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Homemade Three tier Cupcake Stand (on a budget)

By Rebecca | March 5, 2009

I’ve been searching online for something that would tell me how to make a cute, simple cupcake stand from everyday, household items.  Well, I didn’t find one.  Almost all of the DIY’s that I found used pre-made cardboard stands or expensive Styrofoam cake dummies.  So I had to figure it out on my own.  And since it took so much time and effort, I thought I’d share it with y’all.

To make the trays of the cupcake stand, I used foam board purchased at my local dollar store.  It wasn’t as sturdy as the foam board at, say, Wal-Mart, so I bought two of them.

I used a set of nesting bowls I have and a plate from my cupboard to trace circles of varying sizes onto the board.  Then I cut them out with an exacto knife.  I cut two circles of each size and then glued them together using tacky glue.  (You should probably set something heavy on them and let them dry overnight.  I just had my husband press them together firmly and then let them dry.)

Since the foam board already had colored paper on it, I didn’t bother to cover it with anything else.  However, if you want a different look, you can always cover the trays with scrapbook paper.  This gives you  a wide variety of designs for fairly inexpensive.  Then I glued 3/8″ Christmas curling ribbon–purchased at Wal-mart for 80% off sometime in January–to the outer edge of the board.  I did so using tacky glue but found it was helpful to use a piece of tape to hold the ribbon in place at the beginning.

For the “pillars” I used the canisters for “Carnation Instant Breakfast.”  However, any cylinder canister will work.  In fact, as long as you don’t need it to be permanent, you can even use a filled canister.  (My bottom pillar is unopened.)  Other canisters that could be used include peanut butter jars, peanut cans, drink mix containers, or frosting canisters.

I used scrapbook paper and tape to cover the surface of the canisters.  If you are worried about the tape showing, you can use double stick tape.  Once that was done, I stacked the boards and canisters to form the tiers of the cupcake stand.  I chose not to attach the canisters and boards to each other since I wanted to be able to dismantle the stand with ease and possibly use it again.

After completing the stand, I decided to use a frosting canister to hold up the top tier.  I substituted it for the “Carnation” container I had used originally.  However, when I set up my cupcakes at the party, the candles were too tall to fit under the top tier.  So I took out the top foam board and placed a small saucer in its place.  This leads me to suspect that this whole thing could be constructed out of light weight plastic plates with some peanut butter jars in the middle.

Here’s a picture of the final display:

Topics: Budget, Cooking, Dessert, Food, Holidays, Home, How To, Knowledge, Relief Society, Young Women |

12 Responses to “Homemade Three tier Cupcake Stand (on a budget)”

  1. liz Says:
    March 11th, 2009 at 7:21 am

    hey rebecca, how are you and the fam??? great i hope!

    anyways, i just had to tell you i LOVE this cupcake stand! what a great and inexpensive idea! i end up making cupcakes all the time it seems for different functions, i am definately going to give this a try next time! thanks for sharing your idea!

  2. Wanda Says:
    May 1st, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    I love this idea too. Also you can use any wrapping paper to make the cupcake stand according to the party theme. Fantastic tip on the frosting canisters istead of using foam. This will help my business by staying on a buget.


  3. Erica Says:
    May 12th, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea with us Rebecca, your cupcake stand looks great. I had the same problem as you, I wanted to make my own stand as the ones in the stores are expensive and don’t even look that nice but all the instructions on how to make them online used expensive material. I am going to use your idea for my daughters first birthday this June. Thanks again!!

  4. Katie Says:
    July 1st, 2009 at 4:14 pm


    I was trying to find out how to make a cupcake holder for 52 cupcakes (my mom’s birthday). Thanks for the great idea it sounds simple!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Katie 15

  5. Babs Says:
    March 15th, 2010 at 12:33 am

    thnx so much for this…i am making cupcakes and brownies for a bday party and needed a stand..i just used to elegant saucers with a hot cocoa mix in the middle…i didnt need to glue it to anything b/c the saucers are quite heavy and the container of cocoa mix is full….i added a decorative shimmer paper on the bottom (silver) a metallic gold ribbon in the middle of the container..and a white/transparent ribbon on looks very professional and elegant…thnx for the tips for this creative DIY stand.

  6. Chelsey9903 Says:
    July 9th, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    Thank You so much for this idea! I’ve been searching all day for something inexpensive and quick.

  7. Tara Says:
    July 29th, 2010 at 7:26 am

    Wow Thank you so much!!!!! Though im very nervous cause I have no creative ablitlity in me. Do you think this works for people like me? LOL
    Where did u purchase all the supplies???

    Thank you though for ideas stands i found were so expensive that I couldnt not afford stand to fit 48 cupcakes i ordered!

  8. Rebecca Says:
    July 29th, 2010 at 7:42 am

    Tara, I am glad this will be of help to you. The supplies can be purchased at craft stores, Wal-Mart, and some dollar stores. The beauty of this is that it is simple, requires almost no actual construction, and can be completed by anyone.

    I am excited for you to do this!

  9. liz Says:
    September 24th, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    why would you not just use old mismatched plates from a thrift store with mismatched glassware/votive candle holders/or small bowls in between as the stem? You can look online for examples. Just use gorilla glue or a ceramics glue to join together, super easy and cheap.

  10. Heidi Says:
    October 3rd, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    I am making about 40 stands for centerpieces to display cupcakes at my wedding. Instead of canisters, I went to my local carpet store and they gave me cardboard carpet tubes! Nothing better than free! :)

  11. Vicki Says:
    January 22nd, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks for sharing your idea…

  12. Jocelyn Says:
    July 31st, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Thank you for this inexpensive, but great idea!