How to Make Rice Paper Sails for Cake Decorating

5 from 6 votes

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These easy rice paper sails are simple, minimalist and impressive cake toppers for decorating layer cakes with just 2 ingredients!

Wouldn’t you agree this pineapple layer cake is so much more elegant with these pretty sails?

Ever wondered how those abstract cake toppers were made? I certainly did!

When I learned that they were made with isomalt, I quickly dismissed the idea. I don’t know what that is and where to get it.

Later on I ran into these rice paper sails on the web somewhere. And I was intrigued!

What is rice paper sail?

Rice paper sails are cake toppers made with rice papers (aka spring roll wrappers) soaked in water, then molded into various shapes and dried.

Super cool, easy and inexpensive way to decorate any layer cake!

7 rice paper sails of rainbow colors on the counter

What do you need to make these cake toppers?

You don’t need many things for this project, but you can definitely use additional things to embellish them more, if desired!

  • Rice papers – They are also known as spring roll wrappers. Rice papers are translucent, hard, round sheets that are made with rice. If you’ve ever had spring rolls with veggies and shrimp in an Asian restaurant, then you’ve had rice paper. They’re available pretty much at any grocery stores (yes, even at Walmart!)
  • Food coloring – While it’s optional, if you want to create colored cake toppers, you’ll need food coloring. Either powdered, gel and liquid food coloring would work.

Then, you can also use edible glitters, pearl dusts and/or markers for further decorating!

Tall white layer cake decorated with orange rice paper sails and macarons on a cake stand.
Pineapple Layer Cake

How to make these rice paper cake decors:

  1. If desired, cut rice paper sheet into oval, or whatever shape you want.
  2. Add warm water into a large plate and add a few drops of food coloring. gently dissolve the food coloring. Or you can leave the drops of color for different effects.
  3. Working with one rice paper sheet at a time, soak it in the water for a minute or so, or until they’re soft.
  4. Carefully transfer the softened rice paper sheet onto a silicone mat, or parchment paper. Mold it into whatever shape you want. You may want to use paper clips, or claps to give the mat or parchment paper shape. Or you can place something underneath to give dimension.
  5. Now, let them dry on the counter for 8-10 hours, or overnight. Once dry, they’re super easy to detach from the mat.
  6. To secure onto a cake, use some frosting as a glue.

Optional Decoration

Once you have beautiful sails, you can paint on some edible glitter or pearl dust. 2 options:

  1. Mix the glitter with equal amount of vodka to create a paint. And brush it over the edges and over the grooves. Gold or silver glitter works perfectly for this.
  2. Brush dry glitter or pearl dust all over for a beautiful subtle shimmer.
Blue rice paper sail is being painted on some glitter
Watch How to Make This Below!
5 from 6 votes

Rice Paper Sail Cake Toppers

Make these easy rice paper sail cake toppers to instantly elevate your cake decoration! Simple, minimalist and impressive cake toppers with just 2 ingredients.
Prep: 5 minutes
drying time: 10 hours
Total: 10 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 1 serving

Ingredients

Instructions 

  • If desired, cut rice paper sheet into an almond shape, or whatever shape you want.
  • Add warm water into a large plate and add a few drops of food coloring. Disperse the food coloring for even solid colored sails, or you can leave the drops of color, or gently spread the color without fully dissolving for ombre effects.
  • Working with one rice paper sheet at a time, soak it in the water for a minute or so, or until they're soft.
  • Carefully transfer the softened rice paper sheet onto a silicone mat, or parchment paper. Mold it into whatever shape you want. You may want to use paper clips, or clamps to give the mat some shape and dimension. Or you can place something underneath to give dimension.
  • Now, let them dry on the counter for 8-10 hours, or overnight. Once dry, they’re super easy to detach from the mat.
  • To secure onto a cake, use frosting as a glue.

Nutrition

Calories: 221kcal, Carbohydrates: 44g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 7mg, Sodium: 435mg, Potassium: 62mg, Fiber: 1g, Vitamin A: 11IU, Calcium: 36mg, Iron: 3mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

Hi, I’m Shinee!

Welcome! I’m so happy you’re here! I believe anyone can cook restaurant-quality food at home! And my goal is to help you to become a confident cook with my easy-to-follow recipes with lots of tips and step-by-step photos.

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19 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Can’t wait to try this. I was looking for how these were made when I came upon this wonderful simple easy explained process. Beautiful…
    Thank you

  2. I am going to try this cake with my limited skills. I want to know how far ahead you can bake and ice pineapple cake, and how far ahead can you do the sails?

    1. Hi, Brenda! In Pineapple Layer Cake recipe notes section, I’ve put a detailed instruction on how you can make-ahead each component of the cake. You can assemble and frost the cake 1 day in advance and refrigerate it. Or you can freeze the assemble cake for up to 1 month, making sure it’s wrapped well to prevent freezer burn. The sails can also be done well in advance. If stored properly, away from heat and humidity, the sails store remarkably well. I’d just recommend placing the sails on the final cake the day of serving. And don’t use wet/soft frosting, like cream cheese frosting, to secure the sails to the cake. Buttercream or chocolate ganache are the best as it won’t soften the sails too quickly. Hope this helps, and happy baking! And I’d love to know how it turns out for you!