Dowel Choice Discussion

Decorating By javajammer Updated 16 Jul 2013 , 1:41am by Annabakescakes

javajammer Posted 15 Jul 2013 , 2:55pm
post #1 of 22

I looked up discussions on dowel preferences, but both discussions were a few years back. I know there are a lot of new CC users out there since then. I've done 3 tier cakes with wooden dowels, but never anything larger then that. I have a wedding cake coming up soon with 12-10-8-6 tiers. I'm thinking of trying bubble tea straws, but I'm concerned about them breaking. Any thoughts?

21 replies
shanter Posted 15 Jul 2013 , 6:04pm
post #2 of 22

Anything over 3 tiers, I would use the SPS system. Others will disagree.

http://media.cakecentral.com/files/sps_104.pdf

The Cake Shoppe Posted 15 Jul 2013 , 6:30pm
post #3 of 22

I was a bubble straw user until I discovered SPS.  LOVE it!  Your bubble straws will not buckle with a cake that size, but I would trust the SPS so much more!   With the SPS, your cake goes together so much easier.

If your off even a little on your straw height it can put pressure on the cake(s) underneath.  Read through the SPS threads and I think you will also be a convert!thumbs_up.gif

maybenot Posted 15 Jul 2013 , 9:55pm
post #4 of 22

A bubble tea straw can't "break", certainly not like a skinny wooden dowel.  Just try to crush a straw lengthwise between the palms of your hand--it won't bend and it won't break.  The hollow cylinder is, by it's nature, one of the strongest physical structures.  The SPS may have some other features--plates with gripping "points" and pre-cut leg lengths-- but the principle of it is the same......hollow cylinders.

 

I use 3/16th" foamcore cake boards coated in melted edible soy wax and make sure that my straws are evenly cut--never given me a problem.

AZCouture Posted 15 Jul 2013 , 10:13pm
post #5 of 22

AI use bubble straws for all of my cakes, and I've certainly never had any buckling issues. And you don't even need to use very many either. I measure one and cut all to that one measurement, and double check before inserting them.

AZCouture Posted 15 Jul 2013 , 10:15pm
post #6 of 22

A

Original message sent by The Cake Shoppe

I was a bubble straw user until I discovered SPS.  LOVE it!  Your bubble straws will not buckle with a cake that size, but I would trust the SPS so much more!   With the SPS, your cake goes together so much easier. If your off even a little on your straw height it can put pressure on the cake(s) underneath.  Read through the SPS threads and I think you will also be a convert!thumbs_up.gif

And I was an SPS user until I discovered bubble straws, funny how that works.

AZCouture Posted 15 Jul 2013 , 10:18pm
post #7 of 22

AHowever, the responsible part of me wants to direct you to use SPS for your first big cake, and practice with straws on smaller cakes with the straws until you're comfy with them.

howsweet Posted 15 Jul 2013 , 10:59pm
post #8 of 22

Not a fan of bubble straws, but I agree that they work just fine. I prefer wooden dowels - they are just easier and faster for me and take up less room in the cake.
 

Annabakescakes Posted 15 Jul 2013 , 11:08pm
post #9 of 22

I use bubble tea straws. I use them because the SPS is too hard to cut, and I think the 4" tall cakes are squatty, mine are mostly 5", but not always, so I like to keep my options open, without resorting to a hack saw.

javajammer Posted 15 Jul 2013 , 11:16pm
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture 

However, the responsible part of me wants to direct you to use SPS for your first big cake, and practice with straws on smaller cakes with the straws until you're comfy with them.

I have a few smaller tier cakes before the large one. I'm going to order some straws tonight. Do you use core boards? I've been thinking of trying those as well. I've been using the cardboard circles.

javajammer Posted 15 Jul 2013 , 11:17pm
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes 

I use bubble tea straws. I use them because the SPS is too hard to cut, and I think the 4" tall cakes are squatty, mine are mostly 5", but not always, so I like to keep my options open, without resorting to a hack saw.

Mine are usually 5" too. Do you order your straws online?

AZCouture Posted 15 Jul 2013 , 11:18pm
post #12 of 22

AAnd they are perfectly sturdy. For 6"ers and smaller, those get three straws, 7, 8, and 9 inchers get four, so on and so on.

AZCouture Posted 15 Jul 2013 , 11:20pm
post #13 of 22

AThat's another reason too, my tiers at 5 inches tall too. And I know SPS comes with different lengths, but I'm just interested in it anymore. I use foam core boards, prepped the same way maybenot described.

javajammer Posted 15 Jul 2013 , 11:21pm
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by maybenot 

A bubble tea straw can't "break", certainly not like a skinny wooden dowel.  Just try to crush a straw lengthwise between the palms of your hand--it won't bend and it won't break.  The hollow cylinder is, by it's nature, one of the strongest physical structures.  The SPS may have some other features--plates with gripping "points" and pre-cut leg lengths-- but the principle of it is the same......hollow cylinders.

 

I use 3/16th" foamcore cake boards coated in melted edible soy wax and make sure that my straws are evenly cut--never given me a problem.

Where do you buy your boards?  I'm going to order straws tonight to practice on smaller cakes.

javajammer Posted 15 Jul 2013 , 11:32pm
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture 

That's another reason too, my tiers at 5 inches tall too. And I know SPS comes with different lengths, but I'm just interested in it anymore. I use foam core boards, prepped the same way maybenot described.

Maybenot said she uses 3/16th core boards. Do you use the same size? I've been looking online and the smallest Global Sugar Art sales is 1/2 inch. That seems pretty big.

Annabakescakes Posted 15 Jul 2013 , 11:42pm
post #16 of 22

I get my bubble tea straws at restaurant depot. A huge bag lasts me a whole year. I do use regular drinking straws under my 6, 5 and 4" cakes, since the bubble tea straws (and sps) take so much cake out of the tiny cakes. (and I have a case of them, and my daughter can only use 10 or so a day, no matter how hard she ties to use more!)

AZCouture Posted 15 Jul 2013 , 11:47pm
post #17 of 22

AFor the individual tiers, yes, the thinner of the two sizes offered. That's what I use in place of cardboards. I'll cut bottom base boards for drums (the one you decorate that's seen) from half inch when I don't have real ones on hand.

AZCouture Posted 15 Jul 2013 , 11:49pm
post #18 of 22

AI ordered a case of 4500 bubble straws from Boba Tea Direct over a year ago, that I split with a friend. Bags and bags and bags of them! It was quite a large box, and worked out to about $1 per bag.

AZCouture Posted 15 Jul 2013 , 11:52pm
post #19 of 22

Ahttp://www.diytrade.com/china/pd/7063857/sewing_gauge_metal_ruler.html This is handy for measuring where to cut your straws.

javajammer Posted 16 Jul 2013 , 12:14am
post #20 of 22

Thank you everyone! I just purchased my bubble straws and I'm working on the foam core search. I think I'll hang up the wooden dowels and try the straws.

The Cake Shoppe Posted 16 Jul 2013 , 1:29am
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture 

I ordered a case of 4500 bubble straws from Boba Tea Direct over a year ago, that I split with a friend. Bags and bags and bags of them! It was quite a large box, and worked out to about $1 per

The big order is definitely the way to go!!  I kept promising myself I would order from China (because they were SO much cheaper) but never got around to it and kept having to buy smaller bunches.

I see a drawback in being able to do odd sizes with the SPS.  So I will probably still end up using both methods as they fit my needs. icon_lol.gif

It's always nice to have options!

Annabakescakes Posted 16 Jul 2013 , 1:41am
post #22 of 22

AI think my bag cost me $12-16 and I bought them about 14 months ago. I still have quite a bit left, and I mostly do 2 tier cakes. The bag was the size of a small garbage bag, like what you would keep at your desk if you work in an office. they are about 8" long, so I save the off cut and use them for bow loops, or single layer tiers. We have found several uses for them, but if your cakes are only 4" tall, then you'd be able to make 2 supports for every straw. I would guess at about 1000 or so per bag, is what I got. Multicolored. I have noticed the yellow green one and the purple one are thinner than the blue and the pink.... If that matters to anyone at all. I do tend to save the flimsier ones for fondant, and the stronger ones for buttercream, since buttercream makes me nervous, but I am sure it doesn't actually matter.

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