paper cupcake toppers

Paper cupcake toppers I made for my daughter’s M & M theme birthday party.

Paper cupcake toppers are the latest trend in cupcake decorating. There is a large assortment of toppers you can create ranging from a simple to more elaborate designs. This page will cover the basic decoration which consists of a shaped image matted on shaped cardstock. The topper is then attached to a toothpick or lollipop stick and inserted into your decorated cupcakes. It is that easy!

Many scrapbooking techniques such as paper punching and matting are used when creating these decorating items, however, you don’t need to be experienced in scrapbooking to make these. The supplies you need to create them can be found at your local craft store, office supply store or online.

Want to save some time?  There is a large selection of premade toppers that are available for purchase. These completed decorations come in many popular themes so you are sure to find the perfect one for your celebration. These cupcake embellishments are perfect for birthdays, bridal showers, baby showers, Holidays, and more. Whether you make your own or purchase them, they are sure to be a hit at your next celebration.

Supplies Needed:

  • Scissors or Paper Punches
  • Cardstock
  • Photo paper or round label sheets
  • Glue, double-stick tape or pop-up glue dots
  • Lollipop stick, toothpick, Popsicle stick or wood skewer
  • Computer and printer


Find an image or images you would like for your party theme.  Print them out onto photo paper or cardstock.  Punch out or cut out your images using scissors into whatever shape you would like. The most popular shapes are circles, scalloped, rectangle and square. Select cardstock for your background and punch out or cut out that as well. *The background needs to be slightly larger than your image. So, if your image is 1″, your background paper needs to be 1 1/2″ or larger. Attach a lollipop stick, toothpick, Popsicle stick or skewer using glue or foam dots to your image. You can attach the stick to the back of the cardstock or in between the cardstock and image. Optional: Embellish your toppers with ribbon, gems, die cuts shapes, cut outs, etc. Instead of two layers of matting, add 3 or more. The ideas are endless.

paper cupcake toppers

Precut bottle cap images in many popular children’s characters for your paper cupcake toppers.

There are many paper punches on the market that would be great to use to make your paper cupcake toppers. As I stated above, the common shapes used are circle, scalloped, square and rectangle. The average sizes used for cupcake toppers range from 1″-3″ depending on how large you want your toppers to be and whether you are serving standard size cupcakes or jumbo cupcakes at your birthday party.

You can purchase custom made, pre-cut 1″ round images. The images are printed on high quality photo paper and cut to perfect 1″ circles. All you need to do is glue these images to cardstock and punch with a 1 1/2″ or 2″ scalloped circle punch and you are done.  There are many party themes available and each theme comes with a variety of different images. So, not only does purchasing these images save on time, you also get many different images which will add more fun to the look of your cupcakes.

Zazzle carries a large selection of 1 1/2″ birthday stickers. Many of the stickers can even be personalized. These stickers would make a great addition to your cupcake toppers. Simply place the sticker on cardstock and punch out with a 2″ scalloped circle punch. You can also double-matte these stickers by placing the sticker onto cardstock and punching it out. Then attach the finished image to round scalloped cardstock.

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