What Julie Did… Decorations, plates and don’t forget cakes!

An old post from the Real Bride archives, but a handy DIY nonetheless. We’re working on updating this post soon.

In the meantime… Enjoy a bit of Retro RMW DIY-ing.

For our most recent and stunning do it yourself inspiration, visit our Wedding DIY & Tutorials section.

We have just approached Big Day- 8 months, and I have to say I’m feeling pretty organised and relaxed. We have sorted most of the big things such as the church & venue, the dress (FYI I’m not giving anything away on this one!), the cars, the band, the piper and the photographer. Not bad I think! Oh and for those of you keeping up with Jp’s duties you will be pleased to know that after almost 1 year of deliberations he has officially booked our wedding cake! He has organised it all on his own, so like you, I will have to wait until the big day to see it! I’m still trying to convince Jp to take on the honeymoon project but for some reason, he’s not too keen, I can’t be that hard to please……can I?

Now my thoughts are turning to the smaller details, the finishing touches that will set our day apart from the rest! These are the creative bits I’m most looking forward to. It’s easy to send someone a cheque then tick something off your list but putting your heart and soul into the details of the day you are creating is much more time consuming, and will achieve results money just can’t buy.

I have always loved the delicate and pretty patterns on vintage china tea sets. As a result, I have accumulated a large collection of ‘orphan’ cups and plates. These have been picked up in charity shops and boot sales over the years. When planning the wedding I knew I had to incorporate my treasured items, or perhaps just find an excuse to buy even more!

With some of my odd plates, I decided that it would be a nice idea to make some cake stands to serve the food for our evening buffet. I thought these would add a pretty and decorative element to a part of the wedding that can look a bit dull. I have seen vintage cake stands for sale in many places; however, I really want everything about the wedding to be so personal to Jp & I so it didn’t feel right to just buy them. Each item I have collected has a memory attached to it, an all those memories and events are a part of me and made me who I am today.

I found plenty of cake stand handles on eBay, the best deal I could find was 10, 3 tier cake stand handles for £28 including the postage, This was a bargain too good to miss so I went for it. I now needed a drill and a drill bit suitable for drilling through the plates. I found a basic drill in B&Q for £10.48, and a Bosh tile & porcelain drill bit for £10. This was expensive for the drill bit; however, I was too excited to wait for one to be delivered!

The first stage was to mark the centre of the plate. To do this, I turned the plate upside down on top of a piece of paper. Then I drew around the plate and cut the circle out of the paper. Next, I folded the circle in half, then quarter, and with scissors snipped off the point of the folds to create a small hole exactly in the centre of the circle.

I placed a strip of masking tape roughly in the centre of the plate; placed the paper circle over the plate, and using a pencil marked the centre spot on the masking tape, through the hole of the paper.

I now secured the plate on a piece of scrap wood. Holding the plate securely with one hand, I placed the tip of the drill bit on the centre mark and manually turned the drill a few times to scrape the top layer of the glaze. Then I turned on the drill and push gently down. It does take a few minutes for the hole to go completely through the plate, but you can always stop and start to give your arms a rest. If you are going to try this wear eye goggles for protection.

Once I had drilled the holes in the three plates I had chosen, all that was left to do was screw the cake stand handle together securing each plate between the handle pieces.
This is soooo easy there is no excuse for not giving this a go! 

The only thing I have to do now is to work out what to do with all those leftover cups.


Julie x

Author: Charlotte O’Shea
Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.

37 thoughts on “What Julie Did… Decorations, plates and don’t forget cakes!

  1. Julie, I never “got” vintage tea cups or saucers before I saw this post. NOW I see the point. I LOVE these and am in absolute awe of your creativity! Please can you come and do up my house, you know, with all that spare time you’ll have before your wedding 🙂

  2. My jaw is on the floor. You are so clever! Great DIY skills and what a great way to incorporate your treasures into your day. Just awesome. xx

  3. I am seriously impressed and totally inspired to go try and make one of these myself. I was just going to buy them for our tea party wedding I never even thought about making these but now I am on a mission.


  4. Hands up anyone else that feels completely impractical and inadequate.

    In other news, I was supposed to be going home for my engagement party. Unfortunately I am snowed in. Gutted 🙁

    Does anyone own a snow plough?

  5. Oh no Rebecca to being snowed in – the only answer is internet shopping and a glass of fizz!

    Great post – but oh dear another website to add to my ever growing list, Country Living. I’d never have thought of looking there for craft inspiration – just wasted lots of time browsing on it.

  6. A bride! With a DRILL? Julie, you’ve just upped the DIY game by mahoooosive proportions. http://www.bridewithadrill.com. It could go very, very far.

    People would pay top wonga for these, I know I would. After a very embarrassing incident with the superglue during my DIY wedding madness, I was banned from anything ‘industrial’ afterwards so I have the utmost admiration for you,

    These are lush and amazing. And you can use them afterwards and bring back all that W-Day joy any time you like. This thought made me love this even more.xxx

    P.S Rebecca, you poor thing. Wishing meltness, and quickly! xxx

  7. Ah poo, that’s not an actual link. I am such a loser, sorry everyone!!! *stops making don’t make up imaginary websites*

  8. Spooky!! Have just returned home from yet another flea market joint armed with more-shed-loads of pots (I have now been told to ‘rein it in’ 🙁 and I am setting on t’usband to be avec drill to creat the very same thing.
    Cheers muchly for the top tips – they look ace!

  9. I am loving the vintage cake stands at the moment! Not sure I would trust myself with plates and drill though!
    Was actually wondering at the weekend whether they would work as table centres with flowers on each level…

  10. Great post Julie. Have to say that this is a task I have been wanting to do in the DIY interior design workshops I host. No one would try it, but now, armed with this post and just how gorgeous the finished product is, I’m sure I can convince one or two clients. Thanks lady!! 🙂

  11. Wow! These are amazing and I bet many brides to be will bite your hand off to buy them off you after the wedding! Can you let me know the ebay shop you got the handles off of as I’d rather go with personal recommendation xx

  12. Sweet Lord Julie, you have got some skills girl!
    I am in complete and utter awe of any DIY-ing (as I am rubbash), think this tops the Top 10! xoxo

  13. I totally l.o.v.e this post and am so in awe of your beautiful creations! I’ve seen a DIY cakestand elsewhere, but they had glued candlesticks to plates, as the dividers- but I love the drilling idea much more. Seems more stable to me…! Thanks heaps for the instructions- I’ll definitely be trying this out. Charity shops here I come! Also- I dunno what you sort of things had in mind for your pretty tea-cups, but as Xmas presents for close friends this year, I’m buying second-hand cups and saucers, and melting candlewax into them. Its kinda kooky, but will look pretty I hope.

  14. Sorry to hear you have been snowed in on your engagement party night, how awful, i agree with Rachel, Fizz does sound like the only answer.

    I love Bride with a drill!!!! could really catch on!

    Would love to see/hear more about the DIY disaters and the divine ones too, whatever were you doing with that glue LizzieMC? 🙂

    Bec- I hear the riegn it in all the time too! we cant help it if we get over excited!

    FYI the ebay shop i got the handles from was A-Z Accessories Corner.

    Maya- loving the candle cup idea! will defo be trying that!

    thanks for all the comments girls xxxx

  15. I love this! I’ve never written a comment before despite being a RMW addict, but i just had to comment on this post. The stands look fab!
    McWhizz-i think they’d look great as centrepieces.

  16. If you are looking for a way to use your teacups and don’t want to go the flower-in-a-teacup route, Martha Stewart weddings has a gorgeous tutorial on how to make teacup candles. They are so pretty andI don’t think they damage the teacups, definitely worth checking out! x

  17. I know for a fact that I would never even try this because if it did it would quite possibly end in a trip to A&E plus broken crockery plus a quite cross mr r.now plus tears

    I am in total awe of people who have a crafty idea and carry it through without jeffing it up totally as I am quite clearly not one of those people!

    r.now x x

  18. I would love to do something like this….maybe I will give it a go but I will probably need about 12 plates just to make one stand, after I have cracked so many. I am not very good at craft projects despite my enthusiasm!


  19. I totally thought there wold be alot of broken plates til i managed to get it right, but i really didnt need to worry, it worked perfectly first time! you should try it, even if you just try on something your not that fond of first. xx

  20. Julie, you are truly marvellous! my wedding is not till 2012 but your blog has given me plenty of inspiration and ideas, I will be searching all charity shops for teacup favours, I can wait for your next creative blog – keep them coming!

  21. Julie, your wee blogs fab my darling, it reminds me of your creative uni days….still got it dear!! love the cake stand idea. cant wait to hear more tomorrow when we catch up xx

  22. Hi
    Thank you so very much for the tutorial.
    I was looking on the net on how to make a vintage cake stand and I could not find any info on the dividers between the plates… but they are called ‘cake stand handles’, and so now I know from looking on your site, so thank you very much!! I have just ordered my cake stand handles. I have the plates already so I just need the drill bits and a helping hand from hubbie and away we goooo! Sooo excited. Thank you again 😉

  23. Thanks for this post! I ordered the handles from Ebay last night. I was wondering about what size drill bit to get. Do you know? or are they pretty standard?

  24. These are so cute! It makes me wish that I had the whole set of Christmas china that I gave to my new neighbors back!!!! It happens every time!

  25. My daughters 9th birthday is coming up quick and she would like a mad hatter tea party. And I have been looking for something like this, is so simple I’m going to be so doing this now

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