Let’s beautify some DIY cake boards! There are loads of cake base board covering options to compliment your beautiful cake designs. Whether you make your own or buy cake boards you can cover/decorate them with various food safe contact paper, decorative paper, wrapping paper, fondant, or ribbon to finish board edges.
Why are cake boards important?
Just like all the various cake decorating tools a baker needs cake boards are just as essential to a bakers tool kit. Cake base boards support the weight of the cake and compliment the cake design. You can either decorate your cake on the board or decorate it separately on a cake circle/liner and move it to a sturdier cake board.
When I first started baking and designing cakes I rarely thought about the cake board. I bought from the limited selection from the baking supply stores. I thought this is all there is to pair with my cakes so I accepted that.
You don’t have to settle for a drab, flat cardboard cake board look. Most cake boards (whatever the shape) are either plain cardboard, boards covered in silver or gold foil, or covered in a few limited food-safe paper colors.
With all the work that goes into baking and decorating cakes covering cake boards was not something I considered doing. Another laborious task, right? Well, having a complimentary cake board for your cake matters as well as a board that supports the proper weight.
Think of it as the shoes that pull the whole outfit together. I have seen the light and realized that the cake board is just as important as the cake and pulls the entire style, theme, or decoration together.
Common Cake Board Types
- Cardboard – Thin cardboards sold in various shapes and sizes, plain or covered.
- Foam Core – Thin foam boards sold in various shapes and sizes, plain or covered.
- Pre-made Cake Drums – Thicker sturdier boards made of cardboard or foam core.
- MDF Cake Boards/drums made from wood composite/masonite used mostly for large, stacked, or sculpted cakes.
If in doubt keep the Cake Base Board simple
Your cake boards should complement your cake design not compete with it. Choosing a busy patterned contact paper with a busy cake design will not look good. If in doubt keep it simple. Solid colors or small patterns are a safer design option.
Shiny gold or silver covered boards look nice at first glance and on occasion, they may be perfect! but they always give off a reflection that doesn’t typically pair well with the cake and is noticeable in your pictures. Low light, high light, it makes no difference. You cannot take one picture without a glare showing!
No judgment, I used shiny boards many times because: 1st. – I thought they looked good 2nd. – I didn’t think about doing a DIY cake board cover or anything different because I thought the shiny foil covered boards were my only option. It’s frustrating to see cakes I worked so hard on resting on a board that did not do it justice! Just choose carefully is all I’m saying. Heed this warning, beware of the “Shine” and use your intuition. You want your cake to be finished in every way and the cake board pulls it all together.
Cake Base Board Tools and Materials
- Store-bought cake board/cake drum (above) or make your own cake board/s with cardboard cut circles, foam core, wood composite.
- Food safe contact paper. The strongest contact paper is made from PVC material. The surface your cake sits on must not absorb moisture, bleed color, or stain from food in any way and vise/versa. It must wipe clean.
- Scotch tape
- Felt Pads (adhesive) found in most home hardware stores
- Measuring tape (if needed)
- Fondant smoother
- Extra cardboard piece (not shown above) sized or cut smaller than your board size to elevate the height for easy carry and pick-up. Cardboard cake circles and cake squares/rectangles can be found in baking supply stores.
Covering a Cake Board
What’s great about covered cake boards are they look good and anyone can repurpose them as long as they are not damaged in any way of course. Similar to recycling gift bags the board does not deserve the trash bin just because it’s used once. If the board is covered correctly and can be easily wiped clean it can be saved for another occasion or be recovered to complement a new cake design.
Heavy Decorative Paper with Clear Contact Paper
Cake boards must not be an afterthought. You can use scrapbook paper or heavy wrapping paper with clear contact paper. As long as the top covering is food safe, cleans easy, and the board is sturdy enough to support the weight of the cake you’re in business.
DIY Fondant Covered Cake Board
This Soccer Ball Cake rests on a store-bought 1/4″ foam core cake drum covered in fondant around the edge of the cake. No need to cover your board in an alternative contact paper if you’re covering the original store-bought covered board with fondant. This was one of my early cakes and covering boards with fondant was just starting to get popular. At that time border ribbons were not being used often. A border ribbon would have been nice-looking on this cake board to finish the overall design. The small details are never small considerations.
What not to do
- Do not use regular foil to cover cake boards
- Don’t use a board covering that could contaminate food – wrapping paper or scrapbook paper without a food-safe contact paper over it.
- Never use any covering that absorbs moisture, liquids, food oils, grease, etc.
- Don’t use cake boards that are too thin for heavy cakes
- Avoid shiny cake boards or shiny paper as it casts a reflection on the cake and shows in photos.
- Don’t forget to add a cardboard or foam riser and felt feet on the back for easy pick-up.
- Never reuse cake boards if they are gouged/damaged or if there is even the slightest risk that it could contaminate food. Use your high critical judgment on this one.
Thanks for reading up on this DIY Cake Board – How-To Cover Cake Boards. I hope you found it helpful. If you liked this post you’ll enjoy my helpful 15 Top Cake Baking Tips and Tricks.