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Easy Buffet Risers for DIY Weddings and Holiday Parties

There are some things in life that guys just don’t get. Papi Chulo loves nice curtains and making the bed, but he was absolutely confused when I told him we needed some sort of risers to add height and interest to our wedding buffet. He was so confused I actually had to look up photos online to even show him what I meant! Whether you’re displaying items for sale at a craft show or retail shop, for a buffet or a dessert table, varied heights are important to creating interest and appeal. The problem is that most commercially available risers (at least all the ones I could find) seem both too expensive and not very attractive. I did a lot of research and ultimately tried a couple different things, but these easy risers were absolutely the best. Made from foam cake dummies and scrapbook paper, they’re cheap, easy to customize, and reasonably durable. I think they’re great for weddings, holiday parties, or even a craft fair display!

Easy DIY Buffet Riser Tutorial

One of the great things about these risers is that foam cake dummies come in all shapes and sizes. I chose to use a few low squares and a couple taller cylinders for variety, but you can get whatever suits your needs. If a store near you carries styrofoam cake dummies, that’s great! If not, there are plenty of options online like Country Kitchen Sweetart. Because cake dummies are designed to hold a little weight, I think they’re a better choice than floral foam or pieces of craft foam. You don’t want your riser to crumble under your dishes!

Materials for DIY buffet risers

  • Styrofoam cake dummies – I used 6×4″ rounds and 6x6x2″ squares for mine
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Ruler
  • Paper cutter
  • Spray adhesive

If you’ve ever used spray paint on foam, you’ll know it doesn’t work – the propellant eats the foam. I experimented with several different adhesives, including tape, white glue, and brushed-on Mod Podge, but spray adhesive created the most durable risers. To make it work, simply spray the scrapbook paper, not the foam.

diy buffet riser supplies

How to make your own buffet risers

1. Measure your cake dummies. Just like a 2×4 board isn’t exactly 2″ by 4″, your dummy may not be exactly the size on its label. Mine tended to be about 1/8″ smaller than their reported size.

measure your cake dummy

2. Cut your scrapbook paper based on the dummy’s actual measurements. Unless you really want the form to be fully covered, you don’t need to cover the bottom because it will be hidden. For the pictured dummy, I cut 4 rectangles and one square to cover the sides and top.

cut the scrapbook paper3. I hate using spray adhesive indoors, so I took my project outside at this point. I also protected the walkway with a folded cardboard box to avoid getting glue everywhere! Once your work surface is protected, throughly coat one of the rectangle’s “wrong” side with spray adhesive and then smooth it in place on the foam dummy.

glue the scrapbook paper in place

4. Adhere the other three sides in the same manner before adding the top piece. The end product looks nicer when you add the top paper last. Make sure to pay attention to which way is ‘up’ and apply your papers accordingly! It will look a little off if the papers are all facing different directions.

diy riser from a cake dummy

5. Use and enjoy!

If you want to make your risers a little more durable, you can cover the finished riser with contact paper, or even carefully give it a coat of Mod Podge. Because they only cost a couple dollars and less than ten minutes each, I didn’t worry about making mine more durable and just got rid of the ones that ended up covered in salsa and dressing at our wedding reception.

I think these would be so cute at a baby shower, holiday gathering, or even a birthday party! There are so many cute scrapbook papers available today that you could make one for pretty much any occasion. By the way, if you like the paper I used, it’s from the “By the Sea” collection shown in the widget below.


No matter what occasion you make these for, I hope they serve you well and that you enjoy customizing them!

Have you ever used any unusual objects for risers in a buffet situation?

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Edi September 26, 2014, 10:22

    I love these for craft show displays. And as you pointed out…with different papers, they could be used for any occasion!

    • Natashalh September 26, 2014, 13:51

      And they’re so inexpensive. The cost per was under $3, which is pretty awesome for a display piece!

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