Creative Ideas For Paper Cake Toppers

Creative Ideas For Paper Cake Toppers

safari cake topper idea

If you are new to the world of cake toppers, you might be confused and overwhelmed by all the types of cake toppers there are! There are some seriously talented paper crafters who come up with the coolest cake topper ideas, so there are lots of cake topper ideas to cover. 

Design Team Member Naomi here, and today I want to break down the most common cake topper designs and share unique cake topper ideas that are some of my best sellers in my Etsy shop. 

pirate cake topper

What is a cake topper? 

First of all, if you've never heard of this concept before you might be wondering what is a paper cake topper? It's basically a paper design mounted on a food safe stick that gets stuck into the top of the cake. They are typically layers of cardstock and specialty papers and can be personalized for the occasion and recipient!  

I've pulled together several different types of cake topper ideas to share with you today. I'm hoping this will help inspire your own creations. 
types of cake toppers

Basic Flat Cake Topper

This is the standard beginner cake topper. It's generally 1-2 layers of cardstock and the cake stick is placed on the back and visible from the back of the topper.

This design is also popular for elegant cake topper ideas where a minimalist look is desired. I've seen some gorgeous script word cake toppers that are just a single layer. 


3d cake topper layers side view

3D Cake Topper

This is a more advanced cake topper idea. 3D cake toppers typically have four or more layers and each design element has it's own layers too. 

baking themed cake topper

Another feature common in these more advanced 3D cake toppers is that the actual stick used to place it in the cake, is hidden. I shared in this how to make a cake topper post how I create a space for my hidden cake sticks while I'm designing the cake topper. 

space themed shaker cake topper

Shaker Cake Topper

The shaker topper is a 3D layered topper that contains embellishments like sequin and beads inside to shake around. It can be in any shape and sometimes only a small portion of the cake topper has a shaker. What's cool about these is that once the cake is cut, you can clean off the cake topper stick and use these as a photo prop too. 

Shaker cake toppers are super popular right now! I love adding shaker elements to cake toppers. My fellow Design Team Members have also created some pretty cool shaker cake toppers, like An's Princess Shaker Topper and April's Graduation Shaker Cake Topper

shadow box cake topper

Shadow Box Cake Toppers

The shadow box cake topper is very similar to the shaker cake topper, but in this one, nothing is shaking around inside. In the shadow box above I have filled the space with rolled flowers, but layered paper scenes are another great idea for this style.

interactive cake topper ideas

 Interactive Cake Toppers

There are many variations to the interactive cake topper, but essentially it just means that you can interact with it in some way. A interactive cake topper feature is fun because you can slide or spin an element of the topper. In the example above the wheels on the monster truck actually spin (you can learn how to make this monster truck topper here).
interactive cake topper idea

You can also create a slider element across the topper as seen above with cupid's arrow. Another idea I have had for an interactive cake topper is to add pull tabs as seen in children's books.

creative ideas for cake toppers

Semi-Abstract Cake Toppers

I don’t know what to call these, but semi-abstract is the best way I can describe these unique cake topper designs. These cake toppers engage with the cake in an abstract way. For example, the wedding heart topper tutorial I shared here is a bit abstract because it doesn’t just sit on top of the cake; it is also inserted into the side of the cake. Design Team Member April also made a front of the cake topper

More Unique Cake Topper Ideas

light up cake topper

Light Up Cake Toppers

The possibilities are literally endless when you imagine all the ways you can use lights on a cake topper. One of my favorite designs was this neon cake topper that uses glow sticks for the lights. You can also find small stand alone lights to add to your designs, similar to what I did here with my light up package topper

you are my sunshine cake topper

Plastic Baubles for Cake Toppers

Another fun idea is to add plastic accents to your cake toppers. These plastic ornaments I shared in this sunshine cake topper tutorial, can be used to accent one particular piece of the cake topper. You can fill them with sequins and turn them into a shaker, or leave them as is with a cute paper design inside. Small plastic baubles are especially fun for water or mermaid designs as they mimic the look of water. 

Stacked dinosaur cake topper

Extra Tall Cake Toppers

Cake Toppers with a lot of height can be such a show stopper when it comes to DIY party decor. My stacked dinosaur cake topper is 15 inches tall! 
extra tall cake topper idea

The secret to achieving this "stand on its own" height is to use chipboard or foam board to back the topper with to give it some stability. I shared a tutorial for extra tall cake toppers here, but you can really come up with some fun designs when you work with the extra height. 

Motorized Cake Toppers

I haven't personally tried a motorized cake topper (yet), but just imagine those old jewelry boxes with a little ballerina dancing inside. Small motors make some element on the topper move on its own. I want to try one of these, so stay tuned for the results. 

Hopefully my explanation of all the different types of cake toppers and unique cake topper ideas has helped spark a new idea that has you running to your craft room! 


design team member naomi


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