Copyright laws are something no one wants to get caught infringing upon, and grocery store cakes can leave a lot to be desired. Here is a wonderful little loophole I discovered, and in some cases it might even save a little money.I love to make custom cakes for my friends and family based on their favorite cartoon characters, video games, and movies. I’m often disheartened when I have to explain to a customer that many of the amazing cakes they see online are not for purchase. I do have access to hundreds of licensed character cakes, but they require 2 weeks notice. So, if you’re short on time, but still want to amaze your child with a custom character cake, here is a solution I came up with.
For this cake all I did was make the background. The rug, birthday message, floor boards, and sprinkles are not owned by anyone. The toys and decorations were put on by the parent (washed in a mild bleach solution first). With a little collaboration, we were able to create a Toy Story cake without stepping on anyone’s copyright toes. Here is another example with Tinkerbell.
The parents dropped off the toys for this cake along with their order, and I pulled the colors from the costumes of the characters to make up the flower colors. I originally left the toys off when I put the cake in the box, but the parents asked for my help after paying for the cake. The best part of this process is that there is no art charge on any of these cakes. The decoration is very simple and non specific; it’s the toys that really make the design. Here is one more for the new Ninjago line of Legos.
I left a wide open space at the bottom so that the parents could help their son put on as many little Lego men as he saw fit. The parents left me a booklet so that I could get an idea of the color scheme and art style, but I made sure to only pull themes and copy nothing. I think it can even make the cake more personal when you let your child put on their own toys. Although I must stress, if the toys have been played with, a capful of bleach in a gallon of water will go a long way.
This last one is for a Hello Kitty toy.
Even 7″ rounds can get a little personalized toy love, too. Many grocery stores only have the cake designs in half sheet form because shrinking them down to a round is technically illegal. However, you can always ask them to shrink down the design and put the toy on yourself.
I have also been known to do very generic cakes designs and left the specifics to the parents, along with a couple tiny bags of icing. For example I made a 3D igloo in outer space for one skilled parent, who was able to transform it into the Deathstar with an extra bag of black icing. You can also walk into any grocery store and simply buy just the cake toy, and then place it onto the cake of your choice. I have a lot of respect for copyright laws for allowing artists to make a mark and keep it their own, and the cakes I make are intended only to provide a backdrop for that creation.