Interchangable Tiered Cake Stand Tutorial

03.23.10

If you’re new here, welcome! I’m AmberLee, and Giverslog is my place to share recipes, gift ideas, pretty wrapping ideas, and whatever else is on my mind. And if you have a moment, stop by my chocolate shop, The Ticket Kitchen. In the meantime, happy thrifting!

UPDATE: Find a simple trick I discovered to make a single-layer cake stand out of any candlestick right here.

At long last, here is the much-requested thrifted cake stand tutorial. This was a gift I made for my S-I-L for Christmas, and I’ve been wanting to make one for myself ever since. Of course, in my world, finishing a craft without a deadline is impossible. So I used last week’s tea party as the day by which it had to happen.

Because my S-I-L is quite the party hostess, I thought I’d like to come up with a version where the plates could be switched out.  You know, like the wristwatch you had in middle school with the interchangeable wrist bands (there are a few of those I’d still like to own). So keep your eyes open for more pretty plates, because you can switch out plates as your parties demand. Any plate with a hole drilled in the middle will do. Or add a tier by using a longer allthread and a few more candlestick segments. It’s all occasion!

So then, if you’re up for a little shopping and assembling, let’s get started.

Shop. First, let’s go shopping, the very fun kind of shopping. This is a good excuse to stop by your favorite thrift stores, flea markets, and houseware shops. Go in search of pieces that will make your heart go pitter pat. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A drawer pull you think is pretty. For me, this was a good excuse to stop by Anthropologie.
  • An allthread to match, so it will screw into the drawer pull. Pick these up at any hardware store.
  • A bolt and washer that fits, for screwing on at the bottom.
  • Paint, if you so choose.
  • A drill and bit for drilling a hole in the plates (more on this below).
  • A candlestick (or pieces of multiple candlesticks) with a hole through the center. Some have a visible hole, others need to be unscrewed and have the center dowel removed. When in doubt, try unscrewing.
  • A set of plates, melamine or ceramic will do.

I believe the drawer pull cost me $8. Everything else combined totaled a whopping $4.88.
Make sure your allthread and drawer pull are the same width. If your drawer pull has a rod like mine, you should be able to unscrew so the allthread can screw directly into the pull. It took a little torque but we got ours out. Pick up two allthreads if you’re going to want to change between two and three tiers with your cake stand. You’ll need an allthread for each different height.

Remember the hollow candlesticks I picked up for this tutorial? I’ve had no problem finding several every time I thrift. And especially if you’re planning to paint, you can use as many pieces from as many candlesticks as you like.
Paint. Time to get busy. If you’re planning to paint the candlestick, disasemble it and paint.

Drill. Next you’ll need to drill a hole right through the center of the plate. Both times I’ve sent Brent out to the workshop to take care of this for me. Though I do like the chance to use a power tool every now and then. His advice is to use a wood bit for drilling through melamine and a ceramic bit for ceramic. He also suggests picking up an extra plate. That way if one plate cracks a bit, you have a second chance. You can drill a few extra holes in your broken plate and get a little practice. He taped the plate right in the center, then drilled through there.

Assemble. Now you get to thread your whole creation together. Likely the allthread will be too long, so you’ll need to cut it off. If you want to alternate between two and three tiers, make sure you get an allthread that will be the right length for each. Finally, thread the washer on and screw the bolt on the bottom.
And there you have it. A pretty tiered cupcake stand, and an excuse to have everyone over for a party. Once the party’s over, just disassemble and store it flat until the next shindig.

{ 83 comments… read them below or add one }

Lacie E March 23, 2010 at 7:03 am

I am so thrilled that you made a tutorial for this!!!! I love love love it!

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Amanda March 23, 2010 at 7:56 am

Awesome tutorial!!! I am wondering though, if you place a blot on the bottom, how do you keep it from wobbling?

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Sherry Cartwright March 23, 2010 at 9:59 am

These cake plates are looooooooovely!
I must*MUST*must make one for myself and maybe even for my sisters. What a fun idea for holidays and such. And, this sure will look better than my very own makeshift cake plate — a turquoise bowl turned upside down with turquoise plate glue-dotted to the bowl’s base. :)

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Samantha Lee March 23, 2010 at 10:30 am

Stealing this idea ten times over! Finally, something to do with all those candlesticks we got as wedding gifts! :)

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Dognbird March 23, 2010 at 10:37 am

This is a fantastic tutorial! I’m going to give it a try.

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Sherry Cartwright March 23, 2010 at 10:46 am

Light bulb moment —- these would be great Mother’s Day gifts for our Cub Scout den. The boys could use their building skills in the making of these lovely cake plates and in turn gift them to their mommas who bring them to meetings each week. Thank you for the idea and inspiration!

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Melanie March 23, 2010 at 11:23 am

Yet another fantastic idea. I’ll happily make one myself since the Liberty of London one is all sold out at Target. Blast.

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Andrea March 23, 2010 at 12:36 pm

You have the luckiest sister in law

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meaghan (chic cookies) March 23, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Fabulous and brilliant tutorial! I love it. I posted a link to your stands at ediblecrafts.craftgossip.com.

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Jenn March 23, 2010 at 2:31 pm

You are so cool. Also to Sherry up there – thanks for the cub scout idea…

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Michelle March 23, 2010 at 3:04 pm

You are so clever!

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Anna March 23, 2010 at 7:56 pm

I love this! Thanks for the how to, I just might have to give it a go! :)

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Vanessa March 23, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Ok, sorry, what is an allthread? Thanks!

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AmberLee March 24, 2010 at 5:11 am

Hi Vanessa!
An allthread is just a metal rod with screw threading on the whole thing, from top to bottom. I just went to the hardware store and asked if they had a metal stick thingie that’s like a really long screw, and they pointed me to it. But I’m sure the OSH guy will be more impressed if you know the name.

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Coniqua March 23, 2010 at 10:03 pm

What a great idea, especially from a storage standpoint. thanks for the detailed tutorial. I’ll have to share this on my blog.

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Charissa - The Gifted Blog March 24, 2010 at 12:04 am

These turned out beautifully. I love your can-do attitude…I wouldn’t have thought to go for it and make one myself!

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Awilda March 24, 2010 at 6:48 am

Oh my Gosh! I totally LOVE this! I can’t wait to make one for myself and maybe one for each of my sisters! I am sooo gonna share this on my blog! Thanks!

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Jenn March 24, 2010 at 9:22 am

What a fantastic idea! Thanks for the tute! This would be a great teacher gift full of fun cupcakes!

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kim March 24, 2010 at 10:23 am

Love this idea… love this blog. Love the name… everything makes me happy! ~ kim

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Mikila Gomez March 24, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Love it.

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Stephanie March 24, 2010 at 4:27 pm

I am so glad someone asked what an allthread was! I thought I was the only one who didn’t know! LOL! Thanks for such a great tutorial, I am going to have to give this a try myself!

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Kareena March 24, 2010 at 5:59 pm

I saw this featured on Be Different. Amazing. Great job. I always passed over those brass candlestick holders. Never again.

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Julie March 24, 2010 at 8:21 pm

I love this! I’ve always wanted one but never wanted to spend that much money!
where did you get the square orange plates? i love that they match but are different from each other!

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Kelli March 25, 2010 at 7:45 am

I love this! Especially that you can disassemble it and store it so easily. AND interchangeable plates! I’m definitely adding this to my to-make list! Thanks for the tute!

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Jerri-Lea March 25, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Love it! Thanks, I’ll definitely be on the look out for supplies for this. And see if the shop teacher at work has anything laying around that I can use.

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Amanda March 26, 2010 at 6:51 am

Great tutorial! Love it!

Can you show a picture of the bottom, or explain how it is not wobbly with a washer/bolt on the bottom of the plate?

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AmberLee March 27, 2010 at 6:38 am

Hi Amanda!
Thanks for stopping by! The bottom of the plate is flush with the candlestick piece, which always has at least a little bit of a flat surface. Then I just screw the bolt on under the candlestick, where noone can see. As long as it’s screwed on snug the whole thing stays nice and level and supports cupcakes and treats nicely.

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Dorothy February 1, 2012 at 3:14 am

hmmm… i still don’t understand how it stays level. can you elaborate, please?

how does the bottom of the plate stay flush with the candlestick? doesn’t the candlestick end on top of the bottom plate and only the allthread goes through it to catch the washer and screw on the very bottom?

and in that case, how does it stay level? jw.

sorry. thank you! heheh.

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AmberLee February 6, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Hi Dorothy! Great question. I actually use the candlestick at the bottom, beneath the bottom plate as well. The candlesticks I’ve used so far I’ve been able to take apart, and use a piece beneath the plate and another between plates (or I piece two candlesticks together).

I did discover a simple trick of using a cork to make a single-layer cake stand out of any candlestick, which you can see right here:
http://www.giverslog.com/?p=11063

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rachel March 26, 2010 at 2:40 pm

This is super cute but I don’t see how you could put a cake on it. Maybe cupcakes or candy?

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Jessica March 26, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Hey AmberLee-

I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE, did I mention I LOVE these? To be quiet honest, I LOVE anything and everything “cupcake.” So, I have the fantastic plan to put all my beautiful cupcakes on these adorable stands. Here’s the deal. . . I already bought 3 amazing knobs at Anthropology! I’d never been there and was waiting for a good excuse. This was perfect! I bought some cheap melamine plates at Target. We live right by an awesome hardware store, so I will pick up the hardware there, but I can’t seem to find those darn candle sticks. I went to our local good will, target, ross and I haven’t seen even one. Do they have a special name? Where did you get yours? Any help from anyone would be awesome. When I see something I love, I have to make it ASAP and it’s killing me that I can’t find the silly candle holder!!! HELP {please}!

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AmberLee March 27, 2010 at 6:32 am

Ahh! Jessica, you haven’t found one!? I’ve found them at my good will every time I go. Sometimes you can’t tell that a candlestick will have a hollow middle until you try unscrewing it. (Most I’ve found unscrew, and once I pull out the rod in the middle, I can put in a thinner allthread rod to make the stand.) Every now and then I find one with a solid base or top, so I just use the middle pieces, and I played with adding the middle pieces of a second candlestick and painting.

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Paula March 29, 2010 at 12:41 am

Wow!! What a nice idea! I´ll try with two old German plates I have at home.
Thank you Amber… Besitos from Madrid.

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cup cake stand March 31, 2010 at 2:07 am

Cool, cool, what an awesome idea and such comprehensive tutorial!!
I LOOOOOVE it so much. You are the bomb! This will come in handy for my girls to do something for Easter as they have been looking for the perfect cup cake stand
Definitely bookmarking this for the future so I don’t miss anything else! Fantastic and thanks for sharing!

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tricia March 31, 2010 at 7:10 am

Beautiful! I love it!

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marybeth @ www.babygoodbuys.com March 31, 2010 at 10:02 am

Oh, I LOVE this idea! what a great excuse to buy those adorable plates I’m always seeing :)

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anh March 31, 2010 at 12:27 pm

fabulous diy! i am definitely going to try this! i have a ton of drawer pulls that i keep on buying… put them to use! i need to get some candlesticks… and plates! but this looks so fun and useful! i can use this for my jewelry too!

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Lisa from Louisiana April 2, 2010 at 8:44 am

LOVE IT!!!!!

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Carol April 24, 2010 at 12:17 am

Wow this is great. I found you from Bette at buyyourhands blog. I believe I could do this. Thanks for the tutorial. I’ll be checking out more as time permits me:)
Carol

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Luckydindy April 27, 2010 at 3:53 pm

To give mine more pizazz I added a small wooden, plant saucer to the bottom.

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Michelle May 7, 2010 at 4:13 pm

I heard about your site from Today’s Creative Blog :) Saw this project, loved it, made a variation of it. Check it out! http://www.designonadollar.com/modern-chic-tiered-serving-tray/

It’s so lovely…

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Amanda July 30, 2010 at 8:05 am

Thanks for the response! Now I get it, I thought the plate was sitting on the table, but really the bottom of the candlestick is sitting on the table. Awesome!

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Fidget Z. August 3, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Brilliant! Inspired!

Let the thrifting commence!

I’m also thinking of making one to use to keep all my clunky bracelets on! and I remember seeing a melamine plate once that had a cutout lace pattern around the edges… If I made that the top piece I could hang earrings from it!

Sharing this EVERYWHERE can!! Thanx for the awesome Ideas!

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Phubie August 4, 2010 at 9:24 am

Great tutorial. I love the idea of being able to interchange the plates. I’m definitely going to give this a try the next time I have a party.

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kim September 22, 2010 at 6:00 am

wow you could use clear plates and modge podge whatever fabric you wish onto the back of the plates

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AmberLee September 22, 2010 at 8:47 am

Kim! I saw this for the first time yesterday while I was shopping for fabric! (I was wondering if it was modge podge, now I know!) It looked so cool. I love this idea and am dying to try.

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Kaylin November 2, 2010 at 4:36 pm

My husband wonders if any washers are needed. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

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AmberLee November 3, 2010 at 4:05 am

Hi Kaylin,
A washer would probably be a good thing. Whatever you can do to make the whole thing screw together! Let me know if you have any other troubles.

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Hampers November 26, 2010 at 9:16 am

Wow so “simple” yet so effective. I was looking at the prices for these in the shops the other week and you could easily spend over £100 on one!! Even the cheapest ones cost about £40.

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margaret wever March 12, 2011 at 1:15 pm

THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH.
I have a very pretty three tier “cake stand. I kept it wrapped for years until I moved into my own house. When I went to assemble to use, the parts broke (apparently that might be why they were on special when I bought it?) and I have not been able to find a solution for this. Thanks for the creative solution. I guess it will be two tier from now on.

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AmberLee March 15, 2011 at 10:33 am

Hi Margaret, Thanks so much for taking a moment to write. I’m so happy to be useful to you! I really do like mine. It always looks so festive when I take it out.

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The Average Bride March 17, 2011 at 10:39 pm

Ooooo I LOVE this idea. Could definitely use this for a tea party or wedding!

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Peggy May 11, 2011 at 11:28 am

Wow this is incredible! I just came over from Infarantly Creative and I can tell I am going to spend a lot of time here. And to think we are having a rummage sale at our church this weekend! I sure am glad that I am one of the ladies who is helping to price/set up so I can do a quick look through before hand!!

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Lindsay May 24, 2011 at 11:27 am

Hey Amberlee! Love this idea! I am making these as gifts for all the many summer birthdays for the SILs! Are the 2 different stands pictured Melamine plates or ceramic? Which do you prefer?

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AmberLee May 24, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Hi Lindsay, Thanks for your sweet note. I’m so happy you like them. This is really one of my all time favorite projects. I’m glad you asked about the plates. I totally prefer melamine. I’ve had much more luck drilling through it. Target right now has some really fun options too.

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Amy May 25, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Hey Amberlee!
These are fantastic. What kind of drill do you use and where can I purchase such a thing? How can you tell if something is melamine, will it say? And, does this work on plastic trays?

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AmberLee May 25, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Hi Amy! Thanks for your note! I just used a standard power drill with a wood drill bit, which is what most drill bits are. You will definitely need a power drill, it is worth borrowing for the project. And yes, plastic trays should work perfectly, that’s all melamine is basically. Some plates have really held up well against cracking while other crack more easily, you can kind of tell by how rigid they seem. I hope this was helpful. Good luck!

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Lindsay June 15, 2011 at 9:35 am

This is for those of you who couldn’t find candlesticks, I couldn’t either! But I improvised and bought wood candle stick holders (at hobby lobby in the wood section). Painted them white and my husband drilled a hole in each end and then we used epoxy to hold the all thread there. That was for the middle. I also bought wood wheels (also at Hobby Lobby – both in the wood craft section) and used that as the bottom piece. Not sure if that makes sense, but it turned out very cute!!

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AmberLee June 15, 2011 at 11:02 am

Thank you, Lindsay! This solution sounds perfect, and super easy to find.

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Annette July 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Thank u for this great idea…:;::PPPP…*~+
Im gona have to try this..

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Diane September 10, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Great! I can´t wait to try this for my next Bday!
ThankX!

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Reesha October 16, 2011 at 12:01 am

Fantastic idea! its goinna solve my problem of how to use my cake stand srews and change the plates to suit my party theme. thanks

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Anja October 31, 2011 at 6:31 pm

I wanted one of those for the longest time…but never could really find any that I liked. This will be my next project. Brilliant! Thanks for sharing!

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Anne-Marie November 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Clever cakestand … clear instructions! Absolutely wonderful, thanks for sharing this idea!!!

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Robin November 20, 2011 at 7:30 pm

THANKS!! I have several and still looking for more plates to have for the different holidays. I found one candlestick at the Goodwill store and in another store I found an old trophy with the long portion with a hollowed center. It is big enough I can either wrap with pretty paper or ribbon to match the plates. I also like disassembled they only take up a small space. Love them!!

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AmberLee November 22, 2011 at 7:32 am

Robin,
Thanks so much for our note, and I love that you found a trophy that will work! Too cool.
xo

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Pam December 6, 2011 at 9:42 am

Hi,
Does anyone know where I can purchase replacement hardware for these tiered dessert/cupcake stands? I would like to make several of these for gifts, but have not found where I can purchase this hardware. Thanks in advance!
Pam

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lemonsbunch December 15, 2011 at 8:21 pm

I LOVE this!! I havea few vintage 2 and 3 tiered servers, but they are aluminum and red! This is a great way to interchange the plates!!! I was in the Dollar Tree (everything is a dollar!!!) and saw some melamine plates the other day that were plain white!! and some clear glass ones! I am making a trip to town tomorrow to get them!!! Thank you again!!! You are AWESOME!!!!

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AmberLee December 16, 2011 at 1:20 pm

thanks so much for the note, Lemonsbunch! i’m happy you’re as excited as I am : )

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Pam December 21, 2011 at 10:46 am

I was able to purchase the handle/hardware on ebay at a very inexpensive price!

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Kristi February 1, 2012 at 3:41 am

I came across your idea here as i was searching to just buy one of these. Of course they are 20-60 dollars! I love anything i can do myself :) I am hitting our antique mall this weekend for plates and making a couple of these to display my miniature cupcake bath bombs for upcoming craft shows. Fantastic idea :)

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Lanee February 8, 2012 at 9:54 pm

I LOVE THIS!!!!!!!! I haven’t been able to find a tiered server that I LOVE…. Now I can just design my own!!!!!!
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
~Lanee

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AmberLee February 9, 2012 at 5:52 am

thanks for your sweet note, Lanee!

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chelsea March 13, 2012 at 11:45 am

is the paint you used food safe?? if so what did you use?

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Harveysgirl July 12, 2012 at 11:44 am

May I just say that by no means was this project as simple as it sounds here. My first bump was finding the candle sticks holders.. all that I found were hollow through the middle, except the bottom end of all of them had a bolt thread welded on to it to go into the bottom piece of the holder. (which there is no way to secure the rest of the stand without having an opening for the all thread to go through.) so this project turned in a nightmare, needing my husband to cut the bolt type thing off the end, then re-drilling the hole, then having to sand down the bottom of the candle stick holder so that it sat flat on the plate.
All this only to find that all of the knobs I had bought (and all the others the store had) did not just have the smaller all thread screwed in tightly, they were all glued in. And after trying several different methods of trying to get them out, the only thing that worked was to hold the knob under a flame for several minutes to burn off the glue. Getting the new all thread that holds the whole thing together to stay in the knob had to be done with epoxy glue. (adding another 24 hours of dry-time to the project)
I made one each for 2 of my sisters who are getting married, they turned out pretty nicely, but not without a lot of frustration on my part. I just wanted to let others know that making one of these tiered cupcake stands is not as easy as it may look.

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Jessica July 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm

I had trouble finding a drawer pull that fits the allthread. I looked at Home Depot, and NONE of them fit. Where do you get your drawer pull. BTW, thanks for this awesome tutorial! I have Christmas planned now in July!

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Denise November 25, 2012 at 9:24 am

Thank You for all your creative ideas. I’m also a mom & am always looking for ways to entertain my kids.

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AmberLee November 28, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Thanks, Denise! IT was so sweet of you to dro pme a note!!

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Judy @ Season of Sweets November 28, 2012 at 12:22 am

Brilliant! Thanks for sharing :)

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Bethany Crum December 4, 2012 at 12:42 pm

What do you use to keep the bottom from wobbling (b/c of the bolt)? I’m making two of these for gifts and I’m super excited.

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Wendy January 19, 2013 at 9:02 am

I am not entirely sure of the order of the pieces.

Is it:
1. knob
2. all thread screws in the knob
3. washer on allthread
4. then the bolt after the washer
5. then the remainder of the all thread goes through this hole in the plate and screws into the candlestick between the plates?
7. how does the candlestick end attach to the other plate?

i’m sorry i am lost as to the exact order of items to attach all securely

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AmberLee January 29, 2013 at 11:08 pm

Hi Wendy,
Thanks so much for stopping by!! Great question!
I actually went with this order:
1. knob
2. all thread screws in the knob
3. top plate is next, it goes flat against the knob
4. the allthread then goes through candlestick that holds the plates apart, and
5. through the bottom plate.
6. Then a washer and bolt hold it all together at the very bottom.

I hope this was helpful!! Am wishing you the best of luck!

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SZQ February 11, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Hi, I have been buying old china at estate sales and am thrilled to try this… I wondered if a lamp shade holder, that screws on would work instead of knob/pull. I saw a show that said to drill ceramic/china to use a diamond tip drill bit and always start on an angle. Wish you well.

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