Vintage Wedding Cake Toppers

Before being cleaned
I recently found my inlaws' wedding cake topper, which had been packed away for 67 years. I've done some cakes that used vintage toppers and they're always unique. They're a nice keepsake, and if you clean them up a little they can be a family heirloom that's used on more than one generation's cakes.

If you have a vintage topper, don't be afraid to paint it if you want to make it look more like the bride and groom. New paint on the hair can work wonders. Use an acrylic paint and a very small brush and be careful!

The methods for cleaning vintage toppers will vary based on what they're made from. If it's plastic or sealed ceramic you can use a solution of mild dishwashing soap and water and q-tip it on to remove dirt. You'll need to start in a section that's less noticeable so that you can make sure you won't remove paint from the figures.

After cleaning and some new paint.
If the topper is unglazed porcelain or another ceramic-type material, you'll need to be more careful. That's basically a clay that's been pressed into a shape, and if you don't know what process was used to dry it you could damage the piece if it gets wet. Test a small area that isn't too obvious first.

For that type of material you can use a small brush and try to get as much loose dirt off of the surface as you can, then take a q-tip or a small brush and apply some bleach or hydrogen peroxide directly to any darkened areas. Make sure to remove the cleaner as best you can with a damp rag afterward.

Be especially careful with the bases of the toppers. they were sometimes made of less finished types of clays, so they're more susceptible to damage than the figures themselves.

If all you want to do is clean up the base, get the Magic Eraser cleaning thingy and use that. I have no idea what that thing is made of, but man, it works. Start with a gentle hand if you do use one of those, it's strong stuff. It would be best for plastic and sealed porcelain.

 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at and