Katy Perry Cupcake Dress

Even if you don’t like Katy Perry, can we at least all get on the same page that her costumes on stage are ridiculously fun? Working as a scientific Recruiting Manager is cool (I guess), but working as a costume designer for Katy Perry would be sweet as hell. Surprisingly, I haven’t received this job offer yet, but I took it upon myself to get some practice by creating a rather elaborate replica of Katy Perry’s cupcake dress. This is going to be a lengthy post – sorry, but not really.

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Equal parts ridiculous and fucking amazing. I love my regular, standard sewing projects that I have going on a constant basis, but it was exciting to start up a project that involved a bit more creativity and some new techniques. I got the idea in my head back in July and took my time working up to the final results for Halloween. I did a pretty shitty job taking photographs, but I can at least share some insight on how I turned into this:

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I started with the cupcakes and had only a vague idea of how in the world I’d construct a crazy tier skirt for the cupcakes to sit on. I found this convenient tutorial on how to make fake cupcakes and it worked like a charm! There are no actual food items used in for any of the 67 cupcakes you see.

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My initial supplies:

  • Expansion foam
  • Washers
  • Lightweight spackling
  • Acrylic paint in a variety of colors
  • Sculpey in a variety of colors
  • Cupcake wrappers
  • Paintbrushes, exacto knife, gloves

If only the employees in Home Depot knew that I was prancing around the store looking for supplies to make fake cupcakes…

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The cupcake base is expansion foam and it’s miraculously lightweight. I tossed my cupcake pan in a garbage bag and set all of my cupcake wrappers in place. The washers in the bottom helped keep the wrappers in place once I started working with the expansion foam…it’s really sticky.

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This step goes really fast and I am very glad that I wore gloves. It only took about 20 minutes to pour expansion foam into 70 cupcake wrappers. The foam sets quickly and I could pull the wrappers out of the cupcake pan before the foam was completely hardened…the shape still holds. The most challenging part was figuring out where to store 70 fake cupcakes as they continued to fully set. I needed a place that was not too humid (challenging in July) because humidity will cause the foam to shrink and shrivel a bit in the wrappers. Turned out my bathroom floor was a great spot! 🙂

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Once I had my cupcake bases, I set to work painting all of them with tan and brown acrylic paint so that they more closely resembled a baked cupcake. Not perfect work, but a decent outcome. This step took quite awhile…I dragged it out for weeks and took my time…got distracted for large chunks of time and then came back to it. Eventually all 70 were painted.

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Frosting the cupcakes was by far the most entertaining step. The frosting is just lightweight speckling mixed with lots of different colors of acrylic paint. I’m pretty sure I spent ~$40 on speckling, which is a bit absurd, but I’m committed! Once I mixed paint into the speckling, I dumped it into a pastry bag and piped it onto the cupcakes as you would with real frosting. I had 4 or 5 different piping tips so that I could have some variety in how my frosting looked.

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I made a number of toppings with sculpey: little strawberries, banana slices, chocolate chips, candy pieces. I also used beads and plastic pearls. I even made fake wrapped candy using styrofoam balls and cellophane. It was so much fun!

While the cupcake work involved time and a lot of detail, it was pretty easy crafting. The tiered skirt really made my brain hurt during construction and Sean was a huge help putting this together.

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It’s all made out of cardboard and paper tape. Katy Perry’s dress has four tiers and my original intention was to include four tiers in my own dress. Unfortunately, I am a dumbass and significantly overestimated the amount of space each cupcake would take up so the circumference of the fourth bottom tier was enormous. I could barely fit through a doorway with just three tiers, so three was all I got.

The bottom two tiers are put together as one unit, but the top tier had to fit my waist fairly snuggly to hold the whole skirt up, so it had to be constructed as two pieces. I ended up using industrial strength velcro to secure to the two pieces of the top tier together around my waist and lots of velcro straps along the inside to attach the top tier to the bottom two.

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I first tried to spray paint the cardboard white, but that looked hideous…so I ended up using lightweight spackling to cover the entire unit, giving it a resemblance of a frosted cake. In case you were wondering, that took forever.

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I used an entire bottle of Gorilla glue to attach all of the cupcakes to the tiers. I ended up filling the tiers with only 67 cupcakes and had a few spares. I attached the ruffle to the bottom with Krazy glue. Fortunately Joann’s had that this butt ugly fabric that was exactly what I needed! I did buy silver fabric too, but I ran out of time to add that ruffle on. 😦

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Tada!!!!

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Katy Perry had a sequined top, but all of the sequined fabric that I found was really, really ugly and none of it was multicolored. I found this gorgeous rainbow-foiled-animal-print lycra at Joann’s and I felt like it still channeled the right look, so I bought some and whipped up a stylish leotard. I then made a simple ruffle and tacked it on the leotard around the neckline. I didn’t use gathering stitches, I just bunched it by hand.

That’s the end of my story of construction. I fretted over some minor details that didn’t look as accurate as I’d wanted because I am a perfectionist, but I still felt pretty stoked about the end result. Didn’t get enough quality pictures of me wearing the costume, but here a few little gems.

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Katy Perry as fuck.

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