easy cupcake stand (aka 200 cupcakes, part 3)

by Patricia on March 23, 2011 · 15 comments

So far we have baked and frosted 200 cupcakes while keeping our cool, stored them overnight and got them to the venue, and now we are going to show them off.

Cupcakes can entice nearly anyone into their presence like the Sirens luring sailors to their doom. Without any special displays or fancy decorations.

So we could leave well enough alone.

We could just line them up on a table and say “have at them”. And probably no one would say a bad word about it. Especially not once they’ve tasted the ridiculous red velvet cupcakes.

Heck, I bet you could launch cupcakes across the room for people to catch like Tshirts at a hockey game (or basketball or… you get the idea) and people would scramble and elbow each other out of the way just to catch an ultimate cupcake.

But that’s not how I roll.

I had a vision. And my vision included cupcake stands. 4 of them. At least.

They would be distributed around 2 or 3 dessert tables. And across the room, there would be a table set up with a cookie buffet stocked with homemade cookies for guests to take home as favors.

And then there was the photo booth. You know, the old school kind you still find sometimes at the mall.

Yeah, with all sorts of accessories and props for people to play with in their photos (Not those kind of props. You know, tiaras, funny glasses, boas… that kind of thing. Sheesh).

So yeah, I tend to dream big. It is only recently (in my thirties?) that I’ve learned that maybe – just maybe – doing it all is sometimes too much. And maybe going overboard isn’t called for. Maybe sometimes.

Anyway, back to reality. I did some research and found a couple of cupcake stands ranging in price from $30-$50. Multiplied by 4?! Ouch. That didn’t really fit my budget.

Not to mention, what the heck am I going to do with 2-4 cupcake stands after the party? Where would I store them? When would I use them again?

I won’t lie. I was disappointed and almost ready to to hit the “Checkout” button anyway, budget be damned. I mean, they were already in my shopping cart anyway.

But I took a deep breath and stepped away from the laptop.

A few days later I was in Borders (by the way, did you know they are closing a bunch of stores? The ones that are closing are having crazy sales… just fyi, in case you are needing any book-type stuff).

I browsed the crafty section and then the wedding section. And one book in particular jumped out at me: The DIY Bride. I flipped through the pages and there it was: my cupcake stand.

So I took the book home with me (I have a weakness for books and consider it a good day when I make it out of a bookstore with fewer than four books… which is also why I don’t go to bookstores very often anymore).

Cake circles (8-Inch, 12-Inch, and 14-Inch), scrapbook paper, some rick rack, plastic cups, and some glue. That’s it. Infinitely customizable, and disposable (recyclable). Perfect.


  • The scrapbook paper I used was 12″ x 12″, so to cover the 14″ base cake circle, I had to do some patch work.
  • I used spray adhesive to attach the paper to the cake circles and hot glue to attach the rick rack and plastic cups.
  • Use spray adhesive in a well-ventilated space (I went outside)
  • Work quickly (and carefully) with the hot glue. I’d run a bead of about 3-4 inches and attach the rick rack to the edges, then do another 3-4 inches.
  • Lightly trace with a pencil where you want to place the plastic cups (centered) before doing anything with the hot glue.
  • I used really basic clear plastic cups between the tiers, but you can get creative to match your style and decor.
  • For more DIY wedding stuff online, be sure to check out DIY Bride.

I made 4 cupcake stands, but only used 2. There was only 1 dessert table. The cookie buffet idea was filed away for another time. And the photo booth was just nixed.

It was hard to let go of the cookie buffet and the photo booth. But pushing to make those details of my vision happen was starting to stress me out, which went against the theme that Dan and I had set for our party: relaxed, easy, and fun.

It turns out the cookie buffet would have been overkill anyway. 200 cupcakes was enough for most everyone to have 1-2 at the party and then take 1-2 home.

(I had one friend who skipped dinner completely so that she could eat 3-4 cupcakes. I think she was sick of cupcakes (literally) after that so her husband got to enjoy the ones that made it home).

We used plain brown paper bags (lunch sack style) to send cupcakes home with people. I looked for cupcake boxes and almost let myself get stressed about it, but in the end the paper bags were simple and perfect for the casual style we were going for.

Anyway, I hope this series on my trials and triumphs making the cupcakes for my own wedding reception is helpful for you in some way… even if it only inspires you not to do it yourself :)


1 ShirlR August 22, 2013 at 3:03 am

this is a really sweet idea – – – (no pun intended) :)

2 duha May 26, 2013 at 5:02 am

how many cupcakes did this stand hold? you know I don’t want my cupcakes to fall. :) thank you for the great idea.

3 Chelsea August 24, 2012 at 10:44 am

This is such a good idea. I am so glad I came across this. I bought one of those stupid expensive stands about 6 months ago, and it broke after using it 1 time! AHHH! So thanks so much for sharing this. Your website is amazing btw, love it!

4 Brittany July 30, 2012 at 8:53 am

Doing a craft show soon, I stumbled upon this blog and might I say you just saved me a lot of money! Thank you! This looks beautiful :)

5 Patricia July 30, 2012 at 9:32 am

I’m happy to help :) Good luck at the craft show! (what kind of crafts are you showing?)

6 Amy April 27, 2012 at 6:29 am

I had an idea after reading your awesome tutorial. Instead of spray adhesive you could use those scrapbook squares that are sticky on both sides to hold the paper down. That way you can change out the paper to match the theme for your next party! Thanks a bunch for getting my creative juices flowing I’m excited to make this today for my girls birthday party!

7 Molly May 20, 2011 at 7:46 am

Awesome, thanks for the quick response! I think I’ll make two, we’re hoping to have about 50 out from the get go!

8 Molly May 20, 2011 at 6:34 am

These are fantastic! I’m signed up to do cupcakes for my nephew’s grad. open house, and am all over these! Can you tell me roughly how many cupcakes each stand holds?

9 Patricia May 20, 2011 at 7:29 am

If you want them spaced out, they hold about 12-16. If you don’t mind a little more crowded together, I think they hold about 2 dozen. Good luck!

10 Deanna March 24, 2011 at 4:33 am

I love these cupcake stands and the paper you used to cover them. I might be tempted to use heavier glasses, but since you didn’t mention any mishaps, they must have been sturdy enough using the plastic ones?

11 Patricia March 25, 2011 at 7:51 am

As long as you line up the cups in the center, it is surprisingly strong. They can’t take a ton of weight (so no watermelons or 2-liter bottles) but the cupcakes do fine.

A friend of mine used a similar idea and stacked plates and saucers with little glasses (no glue) to make tiers for sandwiches and treats at a tea party she hosted. It was very cute.

12 Lauren at Keep It Sweet March 23, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Your cupcake stands look fantastic! All in all, would you do this again?

13 Patricia March 23, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Thanks! I absolutely would do it again. I just won’t make so many cupcake stands. And hopefully if I do it again it’ll be for someone else’s wedding :)

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