DIY Tutorial: Vintage China Cake Stand

This week’s DIY tutorial comes from Betty of Betty Bee Vintage. This simple project looks like a lot of fun, and wouldn’t these look amazing as part of your reception centrepieces? You could cover them with cupcakes, flowers, pearls…well, whatever takes you’re fancy I guess. I kinda like the idea of using really dark coloured plates and putting skulls on them surrounded with ivy…but well, that’s just me. I better leave this to the experts…

If like me you long for the days of Victorian decadence where tea was served in china regardless of the location and slumming it might mean forfeiting the finger bowl but never napkins then this craft project is for you. Nothing makes a wedding look as elegant as including a cake stand. You can use them as table centres covered with flowers or simply serve cupcakes on them. Here’s my guide to making one of your very own for under a tenner.

Supplies Needed

♥ Selection of plates
♥ A 3 Tier cake stand fixing (these can be found on eBay and many online craft stores they usually cost about £6)
♥ A fully charged cordless drill with a tile drill bit. This is important, as a normal drill bit will break your plates
♥ A screwdriver
♥ A pen
♥ A tape measure


Step One: Probably the most time consuming part of the process is sourcing your plates. Charity shops, car boots and jumble sales are great for this. Remember the plates don’t have to match; in fact it can look prettier and more unique if they don’t. I always try and tie the plates together in some way whether it be a theme (birds, flowers or toile for example) or by complimentary colours but this is entirely up to you.

You will need a dinner plate for the bottom, side plate for the middle  and either a saucer or teacup for the top. Be warned very occasionally if a plate has a hairline crack or is especially delicate it will break when you drill it so this is not a project to do with your grandmothers irreplaceable dinner service.

Step Two: Make sure your plate is clean and dry. Take your tape measure and measure the diameter of the plate and use your pen to mark the middle. This will act as your drill guide.

Step Three: Time to put on those safety goggles. Always drill your plate somewhere it won’t slip and where you are not going to drill into something precious underneath. A workbench is ideal but if like me you don’t have one of these put it on the grass in your garden. Before I start I put a little bit of water in the plate to keep the drill bit & plate cold. Slowly drill where you have marked the middle until you have gone all the way through. Repeat until all three plates have holes in the centre. It’s worth noting that the glaze on some vintage plates makes it impossible to drill through. When this happens just choose another plate.

Step Four: Start with your bottom plate. Put your washers on and then poke the bottom screw into the plate. Put a soft washer on the topside of this plate and then apply the cake stand fitting.

Step Five: Repeat until all three fixings have been attached. For your top tier you can either opt for a small saucer or for a more Alice in wonderland feel put a china cup on top. Perfect for putting pretzels or lollypops in.

Step Six: Hold the most magnificent tea part with your new cake stand taking centre stage.


  1. Jacqueline

    I’m so going to do this. Knowing my friends, this would also make for a great gift.

  2. cara

    My Dad has made 10 of these for my wedding 🙂 I love them even more because he made them for me 🙂

  3. bettydlight

    LOVE this tutorial, so cheap and easy! I’ll definitely be giving this a go! xxx

  4. Elizabeth

    Awesome! Just wondering…can you take them apart to store them? Also, does it affect the plate to wash it in the dishwasher after? thanks!

  5. So glad you all liked my tutorial. To answer Elizabeths questions, yes you can take them apart and actually i would recomend doing that to transport them to your wedding venue. The cakestand middles are quite fragile and can snap if not handled carefully. just dont forget your screwdriver!
    In terms of washing the cakestands, yet again take them apart if you are going to put them in a dishwasher although I usually wash them by hand. If you do use a dishwasher it will slightly take the gold effect off old plates-this doesnt particuarly bother me as add to the overall shabby chic look but worth remembering.
    Happy Cakestand making

  6. Ivy

    These would be perfect with my hodgepodge teaparty wedding decor, thanks so much for the inspiration!

  7. Lori

    I have been collecting plates (buying them from eBay) sinse reading your “how to” and now I am ready to do this, but I need to know what SIZE drill bit do I need? I also ordered a package of tile bits in 4 sizes from eBay. I think my order has 2mm 3mm 4mm and 5mm.

    This project is so pretty.

  8. Lori

    I have made 3 so far. I noticed that I couldn’t drill through my dishes-any of them, so I tried making a pilot hole with the smallest drill bit I had and then I changed bits to a larger one, this made me able to drill through all of them.

    They came out great, but I notice on one of the dishes it kind of rocks back and forth a little due to the screw at the bottom sticking due to the rim on the bottom of that plate not being as deep as the others. Do I put a doiley under it, so it won’t scratch my table.

  9. Tina

    It took me forever to find this tutorial. Thanks so much for posting:) I do have a few questions or one. I have the hardware but it didn’t come with screws and washers. How do I know what’s the right screw and drill bit size? Should the hardware come with washers and screws? Thanks

  10. Lori


    I bought drill bits separately. I think I made sure to use a 1 mm to drill the pilot hole, then I put a 3/16 drill bit to make it match the thickness of the gold handle. I bought my 3 piece handle on Ebay and it came with the meteal washers and some soft washers too.
    I have a hint for everybody. I have read 2 different ways to prevent your plates from cracking, but I used them both together and never had a crack. On the back of the plate, in the middle, place a piece of masking tape over it. Then on the front, where I placed the black dot using a marker so I knew where the middle was, I placed some water, enough that it will stay where the drill bit is and as I drilled, the water kept the plate cool so it wouldn’t crack.

  11. Lori

    I made these just as a decoration, not to use for a tea party. I wanted to have fake candy and fake cupcakes to place on the plates so I went to ebay and searched for “fake food” and I found different ones, bought what I liked and my table looks so cute. I just put a few on each dish so the nice flowery patterns of the dishes still show through.

  12. Katherine Bond

    Amazing idea! I’m off to search for plates I love. At least two of our local thrift stores have dozens of plates!! Cannot wait to make for gifts. Think everyone will love! Thank you from bottom of my heart for this idea!!


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