How to create a Nautical Themed Pirate Cake Topper

Welcome to Part Two of our Nautical theme cake topper series! Now, for this I really hope you’ve mastered the standing figure part of Anne’s Craftsy class because we’re going to raise the bar a bit and make a dancing pirate to go with our lovely mermaid from Part One.

Pirate Cake Topper

  1. 1Just like making a standing figure, start with the legs using gum paste. But this time, bend them both at the knee and place them at an angle from each other. Only one is going to bear weight so make sure you are using at least 18 gauge wire (I used 16 gauge). One leg will be cut off at the knee so we can add the peg leg after. I chose white as my base color to simulate stockings.

    Pirates legs shaping up

  2. 2Next make the peg leg. Just a bit of brown gum paste rolled into a log.

    Pirate Peg Leg

  3. 3Skewer it onto the exposed wire of the shortened leg and secure with a little tylose glue.

    Skewer shortened peg leg

  4. 4To make the shoe, roll gum paste to a thickness between 1/8 and 1/4”. Cut a rectangle 1/4 length longer than the length of the foot. Cut into the shape shown in the picture allowing for enough to fit all around the foot with overlap as well as the tongue of the shoe. Some of this is covered in the Craftsy class, but when ever you change the clothing styles, you will have to adjust the pattern pieces. A little experimentation might be necessary, but never be discouraged!Pirate Shoe
  5. 5Brush the foot with tylose glue, wrap the shoe upper around to the heel and roll the tongue forward. A small oval of paste serves as the sole and a tiny half circle makes the heel.

    Attaching the shoe to the legs

  6. 6Make the torso! This is a mix between making the torso for the pregnant mother from the Craftsy class and the standing male torso. Just modify the shape to be masculine but portly, and open up the center of the torso using a knife so it can be pulled down over the center support and top of the legs.Making pirate torso

    Creating the pirate torso

    How to make a pirate torso

  7. 7He looks a little indecent, so let’s put some pants on him!!

    Putting pirate pants on

  8. 8Measure the length from the back of his waist to just below the knee. Roll paste to 1/8” and cut in a shark tooth pattern at the bottom.

    Dressing the pirate

  9. 9Put on the pant leg as directed in the Craftsy class.

    Pant leg on pirate


  10. 10For the second leg, skip the shark tooth and fold the bottom edge. This will be for the peg leg.


  11. 11Much better! I trimmed the belt line to accentuate the beer gut.


  12. 12Make the shirt just as directed in the Craftsy class, again accentuating the belly. Essentially we’re making a polo shirt sans collar.


  13. 13Add arms in an action pose. I positioned one hand to hold a mug of grog and the other is placed on his hip so that he appears to be dancing.


  14. 14Make the head! You know how to do this by now, I bet you are an expert! I opened his mouth and pulled the lower lip to one side. I also gave him a large nose.


  15. 15Give him eyeballs, or in this case, one eyeball and cover the other with a small piece of black paste. A thin strip of gum paste secures the patch around his head. Make the sleeves of his shirt and cut a shark tooth pattern into the bottom of the sleeves. Glue in place and allow to dry a bit.


  16. 16Before moving on to the final details, we need to paint his shirt. It will be a lot harder once he has a beard! Use a food color pen or dissolve a little red petal dust or powdered food color in vodka and apply with a small brush.


  17. 17Making the beard is just like making the hair in the Craftsy class, but we’re going to glue it to the front of his head!


  18. 18Add a mustache and we’re almost done!


  19. 19A thin square of gum paste makes a kerchief to cover his bald head.



  20. 20And finally a cylindrical piece of paste with a curved wire makes a mug. Let this dry. This could be a good time to move on to the treasure chest!  When it has set up, dissolve a little silver petal dust in vodka and brush it on the cup. You may have to let it dry between coats.


  21. 21Brush a little glue onto the palm of the extended hand.


  22. 22Slip the handle over the fingers, making sure the body of the mug touches the surface of the palm and give enough time for the glue to fuse them together.


  23. Tip!I used royal icing to pipe a nice froth onto the top of the mug. Don’t be afraid to expand on the basic design. You can add a gold earring, a metal cap to the end of his peg leg, a hat, a parrot...! No limits!


    We hoped you enjoyed this nautical themed pirate cake topper tutorial. Check out our tutorial section for more tutorials!

Pirate peg leg cake topper

Tutorial: How to create a Nautical Themed Pirate Cake Topper

Skill Level: Advanced/ Intermediate

Must Have Tools

Recommended Supplies

  • 16 gauge wire
  • 18 gauge wire
  • Clay Sculpting Tool
  • Exacto knife
  • Gum paste tinted with gel colors
  • gumpaste
  • Luster Dust
  • royal icing
  • Small Knife
  • Small Paint Brushes
  • small pliers
  • Styrofoam wrapped in Saran Wrap
  • Tylose Glue
  • vegetable shortening
  • wire snips
  • Wooden Round Toothpicks
  • Your imagination!

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Anna Puchalski

Anna Puchalski

Anna is a classically trained sculptor and illustrator who started her career in cake decorating with Ron Ben Israel in 2000. Since then she has worked for a number of well known cake studios in the New York area doing complex sugar work and design. Her specialties include freehand painting,...

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13 thoughts on “How to create a Nautical Themed Pirate Cake Topper

  1. WOW!! I’ve haven’t really done much with cake toppers yet but I’ve got 5 days to work on this before a meetup I got for “Talk Like A Pirate Day” Thanks for the tutorial..

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