Friday, March 26, 2010

DIY: Rhinestone Embellished Monogram Cake Topper

I'm so excited to post my first DIY project for our wedding (the photo book so doesn't count). After deciding to use a monogram on our invitations, I wanted to incorporate an initial on to our cake. It's a plain ivory round cake with a champagne colored satin ribbon around the bottoms of the tiers. We'll stick this little guy on top, surround him with flowers and ta-da! This project was super duper easy.

Before I get started, I'd like to introduce you to our cake plateau. I wasn't thrilled with the limited selection of cake stands at the local rental companies. Hobby Lobby happened to have what I was looking. It's much nicer looking that what I was considering renting and at the price I would have paid to do so.  ( I'll be selling this after our wedding in October, so if you're interested, shoot me an email!)

 Okay, here we go!


4" inch mirror cake topper
• Various sizes of Swarovski crystals
• Toothpicks
• Tweezers
• Tracing paper and pencil (optional)

Total Project Cost: $24.65

Step 1: Trace your initial onto the paper. You can use this to lay out the look of your crystals before get started (first image below). I found that just laying them on the mirrored B and then snapping a pictured worked better for me (second image below). I simply referenced the pictures later. 

Step 2: Pick a starting point and start gluing rhinestones down carefully with a toothpick. You'll need the tweezers to pick them up and a toothpick to add the glue to the bottoms. A little glue goes a long way. I also used a second toothpick to push them down onto the mirror.

Step 3: This one is important. I only glued down a few rhinestones at a time, then I left them. They dried, I picked the extra glue away and glued down some more. I left those. I repeated this process over the period of a week until I was satisfied with the result. I actually did pick a few off and move them around and this method allowed for that. If you glue them all at once, you'll have a more difficult time moving rhinestones if you see that it's necessary. Granted, you don't have to pick the glue off like I did because it dries clear, but I'm totally anal.

That's pretty much it, folks. It's kinda hard to show how shimmery it is in the photos. If you're on super tight budget, you might consider cutting your initial out of card board in the color of your rhinestones and then using a paper glue to adhere them. Just remember to create a pick so that you can stick it in the cake.

Because I chose to selectively scatter the crystals, I bought fewer rhinestones and saved some cash. Before I got started, I decided to anchor my "design" with larger rhinestones I bought at Joann's for a buck. I used five of them. I surrounded each with the three expensive sizes of swarvoski crystals.

I ordered our "B" from The Knot's wedding shop. It was on sale and I found a $5 coupon on Retail Me Not, making the topper a whopping $0.99. However, the shipping was outrageous. I also tried several different types of glue and in the end, Gem-Tac is your best bet. It dries clear and you can "pick" away the remainder. I picked it up with a Joann's coupon for half what I paid for the glue on

I purchased the Swarovski crystals on They have good prices and free shipping. I even have some (appx 15) left over that I'm thinking of gluing to my veil. I purchased the XILION Rose style in Crystal: (30) - SS12s, (60) - SS16s and (25) - SS20s. Unless you are infinitely patient, I don't suggest the SS12s. They were so small and a pain in the ass to keep on the tweezers. The other two sizes are great and if you're looking for a third size, go up one from SS20. Obviously, you will need lots more if you're planning to fully embellish your initial, but considering that these things sell for $50 to $150, I'm quite happy with it. 

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