A cake decorated with rice paper sails

How to Make Easy, Fancy Cake Decorations

The secret to creating beautiful, 3D art to line your cake? Rice paper.

One of the most fun, beautiful cake decorations takes about 10 minutes to make.

ICE Los Angeles Pastry & Baking Arts Chef-Instructor Carrie Smith has made many cakes throughout her professional career. One of her go-to decorations is the rice paper sail, which is essentially just a dyed piece of rice paper molded into a fun shape. The rice paper dries out and creates a striking, edible accoutrement that can adorn any cake.

One of Chef Carrie's favorite ways to make rice paper sails is by mixing sparkly Luster Dust (edible glitter) with the water she dips the rice paper into. This creates a shimmery, slightly translucent color on the sail that leaves it looking elegant. You can also use regular food dye if you want a bold color on your sail.

According to Chef Carrie, the key when making the sails is to use binder clips (or any clips you have) to hold the silicon mat in place. Chef Carrie molds and folds the mat underneath her sails and then uses clips to secure the mat in place. The clips go on the mat on either side of the sail, not on the sail itself.

Rice paper sails on a silicon baking mat

Once your sails are molded and skewers inserted, it's time to dry them out. You can pop them in a conventional oven at low heat or in an oven with a pilot light overnight. Gently unmold in the morning and you'll have gorgeous, nearly effortless decorations ready to meet your cake.

Here's how to make them at home.


Rice Paper Sails

Yields one sail per one sheet of rice paper


  • Rice paper sheets
  • Water, food coloring, Luster Dust or metallic airbrush color
  • Toothpicks
  • Silicone mat
  • Binder clips


  1. Mix together your color and dust (if using) with plain water.
  2. Float rice paper briefly in the colorful liquid.
  3. Remove the rice paper sheet and place onto a silicone mat.
  4. Gather and sculpt the mat (underneath the rice paper) to create pleats in the rice paper and secure the mat pleat with binder clips.
  5. Lay a skewer onto the rice paper and gather the paper around the skewer to hold it in place.
  6. Dry overnight in oven with pilot light or at 180°F for 4 hours
  7. Carefully remove the sail from the silicone mat and insert the skewer part into a cake.

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