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Cotton String Work and Pearls

It all eventuated from a dream … and was told it wouldn’t work!!! 

Cotton String Work is my creative contribution to the Cake Decorating world!

To show the naysayers… the results achieved from four competition cakes on which I have used this technique, prove this idea does indeed work well!

 All have won Major Awards!

Tools Needed:

  • Small Round Head Nails 12mm length/size
  • Cotton (to comply with Competition rules)
  • Tack Hammer and Cake Boards
  • Time Management Skills!

Firstly and most importantly is to create (draw) the design of the cake/ cakes and how you want the cotton.

Threads to be part of your design.

A lot of thought needs to be put into effectively implementing the cotton threads so it doesn’t cause breakages later (especially when you enhance this technique with intricate royal icing pipework).

Then you need to measure your required spaces around the edges of your boards using pencil/biro and mark each spot. When this is completed, then start tapping the nails halfway into the board where you have marked.

Now you must have your cake iced and details finished before you can commence doing the next stage.

Applying the cotton around the nails (tightly, without breaking!).

At your starting point knot your cotton to a nail. Then carefully and firmly run your cotton from this nail to the next nail (either directly above or below) wrap around this nail then go to the next nail in line wrapping around this nail. Always wrap from the same side and in the same direction to keep lines straight.

Once you have successfully completed putting the cotton into position, then go around tapping the nails further into the board securely. I would suggest that you do some pipework on cotton to make it more impressive.

Then disguise the nails by covering with braid attached with a glue. Do not attach with double sided tape!

Fiddly yes, time consuming yes, but the end results have proven very pleasing and rewarding.

For commercial cake usage, make sure you put a “good” price tag on your quotation!!!!

For my cake design that I won Gold in the New Zealand 2016 Seminar, that features the cotton threadwork and pearls. (Their criteria was to feature pearls and three varieties of Royal Icing work.) The board was covered with icing pearls made from the First Impression bead maker starting from the outer edge working your way to the centre. Then Airbrushed with Pearl spray.

The cotton was then piped with small icing “dots” to give the effect of “small “pearls.

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