A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Using Different Types of Piping Tips

What is a Piping Tip?

Piping tips are a versatile tool that can add an artistic touch to any dessert, and with a little practice, anyone can become skilled at using them to create beautiful designs and decorations. They are an essential tool for any baker or pastry chef. Tips come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, each with a unique purpose. Some are designed for creating fine & intricate details, while others are ideal for making bold and large details. Piping tips can be made from different materials, such as stainless steel or plastic, stainless steel being the most popular among party chefs & cake artists. They should be cleaned thoroughly after each use to ensure they remain in good condition. If well taken care of tips can last for decades. Tips are most commonly used for writing on cakes and desserts as well as creating cake borders. Many pastry tips have unique and specialized shapes that can be used to create intricate patterns, such as rosettes, shells, flowers, or leaves. Choosing the right piping tip for the job is essential, and bakers often have hundreds of different tips to choose from.

Mastering the art of piping with different tips can take your baked goods to the next level. We have put together a list of the most commonly used tips along with a description and photo of the buttercream design you can create with each.

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Piping Tips & Common Uses

These are the most commonly used piping tips & a great starting point for beginners. Each of these tips come in different variations & style which produce slightly different designs.

Most commonly used for writing and creating beads, dots, lines and fine details

Flat, 3D & ruffled leaves (there are other variations of leaf tips)

Ruffles, borders, flower petals, ribbons and bows (there are several variations of this style)

Stars, shells, borders, swirls, rosettes (Similar is a French star tip, both come open or closed)

Mini flowers, swirls

Used to replicate grass and fur

Jumbo Tips

Jumbo piping tips are great for icing cupcakes and creating large piping details. Here are the most popularly used.

The History of the Pastry Tip

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A piped wedding cake from the Victorian Era

Pastry tips, what would we do without them? They have changed the cake and pastry world forever and have revolutionized the art of decorating. Pastry tips are small, cone-shaped tools that are used to pipe creams onto pastries, cakes, and other desserts. This revolutionary tool can be traced back to 19th-century France. This comes as no surprise the French have always dominated the pastry world. The first pastry tips were handmade out of copper or tin, making them rare and expensive. Thanks to the advancement in manufacturing, pastry tips became more widely available and affordable in the late 1800s and early 1900s.


A pastry coupler is a great asset to any cake decorator or pastry chef’s tool collection. Couplers are used in cake decorating to attach different style pastry tips to a piping bag. It allows the user to easily change out different tips without having to change the pastry bag. Couplers are typically made of plastic or metal for heavy duty piping.

How to use a coupler:

  1. Start by placing the coupler base inside your piping bag, pushing it through to the bottom.
  2. Cut the end of the piping bag so that it fits snugly around the coupler base.
  3. Attach the pastry tip by securely screwing the desired tip onto the coupler using the coupler ring.
  4. Fill the piping bag with your desired buttercream frosting or filling.
  5. If you want to change the tip, simply unscrew the coupler ring and switch to a different tip.

How to Clean Piping Tips & Couplers

In order to prolong the life of your tips and prevent build-up & rust, it’s essential to know how to properly clean & store your tips.

  1. To clean your tips remove as much of the buttercream as possible then soak the tips in hot soapy water. (Hot water helps to loosen up the greasy residue from your frosting.)
  2. Rinse tips under hot water & brush away any remaining residue with a Tip Cleaning Brush (suitable for even the smallest tips)
  3. Place tips and couplers on your Baker’s Drying Wall Rack. (Make sure items are fully dry before storing to prevent bacteria)
  4. Store tips in an upright position preferably in a tip storage box/organizer. (You can find storage boxes for small and jumbo tips.)
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