DIY Inexpensive and Easy Cupcake Stand

As promised, and of course, late- directions on how to whip up a super simple and inexpensive cupcake stand for any occaision. Let me just apologize in advance for not going all out and remaking one from start to finish. I just don’t have it in me right now. It is, however, super simple to make, so I fudged a bit and faked it out for the pictures, but I’m confident you’ll get the idea.


Cardboard cake circles in varying sizes (I only used 2 sizes, but 3 sizes would be great, too). These come in 14″ down to 8″ at Hobby Lobby and cost anywhere from $2-$5/pack. You can make 2 levels out of each pack (with 6 circles to a pack and 3 circles to a level).

1 yard fabric

2-3 yards 1/2 inch grosgrain ribbon to coordinate

Tacky/craft glue and hot glue gun (the cheap one works fine)

2-3 sheets of 12×12 coordinating scrapbook paper

Clear tape or even double sided tape

A few cans from your pantry (you might want a couple of these to be extra wide for extra support)

First, stack and glue three cardboard circles on top of each other with a thin bead of hot glue swirled evenly across each circle. Do this for as many levels as you plan on having (I can’t say I’d recommend more than 4).

Next, swirl a thin bead of tacky glue from the inside all the way to the very outer edges of the top of the glued level and place it on top of your (pre pressed and wrinkle free) fabric. Let dry for a few minutes then cut around the edges. I like to do a rough cut a little larger than the circle and then do a more precise cut with less fabric to mess with.

Now line the edges of the cardboard with your grosgrain ribbon, slowly working around and adhering it with hot glue.

Let’s work on the cans. Grab your scrapbook paper and cut strips a little less than 4.5 inches wide, just a smidge (for standard height cans). You will need more than one piece for the extra wide cans, but the height will be the same. Wrap the paper around the can and secure with tape.

Put a finished level fabric side down, grab a can (the size you want responsible for holding up that level), find the middle of the circle and trace around the can. (Note- for mine, one of the levels did not have a can underneath it and rested directly on the table.)

Remove the can and apply a generous amount of hot glue to the outline. Also, run some hot glue around the top of the can (where it will meet the cardboard). Press the can onto the cardboard and let sit until it’s completely dry. The key is to have glue both inside and outside the lip of the can. And keep in mind that you’ll want to line up the back seams of your cans with the seams of your ribbon so that can be the “back” of the stand.

After you’ve done this for all the layers that will be elevated, you should end up with something like this.

Keep it like this until you get to where you can set it up. Then just stack it up and place your cupcakes on it.

When you’re finished, you can remove the cans pretty easily and the hot glue should peel off (it will tear some of the cardboard, but I wouldn’t stress about it), or you can just glue over it next time. Remove the paper from the cans and put them back in your pantry and save the layers for the next time you need it. It’s super simple to reassemble. (We used this one at Kendall’s 1st birthday last year and again at his 2nd birthday. I see a lot of life in it’s future.)

Hope that inspires you all! I think you can really take this concept and run with it, making lots of creative and cheap stands. Please share pictures if you do! And let me know if you have any questions in the comment section. Thanks!

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  1. Thank you so much, Jill!! I was the one pestering you about this on twitter and I really appreciate you taking ANY energy you had left to compile this information. I am DEFINITELY going to do this for my daughter’s first birthday. I’ll let you know how it goes! 🙂

  2. Yay! Thanks for the tutorial!

    I was just thinking that it might also be neat to get some clear plastic cups from the dollar store and use those as the support stands, then you can put flowers or objects that match the theme of the party inside them! 🙂

  3. Wow! That is so super cool! I wish my kid’s birthday’s hadn’t just passed because I totally would have done this. Instead I used a platter and it just wasn’t as nice. Hopefully I can remember to come back here in 5 months for the next birthday party I’ll be hosting.

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  9. so my son birthday is this week I am going to make the stand I have to order his cake 2morow and I mbed to know how many cupcakes does this stand hold and could I fit a 8in cake on top and fit 3 dozen cupcakes

    • Hmmm… I think the most I fit was 2 dozen?? The size of the cake you can put on top will depend on the size of that cardboard round you use. Have fun!

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  11. Thank you for this!! It was exactly what we needed for our veggie tales party! I will try to send you a pic… What a great idea! We topped with a bob the tomato.

    Yes, DEFINITELY need full cans, though!

  12. Hi Jill,

    I just want to tell you a big “Thank you”. You explain this so good and pics are great.
    Your tutorial serve until here, in France 😉
    Thank you again it will be usefull for my daughter’s 2th party!

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  15. You said this stand held about 2 dozen (24) cupcakes, correct? Can you tell me (if you remember) the size cake rounds you used? It appears the bottom two are one size and the top two are another size. As to the inches, I cannot deduce from the picture. 🙂

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  17. Kathy Thompson on

    This is really cute. This is going to be a Lego stand. Instead of can’s I’m going to use Legos to do middle supports.

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