Introduction: Robot Cake Topper
This is one of my most loved creations. It took about a week of nights, because you have to paint and position everything SO. CAREFULLY.
I looked for hours for someone who made a tutorial, but no one did, so there was a lot of trial and error along the way. I believe that I've perfected it!
I've seen these on etsy, and although I have a deep love of robots, there's no way I was paying over $100 for one.
For about $20, I found that I could make my own! Quite honestly, I think I love the look of mine much more.
Step 1: Material List
One of the hardest parts of constructing this was figuring out all of the materials that I needed as well as what sized item would look good with what. Lucky for you, have figured that all out!
Found at Micheal's:
- 2 Doll Head/Knob 1.5" - Lara's Crafts (for heads)
- 2 Doll Head/Knob 1" - Lara's Crafts (for guy's butt and girl's bust)
- 2 Miniature Cheese Graters - found in the wedding favor aisle (for guy's body and girl's dress). If these cannot be found, any small cone shaped object will work. The cheese grater gives it more of an industrial feel, but painted Styrofoam or a wooden cone will also look right.
- 2 Wooden Toy Wheels 1.25" - Lara's Crafts (for guy's wheels)
- 4 Button Plugs 5/16" - Lara's Crafts (for guy's eyes and girl's ears)
- Dowel Rod (for arms) - Whatever size you get, make sure you take the rod to the hardware store with you to pick out the nuts. They need to be able to screw onto the dowel rod.
- Balsa Wood - 1/16" (for bow tie and tuxedo accent on guy)
- 12 Nuts (make sure they easily thread onto the dowel rod from above)
- 3 Large Washers (The size you need will vary depending on the cheese grater you get. - - Take the cheese grater with you to the hardware store to make sure you get the right sizes.) (These are for securing the bases of the heads, and the small base of the girl robot.)
- 6" Wooden Base (what the robots are standing on)
- Acrylic Paint (FolkArt: Silver Sterling, Metallic Antique Gold, and Metallic Antique Copper)
- Wire Hanger and Wire Cutters
- Grommets for girl's eyes
- Hot Glue Gun
- X-acto Knife
- Paint Brushes
- Heart Button
- Clear Sealer (I used Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch Ultra Cover Matte Clear)
- Wax paper
Step 2: Cut Out the Bow Tie and Suit Coat From Balsa Wood
Draw your desired bow tie and suit-jacket flap shapes on paper. Cut them out, and hold them up to the cheese grater/body object. Too big? Too small? Adjust the size, and try again. Once you feel that you've cut out the perfect size and shape from paper, use it as a stencil on your balsa wood. I used pencil to trace the stencil.
With your X-acto knife, slowly cut out your shapes. It took me a few times to get the bow tie and suit-jacket flaps to cut correctly. Don't get frustrated!
Balsa wood is hard to cut because it splits very easy along its grain, and "compresses" when you cut against the grain. So use a sharp knife and move slowly.
Step 3: Cut Your Wire Hanger to Make Mouths
Using your wire cutter, cut off a small amount from your hanger. Bend the hanger piece into a smile with pliers. Hold it up to the head object for each robot to make sure it isn't too big/too small. Use your own judgment for smile width - you might want to make it ear-to-ear or even a tiny one to better show off your personality.
Step 4: Time to Paint and Seal!
Painting all of the parts sounds easy, but it's actually quite difficult. Since every single area needs to be covered perfectly, you'll have to do two to three coats of paint.
I painted every single item, even the washers and the nuts, because I wanted the colors to match. Painting is most difficult on these types of items: including the grommets, the cheese grater/body object, and the wire hanger, so you may want to use a spray primer first to avoid the hassle of doing 4-5 coats of acrylic paint. It's also quite hard to paint circular items. Be patient; you may have to paint the top half, let it dry, then come back and paint the bottom half!
Once you are completely satisfied with the paint job, be sure to spray all of the pieces with your clear sealer. Don't forget to flip the pieces over once dry and spray the bottoms. This helps prevent the paint job you did from peeling off and protects it better from the elements so it can last longer!
Step 5: Hot Glue the Pieces Together
Now for the fun part!
For the nuts on the arms, simply screw them onto the dowel rod until you have all three on each arm. These form the "shoulders", and should be flush with the top of the dowel rod.
Hot glue the 'easy' pieces together. There is no specific order, so you can just do what you feel comfortable with. Use the photos I have provided to guide you in gluing the robots together. It was all by-the-eye, and I believe this is what allowed us to give it our own personality.
The difficult pieces include the wheels on the guy and the two arms that hold the "ring".
You need to make sure that the wheels sit evenly so the guy robot doesn't stand crooked. I had to rip off his wheels and re-glue a few times before I got it perfect. He won't stand on his own, so you have to hot glue his wheels to the base. Hot glue is good for "re-dos" because it doesn't bond super strong.
Once the man's wheels are glued down and he is standing on his own, glue the woman next to him. Give them enough room to hold hands.
For the arms, you need to find the correct angle for their hands to meet. This took me a few times as well, and you will most likely need another person to help insert glue while you hold it perfectly. I positioned them on a flat surface laying down in order to figure this step out. Make sure they come together with enough room for a washer to be glued to their hands. The washer symbolizes a "ring".
Step 6: Paint the Hot Glue & Make "Food Safe"
There isn't a way to avoid hot glue from showing where you glued. To hide this, I used a really small brush and painted over the hot glue. After that, it looked perfect! Just make sure you hot-glue very liberally. I also recommended a precision-tip hot glue gun for the small areas.
As a final step to prepare the cake topper for your wedding cake, cut a piece of wax paper about 1/8 inches smaller than your cake topper base and either double-side tape or glue it to the bottom.
Ta-Da! Robot Cake Topper - the most epic cake topper of all!