideas that can be used to make your next cake border a little more interesting. Real ribbon can make an excellent cake border, having accessories such as fondant characters, shapes, pearls and more all make exciting alternatives to standard cake borders. Here are a few more examples:

Fondant Accessories

Having small shapes such as the examples is the picture below is a unique cake border decorating idea. You can also use smaller shapes such as flowers to make a border. This is a great technique that can be incorporated to match just about any cake theme.

fondant accessories border example fondant accessories border example

Real Ribbon

You can use any type of ribbon you have on hand to decorate a cake with. Wrap the ribbon around the cake to create this border idea

ribbon cake border example ribbon cake border example

Ruffle Cake Border

Create Border Using Piping Tips #101-104

Using the common Ruffle Technique and buttercream icing you can make a fun border like the one displayed in the picture. This was actually done for a Cinderella princess doll cake as the bottom of her dress.

ruffle cake border example

No Cake Border

There are some cakes that donít require a cake border at all. This can be a result of the cake design, icing used or simply because the cake decorator liked the cake without a border. This is always an option. If you are new to cake decorating or inexperienced working with fondant, you may want to use a border to help cover up an imperfections around the base of the cake

no border example

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