How to Pipe a Shell

The Shell is the most popular icing technique of all. It's the basis for many borders, fleurs de lis and more. Lift the tip only slightly when piping to avoid a bumpy look.
Skill Level: None

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Step 1

Decorate with: Star tip 21 and medium consistency icing. Hold bag at 45° at 6:00, with tip slightly above the surface.

Step 2
Step 2

Squeeze hard, letting icing fan out generously as it forces the tip up

Step 3
Step 3

Gradually relax pressure as you lower tip. Pull the bag toward you until tip reaches the surface. Relax pressure and pull tip along the surface to form a point.

Step 4
Step 4

To make a shell border, start your next shell so that the fanned end just covers the tail of the preceding shell to form a chain.

Step 5

Hint: Lift the tip only slightly when piping, to avoid a bumpy look.

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Buttercream icing ((medium consistency))




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How to Pipe a Shell is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 50.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The "Shell" is a very helpful and common technique. It is often used as borders on cakes. Doing them tip-to-tip (as shown above) can be a challenge as you need to make the tail point-y to show it's shape. But if you are planning to use this technique for borders, you can start squeezing the next shell above the tail of the previous one. This technique will give your border a wave effect. It will also take away the pressure of making the tail appear perfect as this would be covered by the next shells' head. Try practicing this and eventually your hand will get used to the "squeeze forward-lift-glide back" motion. Hope this could help. :)
Date published: 2010-12-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I have been making home made cakes for years now. Last year, I finally took a couple of cake decorating classes through Wilton and have more confidence then ever! This simple technique can turn a plain Jane cake into a marvelously decorated cake...friends and family say it looks like a bakery cake, but it still decorates my home made cake with love and adds that hint of pizazz! I have also found this "Shell" decorates a nice cupcake, cookie or even pumpkin roll! Great addition to any baked good!
Date published: 2010-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I was somewhat intimidated by the shell border at first. But once I got the hang of it, I use it on most of my cakes now. It really does make a cake pop. And now it is so easy, the shells just roll right off. For Memorial day, I striped a parchment triangle bag with blue icing color and filled it with white icing. The shell border came out blue and white striped. Toped the cake with red roses, and walla, beautiful cake.
Date published: 2010-12-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from One of the easist borders to pipe but it always gives a cake that finished elegance that you want. The hardest part is keeping the size of the shells consistant. Go slow. Honestly though, nobody really looks as closely as you will. A nice wide shell also hides the bottom of the cake where frosting might not go all the way to the cake board or plate. Using a second row around the top is pretty too. Have fun!
Date published: 2010-12-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is my all-time favorite boarder. I use the shell boarder technique with all different types of tips, sizes, and colors. The great thing about a shell boarder is if you haven't quite mastered the shell, just keep them consistant and you'll have a great boarder. Once you can do the shell well, you can play with it for all kinds of things like boarders, outlines, and even using it to write on cakes.
Date published: 2010-12-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I have used this quite often to decorate with. I think it makes a wonderful finish on a cake and makes you look knowledgeable about decorating a cake. I love to experience with all of the new wilton products. I am always watching out for their new books and instructions on how to use their products. I enjoy baking but I am not a great decorater but wilton helps me to at least try. I have mastered the shell border and really enjoy all the things I am able to use it on. I would really like to learn how to make the figures, flowers and most of all the basket weave . Hopefully I will learn how to do this. The shell boarder is so easy to use and is very easy to put on a cake. It has its on style. It is very easy to make different colors so every time you decorate a border it becomes professional looking. The shell will always be number one with me. I rate the shell border a number 5.
Date published: 2010-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I use the shell technique for all my cake borders. In fact, it is one of my favorite techniques to use. Once you practice and become familiar with it, you will find yourself using it more and more as I did. However, you must make sure that you are consistant with the pressure, so the final border will appear even. If you do this, this technique will become a sure favorite for you too!
Date published: 2010-12-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This and the star tip are my favorite for top edges or sides of cakes! I started with this step to make a fabulous easy border on my cake. But, start experimenting with the angle of your tip as your placing your frosting down and you can get some interesting variations. Also, varying the length (like one long, one short stroke, etc.) can make an interesting border too.
Date published: 2010-12-01
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