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Taking it to the Sweet: A Cupcake Street Art Installation

Taking it to the Sweet
Sometimes life sucks. We're talking about the little things that can wear on you in a big way: long commutes; waiting in line; dealing with rude people; being broke.

It was with these stressors in mind that we dreamed up an installation project small in scope but big in touchy-feeliness: we made a batch of fake cupcakes with uplifting phrases attached, and placed them throughout our neighborhood. 
Told you it was touchy-feely.
Here's what we did:
First, we made up a batch of faux cupcakes using plaster of paris. (Cakespy Note: If doing it again we might not use the silicone baking cups though, because they have a built-in fill line which showed up in our finished cakes.)
Fake CakesFake Cakes
Making Fake FrostingFake Cakes

Then we attached little flags to each, with cute sayings.Sweet Sentiments

Then came the fun part: we let 'em loose around town. Here are some of the highlights:


Park Bench cake
A park bench got a whole lot sweeter with a cupcake that said "You're super sweet";

People Like You. Really.
On top of a "No Parking" sign, a cupcake declared "People like you. Really";

Remain Calm.
Atop some foliage, stressed passersby are reminded to "Remain Calm";

Eat More Cake!
Perched atop a hydrant, one cupcake urges you to "Eat More Cake";

On someone's garden patio, there's a reminder to "Relax!";

Have a very sweet day!
At a bus stop, weary travelers are told to "Have a very sweet day!";

Stay Cute!
Smokers may want to be cool, but this cupcake urges them to "Stay Cute!";

You Deserve a treat.
On an entryway, one cupcake reminds that "You deserve a treat";

The Economy is gonna be OK.
And finally, an ATM got a whimsical upgrade with a cupcake bearing the saying "The economy will be OK".

But on to the big question: Why?

Well, it's not too complicated. You know that we're strange little darlings, we spies. We liked the idea that the novelty of finding such an unusual art object in an unexpected spot might give viewer pause. Perhaps coming across one of these little cupcakes it made them smile, or maybe it annoyed them as a piece of rubbish. Maybe it made them scratch their head and wonder why. But in any instance, the ultimate goal was a repreive--a momentary escape from everyday worries, and a small reminder that yes, life can be strange--but sometimes sweet.
What happened to the cupcakes? Beats us, though if you live in Seattle, you might just find a sweet surprise where you least expect it.


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Reader Comments (76)

fantastic idea. I wonder if anybody tried to eat them?

January 22 | Unregistered CommenterVeron

Gah! It would make me so happy to find something like this on the road!

January 22 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

I just HAD to feature this on my blog!! I really want to do something like this in my city - you should start a flickr group and encourage people to do it all over the world!

January 22 | Unregistered CommenterChelsea Ling

This is beyond brilliant. Bravo.

January 22 | Unregistered CommenterVanessa Contessa

A day with out a smile is a day not lived, thanks for the smiles!

January 22 | Unregistered Commenteringermaaike

This is an awesome idea! I was wondering how did you makes the "frosting"?

January 22 | Unregistered CommenterJenny

Great idea! I've seen something similar happening in our neighbourhood ... Someone has tied wooly scarves to all the sign posts within a two block radius of our house. It HAS been very cold this winter. Maybe it's a attempt to warm us up (or at least bring a smile)?

January 22 | Unregistered CommenterLindsay Inkster

Jess you never cease to amaze me with your incredible mind and talents! Again here at Sweet Cuppin we are smiling our butts off!!! Way to go!

January 22 | Unregistered CommenterLyns

Best ever! What a sweet idea.

Thank you so much to everyone. I'm really floored by the response--I love the fact that everyone seems to "get" the project--the fact that there isn't necessarily a meaning other than making something sweet to make people smile or to give them a special moment.

As for those who were nervous about people trying to eat them--well, the plaster cakes were pretty heavy so hopefully if someone picked it up desiring to eat it (oh goodness I hope not) probably the weight and texture would clue them in on the fact that they were not going to be delicious or even edible. Well, hopefully. :-)

Currently we're talking with some artist friends in NYC and NJ who are interested in continuing the project, so you might start to see more sweets on the street soon! :-)

January 22 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

I LOVE THIS! I think I'll use it for something like a May Day event with a friend. Talk about surprising someone :)

I would love to know how you made the frosting, too.

I think they're great! I bet they would be nice as a set to hold down picnic tablecloths too.

January 22 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

I live in the Franconia and I was coming home last night when I spotted the one on the railing!

At first I was disappointed when I picked it up and realized it wasn't a real cupcake... 'cause I totally eat random food I find on the
street. It was so adorable and pink. I wanted to take it but I took a couple of pictures and then left it there.

When I came home today it was gone, so someone must have given it a new home. I feel special to have seen it, and I think it was a great idea. Thanks for making my day a little brighter!

Does this mean we're neighbors, Cakespy?! All this time I thought I was just admiring you from afar.

January 22 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

What a fabulous idea....in this economy, people really do need something sweet to bring a smile to their faces. It's too bad you didn't hang around to photograph the reactions of some of the people who stumbled upon them.

If you do make a plan to do this again as a larger event, count me in here in Paris, France. What a wonderful thing if we all banded together and planted these around our own hometowns on a specific day of the year! ;)

You are trully the best! I know this would have put a huge smile on my face if I found one and would make my day better! Hope it did the same for the people who were lucky to find them!

January 23 | Unregistered CommenterClumbsy Cookie

Small surprises like this are fantastic! Really sweet idea.

January 23 | Unregistered CommenterAnniki :)

So cute! I may steal part of your idea. Something like this would make the ultimate get well (or just because) "card"

January 23 | Unregistered CommenterCassykins

Wow! What a great idea for a time such as this!
Everyone needs to smile everyday and I think you are making that happen!
I love it!
Shelley "The Cake Lady"

January 23 | Unregistered CommenterThe Cake Lady

I absolutely love it. I think seeing a cute little cupcake out and about in the city really would brighten my day.

January 23 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

love!!! i like finding little sweet things around town, and a cupcake would be the sweetest. yay cakespy!!

January 23 | Unregistered Commenterkickpleat

i would have loved to see peoples reactions to your cuppies... awesome.

January 23 | Unregistered CommenterKrysta

I am going right now to the White House communication form to nominate Jessie Oleson for Secretary of.... good moods?

January 23 | Unregistered CommenterBMoreSweet

such a cute idea! Vegas needs a cupcake spy!!!!

January 23 | Unregistered CommenterRetro Bakery

Oh my gosh! What a great idea! We need more peeps to do this. Cuppies coast to coast!!

January 23 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl

oh cakespy! i live in seattle too. i wish i would see a sweet surprise while i was walking around the city.

keep up the sweet installation art!!

January 23 | Unregistered Commentergoodstorysarah
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