Marty and Kathy's 25th Anniversary Cake
Marty and Kathy were married 25 years ago and wanted to celebrate by renewing their vows with the family. We volunteered for the cake once we found some fantastic Barbies in Toys R Us just before the party. Since we had little time it was easier to resurrect the Ariel cake base we still had. Marty and Kathy dated quite a lot on the beach when they first met so that is what we tried to copy.
Having found the Barbie's we wanted all we needed was an idea with some motion. After a few sketches we came up with something doable. Sketch 1, Sketch 2, Sketch 3, Sketch 4. This is the gist of the cake. Marty turns left and right while Kathy move forward and back, they meet kissing in front of a beach sunset. We couldn't do the whole cake as we had to transport it to put it back together and finish it there. That made it a bit more interesting but the family was there to help :).
Getting them to move was fairly easy. I had actually bought some DuBro RC parts a while back thinking them to be easier than trying to bend cloth hangers over and over. Turns out they are better, who knew? All I needed to do was some math so that they're motions weren't too drastic. As the motor turns it moves a shaft forward and back. The forward and back attach directly to Kathy so that she rocks about a point, the same shaft also attaches to an arm on a shaft to make Marty rotate. I wanted them on the same shaft so I never had problems with they're sync kissing. Believe it or not, the hardest part was getting the large gage wire up the legs far enough to support them. The female Barbie legs are tiny and thus difficult to get up to the knee without splitting out her leg. That was half a night right there, whew! Here is their first night test on the base. A close up of the feet and an under the cake shot.
I wanted a sunset background, easy to find on internet and blow up. Done. But I also wanted moving waves. Luckily I'd been holding onto a white opaque plastic paper roll core from work (used on our plotters). They throw them away anyway so I'm glad I kept one. I was able to leave the light from the Ariel cake to light the wave hoping it would look like the sun was showing through (also added yellow color). I used the wave from the sunset and distorted it to fit the roll. Printed it on transparency, laminated it and glued it to the roll. Then hot glued three foam core sections inside the roll each 1/3 of the way around and 1/3 of the length. Added a small amount of rice and sealed it up. When the roll spins the rice catches on the core and drops to form a wavy splash sound. In between splashes enough rice slide across the bottom to add some surf noise as well. NICE! Once I had that working (early I may add) I decided to add some surf to the background. I (luckily) found some decent gears a Radio Shack the next day to link the waves with the surf (to keep them in sync). It was just a wooden dowel with cotton and glitter glued to it. As the wave hit down the surf would come up. And it worked! I seriously doubt anyone noticed the whole background much but I liked it nonetheless. I was working fast by this point so only got two pics at test time :(. 1 2.
The next parts were just fun to make. We made a fire with crushed red glass as the embers. Under the fire we had a flashing LED to simulate flickering coals. Lili did all the sculpting out of Sculpy clay and I broke the glass. If you're on a beach you have to have a palm tree! I made the tree from Sculpy and embedded wires inside for the branches. Lili finished it off with paint then cut and glued the branches. We even put coconuts but no one saw those. Marty and Kathy dated on Oil Piers beach so we wanted a sign saying so. Lili did it all. This was my favorite piece of the cake. And you have to have seagulls. We had one flying around above the camp site. We couldn't find suitable seagulls and didn't have the time (or talent) to make nice ones so we settled for doves. I think they're doves anyway? One flying and one on the sign. Once the cake was done we placed some of the Barbie beach stuff to make a campsite. Here are a couple shots of the full mockup before shipping. Numero uno and numero dos.
The background surrounding was done by my parents and my aunt once we arrived a few days before the party. I had no good ideas so I let them do it up. Lili picked the decorations and they put it all together. They put twisted Hawaiian skirt around the edges. They did a good job eh? The silver lettering was a nice touch too I thought.
I thought it turned out really nice. Did anyone notice the shinys on the water? I liked'em.
Click here to download/watch a movie of The cake in action (1.0 mb file)
(3.0 mb file)(oops bad filming)
Click here to download/watch a movie of The only shot of the waves (650K file)