Introduction: DIY Cake Stand for a Wedding
In this project, I am making a DIY Cake Stand For A Wedding. I had a client reach out, needing a cake stand for their upcoming wedding, so after talking about some of the details, this is what I came up with. And if you’re wondering why the stump in the following steps looks a bit different than the one I used in the thumbnail for the video, it’s because it is a different stump. ha. This client’s wedding had not happened yet at the time of releasing this, and I happened to make another one for a family event, so I was able to get finished photos with a cake on it from that.
Follow along with the project and be sure to watch the video!
Step 1: BACKGROUND:
In talking with the client, they originally wanted the engraving of their names and the wedding date to be in the side of the stump. However, my Glowforge cannot fit this large of an item in the bed of it, so I had to come up with a different solution. My solution: leather. I knew that I could engrave a nice piece of leather and then maybe just tack it onto the side of the stump with some decorative tacks. I pitched this to the client and they loved the idea!
Step 2: TOOLS & MATERIALS:
Glowforge Laser Engraver: Save up to $500 when using my link https://glowforge.us/r/GwnI7W
Mahoney's Walnut Oil: https://amzn.to/2Y7psbJ
Upholstery Tacks: https://amzn.to/32YQfc4
Tack Hammer: https://amzn.to/32YQfc4
Flattening Bit: https://amzn.to/32YQfc4
Random orbit sander - https://amzn.to/32YQfc4
Tripod I Love: https://amzn.to/32YQfc4
iPhone Tripod Holder: https://amzn.to/32YQfc4
Camera: https://amzn.to/32YQfc4 (I have older model of this)
Step 3: FITTING THE ROUTER TO THE SLED:
Before I could start flattening this stump to be used for the cake stand, I had to attach my router to the router flattening sled. This sled is made by my buddy, Brent, over at Clean Cut Woodworking. If you’re interested in picking one up, shoot him a message on Instagram. He’s always good about answering questions about them, and he has multiple sizes for sale.
These router sleds have a thick piece of acrylic to attach the router, which helps you see what’s happening below. I like this feature. I just had to mark where my router would mount to it, countersink a couple of holes so the screws could sit below the surface, and get it all hooked back up to the mount.
Step 4: SELECTING THE LOG:
Next, I headed out to my parents’ property to dig through a pile of logs we had out there. This stuff was destined for the firewood pile (when it is not 100 degrees out, it’ll get split…this tree fell some months back). We grabbed the tractor and combed through quite a few before landing on the one I wanted to use. Then, I used my chainsaw to cut a couple of cookies (cross-sections of logs) off. I didn’t know if I would need more than one, so I went ahead and cut three at the same time. This gave me a bit of insurance to make sure I could come through for the client if I messed up.
Once back at my house, I brought the cookies inside and chose the one I wanted to flatten first. I got it all settled on the workbench where I set up the flattening sled and used a bit of hot glue to hold down the stump and keep it from rocking or moving.
Step 5: FLATTENING THE LOG:
It was finally time to do some flattening. The reason I like this particular flattening sled so much is just how easy it slides. Because of that, if you’re having a particularly long flattening session (like I did when I did this, because I did two different stumps and one oblong centerpiece that will be a future project), it really helps with fatigue. you don’t have to worry much about anything except just controlling the machine. Sliding it back and forth is virtually effortless.
To start, set your bit depth to just barely take off some from the highest spot on the stump. Run across any spots where the bit will actually make contact. Then, lower the bit just a little, and do it again. Eventually, you’ll get to where the entire piece will be making contact with the bit. At this point, when you’ve reached even the lowest part, you have achieved a flat piece. It’s time to flip the piece over, and flattening the other side to be parallel with the one you just did.
This makes a huge mess and throws chips and dust everywhere so definitely wear a respirator and I usually wear a face shield also, just in case. It’s just an old habit from turning stuff at the lathe.
Step 6: ADDING LEATHER ELEMENTS:
Instead of engraving the side of the stump (as I mentioned earlier, I can’t fit this large of an item into my Glowforge laser engraver), I opted to engrave a piece of nice leather and then attach it to the side of the stump.
Leather has been hit or miss with actually cutting it on my 40 watt laser. Some leathers are just notoriously difficult to cut through. Because of that, I decided to just put a score line on the leather piece with the laser, and then use a utility knife to cut on that line. It worked perfectly, and I got a nice, clean edge.
Step 7: CLEANING THE LEATHER:
There are a number of things you can use to clean smoke stain left on leather by the laser. Often, people will use rubbing alcohol or denatured alcohol. However, sometimes using these will discolor the leather a bit, leaving it darker in some places than it was previously. I didn’t want this, so I opted to just buff the surface of the leather with a clean, cotton cloth. I picked up this hint from my friend, Jeremy, since he had done a good bit with lasers and leather. Because this leather had a nice smooth finish on the surface, it worked pretty well. If a leather was kind of dull, it might not have worked so well.
Step 8: SANDING:
I didn’t show this part in my video (and I don’t have any photos of it), but I decided to remove the bark from this log. The client originally wanted it left on, but this log had been sitting on the ground for a couple of months at this point and I didn’t want any bugs to be a problem. Bugs like to get between the bark and the actual tree, so I confirmed with the client, and then removed the bark. It would have possibly fallen off at some point anyway, so it was inevitable. Plus, I’m glad I did, because there was so much spalting in this log!
I sanded all of the surfaces, starting at 80 grit and going to 120 grit after that. For the purposes of this project, that was plenty smooth!
Step 9: ADDING FINISH:
It was finally time to put some finish on this cool cake stand and see all of the grain come to life! For the finish, I’m using some walnut oil (big surprise). I just spread it around, let it soak in a bit and then wipe off any excess. This oil will actually dry and become part of the wood. Look at the black lines from the spalting!
Step 10: ENGRAVED LEATHER PLAQUE:
Finally, it was time to add the laser engraved leather plaque. The client wanted their names, as well as a monogrammed letter of their last name and the date of their wedding, engraved into the face of the leather. I picked up some bronze upholstery tacks and used those to secure the leather to the stump.
I wanted to give you a few pointers about upholstery tacks, if you’ve never worked with them before. First, it really helps to have some needle nose pliers to hold the tack part while you’re hammering them in. This keeps your fingers safe from the hammer, but it also helps ensure that you don’t bend the tacks over. There’s something about holding them just from the sides and hitting with a normal hammer that makes some of them want to bend. That’s another thing, pick up an inexpensive tack hammer. It has a very skinny head and it meant to apply pressure to these small little things, as well as other types of tacks. It applies pressure in a very small area. In the few times I’ve used upholstery tacks, this went the best using this method. I’ve used them on some other projects, and I’ve always bent some of them. I know I only used four of them here, but I didn’t have trouble with any of them!
As for the leather, I like to start on one side and secure both of those corners first. I actually don’t hammer the tacks all of the way down as hard as I can. I leave them just a tad loose. That way, I can kind of work the leather across and make sure that all of the lumps are out before securing the opposite side. At that point, I drive them all in pretty tight.
Step 11: CONCLUSION:
This was a fun project to make something I’ve never made before! I’m glad this client challenged me with their idea. They really like how it turned out and they couldn’t wait to use it at their wedding.
I’d love to hear what you think about this project. Drop me a comment and let me know if you would have done anything differently than the way I did it. Also, I would appreciate it if you would head over to my video, watch that and drop a comment there. It helps me out a ton! Be sure to scroll below through some of the finished shots.