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Pleated Paper Cupcake

Pleated and and v-folded paper forms this 3D papercraft cupcake.

Add a paper candle or flower and wish someone a Happy Birthday.

pleated paper cupcake

It's not quite origami, but it reminds me of origami baubles or origami Christmas balls.

flower on cupcake

Easy to hand cut, or download file set to machine cut.

How to Make a Pleated Cupcake and Icing
Make It!

Click here to download file set: Silhouette Studio, PDF. 

Files download for free. A huge thank you to the many readers who support my site with a small contribution when downloading.

Pay what you wish for the tutorial and to support this site. Suggested contribution for this project is $1.00.

Make the Cupcake Base

Hand cutters:
Cut a rectangle: width 11.5" x height 3.5"

Machine cutters:
Cut and score cupcake and icing pieces by machine, cutting perimeter lines of both pieces and scoring interior lines.

cupcake template

Hand cutters only:
On the back, measure down from the top and draw two horizontal lines, one at 1" and one at 1.5".

Score vertically every 1/2".

cut rectangle

Hand cutters and machine cutters:
Flip rectangle to the front side. Pleat from left to right, starting with a mountain fold.
You will have 11 mountain folds, and an extra half fold at the right-hand end.

pleat paper

Handcutters only (machine cutters skip the next 7 photos):
On the back, lightly pencil v-folds as shown in red. 

sketch v folds

Here's a tricky way to fold all those v-folds.

Notice, marked in blue are valley folds (on the front side they are mountain folds).  These will folded the opposite way as you work on the v-folds.

reverse folds

On the front side, work from the right hand end.

Fold back one full pleat (two half-inch sections).  See how the valley fold has been reversed into a mountain?

v folds

Pull down the top corner at a 45° angle.  Crease the diagonal, where the red line is. Do not crease all the way up, just that little section.  Unfold.

v folds

Flip the entire cupcake rectangle over and crease the same piece the opposite direction.  Again, only crease where the red line is. Unfold.

v folds

One v-fold crease is complete.  

Now fold back two full pleats, reversing the crease where the blue line is.  Crease the diagonals as above.  Unfold.  

Fold back three full pleats, then four, then five, etc.

v folds

Continue until you have creased all the v-folds.  The creases should be on your zigzag pencil marks.
v folds

Hand cutters and machine cutters:
Flip to the front and begin pushing in the v-folds.  

reverse folds

Pinch a vertical mountain fold with one hand (not shown as I had to hold the camera).  Push the v-fold down with your other hand, creating a valley fold.  

reverse folds

Keep working.
pleated paper cupcake reverse folds

Fully creased.
 paper cupcake reverse folds

Coil rectangle into a tube, overlap the ends, and adhere.

form cupcake


Fix the v-folds that have come undone.

fix folds

finished cupcake

The cupcake base is complete.

front view

Make the Icing

Hand cutters:
Cut a long rectangle, 11.5" x 1.5".  Score every 1/2" and pleat.

Machine cutters:
Pleat icing piece.

pleat icing

Hand cutters only:
Begin trimming one long edge into points.  

Close the first mountain fold and cut as shown. 
create icing

Fold together a couple more pleats and use the first fold as a guide to cut these points.

icing points

Continue to cut all of the points.


Hand cutters and machine cutters:
Coil icing into a tube, overlap ends, and adhere.

icing assembly

icing assembly

Dab a generous amount of glue on the cupcake top pleats.

glue cupcake and icing

Slide the icing onto the top of the cupcake, points down.

 glue icing and cupcake

 Gently push the icing pleats into the cupcake pleats.

icing and cupcake

glue icing and cupcake

Check that the pointed edge of the icing is aligned with the v-folds of the cupcake.

icing points

Optional: make a candle from a rectangle: 3/8" wide and 2" tall.

Insert candle between folds, or glue your choice of embellishment to the top.

add candle