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Pirate Cupcakes: Instructions and Decorating Ideas

I am a mom of two sweet boys with another one on the way. I worked in the financial world for 5 years before becoming a stay-at-home mom.

Fun decorating ideas for your pirate cupcakes.

Fun decorating ideas for your pirate cupcakes.

How to Decorate Pirate Cupcakes

Whether you are hosting a birthday party, Halloween party, or just a pirate-themed celebration, you will need some fun cupcakes to serve your guests. No need to call a bakery when you can create these three easy-to-make pirate cupcake designs all on your own. And these will be sure to please all of your mateys.

So what kind of cupcakes would a pirate want at their party? I bet they wouldn't mind seeing the pirate logo with a batch of cupcakes in a skull and crossbones design. Pirates also love to find treasure, so you can't go wrong with a treasure chest full of cupcakes. Or perhaps your pirate prefers a more simple design like a pirate flag on top of his treats. For more information on how to create these decorating ideas, read further for a list of items needed and step-by-step directions for three cupcake design.

1. Skull and Crossbones Cupcakes

Instead of decorating each individual cupcake, arrange your cupcakes into a cool skull and crossbones shape. You will need 27 cupcakes total (15 for the skull shape and 12 for the crossbones) to make our exact design. For a guide on how to arrange these cupcakes, check out the pictures to the right. Below are the step-by-step directions for creating this super easy pirate cupcakes design.


  1. Decide what you are going to use to serve your cupcakes. We used a large piece of cardboard covered with black paper.
  2. Arrange 15 of the cupcakes to form the shape of a skull.
  3. Add the remaining 12 cupcakes to form the crossbones.
  4. Frost each cupcake with white buttercream icing
  5. Using a decorating tool, ice the top of the skull with red icing to create the hat.
  6. Use black icing to make the eyes, eye patch, nose, and mouth on the cupcakes.

More Fun Decorating Ideas

Here are some other fun ideas to use with this pirate cupcake design:

  • Use chocolate cookies for the eyes and nose.
  • Use black licorice for the band of the eye patch.
  • Use red fruit roll-ups to create the pirate hat.
  • Use a yellow gummy saver to add an earring.

2. Treasure Chest Cupcakes

All pirates love to find treasure, so you can't go wrong with a treasure chest full of cupcakes. I borrowed a decorative chest from my mom and filled it with all kinds of sparkly necklaces and candies. I also bought a pack of gold coins from the Dollar Tree to add to the top of the cupcakes. This cupcake decorating idea is super easy to make and your guests will love eating these pirate worthy cupcakes. Below is a list of items we used and directions for creating treasure chest cupcakes.

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Items Needed

  • Treasure chest
  • Beaded necklaces
  • Gold coins
  • Shiny wrapped candies
  • Yellow sugar sprinkles
  • Shoebox
  • Tissue paper or newspaper
  • Toothpicks
  • Scissors or knife


  1. Find or purchase a large decorative chest. Since our chest was very deep, I filled the bottom with tissue paper and added a small shoebox to serve as the cupcake stand.
  2. Using a pair of scissors or sharp knife, cut out holes in the top of the shoebox so you can be able to safely secure the cupcakes in place.
  3. Frost the cupcakes with white buttercream icing and add a gold coin to the top of each cupcake. We also used yellow colored sugar sprinkles to give them more of a shimmery look.
  4. Attach toothpicks to the bottom of the cupcake and secure them to the top of the shoe box. The toothpicks will ensure the cupcakes will not move out of place until you are ready to serve.
  5. Arrange the beaded necklaces, shiny wrapped candies, and anything else you can think of inside the chest and around the cupcakes to create a pirate worthy treasure chest.

More Ideas for the Treasure Chest

Suggested Items

Shiny play jewelry

Gold or silver wrapped chocolates

Pretend money

Ring Pops

Shimmery marbles or stones

Gold coins

Treasure map

Eye patches

Pirate hook

3. Pirate Cupcake Toppers

If you are pressed for time and looking for an easy decorating idea for your pirate themed cupcakes, try making these fun DIY cupcake toppers. Using the pirate-themed duct tape leftover from our pirate raft made out of pool noodles, we were able to create these cool pirate flag toppers. Below you will find a list of items and how to create these toppers.

Items Needed

  • Pirate-themed duct tape
  • Toothpicks
  • Scissors


  1. Cut out a square around the skull and crossbone design on the pirate themed Duck Tape. You will need 2 squares for each cupcake topper.
  2. Attach the edge of the first square around the toothpick. Carefully apply the second square to the first square and wrap the edge around the toothpick.
  3. Most likely the edges of your squares will not be even. Use a pair of scissors to trim around the edges to create an evenly edged pirate flag.
  4. After frosting the cupcakes, insert your pirate flag topper to the top of each cupcake.

More Pirate Cupcake Ideas

As you can see, the three pirate cupcake decorating ideas above are extremely easy to make. You definitely don't have to be a professional baker to create any of these ideas. Not only will you save a little money by making these treats yourself, but you will also be pleased to see all of your party guests loving the fun designs.

I hope you have found some helpful decorating ideas for your pirate themed cupcakes. If you have any questions or comments about any of the above cupcake designs, feel free to leave these in the comment section below.

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