One of the most remarkable and beautiful wedding gifts I have ever seen was created by one of my sisters for another sister’s wedding. She built a pristine “wedding cake” from white towels and decorated it with ribbons, held in place with pearl pins, and hid a cd in one of the layers, not that anything additional was needed. The “cake” was such a work of art it stole the show from the real cake! Everyone wanted to know who had made it, how long it took, etc, and no-one with a camera passed up a chance for a snapshot of it.
Creating a towel cake can be as simple or as complicated as you need it to be. It is easy to make it unique with your own special touches and add personal touches that will make it an unforgettable part of any wedding or shower.
The basics of what you’ll need:
2 Bath Towels (white or cream or wedding theme colors)
2 Hand Towels
2 Wash Cloths
Small Wedding Rings
Ribbon, lots of narrow and perhaps some wide types
Small Silk Roses
Pins , plain and pearl-drop, round
Strings of pearls, assorted trims, wedding favors, plastic rings, etc.
Cake Plate on Pedestal
Topper of choice
The first step is to fold two bath towels twice along the length so you can roll them up, rather like a sleeping bag, to form the first tier. Roll up the first towel, then attach the second with plain pins. This will of course be large than the next two tiers, and you will arrange it on a base so that it looks like a real wedding cake, with supports and all. As with rolling a sleeping bag, try to get your coil as tight as possible to avoid slumping. You want your cake to stand up stiff and straight, looking starchy and new. At the end of the roll, pin it down neatly and most importantly, securely. Too many pins here are far better than too few, since a cake that pops its pins and unrolls at any point during the ceremony is embarrassing and sometimes tricky to fix back up. If it is vital that no mistakes happen, for example if your cake will be in a central arrangement or showcased, you can even sew it closed with one or two threads that the bride can easily cut after the wedding.
Add ribbons in the patterns of your choice – a good way to find ideas is to look through a book of wedding cakes and imitate the frosting designs with ribbons. Since the towels will be used eventually, you won’t be using any glue to attach the ribbons, so this part can be trickier than if you could just tack them on with hot or super glue. If you pin them in as you go, however, it is not too terribly difficult. Remember to pin ribbons in symmetrical designs – -such as crosshatching – -at key points first, so that they fall naturally, then pin intersections and inner points as desired. The smaller your details are, the more complicated it will look (and be) and the more compliments you’ll get. If, however, you are short on time, larger accents can hide a slightly messy job of towel folding..
2. Use hand towels for the second layer, rolling them in the same manner and fastening them. Remember not to skimp on pins, and again, use a needle and thread if you feel the need. A nice look for the second tier is to form accents by repeating sections, squares of crosshatching for example, that were used in larger areas on the first tier.
3. Use the wash cloths and your by-now-expert rolling technique to make the top tier. Now is a good time to drape string pearls or other garlands along the sides of each layer. If you don’t use fancy pins, hide plain pins by pushing them through a tiny silk flower or other craft accent. Pin as before. This layer is the tightest and hardest to roll of all, so once more, feel no shame in using a quick needle-and-thread tack down when patience or time runs low.
4. Tuck in the decorative soaps between layers, or wrap them creatively in narrow ribbon and pin them to the cake through the ribbon, being careful not to scrape the soap or pierce the paper wrappings if they are wrapped. Round soaps can be affixed around the base of the cake in mini-arrangements with silk flowers for a lovely Victorian look. A simply breathtaking accent can also be made from paper-wrapped round soaps that are not too thick, by gluing a craft mirror to the center and adding pearls and tiny silk flowers, or ribbon loops/bows around the edge of the mirror. Here you will need super glue and a bit of time, but if you have the patience and the time, the results are just amazing.
5. An carved soap, such as a rose, swan, etc, makes a good topper. Candles also work well here, as long as they are wide and short. Alternately, use a group of large silk flowers or a fabric fan (very easy to create, fold in pleats and iron, with starch as needed, sew one end and fan the other) for the topper.
6. Encircle the bottom of the cake on the plate with some larger, distinctive item, such as groups of large flowers. These should be in the scheme of the wedding.
Lastly, the cake plate and stand can be expensive, so if you don’t want to give them as part of the gift, they can easily be rented or borrowed if you have a friend who has one.