DIY: Repairing and updating an heirloom wedding cake topper

Cake topper (right) in the family bakery window, San Francisco, ca. 1940s

My mom recently offered me an heirloom cake topper from the family bakery — it had been used at both her and my grandmother’s weddings.  Unfortunately, being nearly 70 years old, it was crumbling and yellowing at the bottom a bit.


Mom told me that I could do whatever I wanted to it — but being a history nerd, I wanted to repair and update it without permanently altering it.   The first order of business was to whip out the hot glue gun and repair the bottom.  Of course, this isn’t pretty, especially since some chunks were missing in the front, the glue shows, and the bottom is a significantly different color (in real life) than the top.


Solution: cover it up, remove the bells, and add some color and sparkle.  I used ivory lace, green leaves with floral wire, peacock feathers, and sparkly pearl and rhinestone earring (Forever 21 has great vintage-inspired earrings).


First, I took the bells and white leaves off, because I’m wearing ivory and turquoise and will have peacock feathers in my hair.  Then I added the green leaves.  It’s easy — you just bend the wire up behind the leaves and wrap around the top loop.  Then I wrapped the original ivory flowers back down around the green wire to hide it.  You can arrange the leaves however you want — the wire makes it easy.

Next: the top decoration (the sparkly earring).  I could have hot glued it on, but I decided that it would be better if I could easily remove it (in case anyone else wants to use it and change it again).  Solution: use round jewelry pliers to make a loop with the earring post.

Leave the earring loop open at the side, and then hook over the top of the wedding topper.  If necessary, adjust the position and close the loop.

Then it was time for the lace.  I decided wrapping the lace around the bottom twice gave the best coverage.  I cut a length that wrapped around twice, and carefully hot-glued the lace to itself (NOT to the bottom of the cake topper!).

The lace was too long, so I trimmed it.

Next, the peacock feathers.  I trimmed and hot-glued two together, then used green floral wire to wrap around them.  This way, I could insert it into the lace so it stands at the back of the cake topper, while still being removable.

And — done! This was a 30-minute project, and I get to have a little piece of family history with me on my wedding day.  For the full set of DIY photos, click here.

It’s not perfect, but I’m hoping the frosting will help hide the chunk missing in the front.


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