Party Idea: A DIY Ice Cream Sundae Bar

how to set up an ice cream sundae bar

A couple of weeks ago, a few of my friends and I got together for an at-home group makeup lesson. My friend MJ (who is a professional makeup artist) was in charge of dishing out the makeup tips and I was in charge of dishing out the treats.

Since the forecast was for a hot day, I decided to do something a little different and to set up a cute DIY ice cream sundae bar. To be honest, I was a little worried that people might find the concept a bit childish but it was a HUGE hit! I guess everyone loves ice cream. :)

The DIY station was so easy to put together that I thought I’d share a few tips on how to do it with you today. Whether you choose to keep things simple or to go all out on decorations, here are few key components to creating a delicious ice cream bar:


ice cream bar 20

I chose to only serve french vanilla ice-cream because I wanted to keep things simple and put more emphasis on the toppings (which is the best part anyway, right?). However if you wanted more variety then you could also offer chocolate and strawberry ice cream for your guests. If you have friends that are dairy intolerant then you can also purchase sorbets or dairy free ice creams in most supermarkets nowadays.

I pre-scooped the ice-cream an hour before the party and kept it in a bowl in the freezer until the guests arrived. As a hassle free option, you could  simply put out the tub of ice cream in a bowl or ice bucket filled with ice and let people help themselves!

Ice cream cups or ice cream cones

Ice cream cups are the least ‘messy’ option but some people really love cones so it could be a nice addition to your ice cream station. You could also get different types of cones (waffles, chocolate dipped etc) or even make your own.


ice cream bar 21

I offered three different sauces: chocolate, strawberry and caramel. Chocolate was definitely the most popular so if you want to keep costs down I’d say just serve one good quality chocolate sauce and forget about the rest. You could also make your own sauce of course.

Place the sauces into bottles or (or even better – squeeze bottles) for easy pouring.


toppings for ice cream bar

It’s a good idea to have a good range toppings available so that people can fully customize their sundae and have some fun with it whilst they’re at it.

Anything goes when it comes to toppings but here are some popular options:

– fresh fruit (strawberry, banana, raspberry, kiwifruit, cherries,…)

– M&Ms

– chocolate chips

– maraschino cherries

– chocolate covered peanuts

– grated coconut

– sprinkles

– marshmallows

– gummy bears

– chopped nuts

– cookies (also perfect to make ice cream sandwiches)

– waffers

– whipped cream (a must!)

For my ice cream bar I used little wooden spoons and then wrote the names of the toppings of them. You could also create little signs to label each ingredient or even serve them without labels (after all, people know what M&Ms look like! ;).

You could serve your toppings in glasses, small bowls, masons jars, candy jars etc. Just make sure to fill your topping vessel to the top as a really full small bowl is always more visually appealing that a large one that’s half empty.

ice cream bar toppings


how to set up an ice cream bar

An ice cream bar is a pretty fabulous thing on its own but if you’d like to make things look even more pretty and exciting then you could add a range of decorations such as:

a streamers background

ice cream pinatas

– balloons

– fun signs or posters (or a blackboard with instructions/sundae recipes)

And…most importantly remember to have fun! Oh, and don’t forget to make your own sundae in all the excitement (like I did) :)


Have you ever had an ice cream bar at a party? What are some of your favorite ice cream toppings? Am I the only one who’s obsessed with whipped cream?

ice cream sundae


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