A couple of months ago I posted about the Dr. Seuss-themed party I threw for my little man’s second birthday.  In that post, I included pictures of a cupcake tower I constructed for the event.  Then I posted about the wedding cake I made and included a picture of the cupcake towers at the reception.  I have had many requests for instructions on how to make a cupcake tower since these posts appeared.  I apologize for the delay in sharing but I wanted to be sure I had a method that really worked well before sharing it with others.

Let me say right off the bat that this method is simply a rough guideline.  You can adapt this any way you would like to have more tiers, different sizes, different colors of ribbon and paper, etc.  Now I feel happy with my method so here you go – let’s make a cupcake tower!

First, let’s talk about what we need:

  • Something wide and fairly low to act as a base – I use a few styrofoam discs
  • Soup cans to act as supports between the layers – I chose the ones that I think may have been in my pantry since college :) (You can also use styrofoam cylinders as seen in the top left corner, but I prefer the cans for a sturdier end result)
  • Cardboard cake circles, two of each size – I used 12, 10 and 8-inch circles for a three-tiered tower
  • Card stock, for covering the top of each tier (optional), the base and dividing pillars (You could also use fabric or ribbon to cover the base and pillars.)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Ribbon for edging the tiers
  • Ruler
  • Paper cutter (optional – just a ruler and pen is sufficient)
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • About 30 minutes of your time (or 45 if you take pictures along the way :) )

First, I prepare the base by hot gluing the styrofoam discs together in an even column.

I glue together both cardboard circles of the same size, unfinished sides inward…

To end up with a double layer.

Repeat with the remaining sizes until all the cardboard circles are doubled up.

I trace around each of the cardboard circles onto the card stock that will cover them and cut out the corresponding circle.

Hot glue the card stock circle onto the cardboard circle to cover it and give it a finished look.  (I have also cut around the edges of these circles with decorative scissors to create a scalloped border, adding another detail to the overall look.)

Three pretty covered circles :)

Now I use additional card stock to cover the soup cans that will act as the pillars.  I mark the length of the can and cut a strip on the paper cutter.

Use the hot glue gun to secure the card stock as a tight band around the soup can.  Repeat for the other can.

Do the same for the base.  The glue can be very hot – too hot to touch – so I use a ruler to press the card stock tightly to the surface until the glue has set.

You should have two covered pillars and a base.

Now that all the pieces are put together, we’re ready to assemble the tower.  I’m sure there is some more accurate way to be sure that the base and pillars are perfectly centered, but I don’t have time or patience to worry about that.  For me, it’s more of a Gestalt and I use a few hatch marks in the region of the center to give some guidance.

One thing to keep in mind while assembling all the components is to keep the seams of the card stock covering the base, pillars, and the seams of the ribbon all in the same direction so that they can be the “back” of the tower and stay out of sight, giving it a more finished appearance.

So, hot glue the base in the center of the bottom tier (be sure to glue on the bottom, uncovered side of the cardboard circle).

Then, glue a soup can pillar in the center of that circle.  Again, I just use an eyeball approach to center it and make sure it is balanced.

Glue the next cardboard circle on top of the pillar, making sure to keep the finished side up.  (Since the lid of the soup can is not an even surface, you need to glue around the edges to ensure that the can has firm contact with the cardboard circle.)

And repeat once more until all the pieces are in place.

Cut a piece of ribbon long enough to edge each of the tiers.

Hot glue along the edge of the cardboard circle and press on the ribbon, being careful to keep the top edge even with the surface.  (You do not need to glue along the entire perimeter, just small dabs every few inches or so is fine.)  If your ribbon is somewhat translucent, you may want to consider doing a second layer so that it has a more opaque appearance.  I only used one layer here but I have used double layers in the past depending on the look I am going for.

Repeat with the middle tier, and then the top until…

You have a finished cupcake tower!  And then of course all you need to do is…

Fill it with delicious cupcakes!