What is the difference between rice paper and icing?

Of the many questions we are asked here at My Cupcake Toppers, the most common by far is the difference between rice paper and icing. With years of experience behind us now, we thought we'd share what we know as it's an important decision if you're looking for the best results. 


Standard Rice Paper

For a long time, standard rice paper was our most popular product. It's a basic way of adding a 'little something extra' to your cupcakes and also the most cost effective.

At 0.44mm the paper is very thin and flexible with a slight translucency - for anyone who's ever bought a themed supermarket cupcake kit these are generally the toppers they add.

As these toppers are so thin, they will absorb a large proportion of ink and are best suited to simple designs like logos, cartoons and clipart - this is case where less is definitely more. If you have a black or very dark image with small or white text, you might want to consider another option as large areas of dark colour can bleed into small areas of light.

Standard rice paper can be added to any cake topping but will absorb water from the surface causing swelling at the point of contact. This should work well if you have pressed the whole topper into the surface of the icing but placing them on piped icing will eventually curl the edges of your toppers upwards. To avoid this, you may want to add them at the last minute.

The flexibility of this paper makes the A4 sheets useful for wrapping around a large cake or for curved decorations added to the top of a cake such as printed photo strips, banners or flags.

Premium Rice Paper

Premium rice paper has long since become our best selling product and rightly so as it is the easiest, most reliable topper and as a mid-range product, won't break the bank.

This paper is 0.7mm thick, opaque off-white and a smooth sheen finish, almost like a very thin layer of card.

If you are piping a buttercream topping onto your cupcakes and want to add the toppers in advance without worrying about them afterwards - these are the toppers to choose. The toppers will stay firm for days (if your cakes last that long!) and the print quality is excellent for high resolution images.

This paper isn't really suited to regal or fondant icing as it is brittle and won't bend without breaking, so unless you are sure of a completely flat surface, stick to the standard paper or try our icing discs.


Icing is the best quality product we supply, for it's thickness (approx 1mm), flexibility and finish. It will drape over the surface of your cake like a second skin so is suited to any cakes finished with fondant or regal icing. If you're piping a topping onto cakes - stay away from icing toppers or you'll end up with bumpy images and possibly a wasted effort.

Due to their flexibilty, A4 icing sheets are also well suited to wrap-arounds and curved decorations with a slightly more impressive finish than standard rice paper.

If you're keen to have icing discs on cupcakes and want them to stay firm, you can back them with white chocolate discs.  If you do this, then they should stay either flat on top of your cupcakes, or you can stand them up vertically.  We now stock chocolate silicon stencils to fit both sizes of our icing cupcake toppers to make this easy. You can watch a quick video tutorial using our stencil here.

We have now started keeping a stock of sample packs so that you can see for yourself what the difference is between the types of toppers. If you’d like one sent out to you please get in touch by email or add a note in the special instructions box when you place your next order.

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1 comment



Please send me some sample to see the different in thickness

Thank you
Deepak Aulak
56 Weymouth Road

Thank you

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