I had the pleasure of throwing my little sister her first baby shower recently, and in the midst of planning and organizing and inspiration-gathering, I decided to make my own DIY cupcake stands. The idea came to me after I saw these two very creative projects on Pinterest: Wild Cat Cake Stand by A Beautiful Mess and DIY Party Animals by Pretty Providence.
I immediately knew I wanted to combine these two ideas to make a few Vintage Circus Cupcake Stands.
What You’ll Need
- 3 Hard Plastic Animals
- Acrylic Paint (your choice of colors)
- ribbon or rick rack
- 1/2 inch dowel rod
- two small wooden circles
- one large wooden circle
- one 12 inch cake circle
- two 9 inch cake circles
- scrapbook paper
- Aleene’s Tacky Spray
- Hot glue gun
- 1/2 inch drill bit
The Slaughter Drill A Hole
I shopped around for plastic animals (Michaels, Amazon, Hobby Lobby) and finally settled on a lion, a giraffe, and an elephant from Michaels. (I thought this lion was the cutest out of all the others I found–some were a little too scary for a baby shower).
Strangely enough, I felt a little mean drilling a hole into the back of these animals, despite the fact they were merely plastic. I don’t know…I found myself apologizing to each one of them before I did it.
Later, Version 1.0 came into the playroom where I was working, looked at the animals, then looked at me horrified and said, “You drilled holes in their backs!?” making me feel slightly vindicated for my own strange thoughts.
You’ll need a 1/2 inch drill bit to make the hole. Drill about halfway into the animal and stop. It’s very difficult to drill perfectly in the center of the animal’s back. I tried each time, and due to the curve of the animal, the hole always went a little to one side. No matter, it still worked.
Time To Put on That Party Dress
For the “animal party wear” I used various colors of acrylic paint and ribbon.
You’ll have to excuse my lack of “step-by-step” photos here. I had several projects going on at once (probably too many…as usual) so often I was painting one thing, then running off to make something else while it dried. Thus I did not pick up the camera as much as I should have.
Basically, I “painted on” clothing, covering the entire body of the animal except for the tail. I stopped painting mid-way on the legs of the giraffe and lion, but decided to give the elephant long pants just to vary things a little. Depending on the color I was using, it took about three coats for the clothing to look a solid color. Once the paint dried, I added ribbon along the neck and around the legs using a hot glue gun. This covered up the paint end-lines.
For the lion, I got creative, and gave him a little party tutu! Isn’t he so cute?
Build the Stands
For the stands, you will need your 1/2 inch diameter dowel rod (I bought mine at Walmart, but you can find them at Michaels or Lowes) and 3 wooden circles (I used one large and two small–all bought at Michaels).
Step 1: Use a 1/2 inch drill bit and drill a hole into the center of each wooden circle.
Step 2: Use a miter saw and cut the dowel rod into three different sizes. If you don’t have a miter saw, you can buy your dowel rod at Lowes and have them cut it for you.
Step 3: Use a hot glue gun to connect the two pieces.
Step 4: Paint. I took mine outside and spray painted them because I had paint left over from my DIY Marquee Letters, but you can also paint them with acrylic paint.
Next, you’ll want to create the plate. You will need three pieces of 12 x 12 scrapbook paper, two 9 inch cake circles, and one 12 inch cake circle. This process is very similar to my DIY Plate Chargers.
Step 1: Lay your scrapbook paper pattern side down. Be sure you are aware of the location of the barcode tab each time, because you don’t want that included in your charger.
Step 2: Spray the cake circle with Aleene’s Tacky Spray. It’s important that you spray in an alternate location of where you are actually working. I made the mistake of spraying the first cake circle directly on my craft table. You do need to spray along the circle edge so the paper will adhere completely, so it does leave a residue outline around your circle. This caused my second piece of paper to stick to the table. I had to stop and wash the glue off the table before continuing. I sprayed the rest over a separate piece of cardboard and had no more issues.
Step 3: Lay the cake circle sticky-side down over scrapbook paper. Smooth over. Then flip the cake circle and smooth again. I got smart after this photo, and started adding the glue to the cardboard side, so that when completed, the white side would be see underneath. I just thought this looked more finished than the cardboard.
Step 4: Use scissors to cut off the excess paper.
Now, it is time to put all of the pieces together. Use your hot glue gun to attach the plate to the stand. Then add your stand to the animal by filling the hole in the animal’s back with hot glue and inserting the dowel rod. Be sure your plate is level–maneuver the rod if needed.
Use your hot glue gun and add ribbon or rick-rack around each of the cake circles.
What I’d Do Differently
Now, these turned out adorable, and I was very pleased with them. However, if I were to do them over again, I would have used the elephant for the base of the larger cake circle. I initially chose the giraffe because he was the tallest, thus I thought he should be the tallest cake stand, but the elephant is actually way more sturdier than the lion or the giraffe, and since you’ll be placing more cupcakes on the middle stand, you want that one to be sturdy.
Thank you so much for stopping by. If you would like to see more projects related to this circus-themed party, head over to Oh Baby: A Vintage Circus Baby Shower. And as always, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below!