Sunday, April 29, 2012

Serving Style DIY

Greetings and salutations. I hope you're all having a marvelous Sunday afternoon. I certainly am. There is usually a lot to do on Sundays, but this one is actually kind of mild and peaceful, so much so that my fiancee has drifted off into a rather deep slumber. It's well deserved. The end of this past week has been chock full of work.  Dan has been laboring long and hard over the bathroom at our new house, and when I haven't been at that task with him, I've been working on wedding whatnots. This last month and a half before the big day is when we get to think about all the lovely little details...which break down into all the lovely little DIY projects.  Today I'm going to share with you (in step by step fashion) the latest and greatest of these projects:

If you're on the up and up of what's trendy in the wedding world (i.e., a late teen to mid-twenties female with internet access), you probably know that dessert buffets are all the rage.  The internet is practically clogged with all kinds of picture of cutesy jars filled with colorful candies and mini pies and all that jazz. I love it. I so very support this trend, and that's simply because it's genius. It is cost savvy and guest-friendly. I don't think I need to go into how expensive wedding cakes can be ($6 a serving!), and let's face it...some of us prefer brownies and cookies to cake. And when you add how fun the presentation of a dessert buffet can be, why resist it? I can't. We are dessert buffeting. Absolutely. 

I've perused more than a few wedding websites checking out ideas for dessert buffets, and I have come to the conclusion that presentation is key.  Those cutesy jars and fun trays are what elevates a table of yummies from looking like a church potluck to looking like wedding elegance.  I noticed a lot of DIY cake plate tutorials (plate + candlestick + glue) popping up all over not too long ago, and it didn't take all that much to manipulate that idea to fit my needs.  A little time this week and the idea came into being. I now have several platters for our dessert buffet. Here's how it happened...

I used: 1.) different sized plates and cups from Goodwill, 2.) Loctite quickset epoxy, 3.) a nail file, 4.) spray paint, and 5.) clear spray enamel. 

My local Goodwill has a special sale on the last Saturday of every month (50% off of everything!) So I took one of those Saturdays as an opportunity to get myself some tableware.  I looked for plates and cups that had unique textures and patterns so that the platters would have a nice whimsical, quirky vibe. A coffee cup and a tea cup were the supports, and then I put a...what would you call that? A goblet? I put a shallow, long-stemmed goblet on the top, for holding smaller items or dip. I stacked them up in the store (only slightly precariously) to see how I liked them all together.  The 3-tiered dish I'm showing here required finding items that varied just enough in sizes to stack in an attractive way.

When I had chosen my dishes and wiped them free of any dust or dirt, I put down newspaper to protect my work surface, and then used epoxy to bond.  Epoxy is a special glue made up of two different gel-like chemicals that form a very strong bond once combined. I like this brand because it comes in a container that can be resealed in case you don't use all of it.  The different chemicals are kept in separate syringe-like containers, and only combine when you push down on the syringe and deposit them onto a mixing surface.

You need to use some kind of a tool to mix and apply the epoxy to the surfaces you are bonding. I used an old file. Can you tell in the above picture that the left half of that glue is slightly yellower than the right half? This is before I had mixed it together. Once you squeeze it onto your protected surface, use the tool to mix the epoxy, and then apply it to the rim of your cup...

You don't need to use a lot, but it needs to be consistent so that it forms an even seal and bond. If I were doing this over again, I would first attach each cup to its respective plate, let them dry, and then attach the separate layers. As it was, I started at the top and worked down. It ended up a little off center in some places...but let's just say it's "whimsical" and move on, eh?

When you've attached everything, the epoxy needs to dry for a whole day. Then you move on to the fun part...

That's right, spray paint here. (Sorry for the grainy pictures. I did what I could with them in Picasa, but at the end of a day, a lame camera gives you lame pictures.) Can you tell I'm a Rust-Oleum fan? I primed everything with the brown primer before putting on the top color coat, which worked out really nicely for the copper pieces giving them a deeper hue...not too shiny.  (You can see some of the copper pieces in the first picture.) The Heirloom White is the color I'm showing you on this dish. It's a little more toward ivory, which is all good in my hood. After the paint dried I finished them off with a few light coats of clear spray enamel, so that I wasn't at risk of having paint rub off on food.

*A note about spray painting ceramic and glass pieces...make sure you apply thin coats of paint (by spraying evenly from at least 8 inches away) so that it doesn't run.  This is especially important when priming. The piece will not absorb the paint at you need to put it on lightly enough that it sticks without objection.

When everything was said and done, this is what I ended up with.  I have to be honest...I am really really pleased with how these turned out.  Can't you just see strawberries all piled up on that thing, with dipping chocolate in the top cup? I can. And it makes me freaking excited. This one is definitely my favorite...I think that tea cup in the middle is so great. I look at that and think of having delicious scones with the Mad Hatter.

Happy happy happy.

Til next time!


  1. You are amazing. :)

  2. very whimsical! I love watching all this come together. You are amazing and creative. Keep those creative juices running.

  3. I love them! I've made a couple of these but only one high. LOVE the all white one!! (I gave some away as gifts and they go over VERY well)

    1. Good to know about these working as gifts. Because, let's be honest, I probably don't need all of them...

  4. Hi Jessica!
    Thanks for commenting on my blog :)
    This is an AWESOME idea! I love it the idea of a dessert buffet at a wedding, it seems like wedding cake is so overrated these days! Great job and congratulations!

    1. Hey Liz. First of all, you're welcome. It seems to me that having a couple of friends in the blog-world (not to mention the real one) couldn't I peruse the internet every now and again looking for winners. I have to say the whole premise of your blog is is real, and approachable, and very inspiring.
      And thank you. I'm pretty excited about the whole dessert buffet ordeal...and the wedding. :)

  5. good work jessica these look really nice and i too have a special affinity for that tea cup, although personally i am content to keep the madhatter out of my happier fantasies.

    i think these product manufacturers should pay you for repping their products in online advertisment i mean i am sold on two products i had never even seen before

    keep that great balence you have of fun to read but still detailed enough advice that the diy projects can be replicated.

    also i think you are a better person then i in that you want to share them, part of me when i come up with or find something cool want to keep it to myself in my secret arsinol of craftiness. but way to get into the spirit of sharing with your blog =]

    i love you. also in the first paragraphs when you said whatnots... i understood wontons which brought me to say this: we should ask the shrees to do egg rolls for your wedding!

  6. Jessica. I LOVE THIS. I am so impressed that I have a real life [BEST]friend who has a legit blog with legit DIY how-to posts, photos included. Next thing I know, you'll be on the food network with your own cooking show... I can see it now, "Dig in the bottom of your pantry and get cookin with Mrs. Higginbotham!" ...ok that was way lame... sorry.