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Never in my life as a mother (nearly six years and going strong!) have I done anything DIY. I'm not proud of this, but it's the truth. It's not that I don't have the creativity, it is just that I simply do not have the desire to do so. But with my son's third birthday approaching, and hearing that the school does not permit food items containing dairy, nuts, or gluten in the classroom, I was forced to get creative. And since I've always said that motherhood is the mother of invention, thus was born the Play-Doh Birthday Cupcake: A birthday treat that looks like a cupcake but does not present any of the potential food allergy dangers of an actual baked good. Boom! You're welcome.

Here's how you do it:

1. Pick up or order yourself a Play-Doh Party Pack of oh-so-cute mini Play-Doh containers.

2. Grab a cheap pack of birthday candles.

3. Take some yellow or gold construction paper or foil (I used the ones from an IKEA multipack because it is super sturdy and cheap) and cut out tiny "candle flame" shapes.

4. Glue each individual candle flame shape to the wick of each candle with Elmer's or craft glue.

5. To adhere candle to top of Play-Doh container, you'll need to melt the wax from the candle to the container. Strike a match while holding the candle perpendicular to the top of the container so the flame doesn't travel up and burn your finger, and also to maximize the drip of the wax. Obtain 1-3 drips, then blow out match. Place bottom of candle to melted wax and hold it for 5-10 seconds, then set aside to dry.

6. There, you did it. 


These babies are pretty fragile, so I recommend traveling with them in a shallow-ish box that is tightly packed so they don't move around (otherwise the candles can jostle and fall). Also, bring a set of matches with you to your destination. A few of mine fell by the time I delivered my cupcakes, so I just re-melted the wax to reattach them when I got to my son's school. It took me about three minutes.

I swear this is so easy. The only thing I can't promise is that the kids won't eat the Play-Doh. But that's on the school, not on you.

Enjoy your Martha Stewart status for the moment! I know I am!


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ALEXIS BARAD-CUTLER is an essayist who writes candidly and often humorously about the "stuff no one talks about in Mom Group" for sites such as Romper, Well Rounded NY, Mommy Nearest, and other online outlets. You can read more of her work on her website, or you can follow her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for all her latest articles.