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how to use luster dust on buttercream

How to Use Luster Dust on Buttercream: Amazing Step-by-Step Guide

Last Updated on January 12, 2023

Today we are going to talk about how to use luster dust on buttercream. Baking is one of my favorite hobbies. My favorite part is decorating. There are so many options to choose from and so many ways to unleash my creativity. Colors, shapes, add-ons…you name it, I have tried it! One of the things I think makes decorations special is sparkles. I love using edible glitter, but sometimes you need a subtler effect. For example, for a wedding cake or some champagne and strawberry cupcakes. 

I mean, making fondant shine is an old trick. But buttercream?! It’s more delicate and maybe you did not think about it before. There are some things to bear in mind and also some do’s and don’ts. Let’s get into it!

What is Luster Dust?

Luster dust is a very fine powder that you can buy in any craft store. It is made of shimmering particles and comes in an array of different colors. It is non-toxic, and tasteless and can be used to decorate anything!

My personal favorite is gold luster dust. It looks so amazing on top of white buttercream!

What is Luster Dust?

How To Use Luster Dust

Do Not Mix Luster Dust Directly Into Buttercream

Unlike with fondant, mixing luster dust into your buttercream will only mean you are wasting it. Kneading it into fondant is like creating sparkly layers until all is covered, as you do with food coloring, but buttercream works differently.

To use luster dust on buttercream you need to think about it as a coating. It will give a sheen and make it look magical, but you will not be able to make the whole buttercream shiny. By mixing it in, it will get lost in the cream.

Do Not Sprinkle Luster Dust Over Your Buttercream

Another absolute don’t about using luster duster to make buttercream look prettier is to sprinkle it. As we said in the last heading, you need to think about luster dust as a coating, but it is too thin to sprinkle on top.

Think about what glitter or sprinkles look like. Compared to luster dust they are chunky and noticeable at a glance. Luster dust is more delicate and finely milled, so it needs to be used as such. 

How To Use Luster Dust

If you do sprinkle it on top of, say, your cupcakes, you will notice that you cannot distribute it evenly. You will end up with splotchy patches of luster dust that will never give you full coverage. 

It will be hard to coat the sides and control the actual fall of dust. Essentially, you will be left with a mess! This is a method we definitely do not recommend.

Try Brushing Your Luster Dust On Top Of Your Buttercream Instead

To achieve the best result by using luster dust, we definitely think that using the right brush will give the prettiest result. There are, however, some things to bear in mind with this method.

First of all, you should use fluffy brushes. The best ones, we think, are makeup brushes that you can get at any drugstore or beauty store. 

You should look for fluffy brushes that will lay the color evenly without creating any harsh lines or splotches that are hard to blend afterward.

Try Brushing Your Luster Dust On Top Of Your Buttercream Instead

A blush brush or big powder brush would be the perfect choice to cover large areas. A fluffy eye blending brush would be best to lay the duster over creases or small details, or in case you need to be more precise.

Stay clear of densely packed brushes or very small, precise brushes. These are not your friends in creating even layers.

Make sure you buy brushes, especially to use with food-grade products. Do not use an old brush from your makeup collection, as you may contaminate the food. 

Not only should it be new, but you should also clean it beforehand, to get rid of any factory residue that could end up stuck to your cream.

Do Not Sprinkle Luster Dust Over Your Buttercream!

Try and avoid brushes that are made with animal products. Not only are they more expensive, but they could also provide a source of contamination for food. Choose only synthetic bristle brushes.

The right method to do this is not to use the luster dust straight from the pot. To achieve an even sparkle, the best way is to pour some of the powder into a small container and swirl your brush around.

Afterward, you need to tap the excess into the container. Then gently distribute the product with swiping motions. This way you will avoid unnecessary blotches and spots that are not as aesthetically pleasing.

Other Ways How to Use Luster Dust on Buttercream

You Can Also Paint It On

To paint it on, you will need to put a tablespoon of luster dust on a small container and add in a few drops of vodka until it has the consistency of paint. If you thin it out, the color will also be more see-through, but it is your choice!

Other Ways to Apply Luster Dust

For this, you will want a regular paddle brush from the craft store. Make sure it is food safe!

Use your brush to distribute the paint over your cake as if you were doing it over a canvas. It dries fast, so make sure to not leave any streaks behind!

You Can Airbrush It On

This option is for pros only! You will need an airbrush to achieve it, but the effect is so worth it! It is absolutely the best. An airbrush will set you back a few dollars, but it is personally my favorite way to apply shimmer or color on top of any decoration.

You Can Airbrush It On

How Do You Stencil a Buttercream Cake With Luster Dust?

It’s super easy to stencil using luster dust; whether on buttercream or fondant. Before you begin, you need to ensure that the surface that you’re working with is as smooth and flat as can be. Dust the surface of your stencil with a small amount of cornstarch and firmly press the stencil into your buttercream or fondant. Now use a brush to paint the luster dust over the stencil; ensuring you’re covering all details. Leave to dry completely before you remove the stencil.

How Do You Make Edible Lustre Dust?

There are many ways to make edible luster dust and all of them involve edible luster dust and some form of liquid. You can use a selection of different drinks to make luster dust; such as lemon extract, dipping solution, vodka, lemon juice, and water. However, nowadays you can buy premade edible paint, which may be a better option for you. You just need a small amount of liquid and a small amount of luster dust. Mix well and then you’re ready to paint!

What Can You Use Instead of Vodka for Luster Dust?

When it comes to making edible luster dust, alcohol is always the best option. If you’re not wanting to use vodka, a dipping solution is another great option. However, it also includes alcohol. If you’re looking for an alcohol-free option, you can try using one of the following: lemon juice, lemon extract…or even water!

Can You Use Lemon Juice With Luster Dust?

Absolutely. And lemon juice is a great option if you want to avoid using alcohol. I’ve found that lemon juice actually works incredibly well and has a finish very similar to that of vodka. It’s worth noting that you will need to add a few coats of luster dust to whatever it is you’re painting as it can look quite streaky and is lighter than when using alcohol. It also takes around 30 minutes to dry completely. If you’re wanting to do several coats of luster dust, this may take a considerable amount of time!

Can You Mix Edible Luster Dust With Tequila?

As long as the alcohol you’re using is clear, you can use virtually any alcohol! Whether it be vodka, tequila…or even gin! All should produce the same result and work well when creating edible luster dust.

How to Use Luster Dust on Whipped Cream?

It is possible to use luster dust on the whipped cream frosting. However, it’s not usually recommended. It doesn’t produce the best results, in comparison to using it on fondant, for example. If you do decide to use luster dust on whipped cream frosting, it is best to airbrush it on and use high-proof alcohol as the liquid of choice.

How Long Does Luster Dust Last?

As far as I can tell, luster dust does not expire. As long as it’s kept dry and stored in a cool place, your luster dust should last as long as you need it! It doesn’t ever seem to go bad. However, always look out for the signs; just in case. As it lasts virtually forever, it’s a great staple to keep in your pantry when it comes to baking!

How to Apply Luster Dust to Buttercream

There are many ways to use edible luster dust for your buttercream. Whether you want to make a pearlescent glaze, add texture to your buttercream, or even add a sparkling border to your cakes with buttercream and luster dust, we’re here to help. Here are some of our favorite ways how to use luster dust on buttercream.

  • Adding texture. All you need to do is sprinkle a small amount of luster dust over your buttercream. This can get messy, so be extra careful when sprinkling over buttercream. We recommend doing this once the frosting is already on the cake, and do so with a baking sheet underneath to catch any excess luster dust.
  • Make a glaze. Mix a small amount of luster dust with clear alcohol, such as vodka or tequila. Then all you need to do is dip your food-grade paintbrush (or pastry brush) into the mixture and carefully paint a layer over your buttercream.
  • Color. While this won’t give the brightest sparkle, it will add a subtle shimmer and also add color to your buttercream. Just add a small amount to your frosting and mix well until it becomes smooth.
  • Sparkly borders. All you need to do is add a layer of luster dust to a baking sheet and then carefully press the outside of your cake into the dust; this will give the edges a subtle sparkle.
  • Make a statement. Be sure to use white buttercream for this. If you’d like your buttercream to dazzle, all you need to do is add 2 parts of edible gold dust, to 1 part of edible silver dust. Apply with a food-grade paintbrush (or pastry brush). Leave to dry before serving for best results.

Can You Mix Edible Glitter Into Frosting?

When it comes to adding edible glitter dust to your frosting, you absolutely can. There are many brands of edible glitter available, as well as many store-bought frosting. However, I’ve found that some of the best frosting and glitter that works together is Renshaw frosting, with Rainbow Dust Glitters. Most of the time, it’s difficult to make your frosting pop with glitter, unless you paint it on. However, with this particular one, you can simply mix it into your frosting and the color doesn’t fade, and you can still see that gorgeous shimmer.

Once you’ve mixed a small amount of edible glitter into the frosting, you can frost your cake or cupcakes as you usually would. When it comes to decorating with this, it’s best to leave your cupcakes or cakes to chill overnight. When you do this, the colors become more intense and the shimmer becomes better than you can imagine.

While you can mix edible glitter into the frosting, this isn’t the most popular way of using edible glitter. The most popular way involves using a small amount of luster dust and mixing it with a few drops of clear alcohol, such as vodka. Once mixed, you can then use a food-grade paintbrush (or pastry brush) to paint the glitter onto your baked goods.

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So, what do you think? I hope this post has helped to answer the question: how to use luster dust on buttercream? Are you going to try shiny buttercream frosted cupcakes next? Or maybe a metallic cake? It is your choice! Maybe a shiny rainbow cake? 

Using our tips you will have absolutely no problems the next time you choose to use luster dust with buttercream. You will be an absolute pro! Post a picture below so that we can see your beautiful creations!

FAQ’s

Can You Mix Luster Dust in Icing?

Yes, add a tablespoon of luster dust to the icing. Then, blend well to distribute the luster dust evenly. Make sure to mix it properly till you have attained the desired result. Likewise, whip the luster dust into royal icing or knead the dust into fondant.

Additionally, use luster dust to add shimmer to the icing. With that, ensure all surfaces are dry before applying the luster dust. 

Can You Use Luster Dust on Chocolate?

Of course, you can, especially if you have store-bought or homemade chocolates. With that, apply the luster dust on the chocolates you are making from scratch. Likewise, use the luster dust on certain parts of the chocolate, or cover the whole chocolate with luster dust. 

Moreover, apply the luster dust to the chocolates using even and long strokes. Make sure to use controlled and slow strokes to paint the luster dust onto the chocolate. Also, begin at the top of every chocolate and brush down.  

Additionally, ensure no moisture is on your brush since it will ruin its soft appearance. 

Can You Mix the Luster Dust With Vanilla Extract?

Yes, mix the luster dust with one to two drops of vanilla extract in a small bowl first, since the luster dust does not directly combine with icing. Make sure to mix well. Then paint the mixture onto the icing on baked goods like pastries and cakes. 

Additionally, luster dust is perfect for putting shiny color to cupcakes, petit fours, and cookies created with royal icing, fondant, and other frostings that dry firm to the touch. Ensure to dip a small pastry brush into a luster dust solution and paint on designs. 

How Do You Mix Luster Dust Without Alcohol?

Alcohol evaporates instantly, so that is the main reason why it is the ideal option when painting on royal icing. For this reason, there is not much time for the liquid to dissolve the icing. Using alcohol is the best option since it produces a shiny and smooth icing surface. 

Likewise, mix the luster dust with lemon juice since it can closely resemble the shiny texture out of all alcohol-free options like imitation vanilla. In addition to that, the lemon juice dries the quickest. As a result, it does not need much time to soak into the icing’s surface. 

Moreover, to achieve a vivid color and an even application, mix the alcohol with lemon extract. 

Can You Use Luster Dust Dry?

Sure, you can use luster dry. Dry luster dust is ideal when making pink cheeks in your baked goods decorations. It is commonly brushed into fondant, molded candies, and gum paste with a dry brush. 

Slowly shake the luster dust on a paper towel or plate before working into the brush without clumping. Make sure to utilize an artist’s brush to apply to iced or plain cookies that have dried overnight. 

In addition to that, adding dry luster dust allows you to see the color of the original cookie. However, it adds a metallic and pure shimmer.

Read more about How To Add Pearl Dust In Drinks

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