Skip to Content

Cricut Maker vs. Explore Air 2: How to Make a Cake Topper

Cricut Maker vs. Explore Air 2: How to Make a Cake Topper

When you work with Cricut so much, you get asked a lot of questions from curious crafters. The most common one is, “Why do I need a Cricut Maker over a Cricut Explore Air 2?” Yeah, it’s more expensive, but you’re getting a lot LOT more machine for those dollars.

One of those spectacular differences is the ability to use adaptive tools, like the Knife Blade. In today’s post, I’m going to show you how to make a cake topper with the Cricut Maker using the knife blade for a brief demonstration of one of the many reasons you NEED a Maker.

How to Make a Cake topper with the cricut maker

Typographic cake toppers are super trendy on cakes right now. I even bought one on Etsy for my Coffee themed baby shower before I had a Cricut Machine because they’re just so cute! Unfortunately, they can also be super flimsy because they are usually made with a single sheet of glitter card stock or something similar. And you can almost never re-use them because they’re so thin.

Re-using my decorations is important to me, and you can’t pull off making a durable cake topper with the Cricut Explore Air 2. They’ll only get the cardstock part done for you. The Explore Airs are great machines, but they don’t check all the creative boxes. You can cut a lot of paper and vinyl with them, but if you’re truly a crafter, you’re going to want all the things the Cricut Maker can do.

What makes this project possible on a Maker but not on an Explore Air 2 is the knife blade. The blade is part of the adaptive tool system that is part of the Cricut Maker. You can change out the tools for whatever your project requires, like a knife blade for cutting chipboard (like in this how to make a cake topper project), wood and leather or a rotary blade for cutting fabric and felt.

And the cute little rosettes on this banner? They’re made with the Maker, too! There is a scoring wheel that you can use on the Maker that makes really crisp scoring lines for projects that need folding. These rosettes are made with a super thick 110 lb paper, so the deep score lines were really helpful getting nice folds into the paper.

Having so many tools at your instant disposal with the Cricut Maker really opens up creative possibilities and the quality of the projects you can produce.

Designing a Typographic Cake Topper in Design Space

Now that we’ve discussed for a bit why this topper really needs to be made on a Maker machine, I’m going to show you the nuts and bolts of making this design yourself in Design Space. If you know the method to design a cake topper, it’s no problem to make anything on one you want. Just follow these steps to design one of your own!

Design and Make a Cake Topper with Cricut Maker, Step 1

Click on “Text” in the left column after you’ve opened up Cricut Design Space. We’re going to use “Happy Birthday” as an example for this project. When the box pops up, type in your wording.

Make a Cake Topper, Step 2: FONTS!

This is likely the most important part of the design! Choosing the right font. You need a font that is a little on the thick side because the knife blade can cut intricate patterns, but chipboard and wood don’t always hold up to super fine cuts.

You also want a font that is going to be ok squashed really really close to its neighbor if it is not a handwriting-type font. In the end, we’re going to weld the letters together and if they’re all completely flush, they’ll be unreadable.


Make a Cake Topper, Step 3: UNGROUP

After you’ve chosen your font, you’ll need to go ungroup your words so you can move the letters around. The font DonJuan – Under Pressure has two layers to it, so feel free to delete one of the layers if you end up with a similar styled font.

Cake Topper, Step 4: MOVE TYPE

The fun part! We’re going to move the letters around to look how we want. Start by moving “Happy” over “Birthday.”

Now we’re going to squash all the letters together. Try to center the words over each other, and move the letters so they are all touching. If they don’t touch, they won’t come out as one solid piece when they’re cut.

Step 5: WELD!

Select ALL the letters, they go to the bottom right corner and click the button that says “Weld.”

Your words should be one solid piece now. Adjust the height and width to fit the cake you’re going to use it on before you it “Make It!”

You can use this exact same method for any typographic cake topper. Just remember to:

  1. Use a thicker font.
  2. Make all the letters touch before welding.

I’ve got two “Happy Birthday” files set up already, you can see them here:

Cutting a Cake Topper from Chipboard with the Cricut Maker

A few materials for cutting:

Once your design is set, you need to prep to start cutting. Click “Make It,” and eventually you’ll come to this screen. Select Heavy Chipboard – 2.0mm as your material, and load your knife blade.

Preparing your mat for cutting Cricut Heavy Chipboard

The first thing I learned cutting chipboard on the Cricut Maker is that it does not matter how sticky your mat is, you’re going to need to use blue painter’s tape around the edges of your chipboard in order to keep it still. You don’t need to go overboard here, though.

The knife blade will cut through the tape with ease. The rollers, however, are NOT going to like the tape. Tape to the top of the mat only, and avoid wrapping it around the edges. The tape is going to rip eventually, gum up the rollers, and then you’ll have to pull out your project and degunk and maybe even have to start your project again. That would really suck, so just keep the tape on the top.

Cutting Chipboard with the Knife Blade

After you’ve got your mat prepped, use the arrows to feed it into the Cricut Maker and press the blinking “C” to get the process started.

Cutting chipboard is not a last minute project at all, you’ll need to budget a fair amount of time for the magic to happen. The program is going to want to make somewhere around 20 passes cutting out the chipboard, but I usually stop it around 12. This still takes a bit of time to get through, especially if you have a complicated design. It’s all totally hands-off time, but don’t count on it being done lickety-split.

For a project like this, count on about an hour of cutting time.

Chipboard Cake Topper with Glitter

The Maker has really changed my crafty life. I seriously think up a project, then I think about how much faster (and professionally) I’ll be able to make it if I put it in my Maker machine. So many things I used to do by hand I just tell my Maker to do now, and it’s SO MUCH EASIER.

The Maker also makes projects wildly flexible on how you finish them out. For instance, the Cricut chipboard (buy it here) can be painted, layered with cardstock or used with vinyl or iron-on vinyl. Using Foil Iron-on on chipboard and is something that is not recommended on the Cricut EasyPress Recommended Settings page…but I’m a rebel and I did it anyway. The finish is not perfect smooth, but I still love the way it looks! Layering regular vinyl on top is still A-OK according to Cricut.

To make the glitter cardstock option like you saw as the example project in this post, cut the “happy birthday” out of Cricut gold glitter cardstock (buy it here) with the fine point blade after your chipboard is done.

Use a glue stick (or other glue) to adhere the glitter to the chipboard.

Turn your piece over and hot glue two bamboo skewers or thin dowel rods to the back. The length of the skewers depends on the size of your intended cake, but from experience, start long and cut the sticks down. My skewers started at 11.75 inched for this project for a very tall cake.

Chipboard Cake Topper with Foil Finish

Remember when I said you can also iron-on to chipboard? It’s just like ironing on to a shirt. Mirror the “happy birthday” image, then cut it out of iron-on foil. Weed it out, then get ready to iron.

I love the EasyPress and the EasyPress Mat for this. Line up the foil cut over the chipboard cut.

Press at 315 for 30 seconds at a time. Check to see if the foil is sticking between pressings; it might take two or three attempts. If you’re using foil, you need to do a COLD PEEL. Wait for the piece to cool off before you remove the carrier sheet. If you don’t the foil will wrinkle and bubble. And you’ve done a lot of work up until now to have something like that ruin your project–so just wait the extra minute or two.

Easy peasy, and you’ll have gorgeous toppers for every occasion now that you know how to build these yourself!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.


Paula Biggs

Owner at Frog Prince Paperie
Paula Biggs is a party planner, DIY crafter, and owner of Frog Prince Paperie, where you can find hundreds of party, craft and lifestyle ideas.

Disney Princess Baby Shower with the Cricut Maker - Frog Prince Paperie

Thursday 10th of January 2019

[…] show you how to design your own cake topper in this post here. I made this one that says Welcome Princess for this occasion. You can find that file here on design […]

Sandra Garth

Thursday 18th of October 2018

I can think of so many things I'd like to print out with this, especially with a new baby in the family. Also, that cake stand is out of this world gorgeous!!!!

Paula Biggs

Thursday 18th of October 2018

That cake stand was definitely one I saw and could NOT leave in the store, lol. Thanks! And that new baby needs lots of DIY party love!!!