Custom cake toppers are one of the most ordered items from Hustle Darling, and are so much fun to do. My most recent client requested a birthday topper for a Stranger Things party. Her only request was that the topper include the birthday girl’s name and new age ( Avery/ 13) My boyfriend and I immediately re-watched season one and started season two for inspiration. This show is awesome! No wonder Avery wanted it as her birthday theme. After some marathon watching I came up with the design below.
In order to turn this computer version into reality you will need the following:
- Cutting machine (I use a Cricut explore air 2)
- white card stock
- Black card stock
- Easy-Tack (or any reliable spray adhesive you prefer)
Feel free to use similar items, supplies do not need to be exact.
First thing I like to do before cutting anything out is to double check my Design Space image and make sure it is welded. This welds all the pieces of our topper into one large image and will ensure that it is cut out in one piece, instead of several little ones that will need to be glue together later.
Second step: Duplicate the image four times. The first three duplicates will become the center of your topper. You may want to add or remove a layer or two depending on the desired thickness. I like three layers because it ensures the topper will stand firm without being too heavy. The last duplicate will need to be flipped (this is a design space feature) horizontally so it is a mirror of the main image. This mirrored cut will be the back of our topper. I like to keep the center cuts a different color than the front and back, so there is no confusion when assembling. Once duplicates are created, flipped, and color coded you may begin cutting with your machine. You can see my results in the in the photos below.
Final step: Assemble your topper! I have two beautiful babies at home who love to get into stuff so anything having to do with spray adhesive (or paint, epoxy, ect…) gets done outside. Even if you don’t have babies or pets in the house you should probably do this outside because FUMES and spray adhesive could get all over your space and that could get real gross real quick. Grab a glove, the center cut outs (the white ones shown above) an empty diaper box, and head outside. My favorite spray adhesive is Easy-Tack, I prefer it to regular glue purely out of convenience. I do not want to brush on glue and wait for it to dry in between each layer. That’s just a personal preference, at times I’m inpatient. The glove goes on my left hand, this way I can sit the cut outs on the glove and spray with my right hand. If you are left handed I recommend wearing the glove on your right hand. Doing this inside the empty box helps keep spray adhesive off of my patio rug and plants. Once all of the core pieces have been attached to each other remove the glove and use both hands to ensure the pieces line up correctly. The Easy-Tack takes a few seconds to sit before it becomes too sticky to move, so if you’re quick you can slide the pieces a bit until everything is lined up accurately at the edges.
I like to wait about 10 min before attaching the front and back pieces. This ten minuets should give you enough time to grab the remaining cut outs and let the center section dry enough to support the front and back pieces. When adding the last two sections back piece should go on first, the mirrored/ flipped image. I choose to do the back side first because the glove is usually sticky from previous spraying and if we start with the front there is a risk of getting sticky-ish smears, when holding it against the glove to add the back. No one wants glue on their topper near the food, so be delicate with the last two pieces. Hold the center section in the gloved hand, spray the back side with adhesive, and add the flipped cut out. Then slide it to line up the edges, letters, and images. Let it sit for a min or two before doing the same to the front side. When finished, I like to sit the topper under a heavy object like a thick book for an hour or two so that it dries flat. The pressure from the weight of your object will help smooth out any awkward sections of the topper. Be sure the edges of your topper are free of glue or it could get stuck to your object. My results are below.
I made sure a little of the center section showed through on this one to cause a shadow. Stranger Things is a little spooky, so I thought this would be a cool touch.
What you maybe asking yourself is where is the stick? I recently switched from wooden skewer sticks to clear card forks. This choice came after a client mentioned preferring a clear option for ascetic reasons, and another said the skewer wasn’t long enough for her cake. Which led me to the card forks, they allow the cake topper to slide into the fork and be removed easily. Prior to switching I was hot gluing the skewer stick to the middle of the center cut outs then assembling the rest as described above. The new clear forks offer my clients the option of cutting it to fit their cake size. They also create an option to easily reuse the topper in the future.
Cake toppers are a Hustle Darling favorite. Really fun to make, and even more fun to customize for our clients. Have a party coming up? Feel free to reach out to us for custom cake toppers and party decor.