Friday, May 21, 2010

DIY Glass Tiered Serving Dishes

I'm going to share a little trick with you that I used at our wedding reception. At each of our tables, my almost-husband and I decided to have individual wedding cakes (Who am I kidding? It was my idea and he liked it. So we did it). We needed an economical way to display these cakes instead of buying about 35 cake plates, or dealing with the organizational nightmare of borrowing that many cake plates from friends. We were able to do this for pennies on the dollar. That's right, those tiny copper thingies you sometimes receive as change.

I've even been able to reuse this idea at the many, many baby showers and wedding showers I've thrown since. Often the shower attendees love the idea and I was reminded to blog about it when a friend of mine (Hi Lucretia!) who loves, loves, loves to make things (she's making her own wedding dress!) mentioned she was in the market for a tiered serving dish to showcase the beautiful cupcakes they will be serving at her wedding. So here's the blog I forgot to blog about!

About 25 days after we moved into our new home, I threw a baby shower for my good friend Haley and her in utero son Charlie (who was born on May 15th! Hi Charlie!). I wanted the day to be special and to look beautiful but it also needed to come together quickly without a lot of fuss or else I'd go bonkers. I think the glass-tiered serving dishes hit just the right note, if I do say so myself.

Here's how we made the cake plates for our wedding (Sorry, no available pictures of that day to post here.). In the upcoming months and weeks before my wedding, my mom scoured Goodwills and resale shops and garage sales for glass plates and platters for the top of the cake plate and bowls, candlesticks and even glass light fixtures for the base. Often we were able to purchase these pieces for 10 to 50 cents. CENTS!

After collecting all the pieces, it's time to assemble. You'll need a glue gun and industrial strength glue. Grab a candle stick (or bowl or light fixture or sundae dish). This will function as your base. The widest end needs to be the part that sits on the table for the greatest stability. On the opposite end, the smallest end, apply a generous amount of industrial strength glue. Remember, it MUST be industrial strength. Your guests will be taking food off of the platters and sometimes they may bump the tier--you don't want your creation falling apart on them! I could go into detail how awful this could be given my overactive imagination, but I won't. And, from experience, I've never had this happen to me because industrial strength glue does the trick. 

While the glue is hot on the smallest end of your base, pick up your glass plate or platter and carefully center it onto your base.

You're finished! You just made a cake plate. Congratulations.

For Haley's baby shower (all the pictures in this post are from the shower) I wanted to have serving dishes of variable heights and needed more space for all the food. So instead of stopping at one level, we added one more, or two. When assembling a two- or three-tiered serving dish, be sure to have the largest and heftiest pieces on the bottom and the lightest and smallest pieces on the top. Not only is is more aesthetically appealing, but it is more sturdy.

The nice thing about industrial strength glue is that while it keeps everything in place, it is not permanent. After the event, you can disassemble the pieces with some hot water and a knife. The hot water softens the glue and sometimes the point of the knife helps separate the pieces. We've found that after you separate the pieces, the glue is usually stuck to one side. If you allow the glue to cool it's a snap to pull if off; it usually comes off in a complete circle. The ability to take the tiers apart at the end of the event is handy because it is much easier to store the pieces for the next event--and that event might call for a different arrangement of pieces than what you used last time. This project is flexible! Cheap! Handy! Beautiful! Is there anything better?

I bet your creative brain is just churning. There are quite a few variations. You don't have to use glass. Ceramic could be just as beautiful. You could even create a permanent cake plate or tiered dish by using a stronger epoxy.

Have fun! You can do it!


  1. Replies
    1. We used the Hobby Lobby brand "Hot Melt" glue sticks, industrial grade adhesive.