Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tutorial: Dessert Towers from Thrift Store Plates

Recently, I've been having fun creating dessert trays from thrift store plates.  I love the idea of a large dessert tower but don't want to pay the price of a new one.  Here are some of my creations.

This is the first one I made.  I used two plates and an egg cup that I found from the local thrift store.

This next one is made from three plates and two candlesticks.  I turned the candlesticks upside down so that the candle base would take up less space on the plates.

I was having so much fun creating these, that I decided to share the fun.  I brought along my friend Kim for this one and took pictures of the process.  I hope you can have just as much fun as I did with this!

Dessert Tower Tutorial

Step 1: Find the plates!  I usually start by wandering the plate aisle at my local thrift store and see what inspires me.  For the first two, I used matching plates in different sizes.  For this third one, I decided to branch out and found several pieces that looked nice together, without exactly matching.  And the fun part is you can make it as tall or as short as you like.  I started with two plates and have now moved on to four.  Yikes!

Step 2: Find your connectors.  This is the part that will help you build up your tower.  I recommend just wandering the housewares and seeing what you find.  I got lucky with the egg cup for the first one b/c it matched so well.  However, the candle aisle is another great place to look.  Just think about what would look good and don't be afraid to try random things.  It may look really good!  For this piece, I chose three candlesticks in varying heights.

Step Three: Mix up your adhesive.  I used Epoxy for this step.  I'm not a glue expert, but my husband gave this to me and it has held up well.  You can find Epoxy at the hardware store.  The kind I used came in two conjoined syringes.  You just squeeze out an equal amount of both liquids and mix together (I used toothpicks for this).  Once the liquids mix, a chemical reaction occurs which begins to harden the epoxy.  That means after this step, you need to work quickly!

Step 4: Apply adhesive and build tower.  Working quickly and carefully, begin to assemble your tower.  I'm the kind of crafter that likes to "wing it," but you are more than welcome to measure things out first and mark your placement (see here for tips on how to find the center of a circle).  I typically begin building from the bottom to the top; it's easier for me to place objects down onto the adhesive than the other way around.  It can be helpful to ask someone to help you with this step so that you can check the straightness from multiple angles.  But keep in mind; some pieces will be irregular and you may not always get a perfectly straight product.  That's okay!  It shows it's an original piece of art.

 Step 5: Admire and let dry.  The epoxy I used takes five minutes to set and 24 hours to fully harden.  Once it dries you are good to go.  I don't recommend putting these in the dishwasher, but they hold up well to hand-washing.  Here are some pictures of the final product.  You can also see the one made by Kim.  It's classic blue-and-white with clear, glass candlesticks in between.

Now the only question is, what are you going to bake to put on it?


  1. These are fantastic! I love your creativity, Jenny!

  2. I love these dessert trays. They are so charming. I can imagine them with cookies, candies, etc. - especially if there is something different on each plate level. What a great item for a baby or wedding shower or buffet. Neat way to use the miscellaneous plates you end up with from a grandma or someone else, too. Thanks for the tutorial!

  3. What a fun project!! I might have to use this for a lady's craft night :)


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