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Recently we’ve seen lots of businesses talking about purchasing an edible ink printer for their cupcake business. This is a natural step on your business path, when we took the plunge and purchased one it was definitely worth it.

We have a background in graphic and web design so we were no strangers to printers, but an EDIBLE INK printer sounded like a different beast to tame altogether!

edible-ink-printer-for-cupcakes

Fortunately we decided not to be discouraged by the unknown and without the printer we wouldn’t have attracted lots of the corporate clients that we worked with.

One of our main aims of buying an edible ink printer was to be able to provide branded corporate cupcakes for local companies, both big and small.

We already had to turn away orders from well known household brands because we didn’t have the equipment to offer the service. Plus we needed time to test the process out and make sure that the service we were offering wasn’t half baked, it needed to be the best.

Seeing the amount of money that we missed out on we knew it was time to step it up and start offering branded cupcakes.

An edible ink printer setup was a relatively cheap service to invest in considering that it could easily be done at home and the potential extra money it could bring in would be well worth it.

Once we did start to offer this service companies such as Disney and Topshop were contacting us for special events!

Which Printer to Choose?

The printer we chose was the Canon PIXMA iP3600, this one is still available but there are some newer models available.

You can find an edible ink printer comparison chart on our website here.

cupcake-edible-ink-printer-canon

The initial setup process is exactly the same as any other printer, plug it in, insert the cartridges and away you go.

Edible Ink Cartridges

We already knew that when we did start offering the service there was going to be a massive demand for the corporate cupcakes. With this in mind we decided to invest in refillable ink cartridges and extra bottles of ink to fill them with. To be honest this wasn’t as tricky as expected and the full cartridges last a long time!

edible-ink-printer-cartidge-refill

Something that was quite annoying but manageable was the fact that when the edible decor paper was stood up in the paper feeder, it would begin to bend and rip if you didn’t send it though the printer almost immediately. This was because the paper doesn’t have enough strength to support itself.

You just make sure to keep an eye on it before it goes through the printer and hold the paper straight until the printer grabs it (this paper is expensive after all!)

Types of Edible Paper for Cakes

There are 2 types of edible paper available to buy, wafer rice paper and decor paper.

Edible wafer rice paper is very cheap and very thin, so thin that you can actually see through it. In our experience the only thing this is good for is test printing and nozzle aligning. It also has a different consistency to fondant paper.

Decor paper on the other hand is expensive, however it is worth paying the extra. Your customers will prefer this type of edible icing paper much more, it tastes just like sugar icing that you make icing decorations from. It works much better for topping cupcakes with.

The print quality is also much better than the rice paper as the fondant paper has a much denser consistency. You need to take good care of the fondant paper as it’s expensive and if it’s not taken care of properly, it can soon begin to eat into your profits.

Should You Buy an Edible Ink Printer?

edible-ink-printer-paperIf you’ve been running your cupcake company for a good few months and feel like you want to add something else to your product list, an edible printer is certainly something you should consider investing in. Don’t waste money buying your edible printed sheets from another company, print them yourself!

It’s crucial that you don’t rush the learning process of edible ink printing, you need to be able to offer the best service to your customers and give them the best experience possible. You may be getting inquiries about it already, hold fast and wait until you can give your customers something that you’re proud of. There’s money to be made, but if you do a bad job, your customers will be wanting their money back!

When you’re sure that you can offer it to your customers, make sure you let them know. If you have any corporate clients be sure to let them know too, send them an email letting them know about your new service. It will open a whole host of new opportunities for you and your business.

We’ve had great success with offering the edible ink printing service, there’s no reason you can’t too!

If you’re just starting out, check out our list of essential cupcake business equipment.

Have you started offering edible branded cupcakes or edible photo cupcakes yet? Let us know in the comments below.

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This Post Has 8 Comments
  1. Hi, I want to get an edible printer myself but was wondering where do you get the images from if a client wants say for example Fireman Sam topper for their cake? do you need a licence?

    Thanks
    Angela
    Angels Cakes

    1. Hi Angela, this is one of the tricky parts about edible ink printing. I know for a fact that you’re not allowed to unofficially use Disney images as there have been stories of Disney actually taking action against small businesses (bad times)! On the other hand we’ve done orders for Disney and it’s obviously fine to use Disney images if Disney have sent the image to you and you’re doing the order for them (or you have somehow obtained a license).

      For something like Fireman Sam I’m not too sure, there are lots of businesses using printed Fireman Sam toppers on their cupcakes, the chance of them having the right to do so is very slim. There are also people offering them for sale on ebay as if it’s fine (they probably don’t have a license either), however the likelihood of getting into trouble for using the images is very low if you don’t advertise them, plus they’ll be eaten! If you could find royalty free Fireman Sam images to use that would be fine, but I doubt they exist!

      The issue is that the image will have copyright protection on it. If you were saying that they are your images that definitely wouldn’t be allowed.

      It’s something that we tried our best to avoid, instead opting to make icing decorations to put on top of the cupcakes for this type of order. In this case it would be hoses, fireman hats, fire engines, pools of water, Fireman Sam’s face, fireman uniform etc. This approach can also make you really stand out from everyone else who is using the printed edible toppers, you can charge a lot more for these types of decorations too!

      If you were to get “caught” using artwork that you’re not authorised to use you’ll quickly find that it wasn’t worth the amount you made from the order.

      You could also look at it that you’re charging the customer for materials (ink & paper) and time but not the artwork (still not sure where you would stand though).

      Find the right customers and an edible printer will pay for itself many times over (and use lots of ink). Think portrait photos for birthdays etc. and corporate orders where they supply the artwork or logo!

      Let us know how you get on!

  2. Hi, I was wondering the printer uses 5 cartridges but the refils are only 4 colours. Are those the right refils for them please?

    1. Hi Claire, yes they are the right refills. For some reason 2 out of the 5 ink cartridges are for black ink, I’m not sure if this is the case for just this printer or whether there are other printers out there like this. We’ve never come across it before! But what ever the case, these colours will work as all printers use cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink.

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