Basic cake decorating kit

I remember back when I bought some of my first cake dekoration tools. What was good to start with? and what was not that important? It was so easy to spend too much money on equipment and I must admit that I still do have unpacked cutters in my tool box.

So now I try to be more critical whenever I see something new on the cake decorating market because do I really need it? So to help new commers to the cake decorating universe on what to spend your money on first. I have written a basic list that hopefully will help you to deside what you need the most.

Note: not all of the tools I am talking about are in the photo.

Cake pans: you can always start out with some basic ones. But when you want to spend money on “real” cake pans then go for brands like: Wilton, Silverwood, Fat Daddios, and Invicta.

Rolling pin: Do try and see if you can get a long one. Because you can also use it to “roll up” your fondant and transfer it to the cake. Use a shorter and smaller one when you make decorations. You can get rolling pins in non-stick and wood.

Smoothers: A pair of smoothers really makes the difference when it comes to smoothing fondant.

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Angled spatula: Makes it easier to apply buttercream frosting on the cake.

Pizza cutter: To cut off excess fondant.

Constarch duster: I use this when I roll out my fondant or sits and make decorations. You can make one very easy.

Modeling tools: A good set of fondant modeling tools will help you when you are making figures or flowers. I like the sets from JEM and PME.

Petal pad: When making flowers a petal pad out of firm foam is needed. Especially when you work with the ball/dog bone tool.

Petit spatulas: I use them for all kinds of things. You could also just use a small knife.

Piping bag and tip: In the beginning, I only had one piping bag, a coupler, and a pair of decorating tips. Start out with round, star, and leaf. They are still the ones I use the most.

Colors & dusts: There are different brands of paste/gel colors on the market today. I like the brands SugarFlair & AmeriColors. Often you can get a starter color kit that will give you plenty of opportunities. Remember that colors like black and red can be hard to obtain from regular paste/gel colors. Most brands have those colors with extra strength. That way you don’t have to use a whole bottle to get a deep color.

Dusts are like eyeshadows they come in all the colors of the rainbow and it can be hard not to buy too many πŸ˜‰ So, a white pearl luster dust and a couple of plain dust is good to start out with. You can mix your own shimmer dust by mixing petal dust with pearl luster dust.

Cutters & embossers: An easy rose cutter is always a good rose cutter to start out with. I also like the ejector cutters and you can now get a nice variety of ejector cutters with leaves, blossoms, calyx, etc.

One of my all-time favourites is the silicone flower veiner, as you can make pretty flowers in no time. Use it with five petal blossoms and Petunia flower cutters. You may also like lettering cutters? Embossing stamps can quickly make beautiful details in your fondant.

Miscellaneous: Clear alcohol for mixing colors and dusts. A small non-stick board. A good cake decorating book. Soft and fine brushes for painting. Toothpicks for adding color and small painter’s palettes for mixing colors but also for drying small flowers are good basic’s to have in your tool box.

Finally, one of the best tools to have is the sugar craft gun. It can help you out with so many things and it will soon be one of your best tools to work with.

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You are more than welcome to post a comment and tell me what kind of tools that you started out with in the beginning.

Happy Caking


Last update on 2021-04-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  1. Thank you for sharing. What is the brand of rolling pin in the picture. I have been deliberating between buying the Wilton 20″ roller or a wooden long roller. What will you advise?

  2. Hi Louise,

    My is Gyan from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. I am looking for a cake decorating kit, and I am wondering if you can recommend a few suppliers?

    Thank you for your prompt response.

    Best Regards,

    Gyan Deang

  3. I realize that this is a very old post, but I did want to mention that PVC (vinyl) is a known carcinogen (cancer-causing agent). I wouldn’t recommend even using sanitized PVC all over something you intend to ingest.

  4. I am so thankful I found your blog. This is really helpful. I am new to cake decorating and would like to invest in versatile pieces but have no clue what to buy. Thanks for posting this now I know what I need and what to buy without breaking my bank account. I am soo excited!

  5. Pardon me as i am totally new to cake making…louise, what is the purpose of corn starch dusting bag? how to roll out the fondant using this dusting bag? hear from you soon, thanks =)

  6. I needed to purchase a rolling pin for making cookies/dough and I wanted something that would help to make sure the dough rolled out at the same thinkness each time. I searched the internet for adjustable rolling pin and I came across one that looked just like PVC pipe, it cost $159. Well, I wasn’t looking to spend that much for what I needed, so I went to home depot and made one myself. I bought a 2ft pcs. of 1 1/2 inch PVC pipe matched it up with a couple of end pieces that give it the right height and I had me a $159 rolling pin for $2.63, pretty nice!

  7. Becky: LOL i can see I not the only one wondering if the leafs is botanically correct. Sounds beautiful with the TG pie. I have a Christmas book by Colette Peters and in that she paints a pie with I think its egg yolk mixed with gel paste. It looked soo gorgeous.

    Great info on the powdered egg whites. Could you please tell me from wich store you got it from? Many have written for advise on that subject.

    Susieshomemade: Great to hear πŸ™‚

    Maria C: Ohh yes lets not forget the blue mat and a good knife. THX.

    Say: I dont know any stores in the Philippines. I know good stores in Australia that I know do send to Europe so maybe they will send to you? or there is from the US

    Tamera, JudyZ, Charlotte & Becky: I have never tried to use a PVC pipe. I saw on Sharon “sugar shack” blog a santa class with Bronwen Weber, where they buildt the skeleton of PVC pipes.
    On the food safety part, I have no clue. Well I dont think the health food dep. here would allow it. They are so strict with everything.

  8. PVC CAN be food safe. I bought a piece, sanded or filed down the ends to a very smooth finish, scrubbed it extremely well, then threw it and only it into the dishwasher to sanitize it. It works extremely well, and to be honest, the more I use it, the better it gets. I guess maybe the shortening has made it as smooth as the Wilton one. Plus it’s super super cheaper than the others!!

  9. Thank you for a great list! I have some of the basic items but have been a little overwhelmed as to what else to add next without going broke. This is really helpful. Now to go shopping!

  10. am glad i found this site as a toutorial and a lesson class for me as a new gland that you are able to give out some lists for decorating.well i love wilson eguipment just that they are abit expensive.

  11. For a rolling pin , I tell my students to purchase PVC Pipe 1 1/4 inches wide from the hardware store instead of buying an expensive rolling pin. The Wilton rolling pin guides will fit the PVC. It’s amazing all the items one can find in the hardware store and the clay sculpting aisle when one has Cake on the mind.
    Thanks for one of the greatest cake websites. Love your work.

  12. woooow!!! i wanted to have it all but i just can’t. there are very few stores who has cake decorating tools here in the philippines. not to mention that they sell it for thousands of pesos for a piece. i was wondering if there’s a store that you know who sells these things at a reasonable cost? thanks again for a really nice post. very much helpful for beginners like me.

    by the way, the tools i have at hand are rolling pin, round, star and leaf tip, spring form pans, gel food color and 1 power dust color ( i agree with you, it’s really expensive), straight spatula.

  13. This is awesome I would also add to that list the fondant work mat from Ateco, I could not live without it! And a good long sharp knife for torting and cleaning up the sides of your cakes

  14. Great post, Louise!!! I’m ready to go shopping. I also love the leaf veiner that you mentioned a few posts back. I got a really big one and use it for all sizes and shapes of leaves, regardless of whether it is botanically correct or not πŸ™‚ I’m going to try it on Thanksgiving pies this year. I usually decorate the pie edges with leaves cut out of pie crust dough. This year, I will emboss them!

    Also, I keep meaning to let you know that I am now making IMBC using powdered egg whites. They are pasturized, and you don’t have use so many real eggs, wondering what to do with the yolks. (Guess you could make French Buttercream with them!) The powdered egg whites work fabulously. The brand I use is called Deb-El.


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