Friday, March 21, 2014

Cake Postcard

With spring comes birthdays and with birthdays come cake. So what do you do if you can't be there to see your friend or family member blow out the candles? Why not send them a piece of cake through the mail! It may not be edible but it's the thought that counts, no? I saw this DIY cake postcard on SheKnows and just had to see if it was as easy (and yummy!) as it looked.

Head to your hardware store to pick up these supplies:

* 1 large sponge (they sell 2-packs at Home Depot if you want to make two at the same time!)
* A serrated knife
* An x-acto knife
* Spray paint (I opted for brown so it would be a chocolate cake)
* Acrylic latex caulk (again, I went with brown because chocolate cake must have chocolate frosting!)
* Spray adhesive
* Paper for the "postcard" (I used an old manila folder)

First, take a sponge and using your knife, cut it at a diagonal as centered as possible. You would think it's easy to cut through... it's not. So go slowly and as evenly as possible.

If you don't cut evenly and slowly, it may come out like this. Whoops.

I also opted to cut off the end so it didn't have rounded corners.

Next, use your x-acto knife and make a shallow rectangular cut in the middle of the sponge, so as to emulate two layers and "frosting" will go in the middle.

Spray paint your sponge in a well ventilated area (i.e. - outside) and from every angle (and I mean every angle!). I missed some areas around the bottom so the yellow sponge was visible but I ended up covering most areas with caulk later. Wait for it to completely dry before doing anything else.

Once the sponge is dry, measure out how big the paper "postcard" should be. You can use card stock, a folder, scrapbook paper, whatever you like.

Cut out the card and using your spray adhesive, glue it to the unpainted side of the cake.

Now I have zero experience with caulk but by a wonderful mistake, I found a fast and easy way to apply the caulk. First, make a diagonal cut at the top.

Next, put the caulk gun in a big plastic bag and using your foot, slowly apply pressure. What will happen is the end of the caulk gun will pop off and all the caulk will come out the back, instead of through that little slit you made. Now you can just squeeze it out with your hands into the plastic bag! Neat, huh?

Do NOT try this on carpet. I was extremely lucky and didn't get any caulk on the carpet but you might not be so lucky. So again, do this activity outside or on newspapers to protect your floors.

Once the caulk is in the bag, cut a small corner off and squirt out the caulk into the shallow sections you created earlier, to resemble the "frosting" between layers of cake.

And this is the fun party - apply caulk to two sides of the sponge and swirl it around to make it look as realistic as possible. You can use the plastic bag, a paintbrush, or a toothpick to make the desired effect.

Now comes the waiting game. Put your "cake" in a safe location and let it dry for 3-5 days (mine took 4 days, though I played it safe). If you don't move the piece around on whatever you've set it on, the caulk might attach itself to it. For example, I put mine on a piece of cardboard and didn't move it at all... so... cardboard was attached to the "frosting":

If this happens to you, get off as much as you can and using a damp paper towel, you can rub off the rest.

Add a cute message (I wrote, "Hope this year turns out to be a 'piece of cake'"), run to the post office, and get your stamps (mine cost $2.70... did you know you can't take pictures inside of a post office? Random fact of the day).

Once it's addressed, put your cake in the mailbox and voila! Your cake postcard is ready to be devoured... by the United States Postal Service.

TOTAL COSTS: About $25 to make 4 (supplies from Home Depot)
$3.89 for a 2-pack of sponges
$9.99 for 3M 77 Super Multipurpose Spray Adhesive
$3.76 for spray paint
$4.33 for caulk
$2.70 for stamps to mail the postcard
Serrated knife, x-acto knife, and manilla folder already on hand

TOTAL AMOUNT OF TIME: 3-5 days to dry + an hour and a half of prep work
10 minutes to cut the sponge
5 minutes to cut the center line
1 hour to let sponge dry after spray painting
10 minutes to add caulk
3-5 days to let dry

EASY-PEASY SCALE (1 super easy - 5 very difficult): 2 out of 5
This was surprisingly easy, especially considering I had never used caulk before, but the plastic bag really did help with applying. Be very careful not to get caulk, glue, or anything else on your workspace because this can get messy very quickly!