By Sirena Van Schaik
The first time I decided to make a diaper cake was an eye-opener for me. Suddenly I was sitting there, diapers in hand; ribbon, toys, bottles, baby bibs and all the other memorabilia that line the sides of the cake strewn around me. I felt a moment’s panic but began to happily roll the diapers, a great song playing in the background, and a tasty drink an arm’s length away.
Within an hour my thoughts had faded from excitement to a mantra that began echoing in my head, “Am I nuts?”
Maybe I was but in the long run it was worth it. The smile on the mother-to-be’s face, the admiration of all the other guests, the sense of accomplishment as I sat and stared at this tower of nicely rolled diapers. “Yes,” I thought to myself, “I am nuts but I’m enjoying every second of it.”
Despite the worries that I had in the middle of creating my first diaper cake, I soon realized that there were so many ways that I could make them better, a little easier to handle each time. I think my first mistake was tying each diaper up with a lovely ribbon on baby green. Each bow had to be perfect and I had to reinforce them to prevent slipping. That took a lot of time and was where most of my problems arose when I was wondering if I was one diaper shy of the loony bin.
I found that tying each diaper looked wonderful separately, but the end result was too much going on in an already cluttered cake. I had so many ribbons that it looked overdone and frankly, cheap. I knew I could do better but with the little time that I left myself, I just couldn’t.
So over time I perfected my diaper cakes and I have decided to share with you how to make the perfect diaper cake. It is very easy and even the least crafty person (namely me) can pull one of these off. All you need is a few hours, a little bit of fortitude to get through the diaper rolling and a bunch of supplies to make your job easier.
The Shopping List:
Yes, I am sending you shopping before you do anything else, well, anything except print off this article. What you will need are the following:
- A large bag of newborn diapers.
- About 6-10 yards of Wire Edged Ribbon. I tend to use a lot of ribbon so I buy a bit extra for emergencies.
- 6-8 yards of lace ribbon.
- Double-Sided Tape
- Baby items to place on the cake
- Fake Flowers for decorating
- A baby bottle
- A teddy bear or other stuffed animal
- Anything you want to use for decorating.
A few other things you will need:
- Tray to place the cake on
- A straight cutter if you have one
Making the Diaper Cake:
- The first step to any diaper cake is to set out the diapers and the paper. I use paper now since it is much easier to handle and it provides a much cleaner looking cake. Cut the paper to about 1 inch thickness and trim them to about 7 inches long. This is where I use my straight edge cutter simply because I can’t cut a straight line.
- After the papers are cut, get out the diapers and start rolling them. To do this you will need to:
- Open up the diaper so the inside is facing up.
- Start rolling one edge up until you get to the other edge. Roll inwards and keep the edges from flaring out. I have heard that you can roll the diapers without opening them first but I find that they look very messy when they are rolled.
- Wrap the strip of paper around the rolled diaper and tape it into place.
When I roll the diapers, I like to alternate how I roll them, the first one I will roll so the front of the diaper is showing and the next one will be rolled with the front of the diaper in the middle of the roll. When I put them together, I can alternate semi-blank diapers with the fun decorative front, which keeps the cake from being too busy or boring. I do not roll them all the same and then turn the diaper to reveal an image that I want simply because they can shift when you are moving them.
- After the diapers are rolled, it is time to start arranging them into the cake levels. Now maybe it is me, but when I arrange the diapers I need to use double sided tape to keep them in the right place. I have heard of women who can do it without needing anything but their hands and ribbon but I am particularly clumsy so I stick with the tape. So if you can do it without the tape, please feel free to do so but if you are like me, all you need to do is place a small amount of double sided tape on the paper strip of each diaper and stick them together.
- Arrange them into circles surrounding a central diaper as shown in the photograph.
The first layer will take about 36 diapers to complete depending on the brand and size of diapers that you use. I have had cakes use as many as 42 and some use only 34. Just judge for yourself when it is big enough.
- Wrap a large wire edged ribbon around the center of your cake layer and make a decorative bow, trim the excess ribbon. Place it on a tray and either decorate it or start the second layer.
- Make the second tier exactly the same way that you made the first but only use about 18 diapers; generally half of what you used for the first level. Wrap the ribbon and make a bow with it, cutting off excess ribbon. I like to make the second bow a bit smaller than the first since the layers are getting smaller and I feel the bow should be as well. Place the second layer on the first layer and either pin or tape down to hold it in place.
- Wrap the lace ribbon around the bottom of both the first and second layer and either pin it down or tape it. I prefer to use tape only because pins can be missed when a new mom is breaking the diaper cake apart to use them.
- Either decorate the cake or move onto the third tier
- Make the third level like the first but instead of having a center diaper; place a baby bottle in there instead.
This is optional and does not need to be done. If you choose to leave the cake without a bottle, make the tier as you have done with the other two tiers. You will need between 6 to 10 diapers for the final tier. Wrap with the wire edged ribbon, make a smaller bow and place on the second tier. Place the lace ribbon around the bottom of the final tier and begin decorating.
- Pull out your baby items that you will be decorating your cake with. You can use a wide variety of things but I have used socks, bibs, rattles, teddy bears, and cloths.
- Place them on the cake by hooking them into the ribbon. You can place the cloths on rolled or you can fan them out. Be prepared for your lovely cake to start to look a little busy.
And now you are done. I’m sure that at this point, you are looking at your Diaper Cake and admiring how nice it looks. It doesn’t take much to create these wonderful gifts and centerpieces and both your guests and the expectant mother will be overjoyed at how crafty and wonderful you are. Hopefully, I have helped you create a diaper cake and that you will never find yourself sitting in a sea of diapers wondering, “Am I nuts?”
Enjoy and happy cake making!
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~ Here is a variation on our diaper cake ~