Looking for an easy royal icing recipe that actually tastes GOOD and is simple to make?! This icing recipe comes together so easily, hardens up but has a soft bite, has fantastic flavor & great texture, and makes GORGEOUS cookies! It’s the perfect icing for sugar cookie cutouts!
And YES, anyone can absolutely achieve beautiful Christmas cookies with this sugar cookie icing recipe – you just need a steady hand and a little bit of patience!
You know how people will look at a beautiful Christmas cookie and say, “Gosh, it’s just too pretty to eat!”…? Well, I think part of the reason is because many beautiful Christmas cookies are made with royal icing that just doesn’t taste good.
It really is too pretty to eat. I feel like royal icing is kind of like the “fondant” of cookie icing – it can make for beautiful designs, but the flavor, especially compared to buttercream, is just. not. good.
My buttercream frosting that hardens is wildly popular – for that very reason: it’s deeelicious buttercream that hardens up a lot better than traditional buttercream – but some people are still in need for a cookie icing recipe that hardens completely and won’t smudge a bit.
And for that kind of icing, you really can’t have any kind of grease or fat (i.e. butter or cream) because grease and fat will prevent an icing from becoming completely solid.
But, I decided to do a ton of experimenting just to see if I could figure out a royal icing recipe that defies all of the odds and DOES actually taste…GOOD. And friend, I really, really think this is it! I can’t wait to share it with you!
Why you’ll love this recipe:
It actually TASTES GOOD.
This is the #1 reason. This is the biggest difference between this icing and traditional royal icing. I mean, there are zillions upon zillions of royal icing recipes out there. But you tell me: if you’re at a Christmas party or a baby shower or a wedding and the cookies look ABSOLUTELY perfect, doesn’t part of you think…it means they’re probably not going to taste very good? Royal icing is notorious for being hard, candy-like, and chalky. I wanted to see if I could try to make a version that didn’t automatically relegate itself to those three categories. And I have to say, I couldn’t be more thrilled to suggest that this one, as far as royal icings go, TAKES THE CAKE when it comes to flavor & texture!
It’s easy to make.
Again, a classic royal icing recipe is also notorious for being quite fussy to make & feels like hard work. I think you’ll find that to be quite different with this one. I’ve tested this recipe over and over again, and I’ve consistently come up with the same results. NOW, I know certain environments can offer different results (i.e. super humid climates vs. dry ones), but, if you follow the basic principles in this recipe, I think you’ll find it’s super simple to make and comes out beautifully!
It’s easy to use for decorating.
Not a professional cookie maker or gorgeous drawer? ME EITHER! This icing is FUN to work with, and you can make some beautiful designs! You just need a slightly steady hand, some festive sprinkles, some gel food colors, and you’re well on your way to absolutely lovely cookies! (And don’t worry, I’ll show ya how!)
This icing consistency is good for both piping and flooding.
Some royal icing recipes will suggest that you need to make a thicker icing (i.e. one version with less water) for piping consistency and a thinner icing (i.e. one version with more water) for flood consistency. I didn’t want to be that fussy with these cookies, especially since the detail isn’t outrageously intricate, so I really think you can get away with the same consistency for both piping and flooding. That’s how I decorated all of these cookies you see here, and that’s how I’ll continue to use it.
You can freeze decorated cookies!
YEP! I did a test run in the freezer with these, and they came out of the freezer just as beautifully as they went in! Check it out!
Ingredients for this easy royal icing recipe:
Every royal icing recipe includes three basic ingredients: powdered sugar, raw egg whites or meringue powder, and water.
That’s it! But, that’s exactly what the icing always tastes like: pretty basic.
And the WHOLE REASON for me experimenting with royal icing recipes was to see if I could develop one that tastes WAY better than basic.
So, after tons of testing in my kitchen, here are the ingredients that made the final cut to create an icing with great texture and flavor AND still completely hardens so you can stack/transport/package without any hesitation:
- Powdered sugar – the base of pretty much all sugar cookie frosting recipes (I just use my store brand powdered sugar). Also known as confectioners’ sugar.
- Meringue powder – meringue powder (or raw egg whites – whichever a royal icing recipe uses) is what makes royal icing…well, royal icing! The meringue powder helps give the icing some structure for decorating and holding a shape, as well as helps the icing set.
- Light corn syrup – This isn’t a traditional royal icing ingredient, but as with some of the other ingredients I include in this recipe, it makes a BIG difference. I experimented with and without it, but we definitely preferred the recipes when it was included. The corn syrup helps add a softer bite to the icing so it doesn’t have such a hard-candy-ish texture.
- Water – but not too much! I’ll talk you through that in a bit.
- Flavor extracts! These are the secret sauce to a DELICIOUS royal icing! (SERIOUSLY: Don’t skip these if you want flavorful icing!)
- Vanilla extract – I always use Mexican vanilla when I bake, but any good vanilla extract will do. (Some may prefer to use clear vanilla extract, but I’ve found that with whipping this icing in your mixer, the icing turns out a nice crisp white anyway, so I really don’t think the clear vanilla is necessary.)
- Almond extract – this adds a great pop of flavor. You can do without it if you don’t care for it, but I definitely think it’s worth the add!
- Butter extract – you know how you prefer the flavor of buttercream frosting because it tastes SO MUCH BETTER than royal icing? Well, butter extract is actually going to help dress up this royal icing and make it taste WAY better than normal royal icing and almost as good as the real deal of dreamy buttercream! A little goes a long way, though, so make sure you read my recipe notes.
- Pinch of salt – I can’t believe this isn’t in more royal icing recipes. It helps so much with flavor. Don’t skip it!
You know how royal icing can often have a chalky, bland flavor? I think the extracts in this recipe (especially the butter extract) plus the salt really help elevate this icing into something that you’ll actually enjoy eating. This icing isn’t just for looks. 😉
Equipment you’ll need:
- Electric mixer with the whisk attachment – you’ll need this for beating the icing and getting a lot of air into it. Using an electric mixer is crucial to creating the right consistency and structure of the icing. You can use a hand mixer if you need to, but I always prefer using my stand mixer.
- Small bowls – for mixing different colors.
- Gel food colors – I get Wilton gel colors (in the small bottles – 4 to a box) from my local grocery store. I usually have a box of the 4 standard colors (red, green, blue, and yellow), as well as a box with some “off” colors (turquoise, pink, purple, and orange). You probably don’t need both – just the standard box will be fine; you can do several variations of colors just using those 4! I just like having a wide variety of colors, so I keep both on hand.
- Piping bags or sandwich bags – I use sandwich bags at least half the time I decorate cookies. They often work just fine for me! However, if you’re wanting to put a lot of icing in one bag (i.e. especially if you’re not doing detail work and you’re only going to make a few colors), I’d recommend piping bags. They’re sturdier and hold up a lot better with gobs of icing. You can get them at Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Walmart, and often times on the baking aisle of the grocery store. I’ve always just used the standard Wilton ones, but my cousin, who is a fantastic cookie decorator, recently recommended these to me, and I LOVE them. The texture and consistency of them makes decorating even easier. I probably won’t go back to other piping bags now!
- Piping tips & couplers – completely optional. I didn’t bother with piping tips when I decorated any of these cookies you see in the photos. However, some people might prefer to use piping tips to ensure a consistent flow. If so, I’d suggest sticking with basic Wilton tips #2-5 (2 being the thinnest flow, 5 being thicker). If you don’t have multiple of each tip, you can use couplers that enable you to move your one tip from icing bag to icing bag.
- Sprinkles! I used a few different kinds of sprinkles on the cookies you see in these photos – the variety is so fun!
How to make this easy royal icing:
The full recipe is at the bottom of the post, but I’ll walk you through the basic steps here. Because you are wanting to achieve a certain structure for the icing to work properly (i.e. for easy decorating and for drying/hardening properly), I’m hopeful you’ll find all of these details super helpful so you can get the perfect icing the first time you make it! Ready to get started?!
First, add ALL of the ingredients to your electric mixer bowl, but START SMALL with the water.
I think it’s a lot easier to thin out the icing than it is to thicken it up, and a little water goes a long way.
Here are some tips for measuring & adding the ingredients:
- When measuring the powdered sugar: I scoop a 1 c measuring cup into a canister of powdered sugar, and then I level it off with a knife. But, here’s what I’ve found – if the icing is pretty packed in there (vs. a little looser), you’ll likely need to add a little bit more water once you’ve mixed everything together. I’ll tell you about that in just a minute! If it’s not super packed in there, then definitely don’t start out with more than 5 T of water like I suggest below.
- You’ll then add the powdered sugar, meringue powder, corn syrup, pinch of salt (a little less than 1/8 of a tsp), and the vanilla & almond extracts into your large mixing bowl.
- Then, here’s where you need to be particularly careful: with the water & with the butter extract. A little goes a long way of each. For the water: start out with 5 tablespoons. You can always add more later – trust me! For the butter extract: I’ve found that 16 drops is the perfect amount for flavor. Too much, and the icing is going to taste fake, so you’ll want to be careful with what you add. I’ve made this recipe many times, and 16 drops has always been perfect, but you can start with fewer and add more later, depending on your own taste.
Then, whisk everything together, but start slow.
Using the whisk attachment, turn the mixer on low just until all of the ingredients are incorporated – about 20 seconds or so. Turn off the mixer, scrape the sides of the bowl, and then turn the mixer onto medium speed and allow to mix for 4 minutes. (I consider medium speed to be at the “4” mark on my KitchenAid stand mixer.)
Turn off the mixer and check the consistency of your icing. Because of the corn syrup, this royal icing isn’t going to form the same large, stiff peaks that you’d get when making other royal icing – that’s totally fine! This will work & taste great!! The icing consistency should feel kind of like runnier marshmallow cream.
When you lift the mixer and the icing drizzles down into the bowl, that drizzle should blend back into the icing within about 8-10 seconds.
Pro Tip: Sometimes it’s hard to determine the correct consistency of royal icing, especially since there are often other environmental variables (i.e. especially humidity vs. dry climate) that can affect how much water you need (or don’t need). The consistency of this recipe should be perfect for both piping AND flooding (i.e. not too runny, and yet not too thick) – if you have it there, you should be good to go!
However, you don’t have to play a big guessing game! You can easily test it before you start coloring the icing.
To do a quick consistency test: put a small amount of icing – maybe about a tablespoon – into a sandwich baggie, cut the tip at one end, and practice on a cookie. Can you outline the cookie without it running over the edges? If so, can you also nicely fill in the rest of the cookie where the icing has a smooth finish?
If it runs over the edges, you need to thicken up your batch of icing with a little bit of powdered sugar. (Start with just a tablespoon at a time, mixing between additions & checking the consistency.)
If it doesn’t cover the cookie well (i.e. if it goes onto the cookie way too thick), then you need to thin it out a little, starting with just a tiny bit of water. (Start with 1/2 tsp at a time, mixing well between additions.)
How to decorate with royal icing:
Color the frosting with gel food coloring.
Make sure to reserve some white icing (if you want to also use white to decorate your cookies), and then add some icing into separate small bowls for coloring.
(I’d really recommend gel colors vs. liquid food coloring. Gel will give your colors a much richer appearance, and it won’t mess with the texture of the icing.)
Add drops of food coloring to each bowl – starting with just a drop or two and adding more as you go. Stir between adding more drops. (A little bit of color goes a long way, so if you want lighter colors, just start with a tiny drop.)
You may have some air bubbles in the icing after mixing it, but most, if not all of them, should work themselves out after you put them in the piping bags/sandwich bags for decorating.
TIP: this icing starts to set pretty quickly, so if you’re making several colors (and therefore taking several minutes to make all of your colors), you’ll want to put a piece of plastic wrap over each bowl so that the icing doesn’t develop too much of a film on top before you get around to adding it to a piping bag, sandwich bag, or squeeze bottle.
Use piping bags or sandwich bags.
I actually used sandwich bags (yep, just regular ‘ole Ziplock baggies!) to decorate all of these cookies in the photos, so you really don’t have to get fancy with your decorating pieces. I simply trimmed the tips of the baggies after adding some colored icing to them, and then piped the icing onto the cookies – I didn’t even bother using any metal piping tips. I literally just piped straight out of the baggie.
That being said, you can definitely use piping bags if you prefer, and you could also use squeeze bottles. I’d only use squeeze bottles if you plan to make just a few colors, simply because I don’t think squeeze bottles would be worth your time or effort if you were going to have a large assortment of colors. I also think you’ll have a little more control over the flow of the icing if you use a bag (either a piping bag or sandwich bag).
Pro tip: For intricate designs (i.e. designs with lots of skinnier lines, lots of colors on one cookie, lots of details), you’ll want to pay close attention to the size of the hole you cut out of the piping bag/sandwich bag. You can always make the hole bigger, so start small!
Pipe the edges & then fill in with more icing
Outline the edges of your cookie…
Then fill it in with more icing…
And then use the tip of your icing bag to fill in the gaps. You can squeeze out more icing to fill in the gaps, too – I like to do both. I try not to make the icing layer TOO thick, just so they will actually dry overnight.
Then add sprinkles after you ice it. Even though it does take a while for the icing to fully dry, it starts to set quickly, so I like to add sprinkles after icing each cookie, just to ensure they stick.
Different Ways to Decorate with Royal Icing
Pipe & Fill vs. Drizzle Decorating
The two basic ways you can decorate your cookies are to pipe & fill (i.e. outline the edges + fill in with icing) or just do a quick drizzle. Then, add fun sprinkles!
Here’s a simple pipe & fill look:
And here’s a drizzle look:
Both are lovely! The benefit of doing the drizzled look is that your icing will dry quite a bit faster, but the benefit of the filled-in look is that you get a higher icing to cookie ratio, which makes for a more decadent bite. Your choice!
If you want some of your icing to have sprinkles & leave some of the icing without, then ice the part you want with sprinkles first, add the sprinkles…
And then pipe with the other color(s).
You can get a little fancy without getting too technical here. Let me show you how to easily get that multicolored look on the bottom tree…
Outline & drizzle with the first color, while leaving some gaps for the other color…
Then immediately fill in with the second color, using your piping bag tip to blend the two together a bit.
Add sprinkles if you want!
Decorate with layers
If you want to layer some of your icing (where you have detailed icing on top of the main icing layer) like these…
Then you’ll want to pipe/flood the bottom layer first & let it sit for at least 30 minutes to give the surface of the icing some time to set…
And then you can start to add your detail.
The bottom layer of icing will still be very wet, so try not to allow your piping bag to touch it, but the icing on top shouldn’t mess with it.
If your flooded bottom layer is particularly thick, you might want to give it more time to set before you do this, but I usually find that waiting about 30 minutes is fine. (You can also give it a lot more time than just 30 minutes if you need to leave & come back to it later, I just wouldn’t try to pipe detail on top before allowing the bottom layer to set for at least 30 min.)
Allow cookies to dry overnight before stacking
Unless you decorate your cookies first thing in the morning, I would allow them to sit out overnight before you try to stack/package/store them. Unless you JUST do a drizzle on all of your cookies (vs. a pipe + flood), it’s best to let them sit out for about 12 hours to fully harden.
Give them a little tap on top the next morning just to ensure they’ve fully hardened. If they’re not 100% set, they should be pretty darn close!
Then, you can stack them with no problems!
Questions about this easy royal icing recipe:
What types of cookies would this recipe be good for?
Cut-out sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, and gingerbread houses. Perfect for all of those! (For any other cookies and cakes, I’d use variations of buttercream or cream cheese icing!)
Where can I find the butter extract?
You should be able to find it at any average grocery stores. I found mine at our local grocery store next to all of the other extracts. It was about $3 for the bottle, and I’ve used the same bottle dozens of times when I’ve tested this recipe and my sugar cookie icing that hardens recipe.
Where can I find meringue powder?
You should also be able to find this on the baking aisle of your grocery store! You can also get some on Amazon. I think I got mine at our local grocery store for about $6 – it was located near the food coloring & store-bought icing containers. (And FYI, a container of meringue powder will be enough to make several batches of this icing!)
What is the drying process for these cookies?
Depending on the time of day you make them, you’ll likely want to allow them to dry overnight on a baking sheet (in a single layer – not stacked). And, make sure they’re on completely flat surfaces (i.e. you don’t want them to be on a thin, buckled baking sheet or anything that has a tilt to it) so that the icing dries level.
If you ice them first thing in the morning, there’s a good chance your cookies will be completely dry and stackable by the evening. If you’re piping and flooding the cookies (i.e. icing covering the entire cookie in a solid layer) vs. doing a “scribbled” look with the icing, you’ll want to allow for several hours of dry time.
Will the cookies dry out if I leave them out overnight?
Nope! They’ll be just fine. I always leave mine to dry – uncovered – overnight. Then in the morning, I transfer them to an airtight container. Before you store them, though, be sure to give some of the iced cookies a little tap to ensure your icing has completely set.
How long do these cookies last?
They’re best to eat within the first 3 days, but as long as they’re stored in an airtight container, they should be tasty for about 5 days. The cookies will start to lose some moisture after that. If you need them to last longer than 5 days, I’d consider freezing them soon after making them. (However, if you individually package them, they should last longer.)
Can you freeze decorated cookies?
YES! I did a test run in my freezer, and mine came out beautifully. First, make sure the iced cookies are completely dry. Then, begin placing cookies in a single layer on the bottom of a large airtight container. Place a sheet of wax paper on top, add another layer of cookies, and repeat until you run out of room. To thaw, remove container from freezer and set on counter to come up to room temperature – you’ll want to make sure to take them out of the freezer at least a few hours ahead of time so they can thaw naturally and gradually. From everything I’ve read, you should be able to freeze them for up to 3 months. I haven’t yet tried it for that long, but it seems like that’s the standard limit.
What should I do with leftover royal icing?
You can store un-colored royal icing in an airtight container for up to a couple of weeks. No need to refrigerate. You can store the royal icing with food coloring in the piping bags (secure the ends with rubber bands), but the colors will likely start to separate within a few days.
Related recipes you might like:
- Soft & chewy sugar cookie recipe – for soft, round, super chewy sugar cookies! (These are our FAVE.) This isn’t the best recipe to use for cut-outs because they’ll puff up too much, but if you’re content with just a classic round sugar cookie, this recipe is out of this WORLD.
No-Chill Pumpkin Spice Cut-Out Cookies – for a fun, seasonal alternative to regular sugar cookies. These are SUPER soft, very flavorful, and soooo tasty!
- Easy sugar cookie icing that hardens – this recipe tastes very similar and comes together a little more easily if that’s what you’re needing. It doesn’t contain meringue powder, so you don’t need to mix it in the mixer; it comes together by hand. It won’t have the same structure as royal icing, but it’ll work well if you want a royal icing alternative that doesn’t contain meringue powder or raw eggs.
- Buttercream frosting that hardens – as yummy as this recipe is, some of us will always love buttercream above any other icing recipe! If you don’t need your icing to harden 100%, you might want to try my buttercream recipe. It still hardens up quite a bit and the flavor + texture are just unbeatable.
Have fun making these beautifully iced sugar cookies!
- 4 c powdered sugar*
- 3 tbsp meringue powder
- 3 tbsp corn syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ½ tsp almond extract**
- 16 drops of butter extract*** (approximately a little less than 1/4 tsp)
- 5 T water (see instructions)
- Pinch of salt (about ⅛ tsp)
- Gel food coloring
- Add the powdered sugar, meringue powder, corn syrup, pinch of salt, vanilla, almond, and butter extracts (make sure to see my note on this!), and 5 tbsp of water in your mixing bowl.
- Turn your stand mixer on low just until all of the ingredients are incorporated - about 20 seconds.
- Turn off the mixer, scrape the sides of the bowl, and then turn the mixer onto medium speed and allow to mix for 4 minutes. (I consider medium speed to be at the “4” mark on my KitchenAid stand mixer.)
- Turn off the mixer and check the consistency of your icing. Because of the corn syrup, this royal icing isn’t going to form the same large, stiff peaks that you’d get when making other royal icing – that’s totally fine! This will work & taste great!! The icing consistency should feel kind of like runnier marshmallow cream. When you lift the mixer attachment and icing starts to drizzle back into the bowl, it should take about 8-10 seconds for that ribbon of icing to completely melt back into the bowl. This is where you might need to add a little bit more water - read the note on consistency below!
Test the icing consistency: The icing should be thin enough to flow out of a piping bag, but not so thin that it'll run off the cookies. Testing is easy! Just take about a tablespoon of the icing, spoon it in a piping bag or Ziplock-type sandwich bag, cut a small tip out of the bag, and practice on a cookie. You should be able to outline the cookie without the icing running off, and you should be able to fill it in pretty easily. If the icing is too runny, you can add a little bit of powdered sugar - about a tablespoon at a time, mixing between additions - and repeat until it's thick enough. If it's too thick, you can add a little bit of water - about 1/2 tsp at a time, mixing between additions. (If you need to add additional powdered sugar or water, you just need to mix until everything is incorporated - just a few spins around the mixer. Then repeat that process if you need to add a little bit more of one or the other.)
Note: The icing in the mixing bowl will likely have air bubbles in it. I don't worry about it - the air bubbles usually go away when you add the icing to the piping bags and frost the cookies. You can always use the tip of your piping bag/icing bag tip to pop any small air bubbles that come up as you're decorating.
To color: use gel food coloring (I use Wilton brand), starting with just a small amount, in separate bowls & mixing with the desired amount of white icing. The icing starts to set pretty quickly, so you'll want to cover the main bowl with plastic wrap while you add color + smaller amounts of icing in the other bowls. Transfer to a piping bag soon after you mix in order to prevent the icing from getting too hard in the bowls (or just make sure to cover with plastic wrap).
To decorate: Add icing to piping bags or Ziplock sandwich bags, cut the tip out (start out with cutting a smaller tip - you can easily make it larger if you need to), and then use it to pipe an outline around your cookie, and then fill in the inside. You can use the tip to spread the icing around a little bit as you gently squeeze out more icing to fill in the shape. Or, simply drizzle some icing on the cookie for a "scribbled" look. You'll want to add sprinkles right after you ice each cookie, just because the icing does start to set on top pretty quickly.
To dry: Allow cookies to set out overnight - just let them sit on a baking sheet on your counter. (Yes, they'll still taste great the next day!) Unless the icing is very thick, cookies should be dry enough to stack by the morning. If you plan to ship them or transport them in such a way that they'll shift around quite a bit, you may want to give them a few extra hours on top of that to set.
To freeze: Make sure icing is completely dry, and then place cookies in airtight container with wax paper between layers. Remove container from the freezer and allow to sit on the counter to thaw & come up to room temperature.
*To measure powdered sugar - scoop with the measuring cup and then level off with a knife.
**Almond extract gives this SUCH great flavor, but if you don't care for the flavor of it, or if you're making this recipe and someone is allergic to nuts, you can eliminate this ingredient and the icing will be fine. It'll lose some flavor, but it'll still taste good. I'd consider adding a little extra vanilla in its place.
***Butter extract might be an unfamiliar ingredient but it is super easy to find (it's next to the other extracts on the baking aisle), inexpensive (it was only about $3 at my grocery store), and makes a HUGE difference on flavor in icing where you can't use butter. Icing that uses butter tastes *so good,* but that icing will never fully harden because of the fat content in butter. When you make icing without butter, you lose a lot of the flavor and "oomph" that butter gives. This extract is a great compromise! But, you don't need much - I've found that 8 drops for a half batch and 16 drops for a full batch is all you need. *Just enough* makes the icing taste wonderfully buttery, but too much and it tastes a bit...fake. So, start small and you can always add more! If your butter extract doesn't come with a drip nozzle and you need to actually measure it, 16 drops is the equivalent of just under 1/4 tsp. Again, start small & you can always add more later! (And, no, the butter extract doesn't taste like butter at all on its own. 😆 It does add a pop of that flavor when mixed with other ingredients, though!)
A note about the corn syrup: I always use my store brand of light corn syrup, but I bought Karo to try it out and see if that worked the same way. I discovered that my store brand was definitely thicker than the Karo corn syrup, so depending on the brand of corn syrup you use, you may need to slightly adjust the recipe to thin out/thicken the icing with a little more powdered sugar/water. Because Karo is a common brand, I tailored this recipe to that kind of corn syrup.
For tips on how to decorate: see the post for some best practice strategies. You'll get details + pictures to help guide you as you make your beautiful decorated cookies!
Cookie freshness: Iced sugar cookies are best to eat within the first 3 days, but as long as they’re stored in an airtight container, they should be tasty for about 5 days. The cookies will start to lose some moisture after that. If you need them to last longer than 5 days, I’d consider freezing them soon after making them.
Leftover royal icing: You can store un-colored royal icing in an airtight container for up to a couple of weeks. No need to refrigerate. (Test the consistency before you use it, though - you may want to give it a spin in your mixer with a few drops of water to thin it out just a little bit.) You can store the royal icing with food coloring in the piping bags (secure the ends with rubber bands), but the colors will likely start to separate within a few days, so you'll want to try to use it before then.
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