Pilgrim Tutorial

14 Nov

Thanksgiving is just over a week away, and I have a few more cookies to show you so that you can get decorating! What would Thanksgiving be without Pilgrims and Indians?

I’m going to show you how to do the pilgrims. For a great Indian tutorial, go check out Sugarbelle’s blog today!

It’s hard to find cute people cookie cutters. I wanted to do some pilgrims, but couldn’t find a cutter that would work. I had an idea of how to piece together a pilgrim boy (I’ll show you that in a minute), but I had no idea how to do a pilgrim girl.

So I was baking some cookies for my Leaves and Acorns post, and I used the Wilton Leaves and Acorns cutter set. I was cutting out the cookies, and I got to the largest acorn. I thought, “Who needs an acorn this big?? Acorns are small!” But I baked one anyway because I wanted one of each size. As I was pulling the tray of cookies out of the oven, the large acorn was up-side down, and I had an Oprah “aha” moment. I thought it might just make a cute girl pilgrim.

On one of these, I cut off the “stem” of the acorn, and the other I left it on. You can decide which way you like it best when you’re doing it. Here’s how you make her.

Bake some large acorn cookies. Let ’em cool.

Unless you’re awesome at free-handing circles, find a circle template to trace around. I used the smallest circle from the Nylon Circle set, which happens to be 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Use a boo-boo stick (or some other sharp object) to trace around it on your cookie.

Brush off the crumbs, and you’ll be left with a nice outline to follow.

Trace around the outline with black frosting (I used a 1.5 PME tip)

Next, draw two lines out from your circle towards the outside edges.

Connect the two lines with a swooping arch.

Then finish the hat.

Draw in some hair:

And then draw a collar.

There’s your pilgrim girl outline. Now I’m going to show you how to do the boy, and after that, I’ll show you what to do next.

For the boy, I had a small pilgrim hat cutter that I wanted to use to piece a guy together. So I used that and the second-smallest circle from the nylon circle set (1 7/8″, but a 2″ cutter would do!). Cut one hat, and two circles, and then cut one of the circles in half.

Cut a chunk off one of the circles using the same size cutter you used to cut your circles.

Fit one of the half-circles into the first circle.

Then trim off the top of the circle with the pilgrim hat.

And fit the hat into place.

If you happen to have a large snowman cookie cutter with a top hat, you could chop him in half and it would be the same effect. I just didn’t have one large enough.

Bake him up and let him cool. Use the 1 1/2″ circle template (same one you used on the girl), to mark where is face is.

Outline the hat. It’s super easy to do because you’ll see the lines from where you pieced him together. Go ahead and fill in the hat band while you’re at it.

Then outline the head:

Add some ears:

And some hair. Notice I went outside the lines a little. I wanted his hair to be a little wider than his face. No problem. Nothing a boo boo stick won’t fix.

Scrape out the outlines from inside the hair area. Add a collar.

Now you’re ready to add some color. There is definitely no right or wrong way to fill these sections in. This is just how I did it. First I filled in their faces.

By the way, this is all Meringue Powder Buttercream that has been thinned to the point that it will smooth out at the count of about 8 seconds. Royal Icing would also work. This flesh color was Copper Americolor with the tiniest drop of Warm Brown.

Next, fill in their hair. I did these two different shades of brown, just because I happened to have it, but no need to make two different colors. They’ll look cute all matchy-matchy, too.

Next fill in the girl’s hat, and their collars.

Fill in the guy’s hat with gray (mostly Bright White, with a little drop of Super Black), and the bitty parts of their shirts black.

After it dries for a bit, go back and add some outlining to their hair to give it some texture. I just used the same color, and small tip (#1).

This next step is totally optional. I actually really hated it after I did it, and wished I hadn’t. But then it started to grow on me. So it’s up to you! If desired, add some pleat marks to the girl’s hat. Or not.

  Also add some white buttons to their shirts.  And a yellow buckle to the boy’s hat.

Then the faces. OHHHHH the faces! I really hate doing faces. This is how I did it the first time, and I really, truly hated how they looked. I think maybe it was the nose. I don’t know.  Noses are hard. So before you put a face on your pilgrims, practice a little, and also maybe check out how Sugarbelle does faces, because they’re totally cute.

On the next ones I did, I stole the Sugarbelle nose, and they were much cuter:

The way I make eyelashes is really easy (but I didn’t get a picture). Pipe on some black ovals in pretty thin frosting. Then, working quickly while the frosting is still wet,  use the tip of a sharp boo boo stick to pull the eyelashes outward (sometimes boo boo sticks can get a little dull with use. Keep one sharp for jobs like this).  It might take a few tries, but you’ll get the hang of it.

After you’re done, add a little dot of white frosting to the eye to give it some sparkle. And you’re done!

The girls:

The boys:

And here they are with their Indian friends:

Coming up, I’ll show you how I pieced my Indian together. But don’t forget that Sugarbelle has an Indian tutorial TODAY if you want to get decorating.

Happy week-before-Thanksgiving!

31 Responses to “Pilgrim Tutorial”

  1. The Partiologist November 14, 2011 at 7:07 am #

    Oh Karen, I wish I had time to make these – they are so adorable and perfect!

  2. Bea @ CancunCookies November 14, 2011 at 7:24 am #

    I love Thanksgiving… I’d love that was one of our traditions, too! Your Pilgrims and Indians are so cute, Karen! I love the eyes!

  3. Donna November 14, 2011 at 7:25 am #

    Cookie dough…….your artistic canvas! I look forward to seeing your latest….keep them coming.

  4. cat November 14, 2011 at 7:30 am #

    Very cool! How great that the huge acorn can be used for people! (I also thought it was too large – maybe OK for window ornaments!) All the tips you give are so helpful!

  5. SweetSugarBelle November 14, 2011 at 7:41 am #


    • Karen November 14, 2011 at 8:00 am #

      Ha ha! Thanks so much Callye! 🙂

  6. Carrie Kyroauc November 14, 2011 at 8:09 am #

    I have all those cutters and dough in the fridge. Thank you Karen! I SOOO know what I am going to try making today. I just love your cookies. They turned out super cute and thanks for the tutorial on how to create them. I am so excited now to try them!

  7. Georgia November 14, 2011 at 8:14 am #

    I love decorated cookies. I can look at them hours on end. I love you showing how you do each step. I think the little button nose adds to the “happiness” of their faces. These cookies are a work of art.

  8. sue November 14, 2011 at 8:39 am #

    Super cute, I really wish I could make mine look this good, I usually give up way too soon.

  9. Tricia Z November 14, 2011 at 8:44 am #

    These are sooooooooo cute!!! Thanks so much for the tutorial. I hope I have a chance to try these out! You’re the best :0)

  10. Rose Melton November 14, 2011 at 9:08 am #

    You always amaze me. I would never have thought to use the acorn in this manner.
    YOu do fantastic work. I really enjoy trying what you put out there.
    Keep up the great work.

  11. BreAna November 14, 2011 at 9:17 am #

    I love them!! Absolutely amazing!

  12. Carolyn chapparo November 14, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    These are super cute. I’m going to try them for our thanksgiving day dinner. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Cristin (Pinkie) of Cristin's Cookies November 14, 2011 at 10:21 am #

    Oh Karen I can’t even tell you how much I’m in LOVE with these Pilgrims! Soooo excited!

  14. Emily November 14, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    These are so cute! And the upside down acorn? Genius. 🙂 Love the little noses.

  15. Kenni November 14, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    These are so cute! I thought about using the acorn cutter to make people, but I didn’t think to turn it upside down.

  16. Laura Scott November 14, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    WOW these are sooooo darn adorable!!!

  17. Glòria November 14, 2011 at 2:11 pm #


  18. amalia standard November 14, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    Oh these are just darling! I’m working on some pilgrims right now…but I am just LOVING your design!!!!

  19. patricia rolon November 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    Karen amazing job I LOVE IT

  20. Diana Viera November 14, 2011 at 6:39 pm #

    Karen ~ I love all your cookies. I can’t believe the characters you come up with every time you post!

  21. Jana November 14, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

    Great post! Adorable cookies!

  22. Zulima November 15, 2011 at 1:24 am #

    Hi, Karen!

    I´m Zulima. I write you from Spain. I didn´t know your blog and I think that It´s very, very interesting for me.

    ¡Uf! My English is very bad, I prefer write you in Spanish…¡Sorry!

    Karen, soy clienta de tu tienda y no sabía que tenías un blog. Me encanta y, desde hoy, aquí tienes una fiel seguidora en el Norte de España.

    Un beso. Zulima.

  23. mmensie November 16, 2011 at 1:28 am #

    Really, Will anybody eat these cookies?. They are really cute!. Congrats Karens and thanks for showing us how to make them.

  24. kimsimon77 November 16, 2011 at 1:54 am #

    Thanks for a great post
    Christmas Cookie Recipes

  25. Shawn Olson November 16, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    Hi Karen,im just now getting a look at these.Wow your work is so nice,and the step by step approach makes all the difference for me.Thank you.

  26. Tricia Robertson November 19, 2011 at 5:42 am #

    OOOOOOOOOOH the little blonde Pilgrim Girl looks like a Dutch Girl!!!!!!!!!!! the pointier hat on the brunette looks like a traditional Dutch hat! leave off the black detail on the blonde girl and have a slightly pointier hat…….voila! I’m of Dutch descent, so this immediately caught my eye!!!!!!! BEAUTIFUL cookies!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE these! Thank you for sharing with everyone!

    • Karen November 22, 2011 at 12:10 am #

      You’re right Tricia! She would totally pass as a Dutch girl! Cute idea!!

  27. Norma April 18, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    Great cookies. Beautiful. You are so talented.

  28. Barbara Wolfe Clairain April 20, 2012 at 5:55 am #

    Love, love, love your site. Thank you so much for the AirBrush giveaway. Who wouldn’t love to have one of those…. Me, me, me… :0)

  29. sarah Alvarez November 5, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    I just want to know what do you do to make shine, they have such a beautiful shine.

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