Carousel Cake Topper tutorial. Repurposed book sheets and doilies.

Cakes will always the be center piece on birthday celebrations. They have been around for the longest time and date back to the 19Th century. Birthday party preparations will always remind me of my Mother and her amazing creativity. She was resourceful and would always use what had at hand. My Mother made the best cake toppers ever and always surprised with a new one each year. I remember a Carousel. The amusement park was one of the places my parents and I used to go in the weekends. It was my favorite ride. I would choose the prettiest horse, give it a name and let my young imagination fly to amazing places.

A while ago I was commissioned to make a cake topper for a birthday cake. They requested something "in motion" that included animals. While looking for inspiration in my studio I came across some plastic straws, metallic doilies and a vintage cake tray in one of my drawers. Those were some of the materials used on my Carousel!


·         Old book sheets
·         Metallic vintage doilies
·         Cardboard cake base
·         Single-ply cardboard edge piece
·         Plastic flexible and regular drinking straws {white with red stripes}
·         Animal cookies: horses
·         Acrylic paint: brown, red and white
·         Craft brushes
·         Craft punches {Martha Stewart Crafts}
·         Glue gun
·         Glue gun sticks
·         Pencil
·         Ruler
·         Paper craft punch {doily lace}
·         Paper scissors
·         Compass
·         Decoupage 

NOTE: Most of these materials can be found at home, in your craft room and at those stores where things used to cost only a dollar.


1.    Using a craft brush paint the hair on horses heads and tails with brown acrylic paint. Let dry completely.
2.    Using a craft brush coat and seal your horse cookies with decoupage. Let dry completely.       

Putting up the Tent:
1.    Select a 5” wide single-ply cardboard edge piece.
2.    Using a compass draw a 3” and half circle.
3.    Using your paper scissors cut it out.
4.    Measure and divide your cardboard circle into six equal sections.
5.    Using a pencil and a ruler mark the lines that divide these six sections.
6.    Fold each section by hand to add volume to the tent. Each section should form a triangle.
7.    Using a craft brush and acrylic paint coat the outside of the Carousel roof in red and white alternating colours on each section. Apply two coats of paint for a more even look.
8.    Let dry completely.
9.    Fold it to form the tent into a conical shape.
10. Using a glue gun add small drops to the edge of one of the sections.
11. Attach it to another section and hold it together for a few seconds until the glue hardens.
12. Using your glue gun
13. Select six plastic flexible drinking straws.
14. Using a ruler measure and cut them to make the Carousel poles.
15. Measure and cut using paper scissors a regular plastic straw about 8” long. This one will be the middle “pole” and will hold the mid-section of the tent.
16. Measure each plastic straw using a ruler. Leave about 2” of straw from the flexible section up and 5” from the flexible section down.
17. Cut the straws using paper scissors. Keep all left over pieces to decorate the outside of the tent.

Adding poles to the tent:
1.    Using a glue gun add a small drop of glue to the 8” plastic draw end.
2.    Attach it using a glue gun to the mid-section in the inside of the tent. Hold it place for a few seconds until glue hardens.
3.    Then add the remaining flexible straws one by one to each to the marked lines that divide these six sections. Make sure the 2” part of the straws stay under the tent and the flexible elbow is visible.
4.    TIP: flexible straws were chosen to make the poles of the Carousel to achieve an openness effect.
5.    Measure and cut the left over pieces of straw with paper scissors.
6.    Using the glue gun add a few drops of glue and attach them right on each the marked divisions.
7.    Using a ruler measure and mark with a pencil the center of the cake cardboard base.
8.    Then repeat step 7, mark and divide it into six equal sections.
9.    Using the glue gun add small drops to the ends of the paper straws and attach to cake cardboard base. Attach them one by one beginning with the 8” straw.
10. Then repeat step 7 and attach the remaining six straws.

Adding a doily fence:
Take a look at the metallic doilies.
Using the paper scissors cut a 2” section from a doily. It might require two to form the fence.
Using a glue gun add a small drop on bottom section of each pole.
Start wrapping and gluing the doily piece around the straw poles all around to form a fence.
TIP: You can also place the Carousel without a cake cardboard base on your cake. But this base will provide more stability to the piece and better display in case you want to save it.

Finishing tent roof with pleated details:
1.    Cut a 5” long and 1” ½” wide strips from a book page.
2.    Make folds of about 1/4 “wide on the strip forming an accordion.
3.    Once you folded all your handmade paper strip or strips, gently open it like a fan.
4.    Repeat step 3 and make three more fans. Make sure the center is evenly attached together.
5.    Using the glue gun attach two of them to make a half moon of pleats.
6.    Then glue them right over the straw decorations from side to side.
7.    Attach the other two on each side of the half-moon of pleats.
8.    Hold it tight with your fingers for a few seconds until glue hardens.

Making paper lace from book pages:
1.    Using a doily lace craft punch create impressions on book pages.
2.    Using paper scissors cut equal sections of paper lace containing three flowers. Cut a total of six.
3.    Using a glue gun add small drops to the edges and attach them one by one to the six sections of the tent.

VARIATION: Horses are usually seen in a Carousel. But you can use other animals.

DISCLOSURE: I have not received any samples or compensation for writing this content and I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gabriela Delworth is a Training Specialist & Designer who designs and develops high-end products for leading arts and crafts. She is also a certified Instructor and teaches a variety of creative courses at various venues throughout the year.

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