Please note you can find the detailed free royal icing recipe HERE.
When you make your royal icing batch, you can base what consistency you are going to do dependent upon what your projects are going to be (i.e., flood, plastic stencils, silkscreen stencils, 3d textures, icing transfers, wet on wet, etc.).
If you plan to have a mix of some of the above projects, I would suggest making it a thicker mix which would be similar to what you would make for a gingerbread house glue. Then you can store it on the counter in an air tight container, and dilute smaller amounts as needed.
To define the consistency count, you can take a knife and stir a circle in the middle of your royal icing mix, remove the knife, and count how long it takes the icing to go back to a smooth surface by itself. So for example, if it takes five seconds, then you have created a 5-second royal icing consistency.
This is a breakdown of my preferred project consistencies:
- 15 to 20-second consistency for outline/flood and icing transfers
- stiff/no-settling consistency (but spreadable with spatula) for plastic stenciling and 3d texturing
- 10-second consistency for silkscreen stenciling
- 5 to 10-second consistency for wet-on-wet detailing (please note for wet-on-wet projects I still use my desired 15 to 20-second consistency for the initial base and then apply details with a 5 to 10-second consistency); this allows things to settle quickly and keeps bubbles out of my base