So I’ve been told you’re either a cake or a pie person and I think that’s just flippin’ ridiculous. Why can’t you like both equally? I’m pretty sure that I do! But for big to dos, like birthdays and whatnot I prefer a cake over a pie because they tend to be prettier. Now come Thanksgiving I’m going to rip into that pumpkin pie before anything else, even my favorite. But you’d better believe that piece of cake is on the same plate as my pie! Because if we’re going to go to the trouble of making all this, I’m going to have at least a bite of everything I possibly can (read: gluten free).
The last few years I’ve been really into making pretty cakes and cupcakes and these days I can ice up some beauties pretty quickly. Just last week I shared how to ice cupcakes so that I could show you a bit about piping bags and how to frost cupcakes (if you don’t know how to do that check that post out because you’ll need that skill for this project!)
I mean, I’ve made lots of pretty cupcakes, if I do say so myself, though a quick look back says I’ve only shared vampire’s bite Halloween cupcakes and candy gummy leaf Autumn cupcakes so we’ll have to remedy that with a few more to ring in the other seasons! So I guess that means my diet goes down the tubes! Ah, well… the things I’ll do for my blog :)
Luckily this sweet creation is guaranteed to not put any extra cushion on ya because it’s not edible in the least. Isn’t that cool? Now when I showed it to Rob he said “pretty cake” not “pretty FAKE cake!” So I was pretty happy with my results. But I have to tell you that this was my SECOND attempt. I tried to work on this just like you would a normal cake but it didn’t work out AT ALL. It was a huge mess of a fail that went right into the dumpster. But luckily the second go ’round I got this business on a lock!
So if you love sweet things, or you want to make this as a gift for somebody who likes cute things (I made this for my sister) this fake cake will make the perfect box to stash away just about anything, or in this case jewelry!
For this project you will need:
- Round paper mache boxes
- Silicone caulk
- Clay sprinkles (see how to make your own fake clay sprinkles here)
- Air dry or polymer clay
- Spray primer
- Spray paint
- Wood craft circle
I’ve always loved cakes topped with cherries so we’re going to make some out of clay. Simply roll the clay into a ball and use your thumb to make a depression in the top for that little dimple where the stem attaches. Push the opposite side of the ball down on a flat surface slightly to flatten out so that they don’t roll around. I used air dry clay and let mine dry a few days but you can also use polymer clay. I just wasn’t in the mood to soften anything so air dry it was!
After the cherries have dried a mixture of glossy Mod Podge and acrylic paint in red will help give them a look that isn’t quite so solid clay and more believable as a real fruit! Now they sell brown vine looking floral wire and you could totally use that to make stems or just paint any kind of wire red and add that but I figured that was one more thing to mess with than I really needed so I just avoided it.
I purchased this set of 3 paper mache boxes but I only used the largest and the smallest. You can easily use all three and just have less “icing” on the top of each layer. Hit each you are using with a blast of spray primer and follow it with spray paint. Now this paper mache is going to soak your paint UP so be sure to prime first or you’ll waste a TON of spray paint. Trust me on this! :)
*** Before we get too far let’s talk about decoden a bit… When I was trying to figure out how to make this thing in my head a real thing in real life I was searching for fake icing and the like. And I learned about deco-den. It’s this amazing Japanese craft that literally means decorated phone (deco meaning decorate and den, short for denwa meaning phone = deco-den). Basically all of these pretty little bits and bobs are placed in “whipped cream” to make crazy sweet looking phone cases…
Now that isn’t actual whipped cream, as I’m sure you’ve guessed. I found a Tumblr blog called Decoden Tips: Lessons on Kawaii DIY and it was really helpful. People ask lots of questions and Sara covers them all. You can find out how to color your silicone (whip) and get answers to a lot of questions, in fact the site is mostly questions asked by others answered by somebody who has made decoden crafts as income. It’s pretty nifty so be sure to check that out!
Over there I learned that she recommended this specific Silicone caulk to use as the icing in decoden crafts so it’s what I used and it worked out well. Since I did this craft twice the I actually wound up using 3 tubes of this stuff and it’s definitely cheaper to buy at Walmart, though it’s not so expensive at Amazon so I just ordered all of my supplies there. My first tube of caulk came from walmart and I couldn’t understand how this stuff was used with piping bags. It was so firm it kept blowing out the tip and tearing the bag. It was insane. I tried and tried beore I started to remember when I caulked my windows last… it was goopy stuff. It wasn’t this firm. So I ordered one from Amazon and I was super happy when it came and it flowed freely. I suppose that, like anything, caulk can go bad so if your stuff is really firm, it’s probably bad, too.
To start you’ll need to prepare your icing bag with your tip of choice. If you need more help with this bit be sure to learn about piping bags in this tutorial for how to frost cupcakes. Over there you’ll find pics showing you how to get this business all set up.
Fill the bag about half full of silicone caulk. Need help with using a caulking gun or getting the caulk out of the tube? Check out this tutorial for how to use a caulking gun. Holy cow it seems like this is getting difficult but it’s really not that bad, I swear!!!
Keep the lid on your boxes and pipe a design onto just the sides of the lids. I used the softer star shaped tip for flower-y shapes and I’m really happy with that. After you pipe the lids put these off to the side somewhere and give them a bit of time to dry.
Now this stuff is the nastiest smelling stuff in the planet. Nobody’s ever going to mistake this stuff wet for frosting. It’s got a very strong ammonia odor and should be used in a ventilated area. I put my boxes in the garage to dry for about 2 hours.
To keep your caulk from drying out on you put a piece of paper towel and then a piece of foil at the end of your caulk tube and another at the end of your icing bag and set them someplace out of the sun and heat and they should stay good for your next go.
You might be wondering what happens if you make a mistake… Using a plastic palette knife or even a disposable bread knife scrape the caulk away and place it back inside of your piping bag. Get as much as you can with your knife because you totally can reuse it. Take a paper towel and rub away the excess so that you have a nice, clean surface. Now I didn’t technically need to do this but I wanted to see how awful it would be to have to start over. It isn’t fun because this is really sticky but it isn’t so bad as to be a deal breaker for me, either.
Once the sides have dried a bit you can decorate the tops without having to worry about damaging your work on the sides of the lids. Now you can totally just keep on going and not take a break for things to dry and it will go much more quickly but I’m so accident prone that it’s better for me to space things out and allow for dry time in the project.
To make the tops of my lids decorating I made little piles of whip around the outside of the boxes. For the bigger boxes remember that the smaller will rest on top so don’t fill up that area of your boxes won’t fit together.
Sprinkle your fake, clay sprinkles on top of each little pile while still wet. Now see all of those crazy hanging runners, kind of like you get on hot glue? Leave those to dry and you can easily remove them in a bit. Also see how I got some caulk dripped onto the surface (look to the left of the left front pile here)? Leave that to dry also and you can rub it with your finger to easily remove it from the surface after it’s dried.
Let your caulk have a good amount of time to dry, preferably overnight.
Continue decorating all of your boxes and place your cherries as you will. Mine went on top of the top tier but not on the bottom because I didn’t think to make that many! :)
Place a crazy amount of hot glue in the center of the lids and start building your ‘cake’ with the tiers of boxes.
Push the tiers down and press down for several minutes to allow the hot glue to take hold.
Now because of a combination of issues, including having my decorations go a little to far into the center of the lid and my paper mache box being bowed to begin with, my top layer didn’t want to sit flush. But that’s totally okay.
Using a smaller tip fill the area with silicone caulk and then smooth out with your finger or palette knife. Go back over the area with little dots of whip to blend in and make pretty.
To finish up I decided I wanted my cake on a “cake board” to make it a bit sturdier and to look more like a cake. I found this piece of wood in my stash and I painted the sides purple and covered the top with scrapbooking paper.
Hot glue your cake down in the center of your circle and hold for several minutes to allow the glue to catch.
Pipe the bottom of the “cake” onto the board to cover up the gap down there.
When done your cake should be nice and sturdy with everything sticking in place. Give your cake a quick flip and help any stray sprinkles off so that this thing doesn’t shed on you later.
Be sure to clean up any stray silicone. Remember you can rub parts of it away with your finger. For bigger issues you can use a pair of sharp nippers to cut it way.
The lids should easily come off of the finished piece but if you have a bit of silicone that caught in the groove of the lid use a sharp X-acto knife to slice through and get your lid open. Carve away anything that will make placing the lid and taking it back off difficult.
Now isn’t that just about the cutest thing ever? I really am so pleased with the outcome of this decoden fake cake and I’ve already been asked to make a few more! This one will head up to Oklahoma on my next visit and will sweeten up my sister’s bedroom and hang on to her bits and baubles at the same time. I’m just so pleased that it could pass as a real cake on first glance that I’m practically beside myself :) If you make one of these guys I’d really, really love to see it! Have fun with your new craft technique, decoden!