I use bubble tea straws and regular drinking straws. If I have a 4 tier cake, I will use plastic dowels for the very bottom tier and then bubble tea straws for the rest. I always skewer or dowel stacked cakes. If it’s a small 2 tier I just use two skewers, if larger I use a sharpened dowel. I have a saw I use to cut the plastic dowels but someone mentioned buying a pvc cutter before. The pruning shears sound like a great idea too! Check out Edna De La Cruz’s video ‘How to stack a cake my way’ on you tube, great tutorial.