I really wanted a custom cake topper like the ones I've seen on Etsy, but I just couldn't justify the price, so I decided to DIY one.
Here's my supply list:
- Sculpey Oven Bake Clay (stays soft until you bake it)
- heavy duty aluminum foil
- a small glass or pint-size mason jar
- rolling pin
- a flower nail or other item with a sharp point for carving
- a small paring knife or Exacto
- household oven
- small craft paintbrushes
- craft paint & stain
- rag or paper towels
DIRECTIONS FOR TREE:
1. First, turn your glass/jar upside down and cover it with a double or triple layer of heavy duty aluminum foil. (You will be removing the glass/jar before baking and will need the foil to hold the shape on its own.)
2. Knead the Sculpey clay until it softens and is easy to work with. Roll out a round piece about 1/4 inch thick that is large enough to cover the top of the upside-down jar. Place that piece on top of the jar.
3. Roll out about 2/3 of the remaining clay into a strip that is as wide as the height of the jar or a little bit wider, and long enough to wrap all the way around the side of the jar. (This should be rough, not precise, in order to look the most realistic.) Wrap the clay around the jar and press into place.
4. Smooth out all the seams and make sure the base of the tree is uneven and flared out in some spots like a real tree. Use small pieces of reserved clay to create a couple of branches and/or knots.
5. Using the flower nail (or any similar object with a sharpened point), carve initials, heart, and wedding date into tree. Drag the nail in a spiral shape to create the rings in the wood on the top of the tree. Then, working around the initials/heart/date, drag the nail up and down the tree to create the lines to make it look like bark.
6. Once all the carving is done, remove the jar from the center. Pack the center loosely with aluminum foil to help the tree maintain its shape.
7. Roll out a thin piece of clay that is a little larger than the base of the tree. Cut a fingertip-sized hole in the center to allow steam to escape during baking. Place the tree on the piece and trim around the edges. This will be the base of your cake topper. Once trimmed, gently press the base of the tree to attach it to the base.
8. Preheat your oven and bake as directed on the Sculpey package. Allow to cool.
9. Apply stain with rag or paper towels and wipe off. Continue until grooves are darkened and the tree is the desired shade. Allow to dry.
DIRECTIONS FOR BIRDS:
1. For each bird, roll clay into a ball in your hand. Begin rolling it between your hands to create a slight pear shape. Roll a tiny piece of clay into a point and press it where you want the beak to be. Roll another tiny piece of clay into a point and press it where you want the tail to be. Smooth the seams of both of these pieces until they blend with the rest of the bird.
2. Preheat oven and bake as directed on the Sculpey package.
3. Once cooled, use craft paint to paint on clothing, bouquet, etc.
Tree before baking:
Tree after baking:
With first layer of stain:
After staining was finished:
Birds before baking:
The finished product: