A $4.99 alternative to the KopyKake projector for cookie decorating

I've resisted buying a KopyKake projector for years. (A KopyKake is an overhead projector that will allow you to trace images directly onto cakes and cookies.)

Why I've resisted buying a KopyKake for decorating cookies...

  1. They're pricey...I'd rather spend my money on chocolate. (Like my favorite dairy-free chocolate mousse!)
  2. I have exactly zero space to store it.
  3. Honestly, I worried I'd fall into the trap of thinking I HAD to use it to make my cookies perfect. 
A $4.99 alternative to the KopyKake projector for cookie decorating

So, I wanted to make some cookies for a little Curious George fan. I googled ways to draw George and tried my hand at sketching him. Soon it was obvious, this was not going to work. 

I remembered seeing a post Klickitat Street did about an app that you can use with your iPad for tracing. Here's the post...it's full of great info and a video that's really helpful as well. Definitely check it out! 

an iPad app that allows you to trace images onto cookies for decorating ... great alternative to a KopyKake
Here's the deal...the Camera Lucida app ($4.99!!!) works using the rear camera on the iPad. Save and upload a picture that you want to trace, put the app in draw mode, and adjust the opacity so that when you're looking at the iPad, you can see the cookie underneath.

curious george app stack photo curious george 3 of 10.jpg

How to Use the Camera Lucida App for decorating cookies

You'll need a stand of some sort. I stacked a bunch of cookbooks on my table. I'm embarrassed that one of my books is on top...totally not planned, but hey... #productplacement. 

What you need to know about using the Camera Lucida app for cookies...

  • the app does not project the image down.
  • when tracing, you'll be looking at the iPad as a guide, not the cookie.
  • because the camera is not in the middle of the iPad, your cookie will be under the edge of the iPad. 
  • the image is much easier to trace using a food coloring pen, rather than a piping bag. 

Next time, I'd start the cookie with a base color. I didn't have enough time once I remembered about this app. Also, I tried piping the face details using the app...that didn't work well. 

curious george cookies ... george made with the help of an iPad app!

Let's Make Curious George face cookies.

you'll need:

an iPad app that allows you to trace images onto cookies for decorating : alternative to KopyKake projector
Place the cookies under the raised iPad and trace the image using a food coloring pen. (If you look at the iPad, you can see that I took some liberties with the image...making the right ear more prominent and closing the open lines.)

curious george outline photo curious george 5 of 10.jpg
Use a #2 tip to go over the outline drawn with black icing. Let this icing set for at least 1 hour. 

Thin the brown icings with water, a bit at a time, stirring with a silicone spatula, until it is the consistency of a thick syrup. You'll want to drop a "ribbon" of icing back into the bowl and have it disappear in a count of "one thousand one, one thousand two." Four is too thick, one is too thin. Count of 2-3 is good. Cover with a damp dishcloth and let sit for several minutes.

Stir gently with a silicone spatula to pop and large air bubbles that have formed. Pour into a squeeze bottle. Fill in the outlines with the thinned icing, using a toothpick to guide to the edges and to pop large air bubbles.

Pour into squeeze bottles and fill in the black outlines.
curious george flood 1 photo curious george 6 of 10.jpg
curious george flood 2 photo curious george 7 of 10.jpg
Let the icing dry for at least one hour.

Thin the white icing with just a bit of water to loosen. Pipe eyes using a #1 tip.

curious george decorated cookie tutorial
Switch the tip on the black icing to a #1 and add the remaining face details. Use a toothpick, pulling through the top of the black icing on the eyes.

Let the cookies dry, uncovered, 6-8 hours or overnight.

Perfect? No. Better than if I had attempted to freehand them? You betcha.

curious george cookies made with the help of an iPad app!
I can't wait to try this again...I don't think I'll use it often, but I think it will be very helpful with logos, mascots, and characters. Also, what if you converted a picture into a line drawing and made cookies of friends and family??? OK...that sounds like it would be difficult. 

If you liked this hack, check out how to use tissue paper (!!!)  for lettering! So fun!



    1. The cookies turned out great! I downloaded the app and tried it a few times, but have such difficulty with the depth perception. I came across a coupon for Jerry's Artarama, and ended up just ordering a Kopykake. I don't use it as much as I thought I would, but it does come in handy for some of the harder designs and fonts. Maybe I'll give the app another try for when I don't like pulling out the projector.

    2. I bet you could use an Osmo with their Masterpiece app for this. https://www.playosmo.com/en/masterpiece/ The device is designed mostly for educational uses, but the Masterpiece app lets you create a real drawing on paper in front of you, by following a line drawing on the iPad. (I'm not describing it very well, but there's a video!) The app will also convert clipart to simple line drawings, which would be perfect for this purpose! The Osmo is $80, and comes with the Masterpiece app, so it costs more than the Camera Lucida app, but it seems like it would be easier to use than working underneath the iPad, cheaper and much easier to store than a KopyKake, and less likely to result in icing on your iPad! ;-) I don't work for Osmo or anything, I just bought several for my son's elementary school and was really impressed with what they can do.

      1. Thanks so much, Jocelyn! I will definitely look into that! :)

    3. Now we can also get one of these flex arms instead of making a stand. Gotta love technology. Thanks for this post! I have been waiting for an alternative. https://www.amazon.com/EMPIRE-Adjustable-Flexible-Extension-Mount/dp/B005VSHMSY/ref=tag_rsn_rs_edpp_url?ie=UTF8&creative=381421&tag=tossbuycom-20

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    11. I love your cookies, and truly, I really dislike the "perfect" cookies, they just look so fake to me. I like them to have a little character. I ordered graduation cookies for my daughter and was so disappointed in what I received. They were well done but didn't seem all that special to me. I should have done them myself but just trying to get everything done for graduation and getting to TX was more than I had on my plate.
      Your talent is extraordinary!


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