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Colorful Monarch Butterfly Cookies

I made beautiful and super easy to make Colorful Monarch Butterfly Cookies decorated with royal icing. Cookie decorating doesn’t have to be time consuming and difficult. I used a simple stenciling decorating technique to create these pretty butterfly cookies in just a few minutes.

Colorful monarch butterfly cookies.


If you remember I used this exact stenciling technique to create my celebration buttercream Monarch Butterfly Cake. It’s such a fun decorating method. And I hope you’ll give it a try, too.


Colorful Butterfly cookies on blue tablecloth.


To eliminate the use of black food coloring when decorating these butterfly cookies I decided to use chocolate cookie dough. Chocolate canvas creates a great contrast with vibrant colors I used for stenciled wings. I used a simple cutter from Ann Clark to cut the cookies.

A hand holding a metal butterfly cookie cutter.


I hand cut stencils all the time. However if this is your first time let me cover few basics.

Handcut butterfly stencil.
  1. Trace the cookie cutter shape (the one you are using to make the cookies) on a piece of paper.
  2. Create design by drawing inside of the shape. It is important that the stencil design fits nicely inside of the cutter you are using.
  3. When cutting a stencil with an exacto knife always make sure your surface is protected. You don’t want to ruin your desk or antique dinning room table. I use an old cutting board underneath.
  4. Tape the template on the cutting board and then tape the stencil black on top of the template. This way nothing will be shifting while you are cutting it out with the knife.
  5. Also, make sure the blade is sharp with the tip of the blade intact. Be patient and cut the stencil in sections.
  6. Slower, precision cutting is better.
  7. Stencil blanks are not paper thin and some pressure has to be applied to cut through them.

For those of you who’d like to learn how to make stencils using a machine. Check out  How to Cut Your Own Stencil with Stencil Silhouette Studio.


To hold a stencil in place I use a Stencil Snap Holder.

When stenciling with royal icing make sure to use stiff to medium stiff royal icing. You can learn more about stiff royal icing and its applications in cookie decorating  in my post Royal Icing Consistency.

  • Secure stencil in place using Stencil Holder.
  • If you don’t have a stencil holder use magnets instead.
  • Place magnets in the corners of the stencil, and between. Secure stencil with magnets onto a baking sheet.
  • There should be no gap between a cookie and a stencil.
  • Use stiff to medium stiff royal icing.
  • Use a spatula or a sugar smoother to spread royal icing over the stencil in a thin layer.
  • Carefully lift up stencil. There maybe some residue icing on the stencil. If needed wipe the stencil with a damp towel.
Spreading royal icing over a stencil using a smaller icing smoother.

To make monarch butterfly cookies I stenciled on 2 colors : yellow and orange. First I stenciled with yellow royal icing and then I used little bit of orange. This gives the design a marbled effect.

You can play with different color variations. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different colors.

I really like how purple/pink galaxy inspired butterflies turned out. While icing is still soft you can use sprinkles or edible jewel dust to add some interest to your designs. Sprinkles and other edible dry dust will stick to wet royal icing. I used silver star sprinkles on galaxy inspired butterflies.


After I stenciled wings onto chocolate cookies I piped the body. I used a Star Piping Tip and stiff royal icing colored with a little bit of cocoa powder and brown food coloring.

HOW MUCH COCOA POWDER CAN I ADD TO ROYAL ICING? I usually add 1 tablespoon per one cup or royal icing.

Then with white royal icing, about 20 second consistency pipe white dots around the edges. Let the icing dry, for about 4 hours.


Before you can paint the butterfly body with an edible luster dust royal icing has to dry.

  • Make edible gold luster paint :
  • In a small dish mix a little bit of dry edible gold luster dust with a few drops of lemon extract (use a dropper). Using food only paint brush paint dry royal icing. Let dry for 5 minutes.
Piping body of butterfly with a star piping tip.
Butterfly cookies decorated with orange, yellow, pink and purple royal icing.


Monarch butterfly cookies on a blue background.

There are number of ways you can package cookies. I individually heat sealed my decorated butterfly cookies in clear poly bags. Then I nested them into treat boxes.

Decorated cookies packaged in a bakery window box.


PIN IT for later

Chocolate butterfly cookies stenciled with royal icing on a blue tablecloth.


I enjoy sweet collaborations and today I teamed with Amber from Sweet Ambs. Amber and I , we both made Butterfly Cookies. Amber decorated these showstopper Monarch Cookies. You can find out how to make them and all the little details on SweetAmbs Blog.

This post was originally published in 2018. In 2019 I updated this post with new step by step photos, written text and a video.

This post containsThis post contains Amazon affiliate links that earn me a small commission, at no cost to you. I only recommend products that I use and love. Learn more about my affiliate policy here.

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