I love stencils they are fantastic, so quick and easy to use. I first came across culinary stencils in Florida last year at the ICES convention, I saw them being demonstrated and I’ve been hooked ever since.
The easiest way to use is stencils is on a flat surface, however once you have practised a few times then you can also stencil on the side of cakes as well.
The secret to success is getting your royal icing to the correct consistency; you will need a fairly stiff icing so I suggest you experiment and practice before having a go on your cake.
To use a stencil directly on your cake, board or rolled out modelling paste. Place dollops of royal icing to help hold the stencil in place, then spread the royal icing, using a scraper or pallet knife, evenly over the stencil. Gently pull off the stencil and admire.
Back to the question, it is not uncommon to find that the stencil is not a perfect match for the cake or board which you are trying to decorate. If you are decorating the side of the cake and the stencil will not reach all the way around the cake, you need to allow the first section of stencilled royal icing to dry – usually around 10 minutes or so – and then simply start the next section making sure that the patterns follows on from where you have left off (a bit like matching up the pattern when wallpapering). If you find you have too much stencil for the final section, then use masking tape to “block out” the part of the pattern which you do not want to appear.
TIP: Surgical tape can help to fix the stencils in place on the side of the cake when decorating, alternatively another pair of hands is useful.
If your stencil is too large for the top of the cake, then you will need to tape over the part of the pattern which you do not want to appear. On a board, like I used on the first example above you don’t need to mask the area of the stencil not being used.
I hope this helps and that you have as much fun with stencils as I’m currently having!