Once upon a time I saw a picture of this BHLDN flamingo cake topper in a wedding shoot and fell in love. I love flamingos, and these were SO SWEET, but…they were also crazy expensive for just your everyday party, on like a zero budget. So I pined and I obsessed…and then decided I needed a way to make them myself. They seem pretty daunting, but I think I worked out the kinks enough to make them easy enough to DIY!
First of all, ignore how daunting this looks. You don’t really need half this stuff.
What You Need:
- large foam ball
- wire (and wire cutters to save yourself)
- Cloud Clay (I didn’t know what this was, but Victoria found it and it’s amazing. You can get it at the craft store, it looks like this.)
- modelling clay (I bought a pack at the dollar store because I wanted the pink, but you could buy better stuff or dye your Cloud Clay)
- pink paint (mine is from the dollar store)
- faux flower petals in two shades (I chose a light and dark pink)
- tissue paper
- pink ribbon (this is optional, I used it for extra security but you could probably get away without it)
- 2 skewers
- glue gun & scissors
First of all, shape a length of wire into an ‘S’ shape, leaving the bottom part extra long. Poke that part through the foam ball and shove it through to form a small loop at the back (for the tail) and the ‘S’ shapes the neck.
Next, use your Cloud Clay to add some shape to the neck. Smooth the bottom of the clay over the foam ball so there is a base. The best part about this clay is that it stretches to pretty much whatever you need, so you don’t need a lot. I rolled and stretched mine into a tubular shape and then flattened it around the wire. For the head shape, create an oval shape and then pinch the end for a beak. You can manipulate the clay until it looks the way you want, it’s very forgiving and takes 24 hours to dry so you have time to work with it.
When it looks the way you like, set it aside for a day so you don’t risk smudging the clay while you work on the next part.
Once it’s completely dry (it will weigh considerably less and will be very foam-like to the touch) paint the whole thing. Don’t worry too much about it being perfect, you’ll cover everything up anyways, but it’s a good way to have any bald spots hidden later.
This next step is optional, but I think if you find inexpensive ribbon (again, dollar store find for me) it’s worth it. It gives you a tighter shape for your next step, and it’s easier for the glue to adhere to. Add a dab of glue to the base of the neck and wrap the ribbon up the ‘S’ shape, adding glue as you go. Glue the top piece of the ribbon where the neck becomes the head.
Next, cut your rose petals and tissue paper into fringe shapes. I cut them into rectangles first and then fringed them, but if you have thicker ribbon lying around that would work too. I didn’t, and wanted to cheap out a bit on materials.
I alternated gluing the fringe around the neck, with them lying in layers covering the top of the fringe below. This gave the neck a little “feathered” look without the cheapness of the feathers (don’t get me wrong, you COULD use feathers, I just didn’t like the look of any I found and the petals seemed so sweet).
For the tail you can put some Cloud Clay on your loop of wire to form a base. I also used some to shape the head a bit more.
Paint the head however you like, but I used pink paint with a small black eye and beak. You could add googley eyes or more ornate drawings if you prefer! Once your tail is dry you have this flat base for gluing your petals. I just layered mine in a relatively linear way to sort of resemble tail feathers. I covered the bottom of the tail too, but not in this picture so you could see what it looks like. Ignore that last petal, there was a minor Diet Coke problem. My bad.
And that’s it! It took a little while when you count drying times and stuff, but it wasn’t that difficult once I figured out how I wanted everything. And it looks so sweet, I have it on my desk in a little vase just for fun!