This DIY Rustic Log Cake Stand is fairly simple to complete if you have the right tools. We didn’t have all the tools we probably needed, but we improvised to complete the project. If we can make one of these, anybody can!
As you already know if you’ve been following this blog, our oldest daughter, known here as Mrs. Merica, was recently married. She and her husband were still in high school at the time of the wedding. I will eventually share that story. (SPOILER ALERT – There was no pregnancy involved.) That story is a long post for another day (which you can now read about here), but basically, we had about ten weeks to throw together a wedding for nearly 300 guests. We do our best to avoid debt at The House That Never Slumbers, so we made most of the decorations, floral arrangements, and so on ourselves. Some of our other wedding DIY’s can be found under the Wedding tab. One of my favorite decorations was the cake stand.
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We priced cakes at many different bakeries, and all of them wanted several hundred dollars for a cake that would serve 300 guests. Some of the bakeries wouldn’t even give us prices if we didn’t set an appointment and come in for a tasting. We just didn’t have time for that level of complication, and I’m sure those would have been outrageously priced anyway. I couldn’t fathom paying that much for a cake when Costco makes amazing filled cakes for $18.99 each. We ordered the tiered cake shown on the cake stand above from Walmart for about $60 just to have one fancy cake on the table for posed pictures.
The guests were served Costco sheet cakes. We ordered part of the cakes as white with the vanilla cheesecake filling and the rest as chocolate cake with the vanilla cheesecake filling. We ordered seven cakes, but there were three left over after the wedding, so we could have reduced our order. We bought a Costco membership for the sole purpose of ordering those cakes. The cost of the membership made sense considering the same sized sheet cake at Walmart is $25 plus another $5 if you want to add filling. We knew we would be buying these cakes for both the wedding and the graduation party a few months later.
Enough about the cakes though. This post was supposed to be about the cake stand. The wedding decorations had a kind of rustic, but elegant, theme. There were a lot of different cake stands on Pinterest made from logs or crates. Mrs. Merica really liked those, but to purchase one would have been an absurd amount of money. Instead of buying one, we sent RiflemanDad to the woods with a chainsaw and instructions to find a log with a diameter large enough to accommodate the tiered wedding cake. We asked him to make the cuts as straight as possible to keep the stand level. Fortunately, we had our woods logged a couple of years ago, and many of the parts of the trees that couldn’t be used by the logger are still lying on the ground. RiflemanDad was able to find one large enough. I’m sure there’s a type of saw that could have made the cuts more level, but we don’t own that type of saw, so we had to live with the imperfect cuts from the chainsaw. I figured we could add pieces of felt to the underside to level it out if needed, but RiflemanDad actually did a really great job with the chainsaw, so we didn’t need any leveling.
We brought the stump inside the house. Then I used very special skills that have taken me years of woodworking training to acquire for carving the heart into the bark. Just kidding! I drew a heart on the log with a Sharpie. Then I went into the kitchen and got a steak knife. I used a small hammer to tap the plastic end of the steak knife while working my way around my drawing of the heart. Fortunately, the bark was pretty dry from sitting on the ground for so long. I used the knife and a flathead screwdriver to chisel out all the bark inside the heart outline. This was a little bit dangerous. I about cut myself a number of times. I should have been wearing gloves or something. Once I was satisfied with my heart being approximately the right size, I used my handy-dandy Dremel rotary tool to get down to the nice light-colored wood under all the bark.
I used the bit pictured with the kit that looks like a cylinder first. Then I used one of the grinding bits that looks more like a q-tip to finish around the edges of the heart. I thought I would need to sand the top and bottom surfaces of the stump, but they were already really smooth from the chainsaw cuts.
I sprayed the whole thing really well with the shower head to get all the dust off and left it in the bathtub to dry for a few days. BullseyeBubba wasn’t very happy about giving up his shower for the project, and I think he actually refused to shower during that few days even though we have three other bathrooms with perfectly functioning showers. I’m pretty sure the stump ended up sitting in that shower to dry for over a week because we left for a trip to Pigeon Forge a few days later. The entire family, including the soon-to-be bride and groom, leaving for a family vacation two weeks prior to your daughter’s wedding is exactly what every sane family does, right? We had the hotel booked long before we realized we would be having the wedding in March, and we didn’t want to lose our deposit. That’s just what happens when you have ten weeks to plan a wedding (really just nine weeks when you subtract the week in Pigeon Forge), but that’s a story for another day.
When we returned from Pigeon Forge, we had to kick it into high gear and finish all the decorations that weren’t quite ready. We woodburned the initials onto the stump. Fortunately, we already had several woodburning tools because the kids took a woodburning class at our homeschool co-op many, many years ago. Woodburning kits are really cheap, and you can do so much with them.
Even children can make very nice, personalized gifts for relatives with an inexpensive woodburning kit. We used the woodburners to add personalization to the wood slices the ring bearers carried as well. You can see those in the next picture.
After all the wood burning was complete, I spayed the smooth areas with clear Rust-oleum just to give it more of a finished look.
As you can see the Rustic Log Cake Stand turned out unbelievably well, considering we had no clue what we were doing and just winged the entire project. The only item we bought for the project was the clear spray paint which was around $4. Some cake stands of a similar style on Pinterest were going for prices in the hundreds.
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