How to Make a Rainbow Cake Topper With Clay
It’s almost my birthday! Since preparing for my unicorn birthday shirt launch is getting me all kinds of unicorn crazy I decided to make my own unicorn and rainbow cake toppers. And then I asked a talented baker friend to make me a cloud cake to put them on. The results were adorable and delicious.
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My talented friend Mary at Magnolia Lee Baking and Sugar Art made a delicious yet simple cake with sky blue buttercream and fluffy white clouds so that the topper would be the star of the show. You could bake and frost your own cake or even pick up something pre-made at a local shop. This topper is adorable enough to not need any extra flair!
Rainbow Cake Topper Tutorial
Whether or not you’re familiar with polymer clay, this tutorial is super easy and doesn’t require any special tools.
I used to love sculpting with clay when I was younger and got hooked again recently when I started sculpting small unicorns while sketching out ideas for my new unicorn shirts.
What I love most about this clay rainbow is that I can wipe off the frosting and reuse it for multiple birthdays, but also as a display item in my office. (The tiny unicorns I first sculpted hang out under the rainbow on my window ledge.)
>>Side note: if you’d like to join my email list and get a heads up and a coupon when my unicorn birthday shirts launch this summer, add your email here!<<
How to Make a Rainbow Cake Topper
- Polymer clay in white and the rainbow colors of your choice
- Toothpick or clay sculpting tools
- Glass or metal dish to bake the clay in
- Circular object to the bend rainbow around (I used a pint glass)
Sculpting the Rainbow
1. Prepare your work surface. I use a paper cutting board but you can work on any smooth surface, protected by a piece of paper.
2. Knead chunks of clay until soft and then roll them into a ball. You need the largest amount of red and smallest of purple. For reference, my red ball was about 3/4 of an inch wide for my rainbow, which is about 4.5″ wide by 3″ tall.
3. Roll out each ball into a rope of the same thickness.
4. Curve the colors, starting with your inside color, around a round object. I used a pint glass.
5. Push each color against the other well to ensure they will bond together. No need to squish them together, just make sure they have contact.
6. Slice off the ends with a knife or thin ruler.
7. Bake your rainbow by itself according to your clay’s directions. I did this so that I could easily stand up the rainbow in the clouds. You can take a break from sculpting, make something else, or knead your white clay while your rainbow cooks and then cools down.
Sculpting the Clouds
1. When your rainbow has cooled down, get started with your clouds. Get two balls of white clay and flatten them a little into ovals. The ovals should be a little wider than the ends of your rainbow. Mine ended up as pretty small clouds so I’d use a bigger chunk of clay next time.
2. Sculpting the clouds was a little tricky. I actually tried three different ways to come up with one I liked. In the end, this video is what I followed the closest so take a look if you’d like better instruction. (The only change I really made was doing 6 segments instead of 5.)
3. Take a toothpick or clay tool and score the middle of your oval, then twice across that to make 6 segments.
4. Pinch and round the segments using your fingertip or a ball-shaped clay tool, shaping them into bumps.
5. Press the ends of your rainbow into the clouds to secure them. Be sure the bottoms of the clouds are flat so your rainbow will stand. If you’d like extra support for using this as a cake topper, stick toothpicks into the bottom of the clouds before baking. I chose not to do this so that I could use the rainbow as a display piece in my office when not on a cake. I just added it once the cake was in its final location, so there wasn’t any jostling that might make the rainbow fall over.)
6. Bake according to clay directions. (As an FYI, I used Sculpey Souffle and baked my rainbow for 30 minutes and the rainbow in the clouds for 45 minutes. I baked on a glass pie plate lined with a piece of parchment, and tented with aluminum foil. I don’t know how necessary the foil is but I read that it was recommended for even heating so I always do it.)
7. Optional: add gloss for a shiny finish. I used Sculpey Gloss Glaze and I love how it turned out. It definitely made the pieces look nicer. To add it, just paint on a thin layer using a soft round brush and let it dry overnight before using on your cake.
In the end, the longest part of making the rainbow was kneading the clay to make it soft enough to work with. The rest of the steps were pretty quick and easy once I figured out the best method for the clouds.
PS: How cute is this other cake option? The rainbow really takes center stage on a simple white cake. Love it! From 100layercakelet‘s post with tips for a modern rainbow birthday party.
Have fun! If you make a rainbow topper, please tag me in your pictures on Instagram so I can see it!
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