Design + DIY

DIY: Painted PJ Cookies

I've always loved making cut-out cookies around the holidays - from countless thrifting and antiquing trips, I've collected a variety of unique shapes, including dinosaurs, odd inanimate objects and woodland creatures. I don't usually do much decorating (aside from lots of sprinkles!), but this year I wanted to try something new. So I picked up some pajama-inspired cookie cutters, and tried my hand at hand-painting a batch inspired by our print designs! - Christiane, Designer
By Christiane Moore
December 2020
DIY: Painted PJ Cookies
DIY: Painted PJ Cookies

Keep reading for our favorite Cut-out Cookie (adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction) and Royal Icing (adapted from Alton Brown/Food Network) recipes, as well as directions for how you can create your own hand-painted confectionaries.


Sugar Cookies
• 3/4 cup (170g) salted butter, room temperature
• 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
• 1 large egg
• 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
• 2 1/4 cup (281g) all-purpose flour
• 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 1/4 tsp salt

Royal Icing
• 3 oz pasteurized egg whites (about 3 large eggs)
• 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 3 cups confectioners sugar
• Milk for thinning


1. Using a large bowl and a hand or stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on high until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and add the egg and vanilla extract, beating on high speed about 1-2 minutes until smooth. 

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the combined dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing on low. Scrape down the sides once and continue mixing until combined. Dough should form a ball and come mostly clean from the sides of the bowl. 

3. Put the ball of dough between two large sheets of parchment paper. Roll out the dough until it is flat and about 1/4" thick. Transfer to fridge and chill for 1-2 hours (or even overnight). 

4. Once cold, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Remove dough from the fridge and using cookie cutters, cut out shapes and carefully transfer each to a flat metal baking sheet.

5. Bake for 11-12 minutes, or until lightly golden. Move cookies to a cooling rack so they don't over bake on the hot pan.

6. While the cookies are cooling, make Royal Icing. In a large bowl with a mixer, beat the egg whites and vanilla extract on low until frothy. Add the confectioners sugar gradually, increasing speed to high once the ingredients are incorporated. Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form (around 5-7 minutes).

7. Transfer icing to as many different small bowls as you'd like colors, reserving 1/4 cup of white icing. Add food coloring and mix until the desired hues are achieved.

Now comes the fun part - icing and painting your cookies! 

Check to make sure your cookies are completely cooled, and start icing them. The easiest way to ensure a neat, tidy icing job is to pipe a border of icing around the cookie edges before flooding the center with icing (if you're unsure, watch this video). You may need to add a small amount (1-2 tsp) of milk to loosen the consistency slightly before flooding the center of the cookie, using a spoon or knife to flood it across the cookie's surface until the border is completely filled.

This part is SO important: make sure to allow the icing plenty of time to set before you start painting, at least 1-2 hours.

Once the icing is set, use a dish for a painting pallet, setting it up with dollops of food coloring in the hues you'll need (we recommend investing in a good set that includes white food coloring, like this one). Using a small paintbrush, pre-mix your colors using some of the reserved icing as the base. You can add a bit of milk or water as well if the icing feels a little too thick for painting.

Carefully build the color on your cookie, being careful not to smudge and to allow each layer to dry fully before applying the next color. You may need to add a couple coats when building lighter colors over a darker base frosting. But the smooth royal icing base makes a surprisingly perfect canvas!

Have you ever tried your hand at painting cookies? Be sure to tag us @printfresh on Instagram with your own pajama-inspired baking projects, or share your thoughts below!

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PF MAG: Founder Amy Voloshin is passionate about creating a space that speaks to our brand, shares unique perspectives from pattern enthusiasts and finds ways to promote more sustainable living. Our blog PF Mag covers creative topics on all things lifestyle - including behind the scenes looks, fashion, design, travel, and home decor, as well as interviews with some of the people who inspire us most. 


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