I had to send for rice paper, but you might find some in a specialty cake store. As for the dowels, if you go to the wilton.com web site, they have a good tutorial about stacking. Rose’s books have some instruction in The Cake Bible. Also, if you can get ahold of a Wilton book at Michaels or Joannes, they have instructions in the back. If you are flat stacking, (one cake on top of the other) the steps are easy. Personally, I like the plastic hollow dowel rods. If you are using the white plastic plates with the little feet on them, you place the next size plate on top of the bottom one and slightly push to mark the spots. Lift off and push 1 plastic dowel down to the bottom of the base cake on one of the X.s. Mark where it is level with the top of the cake. Take it out and cut all of the dowels the same size; they have to be or your other tiers won’t sit level and you’ll risk a lopsided, tilting, probably gonna fall cake layers. They are hollow so they are easy to cut. Put them back in all of the X spots, place your plate on them and make sure it sits level on the cake. The dowels should come to the top of the cake and the feet snap in more or less. Sometimes you have to fanaggle a little bit but it should sit down straight. Take the plate off and put your cake on it and so on. The wooden dowls are kind of done the same way, but you use the cardboard rounds. I just like the plastic better and I think they are sturdier.
Be sure you make the people know that you want your plates and dowels back if you use the plastic ones. Get a deposit and tell them they can get it back when they return your stuff. Make it the cost plus aggravation of replacing things. My own daughter left my stuff $50 worth at the fair last year because she ‘forgot’ to go get the plates and dowels from her daughter’s cakes. I made her pay me!