Special thanks to Melissa and her awesome team for letting us share this awesome tie-die icing tutorial! Visit their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for more creative creations.

I’m not sure which came first, my love of tie-dye or my love of cupcakes. But the two have always been my favorite forms of expression. At Baked by Melissa, the tie-dye cupcake is our signature bite-size flavor. And before we even started the company, I would bake tie-dye cupcakes with tie-dye icing for my friends and family whenever I had the chance. I’m about to show you how easy it is to add a pop of color to any of your favorite home-baked goodies – my two favorite ways to make tie-dye icing. Let’s get started!


What you’ll need (for both techniques):

For Icing Base:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


– At least 4 different colors food coloring

– Pastry bag

– Icing tip

– Spatula

– Paint brush for food (you can find this in your local baking supply store or even the baking isle in the supermarket – or on amazon!

– Your favorite un-iced cupcake, cake or dessert to put icing on



Technique 1: Painted tie-dye icing

First, make basic vanilla icing using these steps:

  1. Whip unsalted butter (room temperature) on high until light and fluffy. It usually takes a minute or two.
  2. Add confectioners sugar (add a little, mix, then add a little more. So you don’t splatter)
  3. Add vanilla extract
  4. Whip on high for 2-3 minutes

Wa-lah! Vanilla icing, now on to the next step.


Prep your pastry bag with icing tip and fold down the edges. With paintbrush, paint a generous line of each color food coloring vertically along the inside of the bag. Be sure to leave about .5 – 1-inch spaces between colors (I always opt to paint the colors in rainbow order, because… rainbows)


Once you’ve painted the bag with the four food colors, use your spatula to scoop icing into the bag. Be careful not to smudge the lines you just painted, but if you do it’s not the end of the world, I’m sure it will still come out great. Twist the pastry bag and give it a test pipe onto a plate or some paper towels.


Now grab your cake and start piping!


You’re done! Bonapetit!


Technique 2: Multi-colored icing tie-dye

Follow the first step above (from technique 1) to make your vanilla icing, but when you’re done, divide the finished icing evenly into four mixing bowls


Next, add food coloring to the icing so you end up with 4 different colored icings


Now that your icing is done, prep your pastry bag and icing tip and fold down the edges. Grab your spatula and smear the dyed icing into the four corners of the bag, keeping the icing level in the bag – this ensures four even colors through the icing process. Your bag should look like this: (TIP: if you have a small flower vase drape the edges of the pastry bag over it to keep it open so you can use both of your hands to get the icing in the bag evenly).


Twist the icing bag and do a few test pipes on your plate or paper towel. Then begin icing!


Another masterpiece!






Enjoy and Happy Caking!