How to Add Ribbons and Ribbon Borders to Cakes

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Yes, we’re back to the Superman Cake… except today I’m going to show you how I added the ribbons to the cake and the ribbon border!   If you missed the earlier posts, you can see how I made the “exploding cake” tutorials here:

The how-to on ribbons may seem obvious, but I’m telling you, I knew nothing when I started doing fondant cakes a couple of years ago and I would’ve given anything for tutorials on the “obvious” stuff.

Sooo… if any of you are new to cake decorating, maybe tutorials like this will help you out!

Here we go.  For the ribbons, you’ll need fondant, a good rolling pin (I like to have my large Sil-Pin and my small 9″ Wilton fondant rolling pin..not pictured), a pizza wheel (and a ribbon cutter if possible, but not necessary), and a ruler or measuring tape (also not pictured).  To apply the ribbon to the cake, you’ll want a small craft paint brush and either water or sugar water (water with Tylose… my preference!).

For the ribbons on the side of the cake, start by rolling out your fondant and measuring to be sure it’s long enough to go from the bottom of the cake, up the side and all the way to the middle.

Then you’re going to use your pizza wheel or ribbon cutter to cut ribbons… I did mine about 2″ wide.  If you’re using a pizza wheel, use the side of a ruler as a straight edge to keep your ribbon width uniform.

After I get my strips cut (these are twice as long as I need, so I’ll get 4 ribbons out of what you see), I used a square cookie cutter to make the tails of the ribbons.  You could also do this with just a knife or an Xacto blade.  Then I cut the ribbons in half…

Then cut the ribbons in half… and get ready to put them on the cake by painting a line of water (or sugar water) on the side.

(There I go again showing off my blue hands!)

From there, you’re just going to place the straight edge of the ribbon near the bottom of the cake (I trim mine when I’m done), while leaving most of it laying over your hand… and work your way up the side of the cake, doing your best to keep it straight.

I smooth it all down and straighten the sides of the ribbon, then I trim up the bottom…

and that’s it for the sides!  I did this 3 more times all around the cake (which I did not take pictures of, of course… wink!).

Once I had all four ribbons on the sides, I started the ribbon for the border.  You’ll repeat the first steps just the same as the other ribbons (except I DID take pics this time).

Roll out the fondant (be sure it’s pretty long – it has to go all the way around the cake), measure it, and use a pizza wheel or ribbon cutter to cut it to the width you need.

TIP:  For round cakes, you’ll want your ribbon to be about 3 times longer than the diameter of your cake.  For instance… if it’s an 8″ cake, 8×3=24, so you’ll want your ribbon at least 24″ long… I usually do mine a few extra inches just to be sure.  This is one of those times where my math degree comes in handy!

If you don’t want to do all that math, you could just use a measuring tape to measure around the cake, but if it’s a buttercream cake, that’s harder to do!  After it’s cut, dust the top of your ribbon with a light layer of cornstarch, then you can just roll it up and it won’t stick to itself!

This makes applying it so much easier because you aren’t dragging around the long piece of fondant, stretching it out or risking tearing it!

Then you’re going to paint some water or sugar water along the bottom of your cake (it’s great if you have your cake on a turntable at this point!).  No pic of this… sorry… and then starting at the back of your cake, unroll the ribbon, taking care to be sure it’s touching the board on the bottom.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten all the way around only to discover it creeped up somewhere along the way and I have a huge gap between my ribbon and the board.  This is a problem because generally it’s already “stuck” in place, so it’s a pain to try and pull it off to correct or push/smooth it down to fill the gap!

When you get back around to the back (again, no pic), just trim it up (I use an Xacto blade) and you’re done!

You might also enjoy my tutorial on making a Poofy Fondant Bow!!

Any questions about this cake?   Please leave them in the comments and I’m happy to answer & help!

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Comments

  1. Another fun instruction tutorial!!! Your awesome in doing these!! How do u have the time? So jealous!! hehehe!!! Doing awesome Rose!!! Your so inspirational to me my friend!!!

    Your biggest fan here!
    Yaneri :)

  2. Sorry have now seen the rest of the tuturial!

  3. Hi. I am just wondering what you use to attach the stars to the top of the cake. Great tutorial by the way!

  4. Chris Mutch says:

    This was a fantastic help for a cake I’m making today. I knew what I wanted to do but didn’t know how to do it… now I do. Thanks so much for sharing and posting this , very ‘Mutch’ appreciated :)

  5. Love your tutorial – just wondering how you get the icing sugar / corn startch off the ribbon around the circumference of the cake – this is always a problem for me. Always seem to end up with unsightly icing sugar marks!

    • I either dust it off with a soft paintbrush, or rub a little shortening into a paper towel and rub it around the cake to make the corn starch disappear.

  6. Thank you so much Rose, this is a great tutorial – I read your comment about this being a really obvious tutorial at the start and thought “yep – I know how to do these, but I will take a look anyway”… Sure enough, I learned a great technique! I have been making cakes for about 6 years and never thought to put icing sugar on my ribbon and roll it up before applying. You have just saved me lots of stretched & torn ribbons whilst I try to move them in a long, wibbly piece! I am very grateful, and am looking forward to checking out your other tutorials for top tips too!

  7. Hi – I ‘d like to know where did you buy your superman figure /candle?

  8. Hi Rose,

    I’ve just come across your site, it’s fantastic. I bake as a hobby myself and always looking online for hints and tips. Have you heard of a site called bakingit? I just downloaded one of their apps and I think it’s a great tool for cake makers. http://www.bakingit.com.

  9. Hi, Rose! you are indeed a BIG help. thanks for this very clear tutorial.

  10. Do you have any tips on how to roll and cut a 24 inch long strip to go around the bottom of a cake? Do you roll the fondant into a long log/snake and then flatten it? I’ve never gotten the hang of fondant borders and they intimidate me a bit, so I always end up using fabric ribbon instead. I hate having inedible decorations, but I can’t get the polished even look your ribbon has. Help!

    • I do them all just like I demonstrate in bottom part of this tutorial. The bottom border on this 8″ cake was around 24″ long, but I’ve also done them much longer for very large wedding cakes. The FMM Ribbon Cutter is the tool that makes it SUPER easy to get equal width for such a long strip of fondant and then rolling it up with the cornstarch makes it easy to keep it from stretching or tearing when putting it on!

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