Halloween cake with haunted houses, ghosts, bats and trees in purple, black and yellow.

Halloween Pointillism Cake

Pointillism Cake Decorating is so popular right now but how do you create a complete design with a bunch of dots? Watch my full video showing step by step how to create a design on a cake by piping small dots.

Haunted House Pointillism Cake

What is pointillism?

poin·til·lism/ˈpwän(t)əlizm,ˈpoin(t)lˌizəm/ noun

  • a technique of neo-impressionist painting using tiny dots of various pure colors, which become blended in the viewer’s eye. It was developed by Georges Seurat with the aim of producing a greater degree of luminosity and brilliance of color.

This technique has become so popular in cake decorating that I decided to give it a try! My hand is still cramped but this cake is so cute that it was worth the effort!

What you need to decorate a cake with Pointillism

There are a few things that you should be aware of and some tools to gather before you get started with pointillism.

Planning is key with this design technique.

Knowing the layout and what you want the final design to look like is an important first step. This will help you decide how detailed your design will be, what colors you will need to mix, and what part of the design your will start piping first.

Now, this does not mean that you can’t change your design halfway through the process if you decide that something is not working out! You can always scrape off any element it you don’t like it!

First, collect your tools. You’ll need:

  • Gel food color in your choice of colors, plus black and white for tinting
  • LOTS of piping bags – I use 15-inch bags from Svebake on Amazon because they are easier to handle
  • Piping tips in various sizes, mostly small round tips unless special tips are required for your design. I used numerous tips that are the same size. I also use couplers in each bag to make it simple to switch the tips as needed.
  • Cookie Cutters as guides for your design (my cutters are available in my Etsy shop and are coming soon to my shop on globalbakes.com!)
  • A cake that has been crumb coated and chilled
  • A rotating Cake Turntable (mine is plastic and nothing fancy but works perfectly!)
  • Buttercream (your choice of type but I used American Buttercream) died with the gel colors in your chosen color palette
  • Scribe tool and various other fondant tools are helpful but not required. A toothpick and small spoon or offset spatula will work too.

Begin your design

You’ll start out by decided what element should go where.

This part of the decorating process is fluid. You can place elements and remove them as often as needed to get a good balance.

If you stamp or draw on an element and later find that it will not work, simply ‘erase’ it by smoothing the crumb coat and starting again.

To map out my design, I started with a 6 inch, 3 layer cake that had been crumb coated and chilled for several hours.

With the cake on the turntable, use the cookie cutters to stamp out the main elements in the design. I used two different haunted house cookie cutters, a bat cutter and a ghost cutter.

Make sure to spin the cake to take a look at the whole cake to make sure that you like the placement of each of the elements.

Next, sketch in any details with a scribe tool that are not a part of the cutters. I added doors and windows on the haunted houses as well as some trees. Each of the houses could be done very differently but I kept the door and window placement and shapes the same.

Once you are happy with the placement, you can move on to piping.

Choosing a color palette

It is important to color your buttercream before you get started. Place the colored buttercream in piping bags and lay them out so that you can see the whole range of colors.

I like to let my colored icing sit for 30 minutes or so while the color develops. Gel colors tend to darken after mixing so you won’t know the final color right away.

Pointillism is essentially a collection of dots that come together to make a complete design.

You can choose to use several shades of the same color to add shading and depth to your design or you can go simple as I did in this Halloween Cake. Each element is basically one color which saves time but lacks depth.

This is a good place to start with pointillism! Once you are comfortable with the technique, you can begin using multiple shades of the same color to create depth and shadows.

Piping the design

The part of the design that you begin piping will depend greatly on your overall design.

When you pipe the designs, you can choose to use very small piping tips, which require more dots to cover the surface, or you can use a larger tip, which will require fewer dots but gives less detail. I used a Wilton #5 for most of this Halloween Pointillism Cake.

You’ll notice that there are a few areas where I have NOT used dots for the design. The doors, windows, and trees are all piped on and smoothed out to be flat icing instead of dots.

This adds a contrasting texture that is so welcome amid all of those dots!

Those areas appear to be recessed when smoothed to a thin layer. They can also be applied thicker but smoothed to give a break to your eyes as you take in the design.

Just a few elements in this contrasting texture elevate the entire design!

An idea for this trick could be to add some small bats that are thinly iced. These would appear to be in the distance and would increase the overall depth of the images.

Begin by piping the smaller elements. First, outline the element and then fill it in with the desired color or colors. Add the details such as the eyes and mouths of the ghosts and bats.

Move on to larger elements, always starting with the outline, then filling it in and then adding the finer details, if needed.

Once all of the elements have been piped, begin laying down the dots for the background. This can be all one single color or a series of colors, if you prefer.

I chose to do a gradient of three shades of purple. If you wanted to blend these colors more seamlessly together, I would recommend five colors and a slower transition from one to the other.

The Cake Flavors

Since we are just beginning the Fall season, I wanted to do a Fall or Halloween design. But I had leftover Fresh Strawberry Filling from a cake that I made last week.

I decided that strawberries are red and so is blood so this would be the perfect filling for a Halloween Cake.

The recipe that I used is my BEST Yellow Cake Recipe , along with whipped American Buttercream, and my fresh strawberry filling.

I went with a 6-inch cake to keep the design small and manageable.

My next pointillism cake may be bigger….or maybe not! I am definitely planning to use this technique again but I will plan on taking more breaks!

I will tell you, your hand will ache and probably cramp. Your neck and back will hurt.

I had to get into even more unusual positions while filming this cake to ensure that my hand didn’t block the camera.

I highly recommend that you find a comfortable place to pipe so that you are not bending and contorting too much!

And TAKE BREAKS! Especially if you choose smaller dots! Pointillism is not a fast technique.

The video below is shown at 6 to 8 times the actual speed and I cut out numerous portions to speed up the video! It takes a long time to cover even a small cake!

Enjoy the video and leave questions and comments below!

What kind of design would you like to see on my next pointillism cake??

If you enjoyed this post, pin it or share it!

A Halloween Cake made with the pointillism technique. Decorated with haunted houses, bats and ghosts in white, black, yellow and purple.


  1. Sherree Christman

    Wow, do slap anyone that wants to cut into this masterpiece?

  2. that is just unbelievably cool!!!!! spooky wonderful!

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