Thursday, July 29, 2010

DIY Chocolate Tower Party Centerpiece: How-To Instructions

I love the French macaron tower trend that is going around, but unless you live in Paris, NYC, or LA, macarons can be hard to find.  Plus, these delicate confections are difficult and costly to ship. 

I wanted to come up with a more accessible and affordable alternative for the rest of us.  The result is an elegant tower made of gold and brown wrapped Ferrero chocolates that you may have marveled at in my post about Paul's 40 Favorites Surprise 40th Birthday.

This version costs $50 to construct exactly as shown, but you can definitely adapt these instructions to create towers of colorfully wrapped Lindt truffles or, even more affordable, Oreo Cakesters in vanilla creme and chocolate creme rows.  If you use Ferrero chocolates, Walmart by far has the best prices on these. Beware of bulk packages, which were always more expensive per chocolate due to their more attractive packaging at all of the stores I checked.  The instructions below were inspired by a tutorial I saw on the Creative Hostess blog.

DIY Chocolate Tower Party Centerpiece
How-To Instructions

DIY Chocolate Centerpieces Supplies
Supplies Needed
  • 4 7/8 x 17 7/8" Foam cone
  • 19 x 16 1/2" Broadcloth, brown or black
  • Scissors
  • 4 Pins with large heads in a color that blends in with the cloth
  • Regular straight pins
  • Round wooden toothpicks
  • 10 Twelve-count boxes of Ferrero Rocher chocolates
  • 8 Twelve-count boxes of Ferrero Rondnoir chocolates
  • Floral clay (optional)

  1. Wrap foam cone with broadcloth leaving enough room around the base of the cone to fold underneath. Create a seam along the cone's long side by folding cloth underneath in a vertical line from the narrow tip to the base of the cone. 

  2. Trim cloth to create minimal overlap of material at the long vertical seam. Broadcloth is very thin and inexpensive fabric material. However, a lot of overlap in the cloth can make it hard to poke the toothpick through the cloth, so trimming is very important.

  3. Using pins with large heads, pin the cloth onto the foam cone along the vertical seam at three points, starting at the base and working your way up.

  4. At the narrow tip of the cone, fold the broadcloth under to hide all ragged edges and pin in place at an off-center point with the fourth large-headed pin. It is important to pin off-center because you will want to place a toothpick in the center of the point to add the final chocolate to the cone.

  5. Using regular straight pins, secure the loose ends of fabric at the base to the underside of the cone. You may need to trim off excess fabric around the base.

    DIY Party Centerpieces

  6. Starting on the opposite side from the seam at base of the cone, insert a round toothpick into the foam cone at a 45 degree angle. It is important to use sturdy round wooden toothpicks, as thinner wooden toothpicks will not pierce through the broadcloth.

  7. Place a gold Ferrero Rocher chocolate with the brown paper liner left attached on the toothpick, so that the bottom of the chocolate is flat against the cone.

    DIY Candy Centerpiece

  8. Repeat step 7 until the entire base of the cone is circled by the gold Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

  9. Again, starting on the opposite side from the seam, place a brown-wrapped Ferrero Rondnoir chocolate staggered between the gap above the gold chocolates to get an idea of where to stick the toothpick in for the second layer of chocolates. Pierce with toothpicks and attach Ferrero Rondnoir chocolates until cone is circled.

  10. Alternate rows of Ferrero Rocher and Rondnoir chocolates all the way up the cone.

  11. On the flat tip of the cone, pierce with a toothpick vertically and place a final chocolate on top.

  12. Place the tower on top of a cake pedestal for a beautiful display. If desired, place some floral clay on the bottom of the cone to attach it to the cake pedestal for a stable centerpiece.

  13. Enjoy your beautiful creation!

DIY Dessert Tower Ideas

If these instructions inspire you to create your own DIY candy tower centerpiece for your next party's sweet table, I'd love to see photos!

This post was featured on the following blog:

Singing With Birds

This post is being shared on the following blogs:

Birthday Wedding cakes crafts parties

The Girl Creative


Sumo Sweet Stuff

mmm button

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Surprise 40th Birthday Party: Paul's 40 Favorites

This surprise 40th birthday party exudes relaxed Southern charm with all the elements that make for a fun afternoon: yummy bites, cool drinks, a little music, and, most importantly, good company and conversation.  All of the gorgeous party photos were shared by Mike of Houston Studios Photography in Dalton, GA.

40 Birthday Cake

When Jessica decided that she wanted to throw a surprise 40th birthday party for her husband Paul, the task of coming up with a ideas was a challenge.  Luckily, she found me in an internet search!  After learning a little more about Paul's personality and hobbies, I came up with the theme "Paul's 40 Favorites" and helped her plan the event's look and feel in a manly palette of brown, black, and gold.

Surprise 40th Invitations Wording

Paul isn't the type of person who likes to be the center of attention, and according to Jessica, "would NEVER throw himself a party."  Using photos of Paul's 40 favorite days, trips, people, books, movies, and sports teams throughout the event space, helped draw attention away from Paul, the person, while still keeping him front and center as the guest of honor.  The photos also helped the guests learn a little more about Paul and served as great conversation pieces.

40th Birthday Ideas Photos

Jessica had a fantastic idea to show Paul with some of his favorites as a child and now as an adult.  I love how the pictures below turned out taken from the same angle.  So cute!

40th Party Decorations

Jessica commented, "Everyone loved all of the pictures - they were certainly a hit."

40th Party Themes

"Paul was COMPLETELY surprised and touched," shared Jessica.  Turns out Paul's birthday isn't until September, so I'm sure having a party in July when all of his family could visit from out of town kept Paul from suspecting anything out of the ordinary. He spent the day hanging out in Chattanooga, TN, (about 45 minutes away) with his dad and brother-in-law, which gave Jessica and family plenty of time to get everything ready for the party.

Surprise 40th Birthday Party

40 Birthday Ideas

Party Ideas 40

Paul with his two favorite people, Jessica and daughter Evie

Ideas 40th Birthday Party

All of the mouth-watering food was catered by The Filling Station in Dalton, GA.  I absolutely love the display of this pineapple cheese spread!

Pineapple Cheese Spread

40 Birthday Party Food Menu

40th Birthday Themes

40th Party Food Refreshments

For the sweet table, I designed a DIY Chocolate Tower Party Centerpiece that Jessica created beautifully to serve as a focal point.  (See How To Instructions!)  The chocolate candy tower looks fabulous surrounded by decadent chocolate cupcakes and additional chocolates.

40th Party Ideas

40th Birthday Cake

Guests were invited to share their favorite memory or thing about Paul on little cards that perfectly coordinated with the party's look.  The cards made a great guest-book substitute and provided thoughtful "gifts" for Paul to enjoy long after the party. (I think a little someone must have drawn him a picture on the large yellow sheet...just guessing.)

40th Party Supplies

40th Birthday Supplies

One of Paul's favorites is playing guitar, so Jessica wisely hired a guitarist to entertain the guests.  This set the stage perfectly for Paul to join in on a few jams and let the guests experience more of his 40 favorites. 

40th Birthday Party Band

40th Birthday Party Guitar

Jessica, thank you so much for letting me share in the excitement of this special 40th birthday party for Paul and help you plan a theme that brilliantly came to life under your guidance.  It was so much fun, and I hope we can do it again soon!

40th Birthday Party Toast

Featured Handmade Items by Belly Feathers
Custom Party Planning Guide with 40 Favorites Theme and Color Scheme Ideas
Party Invitations
DIY Chocolate Tower Party Centerpiece Instructions
Photo Display Cards
"Share Your Favorite" Guest Book

Now you can purchase these items, check out the pricing for this 40 Favorites Party at

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Please Vote: Project Wedding Contest

Oh my gosh!!! I just found out my article "Go Handmade for a Classy Look on a Small Budget" was selected as one of 10 finalists out of 100+ entries in Project Wedding's Budget Savvy Bride Contest. To make the news even sweeter, I was picked by Cathy of the wonderful Weddingbee blog, which is an awesome resource for brides and part of the eHarmony Wedding Network.

I need your help to win, though!  Please vote for "Go Handmade for a Classy Look on a Small Budget" at Project Wedding.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Surprise 30th Birthday Party for Michael
"Life Begins at 30"

Personalized parties are the best, and this surprise 30th birthday party theme was inspired by the guest of honor's wise and older friend, who always says, "Life Begins at 30." 

Birthday Turning 30 Ideas

Michael is the husband of my best friend, Jessica, so of course, I was thrilled to design party supplies for his surprise 30th birthday party that tied in with the "Life Begins at 30" theme and with the Party City design below.

30th Birthday Supplies

Tip: I always think it's a good idea to have some extra decor items on hand like these mini "Life Begins at 30" signs or table confetti to fill in any areas that need a little extra oomph at an event.

30th Party Themes Birthday

I had fun designing this over-the-top button pin for Michael.  Nothing says, "I'm the guest of honor!" like a giant crazy button pin, right?!  I got ideas for how to create it from this post on the Paper and Cake blog.

30th Party Decorations Ideas

Here are two shots of the "Happy 30th Birthday" pennant banner I created for Michael, as part of the 30th party decorations.

30th Birthday Decorations

30th Birthday Party Ideas

I love the little detail of including the year 1980, the year Michael was born, in the 30th birthday decorations.  Jessica and her friend Angela found these at Joann Fabrics after much searching.  Apparently, wooden numbers aren't as easy to find as letters.

30 Birthday Ideas

The bright and cheerful 30th birthday cake was designed by a local baker in Albany, GA, to match the party plates.

30th Birthday Cake

The real focal point of the party was this candy buffet.  I created another banner to hang above the candy bar that said, "Treats from Michael's Childhood." 

30th Party Ideas Birthday

Some of the goodies included Big League Chew, Pop Rocks, Ring Pops, and Pixy Sticks. 

Candy  Buffet Bar

What I like most about this candy buffet is that the majority of the containers and candy were found at Dollar Tree.  You've got to love that!

Candy Bar Ideas

Candy Buffet Jars Containers

Candy Buffet Ideas

Angela, who hosted the surprise party at her house, is crafty and created this "80's Treats" sign to look like a lollipop, which was great for adding height to the display.

Candy Buffet Pictures 30th Birthday

Here are some close-up shots of the signs that I designed for the candy buffet.

Candy Buffet Labels

Candy Buffet Signs

Jessica, thank you so much for sharing these wonderful photos from Michael's surprise 30th birthday party!  I wish we could have been there to celebrate with you guys.

Featured Handmade Items by Belly Feathers
Pennant Party Banners
"Life Begins at 30" Mini Freestanding Signs
Candy Buffet Stick Signs
Candy Buffet Tie-on Signs
Candy Buffet Mini Freestanding Signs
Button Pin
"Life Begins at 30" Thank You Stickers for Candy Buffet Boxes

All contents Creative Commons licensed. Betsy Pruitt of Belly Feathers.

Please give credit to Betsy Pruitt of Belly Feathers and provide a link back to the page containing the content when you use ideas, text, and photos from this site. Thanks!

Full Disclosure: If you see a link to Amazon on this blog, it is probably a link through their affiliate program, meaning I would receive a teeny tiny commission on any sales from that link. Please know I only write about items that I think would interest my readers and never for commission on these items.