DIY birthday cake toppers

Growing up, I’ve had some pretty amazing birthday cakes thanks to my mom.  She has worked in the bakery/deli at the Kroger grocery store for more than 30 years and is about to retire (yay!).  She’s had a lot of practice with making intricate piping boarders and lettering using butter cream frosting, and various decorative icing tips.  In addition to making and decorating nearly every birthday cake I’ve ever had (all but the two while I was in the Peace Corps), she decorated cakes for many other special occasions; first communion, conformation, graduations, and even my wedding (not to mention all the cakes she’s done for other family members).  Now that’s a lot of experience!

I like pretty cakes too, but I haven’t yet mastered all that great frosting work.  I also haven’t yet invested in buying the tools needed for creating pretty borders or lettering either.  But this past May I decided that I wanted to make and decorate my dad’s cake for his 60th birthday by getting a little crafty.

To make this “happy 60th birthday” sign cake topper was simple but a bit time-consuming.  I used materials that I already had on hand; some colored paper scraps left over from my wedding decorations, green floral wire from my hair clip craft fair display, some markers and Elmer’s glue.

Each decoration is two pieces of paper glued together with the wire sandwiched in between.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of my dad’s cake all finished.  In addition to the sign you see above I also made the owl decoration shown below.

September 30th was my Grandma Virgie’s birthday and I decided to make her cake as well.  I knew I wanted to re-use the happy birthday sign I used for dad’s cake, so I made a bird using the same paper so that it would match.  This time I got a little more ambitious with the bird.  I found the bird design in really old craft book from the library.  This time I wanted to make it look like the bird was perched on the wire, that’s why I had to add a second wire going through the tail section for extra support.  At the end of each curled wire is a leaf.  I also decorated both sides of the bird and leaves, so that it looks nice from either direction.

Here is the finished product with grandma Virgie posing behind it.  Doesn’t she look great for 105?!  Actually that was my Aunt Mary playing a little joke.  She’s only 83 (but still looks great!).  Mom decorated the orange, yellow and brown boarders on this spice cake.  It was a nice choice for fall I think.

Then, just a week later, it was time to celebrate my mom’s birthday!  Again I made the cake (yellow), but this time I decided to steer away from the birds.  This is a little ironic because my mom likes birds more than the others; and she HATES squirrels!  It was a risky choice I know, but there was a method to my madness.  First of all it was a cute squirrel, and second, it went with the gift I gave her; a plarn acorn basket.

After the candles were blown out and the toppers removed, the squirrel found a new home stuck into the pot of Gerber daisies we gave her.

This project would also be great for cupcakes of course, since the individual pieces could be stuck into the different cupcakes.

If you have a birthday celebration coming up and need an easy DIY project, this is something that anyone could do.  And the best part is that it’s totally reusable.  Just remember the clean off the wire stems well after you pull them out of the cake.

Happy crafting and happy birthdays!

I just had to include this picture of grandma, it just really shows her silly side.

Above; the present I gave my dad was wrapped in a deconstructed paper bag with a cute bird stamp from Crafty Goodness.

This post has just been added to a link party over on the blog Carolyn’s Homework and Skip to my Lou!

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