As part of the July Pinterest Challenge, I’m going to show you how easy and inexpensive it is to make a vintage china tier server.
I made two plate and teacup stands for the Alice in Wonderland, Unbirthday Party. Each held a variety of homemade finger sandwiches, and were set up on either end of a buffet table in the dining room.
For the June challenge, I shared How to Make Whimsical Teacup Fascinators. A more complicated, time-consuming but rewarding craft project for the same event.
The purpose of the Pinterest Challenge is to motivate all to not just pin, but act on it! At the end of the post you’ll find links to lots of great projects, recipes and ideas by other bloggers. The monthly blog hop is hosted by Erlene of My Pinterventures.
Come see what inspired the (iced) tea party vintage china tier server, and learn how to make your own.
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Inspiration for Vintage China Tier Server
The tea party server stand was inspired by Justine of Sew Country Chick. I saw lots and lots of similar pins on Pinterest. But what I liked about Justine’s, was the mixed use of vintage china and crystal. Most were one or the other. I also liked that she mixed china patterns for each layer.
Justine’s instructions call for using Gorilla Glue. I elected to use E6000 because it is considered high-performance, supports heavy weights, is good with a wide variety of materials, and dries clear.
I purchased a 3.7 ounce tube (Michael’s). That was enough to make these two servers, three floating teacup centerpieces (pictured above), two hanging teacup planters, and a few other china decorations for the party — like this Fanciful Alice in Wonderland Theme Wreath.
When a Pair is Better Than One
For the tea party, I put together two vintage china tier server stands. The pair were set up on either end of the buffet.
Although I used different plates and teacups on each, I made sure they were about the same height — by using the same crystal cordial glasses between layers.
Here’s the other server from Alice in Wonderland Party, loaded with shrimp, coconut and ginger finger sandwiches. Tea Party Menu: Finger Sandwiches Savories has all the details.
Last week, I also showed one server as the centerpiece of the Alice in Wonderland Table and Party Favors.
Materials & Cost
Each vintage china tier server is quick and easy to do, once you’ve gathered togethermaterials. It’s even more productive creating multiples at the same time. It wouldn’t be hard to create even a dozen or more for a bridal shower or tea party fundraiser — to have one at each table. A fun project for a few friends to do together?
I found all the china plates, teacups and cordial glasses at local thrift shops, like Goodwill and St. Vincent de Paul.
If you have odds and ends of pieces, it might be nice to put them together into a vintage china tier server? Or, maybe you need to divide a set of grandma’s or Aunt Sally’s old china amongst family members? Perhaps you could create a server for each person? In that case you might want the china plates, teacup and saucer to all match.
Finally, maybe you inherited a china pattern you really don’t need or have room to store. Creating a vintage china tier server would allow you to have a keepsake. Then, you could donate the rest to a thrift shop for someone like me to find!
Many of the teacups and saucers I used to create Alice in Wonderland Table and Party Favors came from this one box — a steal for $8!
For the servers, however, most of the plates and glasses were purchased individually, for anywhere from $.50 to $4. I estimate the total cost of each vintage china tier server was about $10.
Build One Tier at a Time
Start with the largest, base dinner plate. Measure the diameter of each plate before you begin, and jot it down. Use a ruler to help center the glass.
You can choose to place the glass right side up or upside-down as I did. I incorporated white and red silk roses (Dollar Tree) inside the glasses. Remember, the Queen of Hearts wanted the white roses painted red?
Simpler to add the flowers with the glasses upside-down. And, the stems and underside of the flower didn’t show that way.
Place the glue around the rim of the glass and center on the plate. Use that ruler to measure on four sides before you push down on the glass. If you have to readjust, quickly wipe away any smeared glue. Hold into place for about a minute to get a good seal.
You can also squeeze more glue around the outside of the glass against the plate, if you are worried about it holding. I didn’t feel the need, but did always pick up the vintage tier server by the bottom.
Glue each layer together and let dry overnight before assembling multiple layers. I also glued the teacup to the saucer.
Here’s the middle layer made with a luncheon plate and a shorter stemmed glass than the bottom layer. I used a pair of the same glasses for both servers to keep them similar in height.
You can also see what the white silk rose looks like before flipping the glass over.
My Cup Runneth Over
Unlike the inspiration pin, I topped my vintage china tier server with a teacup and saucer.
Work from bottom to top when assembling the three layers. Spread glue on the bottom of the glass, center the teacup/saucer into position and then apply a bit of pressure.
Afterwards, I placed a bit of floral foam in each teacup and created a small silk arrangement in each. You could always put fresh flowers in yours. Or, fill it with candy or nuts.
The keys were not glued in place, and simply added as embellishments to fit with the Wonderland party theme.
To Stack vs Glue
At first, I considered just stacking the china and crystal. I quickly realized that would be an accident waiting to happen, as people reached to remove food. Then, I considered just gluing each of the three layers together separately and stacking them. Easier to store afterwards, right?
Alice in Wonderland
party & other
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“Bad idea” said my husband the engineer. He demonstrated how easily the vintage china tier server could topple with just a little downward pressure on a plate. So glue it all together I did!
Now let’s see what other things Pinterest inspired! Head over and visit the other hosts to see what they crafted, cooked, built, or tried!
Bee sure to check out all the posts on the Unbirthday Party invitation, decorations, favors, games tablescapes and food.
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I regularly participate in: Metamorphous Monday, Turn About Tuesday, Centerpiece Wednesday, Whimsical Home Projects, In Link Party, Share Your Style, Tablescape Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Crafty Creators, Fabulous Friday, Saturday Sparks, Happiness is Homemade, and Love Your Creativity.
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What a clever idea to place the flowers into the glasses, it can be changed out depending on the season as well. Lovely!!
Hi Katrin. Only thing with the flowers, is after you glue the glass in place you can’t change them with the seasons.
So beautiful! I love the sparkle of the glass with the mix of pattern on the China. Pinned.
Thanks Joanne! Glad you liked it.
What a beautiful tablescape, so elegant and the same time festive. Love the flowers on top of the tierd cake server.
Thanks Maria, I appreciate you visiting. The nice thing about the flowers is I can swap them if I want with fresh ones.
Debbee, These are simply beautiful. Love the mix of china and stemware and the flowers add such an elegant touch. What a great party!!
Thanks Laurie! I really enjoyed the project and was so pleased with the results. A lot easier and less time-consuming than making 18 fascinators and hand-painted character glasses. Of course, I don’t need to find a place to store those…
Painting the roses red. Not pink, not green, not aquamarine. We’re painting the roses red. How I love this book, the movies (animated and not) and your genius ideas for the tea party. What grand fun! Love everything about your table setting. Would enjoy making one of these tiers myself. Just never have anyone over to use it with!! Pinning anyway…maybe I will have a tea party for one. Or perhaps a white rabbit will happen by?
Leslie, I sure hope you get to have your own Mad Hatter’s tea party sometime — 3 guests should be enough? Really enjoyed reading your comment! Hope you will continue to follow the white rabbit as I have lots more posts ahead on the party.
What an elegant project for cakes and cookie displays for parties. I love that you put the flowers under the goblets too. So many ways to customize this for different looks and styles.
Hi Toni, thanks for stopping by! I agree, the possibilities are endless. Would be especially nice to incorporate odds and ends inherited from family where you don’t have enough place settings.
Great idea, I love tea parties and I love how this gives you a good amount of space between the tiers. Very pretty.
Thanks Kelley. I liked the height between tiers too — allowed for more space to see what was there and easier to reach for. Only down side, is the taller the server the harder to store.
This is so pretty. I love how you mixed the patterns and used the glasses and teacups. I am sure you will be using them in years to come for all of the events you host.
Hi fellow Debra! Yes, I’d like to keep at least one of them — but which one, I like them both!
Very pretty! I like the mix of crystal & glass. They look beautiful on your table.
Thanks Jenn — even better loaded with yummy finger sandwiches!
What a clever and interesting way of mixing vintage china to make your lovely server stands, Debbee! Very impressive! Just perfect for your fabulous tea parties!
Welcome Gail! Even iced tea parties go great with finger sandwiches and sweets.
What a creative idea. Love the mix of the stemware with the vintage dishes. Having a way to stage food items vertically saves on table space too!
Ooooh, I didn’t even think of the going vertical advantage! Different heights definitely help enhance a buffet table.
I’m enchanted with your servers, especially the roses under the stemware. The whole party looks like it was a load of fun!
Thank you Lydia. The roses was a spontaneous inspiration I’m so happy popped into my head!
Looks like you all had so much fun! And what a beautiful setting! I love your stand and what a clever idea with popping the roses in the stems.
Thanks Sam, incorporating the silk flowers just popped in my head as I had a few on my work table from another party project.
These are really pretty! I’m going to have to find a better thrift shop – the china in the one by me is quite expensive!
Hi Roseann, sorry it took me so long to reply — I was on a 10-day Iceland adventure! Goodwill and St. Vincent de Paul are my go-to donate as well as to buy. But, with Goodwill stores in particular, I find a great deal of variety and pricing. The best is the one that sells by the box rather than the piece for value.
Wow! I love this server stand! The plates you used are gorgeous! And your tea party looks amazing! I’m pinning this and sharing with my mom. She loves to have guest over for tea partie!
I was so lucky to find those special dishes, but I did keep my eye out over a year, making several return visits to the same couple of thrift stores. Patience was rewarded!
These are so cute! I tend to style an Alice in Wonderland table every year or so and these would be a fantastic addition to my tables! Great job and what a fun party it looks like!
Hi Chloe, I’m back from Iceland! I enjoyed the hunt for the china pieces, and putting them together was really easy. You do an Alice table every year? Is it for a special occasion like a granddaughters birthday or other gathering of friends.
I love this!! I made a topsy turvy teapot stack centerpiece for my Mad Hatter Tea Party and these would have been SOOOO perfect to go with it!
Hi Bri! Please share your link to your Mad Hatter Tea Party. I think I have it pinned somewhere… I wanted to make teapot stacks, but couldn’t find little teapots that weren’t inexpensive or that would work.
Debbee, this is absolutely beautiful! I love Alice in Wonderland and this jumped out at me right away! So pretty!
Thanks Michelle. I never realized how many people were into Alice in Wonderland until I began blogging about my party. Have you ever hosted one with the tea party theme?
Those turned out so pretty. I like the how you added the flowers under the glasses for interest. Curious if any water gets under the glass when you wash them?
Hi Erlene. since the tier servers are so tall and don’t come apart, I simply set each down in my deep sink and wiped, rinsed them off. No problem with water getting in, but I was careful not to soak them. Sorry it took me so long to respond, I’ve been vacationing in Iceland.
These stands are so cute and perfect for a tea party. I have one that I use now and then.
This is such an adorable Tea Party theme. Of course I am partial to anything vintage! Thanks for sharing at TFT. Featuring you at today’s party!
Amber, it was lovely being featured with other vintage themed posts. Thank you! Sorry it took me so long to respond, I just returned from being overseas.
I LOVE that E3000 glue! It has helped me to repair many a “boo boo” in the last few months! I like Gorilla Glue, too, but you just have to be so careful not to use too much since it expands. I like it that you (an others) have put your Pinterest surfing to good use! I like to pin, but I REALLY like to use those pins to create…mostly food and cocktails, but still! I was at an estate sale yesterday and there was a lot of china there for cheap. People just aren’t buying it up like they used to. Sad. Fun post, Debbee!!
The only downside of the E3000 is that you need to work in a well ventilated area. It was the first time I used E3000 and it really created a strong bond with all the china and glass projects I created for the Wonderland party. I like to think my little tier server project gave some old china and crystal a second life!
Your tiered server stands are so lovely! Your friends must look forward to attending your parties! You always have such wonderful details. Pinning.
Thank you Beverly, I really enjoy crafting, including the hunt for the elements/supplies.
This is so beautiful! I am amazed by those servers. I am a new co-hostess at TFT at Katherine’s Corner, and I will be featuring you this week. Thanks for sharing!
Hi Pam, I really enjoy TFT and am really delighted to be chosen as a feature. Thanks!
I’d say you hit it out of the park once again! I’ve seen these made before but none as pretty as yours. Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm. xo Kathleen
Kathleen you are very sweet to say so, thanks! I went through the tutorials online and picked what I liked best from each. Adding the faux florals under the glass was my inspiration to connect with “paint the white roses red.” My friends call me the Queen of Theme and it carries through it much of what I make, LOL!
I love this tea party theme! You are the only other person I “know” who has the Moss Rose pattern. I have two small tiered trays, a teapot, electric coffee pot, candlesticks, etc. Don’t use it; have just collected it. I would love a tea party and then part with it. I love my pink roses! Stay safe!
Maybe you can host a tea party for a small group of 6-8 late summer or early fall Kathy? I got that box of Moss Rose dishes for only $8 at a Goodwill and used most of it (teacups, saucers and dessert plates) as guest favors. The coffee pot became the DIY Alice in Wonderland Cards and Teapot Centerpiece — which I later sold on Etsy. So I only have a few pieces left. Wish we lived closer as I’d be happy to give them to you for your collection.