Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Couple of Finished Cake Stands and Starting a New Design

Here are two newly completed custom wood cake stand orders from my Etsy customers.  These are photos from inside my shop, so excuse the mess!  I've been too busy to be bothered with something as mundane as cleaning :)

First, there is Carolines stand, and the design process that led to the final product .  She started out liking this one:
Original Design X Stand

This was my first truly original design.  It is 8" wide at the base, 5.5" tall, and it had a 12" top on it.  She wanted an 18" round top on hers, but after testing the stability with a top that big, I decided it was too unstable.  I told her we needed to make the base a little wider, and that I wanted to change the way the legs met in the middle.  This was the first design change in rough form.  I maintained the same height, but stretched the legs out to 10" wide.  I also changed the way they joined in the middle.
Modified base on left side
When I got home and uploaded the pictures,  I didn't like the way the legs lost the arc on the underside.  I had a thought about making the center joint come up more so the arc would flow up to the center section, instead of running horizontal like the way it is in the picture.  I sent the picture to Caroline along with my idea, and she agreed, so back to the drawing board!  This is what I came up with.
Final revision
I liked this much better and so did she.  Notice how the center is raised slightly and the legs maintain the arc?  It just seems to flow better to me.  Now the end result.
Finished Stand
Caroline chose to leave all the edges very neat and square and also the paint color, which was a Martha Stewart color called Araucana Teal, available at The Home Depot.  I think it looks great!

This just goes to show how projects evolve.  I think the alterations have changed the look so much that it can't really be described as an "X" stand anymore.  I've had a few people tell me it looks more "Asian" in design.  What do you think?

The next stand is also an original design.  It is my Arc Leg Stand.  Aileen contacted me on Etsy and was sounding a little frazzled to say the least.  She's getting married July 30th and needed an oval to cake stand to fit her cake.  You ever tried to find an oval top cake stand?  Okay you found one, now is it the right size?  Didn't think so.  Aileen needed her top to be be 19x15.  The one I have listed on Etsy is one I did for one of my sisters cakes that was18x14.5 and is 5" tall.  I made this new one for her by stretching the dimensions out a little bit.
Aileens Oval Top Cake Stand

Finally, I have a new project/order in the works this week.  The mother of the bride contacted me in need of an 8 tier cupcake stand and four matching individual cake stands.  The project involves scalloped edges, organza lace ribbon, and fuchsia/cream paint.  I will need to do a separate blog about this one because of the challenges it has presented.  Stay tuned for more, but here is a picture of the rough prototype.

Now it's off to the shop I go!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How to Assemble My Cupcake Stands and How to Shorten Them.

When you receive your stand and get it unpacked, you should have a pile of parts similar to this.  Be careful handling them.  They may have a protective coating of a beeswax polish on them and are very slick.  Just wipe them down with a soft cloth.

To modify (shorten) your stand, see the end of this blog.
9 Tier Cupcake Stand Parts
Before we proceed, I need to explain what a T-nut is for those of you that aren't familiar with them.  These nuts are used to hold the entire assembly together.  There is one in the base and one in the top tier plate.  They look like this (uninstalled).

***IMPORTANT***  Pay particular attention to the following.  It will eliminate any problems with assembly. These are already installed for you.

To install these I first use a 3/4" forstner bit, to drill a nice flat bottomed hole a little less than 1/8".  The depth is important because you want it to be level with the surface.  I then drill a 5/16 hole all the way through the board for the barrel of the t-nut to sit in, and for the rod to pass through.  

I then place the t-nut over the holes, with the prongs down, and hammer it in until it's seated.

The four little prongs hold the t-nut in place, but it can fall out.  This is not a failure!  If it does, simply line up the prongs with the holes they made in the wood and push it back in.  Take care when inserting the rod, or you'll just push it back out.  You will see further on in these instructions how, when everything is tightened up, they really embed themselves.  Now, on to assembly!

First locate the base.  This usually the thickest board with rubber or felt "feet".  Make sure the t-nut is fully seated, then place the base feet down on a table or floor.

Next, take the tape off the threaded rod (It's just there to keep the washer from getting lost.).  Leave the nut and washer on the rod.

Gently insert the rod (end with nut and washer) into the hole and screw the rod into the t-nut.  You will want to turn the rod until it's just level with the top of the t-nut on the bottom.  You will probably need to use your free hand to feel underneath so it doesn't stick out too far.  If it does, it could scratch the surface you set it up on.  If the nut above the washer stops it from going in far enough, just back it off a little.

Grab a 7/16 wrench or a pair of pliers and tighten the nut on top of the washer.  Tighten it until it's just snug.  Double check the t-nut on the bottom.  It should now be fully seated in the base.  Problems can occur here when you start tightening the nut on the top.  If the t-nut is not seated beforehand, it will spin and act like a drill bit cutting into the base.  It's not a major problem, it just makes assembly more difficult.  You should now be at this point.

You may now start stacking!  Slide a spacer onto the rod.

Then your largest tier plate.

Repeat until you get to this point (no top installed)

The top can now be screwed on.  Again take care not to push the t-nut out.  Screw the top down until it's just about snug.  Now walk back a few steps and check that the spacers are fairly straight, if they aren't, move them a little until they are.  Once you are satisfied it all lines up, finish tightening the top.  Once again, it doesn't need to be overly tight.  The rod should not extend past the top of the t-nut.  ***NOTE***  I assemble these before shipping so I can be sure it all fits.  If there is a problem, contact me.  

You're done!

To shorten your stand you will need a length of 1/4-20 all thread rod available at hardware stores and home centers.  A 6 foot piece is about $5.  You will also need at the very least, a hacksaw.

Install the full length of the rod just as you did above in the assembly instructions.  Place the amount of spacers and tiers you would like on the rod to achieve the desired height, leaving off the top tier plate.  Hold the top tier plate next to the rod as in the picture and make a mark on the rod.

Before cutting the rod with the hacksaw, remove the last spacer (in case you slip!).  You should end up with something like this.

You can now finish the assembly.  Save the extra rod for possible future modifications.

I hope these instructions will help.  If you have any questions feel free to contact me.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Busy Days Ahead!

My Etsy store is doing great, and I'm starting to see an increase in the amount of truly custom request on my cake stand and cupcake stand orders.  Lots of cool design ideas and colors coming up.  Not that I mind doing the same ones all the time, it's just nice for a change to do something different.

My little sister Jenniffer at Cup A Dee Cakes has another bridal show coming up in a few weeks at the Chattannoga Convention Center, and I will be showing some new work there in her booth.  I also found some unique molding that I will be making stands with.  Lets just say babies and horses are involved!  I really need to get some new designs out there, but I've been too busy trying to keep up with my orders.  I promise to get them done soon though...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

6 tier cupcake stand painted silver

My sister Jenniffer at Cup a Dee Cakes called me again about making a stand to fit the amount of cupcakes she needed for a brides reception at the Grandview.   She needed the stand to hold 140 cupcakes, an 8 inch cake topper, and it also needed to be painted silver.

I made the stand 6 tiers tall, with 4" spacing between each tier plate, and tier sizes of 8,10,12,14,16, and 18 inches square.  Fully assembled it is 26 inches tall, and all the cupcakes fit on the stand.  None are on the table.

The paint presented a small problem.  I could have used a silver Rustoleum to paint it, but the fumes would have been too bad.  I really wanted a latex, and after shopping around, I found some.  The Home Depot carries a line of paint called Precious Metals with Martha Stewarts name on it.  I chose a color called "Tin" for the paint over other silvery looking ones because it seemed the closest to silver to me.  The others looked too dark or had a green tint to them.  I have to say I was impressed with it, but it was pricey at $20 a quart.  They have a wide variety of colors, faux finishes, and GLITTER paint (Don't tell Jen).

All in all, I think it turned out well.  I have the design for sale here at my Etsy shop, along with more pictures.   Go have a look!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Customer Photo of 9 Tier Cupcake Stand at Reception

Long time, no post!  It's been crazy to say the least.

I just wanted to share a photo and comments sent to me from one of my customers. Cassandra lives in Fairbanks Alaska and this is from her wedding reception.  She was a pleasure to work with!

Hi Mike!

Wanted to share a photo from my wedding reception on June 11th! The cake stand worked out so well! Everyone loved it!

If I get some better shots I'll send them your way :)