Learn tips and tricks for drawing on food using edible ink pens. In this tutorial, I will show you how to use food coloring markers to draw and color on sweet and savory snacks.
Quite a few of you have written to me to ask how I get my edible ink food coloring markers to work so well. Believe me, I have had my fair share of trouble getting food coloring pens to work properly.
Over the years, I've found a few tricks to get the best results when drawing on food using these markers.
Drawing on some foods is more challenging than others but by following the tips I've suggested below, you'll be able to use the edible ink markers on so many different types of food including chocolate, Pop Tarts, Airheads Taffy, Necco Wafers, marshmallows, caramel, and even cheese.
Tips for drawing with food coloring markers
Tip #1 - Store your markers tip-side down.
Always store your food coloring markers in a glass, mug, or jar with the tip facing down.
This will keep the food coloring flowing toward the tip so that the tip of your marker does not dry out.
I don't recommend buying double-sided markers. I have found that they don't work very well to begin with and they dry out much more quickly than single-tip markers.
Tip # 2 - Dip the marker tip in liquid food coloring.
If you are drawing on food and are getting streaks instead of a nice even color our of the tip of your edible ink marker you can resaturate the marker using liquid food coloring.
Fill a small bowl with liquid food coloring that matches the color of your edible ink marker.
Dip the tip of your marker in the food coloring, allowing the coloring to soak up into the tip. Then, tap the marker allowing any excess coloring to fall off the tip. If it's too wet, it will bleed. You can touch it with a paper towel to remove any excess liquid.
Continue to draw on your food until you get streaks again, then repeat the process.
I know this seems like a waste being you purchased the food coloring pen for its convenience but I promise you will be happy with the results of this process.
Your markers are not cheap. Liquid food coloring is pretty cheap. So, adding the food coloring this way will add life to your markers.
Tip #3 - Refill the insert in your markers.
If your edible ink food coloring marker has dried out, don't throw it away, you may be able to refill it.
I love using Americolor Gourmet Writers. They are the best edible markers I have found thus far. Plus, they have a plug on one end that holds the absorbent material that holds the food coloring in the tube of the marker.
You can remove the plug using tweezers and refill the insert. The inserts have a plastic coating around them so you won't get ink on your hands. Other markers may not have this so you may want to wear food-handling gloves.
Once the plug is removed, tip the marker over and allow the coloring insert to drop out (tap the marker if needed.)
Put the insert in a small bowl filled with food coloring. DO NOT dip this directly into your bottle of food coloring. You never want to stick anything into your food coloring as it could contaminate it.
Allow the absorbent material to soak up the food coloring for at least 15 minutes.
Place the insert back into the marker.
Put the plug back then allow the edible ink marker to set with the tip side down for at least 15 minutes in order for the new coloring to permeate the tip.
Then, you can have fun drawing on your food.
Tip #4 - Use them on a smooth surface.
It is easiest to use food coloring markers on a smooth surface.
When I dipped cookies into yellow candy melts to make these Sunshine Lollipops, I was sure to allow the candy to smooth out on the surface while it was still wet.
It was easy to draw using a black food coloring maker across the hardened chocolate.
Tip #5 - Use a light touch.
Glide the marker across the surface of the food. If you press too hard, you can dig the tip into the food.
If food gets stuck on the surface of the marker, it will clog up the flow of food coloring. Gently roll the tip of the marker on a paper towel to remove any food that is stuck.
Tip #6 - Keep the tip of the marker clean.
Certain foods like the cornstarch on the exterior of marshmallows are more likely to stick to the tip of your edible ink pens.
Gently roll the tip on a paper towel to remove any dust or food debris.
When drawing on marshmallows, I like using Tip #2. I dip the tip in food coloring often as I create my design on the powdery surface of the marshmallow.
If the tip gets too dirty, you can rinse the tip of the marker with water to remove stuck-on food. Then, roll the tip over a paper towel to remove the excess water.
What food can you draw on using food coloring markers?
Draw on treats made with candy melts.
One of my favorite uses for food coloring markers is adding small details on my treats dipped and decorated with candy melts.
Draw on sweet treats.
Draw on cookies
Once cut-out cookies have been baked, you can draw on them using food coloring. You can even draw on Vanilla wafers. See how I made the Sunshine Cookies, Minion Cookies, Sleeping Bag Snacks, and Witch Cookies.
Draw on savory food.
I've had so much fun turning savory food into cute snacks. Drawing on corn dogs is quite easy if they aren't bumpy. I added eyes and a smile to Corn Dog Butterflies.
Chicken tenders were a bit more challenging but I found Tyson Honey Battered Chicken Tenders worked great. Once again, I added a smiley face to my Chicken and Chips Butterflies.
Won Tons are fabulous canvases for food coloring pens. I was able to draw a clock face on my Fried Won Ton Clocks. I deep-fried this New Year's Eve appetizer and the drawn features looked great.
You can also draw on baked dough. I made cute Cheesy Snowman Snacks using Farm Rich Mozzarella Bites.
Draw on tortillas.
I found it really easy to draw on tortillas to make these School Book Sandwiches.
This was a chance for me to use colorful markers.
Draw on cheese.
I use black food coloring markers quite often but I love it when I can use colored markers too.
I created the cute bunny feet for these Mini Cheese Ball Bunny Butts using a pink food coloring marker on white cheese. Drawing on cheese works great.
Speaking of cheese, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on top of this pizza are made out of cheese. I created green, blue, orange, red, and purple-colored cheese. Yep, you can do that! See my Cheese Sugar Skull recipe for details.
Then, I used a black food coloring marker to draw the details on their face and masks.
You can color on orange cheddar cheese too. To make this pumpkin, I cut out orange cheese using a pumpkin cookie cutter. Then, I cut out two circles and put a slice of white cheese under the orange cheese.
I drew on the details using a black food coloring marker.
I hope you found all of these food coloring marker tips helpful. Have fun drawing on food.