Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Rainbow Buttefly Cake DIY & Tutorial

So, mid last year I got married! The theme I worked with was 'Rainbow Butterfly Garden', and I had my heart set on a cake with cascading rainbow butterflies!

I believe of course that a picture speaks a thousand words, and the photo below is my husband and I cutting our butterfly wedding cake.

My determination was to have this style of wedding cake, which the Internet told me sky-rocketed to fame thanks to Martha Stewart. The thing that got me was why pay the price tag when I could DIY the cake decorations myself with the help of my family? This post is the result of those lofty dreams!

Read on if you want to find out how you can make your own, with a FREE DOWNLOAD (made by me) of the butterflies I used!

You will need:

  • Butterfly transparency sheets (Download the files here! They were created as A4 page size)
  • Scissors
  • Clear sticky tape
  • Wire (best to use cake-decorating wire, but out of desperation I used florist wire)
  • Wire cutters

Background Info about Tutorial:

My first step was to source freeware butterfly outlines online. It took a bit of searching to ensure the ones used were not copyrighted and available to use, but it was important to me that this was so.

I used Photoshop to colour the butterflies in tones that I felt were complimentary to my wedding colours and to one another. Basically each sheet is comprised of 11 butterflies in the colour of choice, as illustrated below. In my downloadable I have included, all of the butterflies are are the colours below and have the black outlines but the rest of the page (ie not the butterlies) is transparent, not solid black (I'm not sure why but Blogger does not seem to like .PNG image files).

Save the file to a USB, and take it to your local Office Works (or similar outlet) and have the images printed on transparent film, which is basically the overhead projection sheets.

How to Proceed:

This is where the fun begins! Each butterfly will need to be cut out by hand, as neatly as possible. If you can recruit as many family members as possible that would be great! Luckily for me, my mother rose to the occasion and cut them all out herself! (Thanks Mum ;-))

Each butterfly will then need wire attached to it. I used florist wire because the cake wire I ordered online never arrived in time :( It worked though! Mine was green, but white would have blended in more beautifully with a white cake. The wire was about 7" long, and each one was cut in half.

Make an 'L' shape with the wire (approximately 1/2"), and attach it with a piece of invisible sticky tape to your butterfly. Of course, use the 1/2" to attach to the butterfly, so hopefully you should not see it when looking at the butterfly.

My mother stuck each wire as she completed it into a styrofoam cube, for easy and safe transportation.

The next challenge is then to decorate the cake! Because everything was crazy leading into the ceremony, I had no idea who in the end decorated the cake; but I found out it was in the staff in the kitchen of our wedding venue. How great was that?! I had this silly idea that I would be able to decorate the cake myself... But honestly this was a tad unrealistic.

Because I was trying to keep costs down, the cake that we chose from the bakery was not decorated. It was a chocolate and white chocolate layer cake from The Cheesecake Shop, with double icing. They could have added ribbon or flowers at an additional cost but it was much cheaper without... And they were not able to decorate any cakes with items that were not apart of their inventory.

Trust your instincts with how to decorate with the butterflies, but to prepare I printed an inspiration picture from online and made sure it was kept with the butterflies so that the lucky decorator of the cake would understand my vision!

The trick would be to ensure they are spaced out appropriately for the size of your cake, and inserted into the cake at various depths. There is actually a really great YouTube tutorial that shows you how to decorate, so I'd highly recommend that if you're planning this cake.

So sorry that I don't have any pictures of the process, but I wasn't running around with a camera on the day, as I'm sure you would understand! I hesitate to use the pictures of others, because many online images are from stores that are selling their wares. There are some really great ones out there for those who would love the butterflies, but are not as interested in completing the above process! But any Google Images Search will give you such wonderful inspiration!

Here is a picture though of the Martha Stewart magazine cover that seemed to start it all!

I hope that these instructions help you, and there is no doubt that there is many opportunities to brighten up a cake with these butterflies, not just a wedding! If you have any questions at all about the process, please don't hesitate to ask!

I would really love to hear what you think of this post, so I would love it if you could leave a comment! I worked very diligently on these butterflies for my own use, and am excited to share my files with you!

And of course I would LOVE to know if you use my download for your cakes, so please be sure and let me know if you do...


  1. your cake turned out so pretty, Sonia! I am totally pinning this. thanks for sharing!

    Lelanie @

  2. Love your beautiful cake and pics! Thanks for stopping by my blog recently, I would be honored if you added yourself as a follower, stop back soon, Sandy

    1. No worries and thank you Sandy! PS I am already a follower of yours hehe <3


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