There a ton of different options for displaying cupcakes. You can buy the stands but I find them to be expensive and they don't seem to hold that many for when you have a big crowd. You can also build them out of wood but that can be time consuming. In the past I have also made them out of cake dummies and cake boards stacked, but that too was surprisingly expensive to a cheapo like me. My method here is great because it's quick, uses easy to find items, and it's CHEAP!
Start by collecting boxes that create a nice tiered look when stacked. They don't have to be exactly the same height but you want them to be fairly close. You will also need a roll of wrapping paper that goes with your theme.
You can wrap the boxes like gifts if you want it to be super quick but I want a cleaner look with no folds showing on the sides. Here's how
Lay your box with the top side down. Trace around it. Then flip the box onto all its sides and trace them as well. It will almost look as if you are "unfolding" the box
After you have traced the entire box you are going to add tabs onto the sides. These will allow you to fold them over the edge of the box to glue down the paper. For the sides of the box that will be on the...well...side of the cupcake stand you are going to draw tabs on all 3 sides. For the front of the boxes that will be the front of the stand (usually the longer side of the box if it's rectangle) you will only draw 1 tab.
Place your box top side down onto the square in the middle. Fold the sides with 3 tabs (the shorter ones) up the sides of the box and fold the tabs around the sides. You can either tape everything in place or use spray adhesive. After you have done the sides you do the front and back with the 1 tab. Repeat for all the boxes.
Dummy over here forgot to take a finished picture of this stand so here are some pictures of one I made for my bridal shower
I have taken the liberty to create for you a list of pros to using this cupcake stand method
*As previously mentioned....it's friggen CHEAP
*You can easily make it match any color scheme or theme of your party
*You can keep the same boxes and just keep recovering them
*If you do keep the boxes, they will store easily because they all nest into each other
*OR it's easy enough to find boxes you could just get rid of them and save new boxes from your latest trip to Costco
There ya have it folks!