Birthday parties

23 easy DIY cake toppers

Not crafty? No problem! These DIY cake toppers are simple to make, but will really wow your guests.

By Kathryn Hayward

23 easy DIY cake toppers

Photo: Roberto Caruso

23 DIY cake toppers

Fringe benefit

Cut small squares of tissue paper to create fringe. Wrap fringe around a wooden skewer and glue to secure. Using hot glue, add festive tissue paper shapes (you can find these at party stores).




23 easy DIY cake toppersPhoto: Roberto Caruso, Toppers: Rayna Schwartz

Instant message

Craft a special birthday greeting by using wooden letters you can find at the dollar store or craft store. Decorate the letters with washi tape, painter’s tape or paint. Then glue gun the letters onto skewers.




23 easy DIY cake toppersPhoto: Roberto Caruso, Toppers: Rayna Schwartz

Face time

For a fun tribute to the guest of honour, print out a photograph onto card stock. (Or you could also photocopy a photo and glue it to card stock.) Cut out the face. Now comes the fun part: the party hat. First cut a triangle out of decorative paper. Then, make some fringe from a small square of tissue paper, roll it up and glue it to the back of the triangle. Using double-sided tape, stick the hat onto the birthday kid’s head, and then hot glue the face onto a wooden skewer.




23 easy DIY cake toppersPhoto: Roberto Caruso, Toppers: Rayna Schwartz

In full bloom

For a bold, graphic look, paint the outline of flowers and leaves on card stock using a medium-sized paint brush. (If your brush is dry, it will create a cool brushstroke effect.) Cut out and stick to a long lollipop stick (you can find these at bulk food stores) using hot glue.




23 easy DIY cake toppersPhoto: Roberto Caruso, Toppers: Stephanie Han Kim

Sugar high

Let them have cake—and eat candy, too. For a real showstopper, top your cake off with candy kebobs. Stick gummy worms, ribbon candy, gum drops and other gummy candies onto wooden skewers.




23 easy DIY cake toppersPhoto: Roberto Caruso, Toppers: Rayna Schwartz

Have a ball

Grab an assortment of gumballs and carefully push them onto the pointed end of a wooden skewer. You could make one for each guest to take home.




23 easy DIY cake toppersPhoto: Roberto Caruso, Toppers: Rayna Schwartz

Eternal flame

Want to keep hot wax away from little hands? Make candles that will never burn out. Cut some fringe out of small squares of orange and yellow tissue paper. Roll fringe into a cylinder (make sure to have the orange fringe in the centre of the roll) and tape to secure. Stick the “flames into either end of a paper straw. Then cut the straw in half so that you have two “candles.”




23 easy DIY cake toppersPhoto: Roberto Caruso, Toppers: Rayna Schwartz

Fan club

With simple tissue paper fans (look for these at dollar stores or large craft stores), you can create a festive looking topper. Using a wooden skewer or paintbrush add a few splatters of different coloured paint onto the fan. Glue the ends of the fan shut to form a handle, which you can stick right into the cake.




23 easy DIY cake toppersPhoto: Roberto Caruso, Toppers: Rayna Schwartz

Ballooning interest

Make fringe out of small squares of tissue paper and wrap around wooden skewers. Glue to secure. Tie on a small balloon at the top.




23 easy DIY cake toppersPhoto: Roberto Caruso, Toppers: Rayna Schwartz

Bright young thing

Bling out a simple dollar store candle with a bit of glue and some gem stones and beads.




23 easy DIY cake toppersPhoto: Roberto Caruso, Toppers: Rayna Schwartz

Closer to the heart

Let your guest of honour know how you really feel, by threading coloured cereal onto a pipe cleaner, then bending it into a heart shape. Wrap the ends of the pipe cleaner around a wooden skewer. You can wrap another pipe cleaner around the ends for a tidier look.


Keep on decorating with Fruit Loops with this fun first birthday cake

23 easy DIY cake toppersPhoto: Roberto Caruso, Toppers: Rayna Schwartz

Traceable art

This topper really takes the cake. Draw or print out a simple design onto white paper. Place a sheet of waxed paper over top. Microwave coloured moulding wafers in an open small zip-lock bag until melted. Remove as much excess air from the bag as you can as you zip the top. To create an opening for piping, snip off a small piece from one corner (the larger the hole the bigger the drizzle). Holding the bag in one hand, gently squeeze the bag as you trace your design. Then fill in the design with a different colour of moulding wafers. Place a paper straw or skewer onto the back of the design to act as the stand. Let the design cool, before carefully pulling off the waxed paper.




23 easy DIY cake toppersPhoto: Roberto Caruso, Toppers: Irene Ngo

Colour guard

Create a topper that guests can snack on later. Cut a piece of baker’s twine and tie one end to a wooden skewer. Thread coloured cereal onto the twine. Knot the other end to another skewer, then add a drop of glue to each knot to secure.




23 easy DIY cake toppersPhoto: Roberto Caruso, Toppers: Rayna Schwartz

Baby’s bunting

Cut flag shapes out of decorative paper and stick onto a piece of twine with double-sided tape. Tie the twine to paper straws and secure with glue. After the party, the bunting would look great in a scrapbook.





We have tons of tips on how to throw a stress-free first birthday party




23 easy DIY cake toppersPhoto: Roberto Caruso, Toppers: Rayna Schwartz

A sweet garland

For an easy (but crowd-pleasing) topper, tie candy necklaces to wooden skewers.




23 easy DIY cake toppersPhoto: Roberto Caruso, Toppers: Rayna Schwartz

Special guests

Invite some friends from the toy box. Cut a triangle out of decorative paper and fold to make a hat. Tape to secure. Snip off the top of the cone, and glue on a pompom. Glue the hat onto the animal. Repeat with remaining animals.




23 easy DIY cake toppersPhoto: Roberto Caruso, Toppers: Rayna Schwartz

Petal power

Fresh flowers make beautiful cake toppers, but be sure to use pesticide-free blooms. First, place greenery on the top of the cake, then add a few different types of flowers.


Feeling the flower power? Try making a pretty petal cake

23 easy DIY cake toppersPhoto: Roberto Caruso, Toppers: Rayna Schwartz

Crowning moment

Make a tiara for your little royal out of pipe cleaners.





Get the instructions here: Pipe cleaner crowns




23 easy DIY cake toppersPhoto: Roberto Caruso, Toppers: Rayna Schwartz

Lollipop forest

The only potential downside to this easy topper is that your guests might be more interested in the lollipops than in the cake. Grab an assortment of lollipops and you’re done.  




23 easy DIY cake toppersPhoto: Roberto Caruso, Toppers: Rayna Schwartz

On the fringe

Using small squares of different coloured tissue paper, cut fringe. Wrap each section of fringe around a toothpick and tape to secure. Insert the decorated toothpicks into the cake in your desired pattern.




23 easy DIY cake toppersPhoto: Roberto Caruso, Toppers: Rayna Schwartz

For suckers only

Insert mini-lollipops into the cake in your desired pattern. (If lollipops present a choking hazard to any of your guests, remove them after the candles are blown out and photos have been taken.)




23 easy DIY cake toppersPhoto: Roberto Caruso, Toppers: Rayna Schwartz

Make some noise

This topper is easy and effective—nothing says party like kazoo-like noises. Grab some sparkly noise makers from the party store, and insert them into the cake in your desired pattern.




23 easy DIY cake toppersPhoto: Roberto Caruso, Toppers: Rayna Schwartz

Stellar job

You can create an entire constellation for your guest of honour. Cut out some star shapes out of decorative paper and tape them onto wooden skewers. Or add glitter to stars cut from plain white card stock. Shape a metallic pipe cleaner into a star shape and wrap around a skewer. Insert your stars into your cake at varying heights.


23 easy DIY cake toppersPhoto: Roberto Caruso, Toppers: Rayna Schwartz

A version of this article appeared in our April 2016 issue with the headline "Piece of Cake", p. 51.

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Read more:
10 birthday treats that go beyond cake 6 scrumptious birthday cakes

This article was originally published on Mar 10, 2016
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