Make a GIANT ice cream cone (almost 6 feet tall) for under $20! This big ice cream cone is the perfect decoration for any ice cream party.
I’m absolutely thrilled to share today’s tutorial with you- a giant ice cream prop that is made with basic inexpensive supplies!
Who doesn’t love ice cream, especially when it’s taller than me in bright eye-popping colors!?
Your ice cream cone can have two scoops like mine does (which made it almost 6 feet tall), or you could do just one scoop for a shorter ice cream cone (and for a lot less work).
The choice is yours!
If you like ice cream, you’ll love our Easy Donut Ice Cream Sandwich!
How To Use A Giant Ice Cream Cone
This ice cream prop looks amazing at an ice cream birthday party, a first birthday party, ice cream gender reveal, baby shower, bridal shower, first birthday party, graduation, or any ice cream or sweets themed party.
Basically, you could put this baby anywhere and it will be the star of the show!
I styled an ice cream gender reveal for Oriental Trading and made this giant ice cream cone with a removable lid.
Be sure to check out our Ice Cream Party for Tweens for lots more ice cream party ideas!
Our large ice cream cone stood right next to our darling ice cream cart and pink and blue dessert table.
At the end of the reveal, parents can lift off the top of the cone to reveal pink or blue helium balloons inside that will fly up to reveal that the mama to be will be having a girl or a boy. Fun, right?!
Get ready for the oohs and aaaahhhs…
Giant Ice Cream Supplies You’ll Need
The great part about this project is that the supplies are pretty basic.
Many of the supplies you probably already have or can get for free or cheap!
I made this entire project for under $20. Your cost might vary somewhat, depending on the supplies that you already have.
The entire big ice cream cone is made from cardboard, so you will want to have some big pieces of cardboard on hand.
I used cardboard that I already had from big packages that were delivered to our home.
If you don’t have cardboard, you can call around to places like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Best Buy, etc. and ask them if they have any large boxes you could have.
I’ve had success with this method for previous parties. Be sure to also check with family and friends!
While I love eating a waffle cone or sugar cone the best, we are making a standard cake cone from cardboard since it will stand on its’ own.
You’ll need about 10 regular newspapers (less for bigger Sunday papers) for the paper Mache part of the project.
Newspapers used to be easy to get a hold of, but in this digital age, they can be harder to find.
Definitely check around with friends and family.
You can also find cheaper newspapers at the various dollar stores.
You’ll be using spray foam to make the ruffley bottom of each ice cream scoop to hold the scoops together and make the ice cream look more realistic.
I used an entire three bottles of spray foam, so make sure to buy three.
I used Great Stuff Gaps & Cracks spray foam, since it was cheaper than the other versions and does a great job!
Paint + Brushes
You’ll need a cone colored spray paint for both of the ice cream cone pieces, as well as acrylic paint for the ice cream scoop(s).
I used two cans of Rustoleum Gloss Protective Enamel in the Sand color.
I wasn’t crazy about the gloss finish, but it was the closest color to a real ice cream cone.
Because my giant ice cream cone was being used for a gender reveal, I painted my two scoops pink and blue with acrylic paint.
You can choose any paint color you like that will match your party, room colors, or favorite ice cream flavors.
A scoop of chocolate ice cream, mint chocolate chip, neopolitan, peach, or vanilla ice creams would all look great too!
Remember that you don’t have to make two scoops of ice cream.
A once scooped giant ice cream cone prop looks pretty amazing too, and means you only have to paper Mache one balloon instead of two. 😉
A big round 36″ balloon is what you’ll need for the ice cream scoop base that you will paper Mache over.
If you want one scoop of ice cream, you’ll need one balloon,
If you want two scoops of ice cream, you’ll need two balloons.
I think it’s smart to order an extra balloon too, just in case.
Sometimes a balloon can pop early and it’s best to be prepared, just in case!
The color of balloon doesn’t matter, since it will be covered in paper Mache and eventually popped. It’s just the round shape we’re after.
You’ll also need flour, scissors, a large mixing bowl, a glue gun and glue sticks, and a whisk or wood spoon.
VIDEO TUTORIAL- How to Make a Giant Ice Cream Cone
Watch our two part tutorial video below to see exactly how to make a giant ice cream!
Make sure to turn up the sound by unmuting the sound on the video player if you would like to hear me explain each step in detail. 🙂
Video Tutorial Part #1
Video Tutorial Part #2
Creating the Cardboard Cone Base
The first step to making ice cream props is to create the cone from cardboard.
I had two large cardboard “envelopes” with two sides that were delivered to me with my ice cream stand cardboard cutouts inside.
I cut one of the big envelopes into two large pieces.
My husband held one end and I held the other end while we curved it around a doorway to make the cardboard curl and bend in a rounded shape to create the base of the cone.
We repeated this same step with the second piece of cardboard so that we had two rounded pieces.
Next I decided how wide I would like the base of the cone, and cut off some of the excess cardboard from the sides.
I used plenty of hot glue to overlap the two cone sides and seal them together to make the ice cream cone base.
Making the Top of the Ice Cream Cone
To create the top portion of the giant ice cream cone, I cut out two large circles from cardboard.
To do this, I traced around a large can I had, then cut it out with scissors.
Then I traced around the first cardboard circle to make a second identical one, then cut that out.
This gave me two identical circles that were few inches wider than my cardboard base around the outline of the circle.
Next I decided how tall I would like the top of my cake cone to be, then cut a long piece of cardboard out that was as tall as I wanted.
I used hot glue to attach my long cardboard pieces around one of my cardboard circles so that the circle was flat at the base and my cardboard strip was standing up around it.
I placed my second identical cardboard circle on top and used hot glue to attach that piece to the top.
This made a rounded drum shape that made the top portion of my giant ice cream cone.
Here’s what the top and bottom cone pieces look like when they are together.
I didn’t glue them together at all though!
That top piece lifts right off for easy storage and a fun surprise…
Finishing the Big Ice Cream Cone
The bottom tall portion of my cone was pretty seamless so I decided that I just needed to paint it.
The top portion of the cone, however, had some rough edges where the cardboard came together, so I decided to smooth it all out with some paper Mache.
Please see the next section for exactly how to do the paper Mache portion.
I added a layer of paper Mache, then let it dry completely.
After it was dry, I added some more paper Mache pieces to any rough spots I noticed so that it looked more smooth.
Then I let it dry completely again.
Once it was completely dry, I spray painted the cone base and the cone top with the Rustoelum sand color to make it look like a real ice cream cone.
Any time that you spray paint, you want to make sure that you use a light hand and spray a light coat over the entire thing, then let it dry completely.
Then add your next light coat, then let that dry.
Multiple light layers are much better than one or two soggy layers that drip of get the paper Mache all soggy.
You worked way too hard to let that happen!
I decided to keep my two cone pieces separate, so that I could create the gender reveal surprise with helium balloons that I mentioned at the beginning.
Again, this giant ice cream was a styled party shoot for Oriental Trading.
I already have five kids and am not pregnant again, just for the record. 😉
If you want to attach your cone pieces, then now would be the time to do it.
I like the option of keeping it open, not only because you can place anything inside that you’d like (like pink or blue helium balloons), but it also makes it easier to take apart and store or transport.
But it’s totally up to you!
Set aside the cone pieces, you are done with these guys for a while.
Prepping for Paper Mache
Prep Your Work Space
To create those big ice cream scoops, you will be adding strips of newspaper that have been dipped in a flour and water mixture over the entire balloons in layers.
Paper Mache is fun but can get MESSY!
Be sure to prep your work space by placing cardboard, a drop cloth, or lots of newspaper underneath and around your work space.
I did my paper Mache in my studio. A garage or workshop is another great place to do this- not over your rug in the living room.
Create a Base for Your Balloon
A 36″ balloon is really big, and you will need a base on top of your protected workspace to hold the balloon in place without it rolling around while you are trying to paper Mache.
I used a large piece of foam that held a foot massager I got for Mother’s Day that worked great.
It dipped down in the middle to cradle the balloon and hold it in place.
Put on your McGyver hat and come up with a creative way to hold the balloon in place while you paper Mache over it.
Keep a Consistent Temperature
Helpful Tip: If you are going to paper Mache outside, make sure your weather is not too hot or too cold!
I paper mached in my studio, then set one of the balloons out to dry after the first layer.
Well, it was a hot sunny day in the 90’s and that balloon expanded and cracked open my paper Mache.
This was a major pain to fix and required a lot of time and effort to paper Mache a couple layers over the giant crack to fix it, so don’t make the same mistake I did!
Your balloon can also shrink in colder weather and the revers can happen, so try to keep a consistent temperature in your work space.
Cut the Newspaper Strips
To get ready to paper Mache, you need to cut your newspapers into long strips that are a few inches wide.
It took me about 10 regal newspapers to paper Mache a few layers over my ice cream scoops and the top of my ice cream cone.
Make the Paper Mache Paste
You’ll also need to make up a big bowl of paper Mache paste.
It will take multiple bowls of paste, but a good sized mixing bowl full will be a good start!
To make the paper Mache paste, combine 1 cup of flour with 1 1/2 cups of water and stir well.
I used a whisk to break up the flour chunks. You want to keep stirring until the mixture is nice and smooth.
I ended up adding a little more water because I found it was easier to paper Mache when the mixture was a bit thinner.
Use this ratio ( 1 part flour to 1.5 parts water) to mix up a big bowl of paper Mache paste that’s nice and smooth, and add more water if necessary.
How to Paper Mache the Ice Cream Scoops
Now that you have prepped your workspace, cut your newspaper strips, and made your paper Mache paste, it’s finally time to paper Mache!
Start by dipping a strip of newspaper into the paper Mache mixture, then use your first and middle finger to squeeze the excess paper Mache paste off the newspaper.
Now set the wet piece of newspaper onto your balloon, using your fingers to smooth it down so there are no wrinkles.
You want to the newspaper to lie flat and smooth.
Now repeat about a million times (okay, okay, not a million, but it will sure feel like it) until you have a base layer over the entire balloon (besides the base of the balloon at the bottom that it’s rising on).
As you are adding paper Mache strips,
Let that layer dry completely.
I waited until the next day between each layer, just to make sure they were completely dry.
It’s important that each layer dry completely before proceeding to the next layer, or it will take forever to dry and could get moldy. Yuck.
Once your layer ic completely dry, turn the balloon upside down on your base and start with the base part that didn’t get a first layer on it, then cover the entire thing again in another layer of paper Mache.
Let that layer dry completely again, then repeat a third layer.
Three layers will make your paper Mache ice cream scoops nice and solid.
If you are doing two scoops of ice cream, you can definitely do a layer on each scoop in a day to save time.
Don’t forget that you are also doing paper Mache over the cardboard TOP portion of the cone to get it nice and smooth.
The paper Mache portion of this project is definitely the most time consuming. Hang in there, it’s definitely worth it when you see the amazing giant ice cream at the end!
Finishing Off the Ice Cream Scoops
Popping the Balloon
Once your ice cream scoop(s) are completely dry, it’s time to pop the balloon inside.
Do this by slicing the bottom knot off the balloon with scissors.
The air will blow out and it’s super satisfying to see the balloon deflate and your paper Mache ball stay perfectly intact.
Once the balloon is deflated you can remove the balloon pieces.
Cutting the Scoops
Ice cream scoops aren’t perfect round balls like our paper Mache balloons are.
They are more of a half sphere shape, so we need to cut our balloon(s) to look more like real ice cream scoops.
To do this, I used scissors to cut a big hole in the bottom.
I kept cutting more and more and placing the ice cream scoop on the cone until it looked just right to me, like a real scoop of ice cream.
I left the bottom ice cream scoop bigger than the top scoop.
For the top scoop, I cut almost half of it off.
You can cut the scoops how you would like so they look the most realistic to you.
Assembling the Giant Ice Cream Cone
Now that the ice cream scoops are cut, it’s time to put it all together.
First, we are going to attach the base scoop of ice cream to the top of the ice cream cone.
The cool part about this is that we don’t even have to use glue!
Spray foam makes great glue and lets us skip a step by not having to glue the parts together.
Adding the First Scoop
Place your first giant ice cream scoop exactly where you would like it on the top part of the cone.
I made sure to find the best side of the cone and the best side of my ice cream cone and made that the “front” that would be seen the most.
Yes, even ice cream cones have a good side!
Next, I attached to the sprayer nozzle to my spray foam, shook the foam vigorously for a bout a minute, then sprayed around the entire ice cream scoop with the foam.
You might want to wear gloves for this step.
Spray foam is very very strong and will stick to anything it touches.
Do not touch the spray foam!!
Also, make sure that your work surface is covered underneath the cone, just in case some foam decides to drip off.
Definitely check out the video tutorial I posted above to see this step in action!
The foam will expand and will hold the scoop in place perfectly.
Create multiple layers of foam for a more realistic look.
It’s okay if some parts drip down a little more than others and it isn’t perfect.
Each scoop of ice cream looks different and is perfectly imperfect!
Let the foam dry completely.
Adding the Second Scoop
Once the spray foam is completely dry, you can add your second scoop.
Place the best side of the scoop in the front, then add a layer of foam where the two scoops meet together.
Go around again, adding another layer of spray foam to make it look like the base of a real ice cream scoop.
Let the foam dry completely and stand back and admire your amazing work!
Painting the Ice Cream Prop
Now that your giant ice cream cone is completely assembled and dry, all that’s left to do is to paint!
I used some pink and blue acrylic paint I already had, and I was surprised with how well it covered.
A large foam brush worked perfectly for adding the paint to the cones and over the larger portions of the foam.
I used a small angular brush to paint up against the foam and for the smaller bits of spray foam.
Forgive me, I was so busy painting that I completely forgot to take a photo of the process.
You can see the painting in action in the tutorial video I posted above, so be sure to check that out to see this step in action!
Painting the giant ice cream was by far the most satisfying part for me, because it finally was all coming together and looking amazing.
Once the first layer of paint is dry, add another layer to be sure you can’t see any newspaper words through the paint.
Let it dry and you’re done!
Stand back and admire your work… Isn’t it amazing?!
This giant ice cream cone looks SO cool and is a fun and unique decoration to display for an ice cream party (or any party for that matter!).
I’m 5’7 and this big ice cream cone is taller than I am!
I’ve already used mine but I don’t have the heart to throw it away.
I plan on using it for other parties and events as a fun showstopper and conversation piece.
Maybe I’ll even throw an ice cream themed birthday party as an excuse to show it off again!
Our Fruity Pebbles Ice Cream Cone Treats would be perfect at an ice cream party too!
How to Use At a Gender Reveal
To use this giant ice cream cone for a gender reveal, like I did, here’s all you have to do…
Lift up the ice cream cone top portion with the scoops attached, and place pink or blue helium balloons inside before the party.
Put the lid back on and don’t tell anyone what’s inside. 😉
At the end of the gender reveal, the mama-to-be can lift up the ice cream cone top and the pink or blue balloons will go flying out!
Friends and family will now know if the baby will be a boy or girl in a fun and creative way.
Pretty genius, right?!
Good luck with this fun giant ice cream cone tutorial!
If you have any questions, be sure to ask in the comments.