How to use lustre dust

Updated November 21, 2016

Lustre dust is a nontoxic, tasteless, edible powder that can be used to decorate cakes, biscuits, sweets or anything else to which you would like to add a little sparkle. It comes in a myriad of shimmery colours and when applied, produces a high-sheen metallic finish. It can be used dry or wet, and can be used alone or mixed with similar matt-finish coloured powders to produce a more intense sheen.

Prepare the lustre dust. In a small bowl, tap out a little lustre dust. Add 1 to 2 drops of vodka and lemon or clear vanilla extract and mix well to create a paint. You must use an alcohol-based liquid. Lustre dust is not water-soluble and will not fuse with water. If you plan to use dry lustre dust, no preparation is required.

Paint it on. Lustre dust is ideal for adding shimmery colour to cakes, cupcakes, petit fours or biscuits made with fondant, royal icing or other frostings that dry hard to the touch. Dip a small pastry brush into a lustre dust/liquid solution and paint on colour and designs.

Incorporate lustre dust into butter cream icing. The surface of butter cream is too soft to paint, but that doesn't mean that you can't make it shimmer. Add 1 tbsp of lustre dust to your icing and mix well to evenly distribute the lustre dust. Continue to add lustre dust and mix well until you have achieved the desired effect. You can also knead lustre dust into fondant or whip it into royal icing.

Make your homemade chocolates sparkle. Using a large, fluffy brush, dust dry lustre dust over white, milk or dark chocolates. For more detailed work, use a small brush or a cotton swab to apply dry lustre dust, or use a small brush to apply the lustre dust/liquid solution. For best results, wait until your sweetes are completely dry and are at room temperature before decorating with lustre dust.

Create intricate designs with a stencil. Dust your work surface with cornflour. Using a rolling pin, roll out your fondant 3 mm to 1.2 cm (1/8 to 1/2 inches) thick (thickness is up to your discretion). Press a stencil firmly into the fondant. Paint your lustre dust/liquid solution over the stencil, being careful to fill in every cut-out. When the lustre dust has dried, peel up the stencil. Use your beautifully designed fondant to cover your cake, or cut the fondant with cdough cutters and top your homemade biscuits or petit fours.

Airbrush it. Fill the well of your airbrush with the lustre dust/liquid solution and airbrush colour or designs onto your baked goods. Depending on your skill level, use the lustre dust to paint your goodies solid colours, to make free-form designs or to create your own pictures or scenery. Or, for more guided designing, place a stencil or dough cutters on top of your confection and airbrush colour into them.


You can buy lustre dust at your local craft shop, at confectionery or baking supply shop or on the Internet. Test your airbrush colour on a white paper plate before aiming it at your baked goods. For best results, use an airbrush specifically designed for cake design. Be patient with yourself. Using these techniques takes time, experimentation and practice.


Clean your airbrush well and immediately after airbrushing lustre dust or it may become clogged.

Things You'll Need

  • Lustre dust
  • Vodka
  • Lemon or clear vanilla extract
  • New, clean paint or pastry brushes of varying sizes
  • Cornflour
  • Rolling pin
  • Stencils
  • Dough cutters
  • Airbrush
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