DIYdiy projects

diy project: kate’s recycled cakestands

by Kate Pruitt

this diy project is inspired by one of my favorite ceramic artists, sarah cihat. i found most of my plates and candlesticks at goodwill. i also used some of those little vases you get when someone gives you flowers, which normally i think are ugly, but here they seem to have found a purpose! i left many of the cakestands bare because i love the original plate designs. if you aren’t happy with the plate or base you can always paint them, or give them a graphic silhouette design (instructions below) like sarah’s rehabilitated dishware. so, if you’re ready to create your own diy cakestands (which operate well as cupcake-stands, too!) click here for the full instructions. happy crafting! –kate

Kate’s Recycled Cake/Cupcake Stands

What You’ll Need:

– old plates (any size)
– old candlesticks or vases (look for anything that is wider at the bottom, with a sturdy base and a flat top)
– epoxy (from a hardware store)
– masking tape
– popsicle stick or q-tips without their fluff (something to apply the epoxy with)
– paper plate or scrap cardboard (something to mix the epoxy on that you can throw out)
– rags and cleaning solution

For the variation:

– template of silhouette (or you can free hand)
– contact paper
– scissors
– spray paint


1. Pick out which pieces you want to put together and test it out. They should be able to balance on each other without the glue. If not, you may want to rethink your choices..is your plate too uneven or does your base have a flat enough top?

2. Clean all plates and vases/candlesticks thoroughly. Dry completely.

3. Measure the back of the plate and mark a dot in the center with a pen or marker.

4. Squeeze out a little epoxy and follow its directions for use. After it’s mixed, apply it to the top of the candlestick/vase and gently place your base upside down onto the plate, using your dot as a guide to help you center it.

5. Let it sit for a few minutes, then gently press down on it to hold it in place and get rid of any excess epoxy with a q-tip. Apple tape on four sides to anchor it while it dries.

6. Let it dry overnight.


Note: While these are sturdier than you would expect, they are not dishwasher safe. I recommend gently cleaning by hand.

Silhouette version:

After the cakestand is glued together and dried overnight, you can pretty much do whatever you want with it: paint, decoupage, etc. I really love Sarah Cihat’s graphic patterns so I decided to do something similar on one of my less attractive plate/vase combos.

1. Trace and cut out your pattern on contact paper. Make sure contact paper still has its paper backing on it when you do this.

2. Gently peel contact paper away from its backing and place the sticky side on your plate where you want the design to go. Press down evenly and smooth out any and all air bubbles. Make sure all edges are firmly pressed down.

3. Prime the entire plate and base with primer spray paint and let dry (you will need to flip it over a couple times, make sure the top is dry before you flip it to spray the bottom).

4. Paint it whatever color you wish. Let dry completely.

5. When dry, use an exacto to carefully lift the contact paper.

Note: This plate is not meant to have your bare food placed on it. Usually I place cupcakes or pies in their pans on cakestands. If you want to be able to put food directly on it, I recommend sealing it with a varnish or sealant.

*if you’d prefer to buy rather than craft, you can pick up these exact cake stands from kate at her etsy shop right here!

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  • I’m addicted! I already have 50,000 of these made in my head, what a greaat idea….I cna’t wait to make some and give as gifts!

  • I’m ALWAYS looking for a great (and unique) cake stand! This is so great. I’m only sad I did not think of this on my own! Again, thanks for inspiring!

  • Cute idea!
    My only qualm, however, is that the tops are supposed to be flat, which might cause some trouble if you were using this piece for delicate cakes and not small, yummy [more durable] treats, as pictured.
    Still, a great use of discarded/mismatched pieces.

  • Kate, what kind of paint did you use — Spray paint or acrylic craft paint? Thanks!

  • genius, kate, especially with the decal twist (that piece with the bugs is gorgeous)! i’ve made 50,000 of these in my head now, too :)

    i bet these would make really lovely centerpieces for a garden party or DIY-themed wedding, too – you could add patterns at the edges and then group a few votive candles (or make a small flower arrangement) in the center. i wish i’d thought to do that for MY wedding, actually!

  • what a great idea! I see tons of those white “cut” glass vases at the thrift store…what idea for a party…make up a bunch of these!

  • Thanks everyone!

    InspireMe – I used regular acrylic spray paint, but I think you could use any kind. I do suggest finishing it with a varnish or clear sealant, maybe something from Michaels…hope this helps!!

  • oh my goodness – this is one of my favorite so far! how did you know i was having such a tough time finding a vintage cake stand i like? :)

  • this is a great i have so many ideas and want to send this to everyone i know, but at the same time i want to keep it all to myself so we they see my attempts they’ll be amazed!!!

  • This is so neat!

    Do you have any ideas on how to add come sort of lid or covering to it?

  • Fantastic idea!

    Is the paint you used food safe and will I be able to wash the stand in hot water or will it peel off?

    I would love to know so I can get making…

  • This is a great idea……you might have inspired some new and improved cupcake stands.
    I actually worked with sarah way back when at SPRING gallery; I’ve always loved her stuff.

  • To answer your questions:

    1. I went to Michaels this week and purchased a spray sealant coat, high gloss, that is safe for porcelain called “Folk Art High-shine Glaze”. I think with this extra step your cakestands will be safe for eating off of and more durable…

    2. The flowers are called billy bobs I think….I love them so much! They look great dried as well…

    thanks again everyone!

  • Hey – I had plates just like the brown one with the flower in the middle – it brought back memories.

  • Brilliant! I’ve been looking for unique cake stands with a vintage flavor, but to no avail… until now! Thanks for sharing your wonderfully creative idea!

  • I’m so glad you posted a tutorial!! i’d seen this long, long ago and forgot how they made them stick! Thanks for the cr8tv idea!

  • Fun idea. Wouldn’t it be easier to decorate the plates, or at least to adhere the contact paper for the silhoutte, before you attach them to the bases?

    I’d have identified those flowers as button chrysanthemums, but I haven’t found a good picture.

  • apple tape – wassat? Is it what i call electric tape? I love new names for things.

  • This is way cool, already impressed a bunch of people with my 1st piece at a birthday party. Thanks for sharing!

  • I can’t believe I never thought of this. I have SO MANY vases and I love, no ADORE plates. And cakestands, well what can I say. I have four of them and I need more……what a lovely idea and great way to recyle. Can’t wait to go off to the thrift store to buy plates.

  • I just finished making one of these for my sister! I LOVE IT! Thanks so much for the amazingly creative idea, you are great!

  • Fabulous idea! My Mother is always teasing me because I am a cumpolsive baker and I just love cakestands, every time I see one I say to her “Isn’t this a lovely cake stand?!”

  • I don’t know, but I love you! You’re the greatest! Here I was contemplating how much its gonna cost me to get a cake stand (prices out here are ridiculous, plus I’d have to settle for something i didn’t really like).

    Now thanks to you I can make my own, spend less and I WILL LOVE IT…when I photograph my cake on the stand I’ll post a link on my blog to this page if thats ok with you.

  • i love this idea! i constantly see adorable vintage plates and milk glass vases at rummage sales and garage sales and love them but don’t know what to do with them… and now i do!! Thanks for the great idea

  • I have made a few of these with brass candlesticks and plates. I just LOVE this idea for holding special desserts and cupcakes! I have not painted mine, but what a great idea! I also did some using wood candleholders and wooden plates I had. I am addicted to making my own stands. I used ‘covers’ from the thrift store like for cheese plates and small cloches.

  • wowowow! very cool, and a brilliant idea for all those beautiful plates an such like that are lurking in junk shops…

  • Thanks so much for this fabulous idea! My fiance and I went out and got some plates from the thrift store and Walmart, and glasses from Dollar Tree. This project was fun. :)

  • OH! you are a lifesaver.

    I am having six cakes from a favorite restaurant rather than a single wedding cake, and will need cake stands of varying tiers… now I can make my own!!! THANK YOU!

  • i did this for our wedding a fewweeks ago and i spray painted half of them red and half light blue. I used ugly plates that could fit 8 inch cakes and had varying heights (different candle sticks and vases) with the tallest one as the focal point with a ceramic cake topper from etsy. everyone LOVED them and some people took one home as a keepsake. :o) i was very happy with the price and the outcome – $25 for plates, glue, and spray paint. and the cake was fantastic and still cost cost about $100 less than if I had gone with a ‘wedding’ cake!

    i don’t have my pics up, but my mom has a few (not the best, but you get the idea!): http://www.flickr.com/photos/10696725@N02/3595824769/in/set-72157619175452325/

  • Sooo….all you clever kitties that have done this with paint, what am I looking for on my spraypaint level to ensure the type I buy won’t run everywhere, and will instead give a nice finish? I’ve tried spraypainting a few shiny, smooth things (like tins), and I’m just left with streaks. I welcome tips; welcome them!

  • I love all of these. Will def be making some xmas ones for entertaining and gift giving.

  • This is such a great idea, it’s unique and crafty. I just might use this idea at my wedding!

  • I used glass glue and the inside of the glass under the plate made a gas or something and it turned white. What did i do wrong?

  • I simply love this! What a brilliant idea. I do wish I saw this earlier. I just redid my kitchen and adjoining room and got rid of two china cabinets and chucked all my bud vases and candlesticks. I am sure I will find more…..a girl just cannot have enough cake plates!

  • Thank you so much for this idea I needed pedestal displays for a friends wedding and these turned out perfect…

  • Just wondered if these are “tippy”…especially when cutting the cake? I love the idea though…any feedback?

  • We’ve made these for center pieces for weddings. Secure floral foam to the center and design away. The last one we did, the Bride found the plates, we secured vintage candlesticks, then the flowers and they gave them away at the end of the wedding.