Tools of the Trade – Piping Bags and Clips

It’s been interesting to see the discussion that this Instagram post created:

I posted this picture to show the new bag-ties I was trying out. 
My trusty clips, which I’ve used for years and years, and countless classes, have finally started  giving out at the hinge. 

These have done me well, though.

They’re easy to put onto the bags, easy to take off and, as anyone that has come to a class or two will know, are colour-coordinated with the icing consistency and size of the nozzles we use.  Unfortunately, I’m battling to source similar ones of good quality.
I’ve looked around locally, but haven’t found anything promising. So I decided to go to straight to the source of all things plastic – China!
Thankfully, I didn’t have to make the trip in person. Are you familiar with Wish? Pretty much anything that you can imagine ordering from China is there. It is a bit of a quality-lottery, and the items take about 6 weeks to arrive  (6 months if the South African postal service goes on strike!), and then you’re hit by a handling fee when they do arrive. But for the most part, I’ve been happy with my orders.

What was interesting for me, though, was the piping bag discussion that the post prompted.

What started it was the comment that the tip-less bags that many people are preferring now, can simply be tied in a knot at the top to seal them off.
I just haven’t quite got my head around using a bag once, and then discarding it. Especially for classes, where we use between 30-40 bags!

So, I thought I’d highlight some of the pro’s and con’s of the two different “disposable” bag types.

Pro’s of tipless bags:
  • disposable
  • cheaper set up – no need for icing tips or adaptors (see below)
  • quicker set-up 
  • tie-able – no need for clips
  • don’t clog up as easily as piping tips (especially useful for very thin streams of icing; tiny nozzles clog easily)

Con’s of tipless bags 
  • not always seamless – the seam creates an asymmetrical line of icing 
  • thinner plastic can pop 
  • cutting the right sized tip can be tricky (no going back if you cut off too much)! 
  • once-off use 

Using a bag with tip and adaptor:


This is the set-up that I traditionally use. Yes, it is a disposable bag, but it’s a hardy plastic so is very re-usable. Royal icing is easy to clean because it’s  grease-free. Soap and warm water does the trick.
You cut off the end of the bag, place the adaptor in (that’s the white bit), and screw the piping nozzle in place.   

Pro’s :
  • re-usable 
  • easy to refill
  • easy to squeeze out left over icing (for storage and re-use)
  • using an adaptor means you can change nozzles without having to fill another bag 
  • graded piping tips give a precise diameter of icing – no guesswork 

Con’s :
  • have to be washed
  • have to be stored
  • tips clog up
  • bags needs clips 

I’m sure that there are advantages and disadvantages that I’ve forgotten to mention – please comment with your thoughts! But I think my conclusion is that I still prefer using nozzles/ piping tips and adaptors for classes – another advantage is that bags with tips can be kept neatly upright in glasses  (if you want to see what I mean, have a look at this very old post with very ugly pictures 🙈
I also like beginner cookie decorators to get comfortable with different consistencies of icing and become familiar with different diameter piping nozzles. Going topless tipless takes confidence!

When I’m doing a quick cookie project / icing demo’s, however,  I’ve been choosing the convenience of tipless bags …. and  feeling very guilty about throwing them away once I’m done!

Now, back to bag clips!! I liked both the two new types I tried out. 
Back to Wish to order more… 

These are the cookies I made while trying out the new bag ties…
… using a set of brushes I also acquired on Wish!
Happy decorating