When my friend asked me to do a Tea Party Cake for her daughter's first birthday, I took it on as a challenge. First, I baked the 2 halves of the teapot in a Pyrex bowl, to get the initial shape. Then I froze the 2 halves to make it easier to sculpt. By the time I had leveled both halves, it looked more like a ball than a teapot - so I put the bottom of a cupcake on top to add a little height.
I made the spout and handles out of gum paste, then used spray color to make them pink and secured them with sucker sticks. I used # 22 and # 18 star tips to pipe on the icing - which is just canned frosting mixed with confectioner's sugar to thicken. When I got to the top, I had to pipe thicker layers of icing to make a smooth transition from the sides to the center top (the cupcake).
For each teacup I used the bottom halves of 2 cupcakes stacked together. I piped them in the same manner as the teapot - leaving room at the top for the "tea" (some left-over brown icing from another cake). The saucers were made out of gum paste, which I rolled and cut into circular shapes. Then I laid them over small pie pans to get the edges to stand up. When they were dry, I sprayed them with pink color as well.
The last step was to insert the handles and refrigerate to let everything set up. Although it probably wasn't necessary, I kept a sucker stick underneath the spout until the very last minute - just so as not to tempt gravity. All in all I think it turned out well, and the birthday girl sure loved it! She got the teacups all to herself - what a mess!