Birds of a feather | A rustic wedding cake topper
They say that it’s the journey that counts, not the destination. Well, this is one project whose journey had some serious bumps in the road. But then again, Shakespeare did say: “all’s well that ends well.”
Patience Brewster, a company that creates whimsical hand-made and hand-painted ornaments and figurines, approached me with the inspiration for this cake topper project*. I was so pleased to be asked, as their aesthetic and vision is very much in keeping with what Flourish & Knot is all about: hand-crafted, creative, fun. I took a good look at their ornaments, and settled upon this charmer:
Photo courtesy of Patience Brewster
It’s the two turtle doves from the Twelve Days of Christmas! Not only is that carol one of my favourites (I’ll tell you all about our nutty version someday), but it contains one of my favourite wedding-y images: love birds.
Unfortunately, creating my topper was not as simple as deciding on the inspiration. First, I thought I’d make a 3-D tree ornament out of wood and clay; sort of like the Tree of Life figures you see in Mexican folk art.
Not so much.
Then I started playing around the with wire I’d bought, ostensibly to attach my little clay symbols onto the tree (yeah, right), and came up with a swirly, curly, surrealistic tree design. On which I planned to glue clay leaves. No, not leaves, clay stars! No, not stars, sea glass leaves! No, not leaves, origami stars! No, not stars…
Sometimes, when a project is going as poorly as this one was, you have to take a step back and
abandon hope change tracks.
So I went back and looked at my original inspiration. I decided I’d try making some little clay birds. Those worked out pretty well. I painted them with acrylic paint and then varnished them with semi-gloss varnish mixed with silver glitter.
Ok. Getting better.
Then I made a little wire birdcage by looping lengths of wire over a wire ring. It was beginning to look passable.
Then I had the idea of glueing on small pieces of sea glass to look like vines growing over the cage. For this I used my trusty glue gun (after three failed attempts with other types of glue, mind you).
And suddenly: there it was! My wonderfully artistic husband had the brilliant idea of adding the little shadow of the birds kissing. Wasn’t that the sweetest idea??!! One of the many reasons I married him… 🙂
The base for the topper was made out of a piece of scrap wood we had lying around. Erick cut it into an oval shape using our jig saw, and we painted on the “shadow” with acrylic paint. I finished it with a top coat of matte varnish.
Instead of walking you through every step in excruciating detail (because I figure you are all intelligent adults), I made a little photo collage of the steps.
A word to the wise: cut a piece of parchment or wax paper to just a bit smaller than the base of your topper, and put in on the cake before you put on the topper. Or use a food-safe varnish!
My friend Annie (whose guest post about DIY inkblot art you can read here) is a phenomenal baker, and she came over and helped me to bake the most amazing cake for the photo shoot (well, more like I helped her and she reigned supreme)! You bet that I’ll have more about this cake (including the recipe) later this week!
You could use this topper not only for a wedding, but for a bridal shower, engagement party, or anniversary party. And of course, there’s no reason that birds cannot be a theme for any other kind of party. Because, you know, every party really must have a theme. Even if the theme is just friends, food, and wine!
So what about you? Have you ever thought about creating a cake topper yourself? Have you had success with one? Have you had… less success with one? Or maybe you’d just like to share a little crafting update in the comments below! Whatever the case, leave me a comment: I love to hear from you.
I hope you enjoyed your Father’s Day weekend, and I’ll see you back here in a couple of days for the reveal of that fabulously delicious cake!
* I was not remunerated financially by Patience Brewster for this collaboration. All opinions are strictly my own.
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Saturday: Share it One More Time