Borders are more than something to put on the edge of the cake to fill it out.
They enhance the lines of your cake, which also means that mistakes can be amplified, so rather than hiding your cake, a border frames your hard work, and becomes part of the design.
Borders can be simple or elaborate, and simple doesn't always mean plain.
I almost exclusively use a number 17 or 18 star tip to pipe my borders, as I have done here on my "Maison Des Fleurs" cake. This border was piped in Royal Icing, because I wanted a crisp white, and also the ridged structure of Royal Icing, to hold up the Buttercream flowers I was planning to attach.
There a lot of simple borders out there, and one you get the hang of it, you can adapt them to suit your design.
Piping buttercream, and borders in general, is all about even pressure. Its about matching the speed that you move along the cake, with the amount of pressure you apply to your piping bag.
It takes practice, a lot of it, to get really good. Elaborate styles like Lambeth and Overpiping look fantastic, but they all start with basic techniques that are built on, and perfected.
To get started, get yourself a number 18 Star Tip. Its great for a host of borders, from the simple shell borders, to ruffled garlands. I have put together a quick demonstration for you below.
All the border techniques shown in the video are made using just a number 18 Star Tip. Just like piping Buttercream flowers, one tip can create a host of different designs. If you only buy one "border" tip, make it this one.
Practice does indeed make perfect. I would recommend practising on a flat surface, such as your kitchen bench, or even a chopping board, to get the technique and pressure down, before you try it on a curved surface.
Have fun in your Buttercream adventures, and drop me a line and let me know how your projects turn out!
Viva La Buttercream xx