Free-hand piping – Left handed vs Right handed

Carl ThompsonDavids Cake Craft

This special feature is presented in association with Kelmy Royal Icing
Kelmy Royal Icing

Which hand do I use to pipe?

At David’s Cake Craft cake decorating masterclass courses in Liverpool England, David encourages students to embrace the freedom of expression during creativity without having to follow rules or regulations as he teaches free-hand cake decorating techniques for both left and right handed students.

David believes that each cake decorator has to be free to decide which piping approach best suits them. He strongly believes this is a very important factor which allows free-hand cake decorating creative energy to be at it’s most powerful level, so the decorating experience is extremely pleasurable, increasing creative potential, higher performance, resulting in a greater achievement.

David Cakes

“I am right handed and my Mum is left handed. Over 50 years ago when I was a little boy, I helped my Mum bake and decorate cakes every Saturday in our family kitchen.  Mum used her left hand and  I used my right, as that was the most natural and comfortable way for us to create.” says David.

“At the start of every cake decorating course I teach (whether we are going to be creating with Royal Icing, Buttercream or other mediums) I always ask students if they are right or left handed and encourage them to decorate in way that feels comfortable and natural to them.  At that point many left handed students have informed me that they have been told that even though they are left handed they must decorate with their right hand. This always makes me question ‘Why?’ – as I firmly believe that as long as we achieve the desired results, does it really mater how we get to the finishing line!”

David continues “As a right handed cake decorator, when piping standard piping shells, etc, I pipe from left to right. I always encourage left hand students to pipe in the direction that feels good to them, so some students choose left to right direction that I use, while others choose to pipe right to left.” 

David Cakes

“If we are both piping up the same cake design, but decorate it in opposite directions, each finished cake will have it’s own individual look, so whatever direction we decide to pipe, we will still achieve results we can be proud of. Combining a left or right handed free-hand piping approach with multi directional piping and over-piping can take your design to a new level which can be very beneficial, especially if we are commissioned to create a unique bespoke personalised design for a friend or client.” concludes David.

David Cakes

Multi-directional piping when using our left or right hand

When spontaneously piping more complex cake designs direct onto the cake surface using free-hand piping techniques, we face many exciting challenges as we evaluate which hand we are going to use to pipe our design, while addressing our body posture, the angle we position the piping bag as well as the direction we will pipe to create a pattern directly and spontaneously onto the cake surface.

David explains “Before I start piping I survey the surface area of the cake. If my viewpoint is obstructed by the piping bag I am holding and / or my fingers, I have to address the situation and find the easiest way to be able to pipe my design idea onto the cake without damaging any patterns / layers that I have already piped onto the cake surface. This is when both a left and right handed multi-directional piping approach may be required and piping in many directions can achieve very dramatic and exciting results.”

Prior to his current teaching vocation, for 30 years from 1982 to 2012 David ran his multi-award winning Liverpool based retail cake store business. Having run a cake store, especially one that was open for 30 years gave David great insight into the reality of running a small business as he faced daily challenges. With hard work and determination he celebrated the rewards. David’s cake store showroom showcased more than 50 wedding cakes on permanent display in his glamorous cake boutique. Every design was unique, individual and different, all decorated using the free-hand techniques he now teaches at his masterclass courses.

For more information about David’s Cake Craft cake decorating masterclass courses click here

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David’s Cake Craft is the exclusive UK importer and UK distributor of Kelmy products

Kelmy shop


In 2016 David’s Cake Craft became the exclusive UK importer and UK distributor of Kelmy Royal Icing which is now available for purchase through our online store