How To Make A Pvc Pipe Cake Stand?

Decorating By kimberlychapman Updated 8 Sep 2014 , 10:26am by Chloezee

kimberlychapman Posted 29 Oct 2009 , 4:55am
post #1 of 53

Hi, I'm looking for information on how to use PVC pipes to make a cake stand where several tiers will be stacked in the middle with air space between them.

I have seen the photos here about making a topsy turvy cake stand by bending the pipes, but I'm hoping for more beginner info on how to make a PVC stand at all. I don't know anything about PVC do the cake plates attach to the tubes? Are they just pinched between couplers? Or do you have to screw some kind of holder thingy on that the pipes then attach to?

And how does one usually go about getting cake boards with centred that a DYI thing? If I try one of those make-your-own-foam-core boards that way, how would that work with attaching to the PVC?

Any tips welcome. Thanks.

52 replies
Beckup Posted 29 Oct 2009 , 5:12am
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I would like to know about this myself.

Kiddiekakes Posted 29 Oct 2009 , 12:22pm
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Me too..There is a PVC stand on Caljava online that Bronwen Webber makes and I can't come to grips with paying $89.00 for it when it looks like something hubby can make also with pvc.

artlover Posted 29 Oct 2009 , 12:40pm
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where did you see the topsy turvy cake stand .i am not able to find it .

kello Posted 29 Oct 2009 , 12:41pm
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I too would love some basics on making a heavy duty cake stand. Like a list of hardware and the best cake board to use. Also, what to do with the tier bases.....are they just cake board or do you use something just as strong as the base?

2SchnauzerLady Posted 29 Oct 2009 , 12:52pm
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I'm going to watch this topic to see if someone comes up with a good tutorial!

FullHouse Posted 29 Oct 2009 , 1:00pm
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I would also love to know icon_smile.gif.

-K8memphis Posted 29 Oct 2009 , 1:04pm
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I took Bronwen's 24" clown class-- was worth every penny of the $250 I paid. I highly recommend this professional and any class you can get with her.

So I am in process of replicating this clown cake and read the following to see why I think $89 is every bit a bargain for that stand.

1) You can get it home and dissect it and then diy next time.

2) I will have spent over $70 give or take for my stuff so far for putting my clown structure together including the pvc pipe cutter which is about $20--but not including my drill which I already had --but that would easily get it over $100 huh.

I'll make four trips to three different stores just for the structure.

I think $89 is a bargain. Buy it from Bronwen is my recommendation.

cas17 Posted 29 Oct 2009 , 1:09pm
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this is something that i have been wanting to learn how to do as well. i tried to figure it out for my drum set cake(s) but wound up just using large wooden dowels that had long screws coming from up under the mdf board. hopefully somebody will come along and share their knowledge of this with us : )

FullHouse Posted 29 Oct 2009 , 1:09pm
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I just googled for it and nothing came up, but I did find a tutorial to make a simple inexpensive cupcake stand with cake boards & pvc:

Kiddiekakes Posted 29 Oct 2009 , 1:25pm
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It is shown on the C a l j a v a o n l i n e cake site...

jlynnw Posted 29 Oct 2009 , 1:46pm
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I did like the idea of buying the set but it did not work with my plans. I needed one for the zombie I made. It is in my pics if you need a reference. I needed something that would go tall and then out. My DH and I spent a bit of time and about $20 for the supplies - we had the tools.

We bought a base board that was 48 x 24. We cut the board so that we would have the top board extend over the bottom board to have finger room to move the cake. In the center, and we wished we had placed it off center to accomadate his arm weight, a metal post stand that required 4 screws to hold it in place. I covered this with foil and then attached it to the board. We then cut the pvc pole the height of the zombie's chest. We used just the height and doweled the cakes every 4 inches going up for the total height. However, If we were to have done a tier cake with this method, we would have used a pvc joint to prevent the cake from sliding. You need a light weight board, not foam core, for this. It needs to be able to hold the weight without any fear of beanding. We used pressboard, like peg boards without the wholes. You can then use the angles or t - joints to get your finished piece. I cut a foam core board to cover the metal post stand. and used it like it was a layer of cake. I have used this second method with the topsy turvy cakes as well. I have used them alone or with sstyro wedges. I did the DIY cake boards and cut the centers out with the drill. I found that a few basic pvc parts and peices and I can make several different cakes with a strong support and customize it for different cakes without much work. The purchased supports have a set look and not much to change. However, it would be a good place to start and then add on. HTH

-K8memphis Posted 29 Oct 2009 , 2:06pm
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Y'know what though--I went to the plumbing store to get my stuff as opposed to going to a big box hardware store--they did not itemize my bill--and I was a little shocked actually at how much it cost. But aren't we all everytime we go to the cake store? anyhow

Then I had to go to the big box for a cross joint + thing for where the head and shoulders and the body all join (where the legs & pelvis join is a T joint--used upside down of course)

So I didn't realize the big box stores had all the different parts as well as the ones the plumbing stores don't even carry.

Flanges (closet flanges) are the dealios to screw to the base board to get everything to hold on and work out--going to the plumbing store is a great idea to get this rolling--get you a helpful plumbing parts expert and you're golden.

There are 45 degree angled joints and 90 degree angled joints and possibly many more who knows--then you pick the size of pvc you wanna use--if you use more than one size of pvc in one piece there are dealios you can put inside the joint to accomodate one size pvc pipe attaching to one side of the joint and another size pvc pipe attaching to the another side. (Like 3/4 inch for legs and 1/2 inch for body-- stuff like that)Plus there are specific joints that come for example 1/2 inch on one end and 3/4 inch on the other end.

Tons of minutiae.

Got the 'riptides of minutiae carry me away to cake heaven' blues again, momma...~~Hey, I'm from Memphis, we sing the blues. icon_lol.gif Just be glad you can't really hear me!

The big box store will of course cut your particle board stuff--I got like a half inch 24 x24 board & they cut it into four 12 x 12 pieces -the board was $3.88. icon_biggrin.gif

But that is the scenario to do the pvc structures--get up close & personal with your plumbing parts. icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

jlynnw Posted 29 Oct 2009 , 3:44pm
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Thanks, K8memphis, that is what the pole holder thing is, a close pole flange! At my super home store, I got the PVC pole for $1.58, and the minor joints were $.38, the T and X were $.67, the board was $3.88, and closet flange was $2.49. I was able to use onle the one pvc pole and it worked for me. I am glad you mentioned the plumbing place did not have everything. I will stick with my home store for this stuff. I still some day do want to order the stand, but DH thinks he can handle it all!

cas17 Posted 29 Oct 2009 , 7:35pm
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wow, thanks k8memphis and jlynnw!!!!

CarolAnn Posted 29 Oct 2009 , 7:58pm
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I'll be watching this too.

KHalstead Posted 29 Oct 2009 , 8:09pm
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does anyone have a photo of the type of stand you're looking to make??

kimberlychapman Posted 30 Oct 2009 , 2:27am
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Thanks for the replies so far!

I'm looking to make a custom sized thing that looks sort of like this:

But I need wayyyyy more room between tiers.

Thanks for the info regarding flanges...since they screw in, I presumably can't use a regular plastic cake plate thing because screwing through it will probably break it, right? So maybe I should get my neighbour with power tools to cut me some wooden boards?

For the person who asked about the topsy turvy thing it's here:

jlynnw Posted 30 Oct 2009 , 4:51am
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For that, I don't think I would do PVC. I would get a large dowel rod, 1 1/2 thick. Make a base plate screw the center pole in from the bottom. Add the height of your cake and the height of your planned separation and make the first pole that height. Get a firm board (not foam core) for the two upper tiers. Drill the center of your dowel rod and insert a piece of all thread. Drill holes in the center of your teir boards. Add the next rod and so on until you have the number of tiers your need with the cake and space height you need. $47 for that cake stand is well worth it. Wilton has a center tier one as well with a few different center posts. You can find them on ebay, not sure how much though.

kimberlychapman Posted 30 Oct 2009 , 2:10pm
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I don't have the tools to centre out dowels, not even close, hence going for pvc.

The cake will be dummies so I don't have to worry about weight too much.

jlynnw Posted 30 Oct 2009 , 3:28pm
post #21 of 53

Ok, you can to the same with pvc but get all thread and a nut to hold it all together. The all thread will be the total height of the cake. Drill a whole in the middle of lightweight boards the diameter of the all thread and stack.

Renaejrk Posted 30 Oct 2009 , 5:59pm
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I so want to do this.

-K8memphis Posted 31 Oct 2009 , 4:22pm
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OK I was mistaken when I said I did not get an itemized bill--I did. (Duh, Kate!)

So the two floor flanges --metal dealios you screw into the bottom board after you drill the holes--then attach your pvc pipe to that--then add the cake & decor etc.-- so those were $9.85 each--dang--that's why my stuff was so pricey.

I'll check out the big box stores for cheaper but wow huh.

jlynnw Posted 2 Nov 2009 , 2:58am
post #24 of 53

K8memphis where those puppies made of gold? Platinum? I think for that I would have given up all hope on making a stand. Or maybe we are talking about different items.

-K8memphis Posted 2 Nov 2009 , 12:18pm
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Some kind of heavy metal. I couldn't afford platinum or gold!!! icon_lol.gif

Here's a list of them from 2 dollars on up.

I mean the whole sculpture is supported by these flanges--this is where the legs are attached and secured into the base so they're pretty important. Maybe we could get some cheaper ones but still. I'll shop around better next time.

Here's my other thought--at the Bronwen clown class--they sold clown unassembled stands for $50 if memory serves. You could make anything though a Santa or a chef or whatever you wanted.

The bottom board is a buck or less, the various pvc items are not pricey--the flanges I think are what takes the price upwards--the flanges and the expertise is what you're paying for.

Ultimately, the cost is passed on to the customer. Like I said, Bronwen charges $850 for this sculpture, serves 20. icon_biggrin.gif

jlynnw Posted 2 Nov 2009 , 2:38pm
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I also bet she charges a deposit on the stand. People are ready and willing to pay for her work even at $850. Even if you low ball your price and charge 25%, you can pay for her stand, pay for your ingredients and have a WOW factor in your portfolio. You may get stoned for charging so little for all that work that you did for free but you will have have your stand! Me, I can't and don't charge so I still have to find a way to get it.

-K8memphis Posted 2 Nov 2009 , 2:56pm
post #27 of 53
Originally Posted by jlynnw

I also bet she charges a deposit on the stand. People are ready and willing to pay for her work even at $850. Even if you low ball your price and charge 25%, you can pay for her stand, pay for your ingredients and have a WOW factor in your portfolio. You may get stoned for charging so little for all that work that you did for free but you will have have your stand! Me, I can't and don't charge so I still have to find a way to get it.

I doubt she charges a deposit. I know I would not charge a deposit. Deposits are annoying and create busy work.

Dude, I will charge within a hundred dollars of her price or I won't sell it.

Which is why I could care less if I get the stand back--my client pays for it. I don't want to create homework for my client. I want them to value my work to a high degree like I do.

fyi--I'm making this to do a 'cake class' with my son's girlfriend.
We were gonna do the original clown but had we both motivation issues--aka procrastination--now we're gonna do an angel and it's maybe gonna work out better.

jlynnw Posted 2 Nov 2009 , 3:06pm
post #28 of 53

I guess that would be the business persons experience about things. I just do it as a hobby and don't know anybetter. Thanks for that bit of advice. Some day, OH, some day I will have my shop.

Oh Please, pretty please with sugar on top, make sure to post a picture of the angels.

Angelfire3 Posted 14 Nov 2009 , 7:01pm
post #29 of 53

Greetings all,
You know, I was wondering the same thing b/c my daughter wants a Tinkerbell cake for her 7th birthday and we really don't have the $50 to buy the Wilton tall tier cake stand at the moment. So, my hubby said "Instead of using PVC pipes, use a candle holder. It's pretty & decorative." I thought it was a great idea. Here are links to some really cute ones:
There are so many that I can post on here. Just google or go to Wal*Mart, ebay, Target etc to look for what you want. I'm going to try it before my daughter's birthday to see how it would work.

You ladies are more knowledgeable about cake stacking then I am, but I'm sure to make the candle holder work, one should insert dowels in the cake and use the same stacking rules. Right?

The lady here: used a wonder-mold set to make her Tinkerbell cake. HTH!

kimberlychapman Posted 14 Nov 2009 , 7:11pm
post #30 of 53

I'd be really careful about candle holders for several reasons:

1) Stability. I was looking at some just two days ago that looked sturdy but when I poked the top lightly, they almost tipped. Add a cake weight on top of that and you're looking for disaster.

2) Food safety. Candleholders will almost certainly not be made with food safety in mind. Even if they're not painted with toxic paints or covered with toxic metals, they still may have food-safety problems like flaking, leeching, etc. The surfaces might not be up to handling moisture at all.

If they've been used for candles previously, they are highly likely to be contaminated with non-food-safe toxins. A lot of candles, particularly scented ones, are actually pretty toxic. And don't be fooled into thinking that a candle labelled "all natural" is food safe. There are lots of things in nature that aren't safe to eat! I could grow you some all natural and organic oleander, and remember, uraninum is also natural.

I suppose it's possible to find some non-toxic, food-safe candleholders, but I wouldn't put anything on or near a cake that wasn't sold as food-safe (PVC pipe approved for carrying drinking water counts as food safe to me, even though PVC itself can be toxic if mistreated).

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