This past weekend we were in PA for my sister-in-law Kristen’s baby shower (you can check out some of their prego pics here). It was hosted by one of her other sisters-in-law, Elena, who did a wonderful job! I just helped out with some of the decorations. Elena asked me to make a diaper cake to display at the event, and of course I was all over that. The design theme of the shower was creams & browns, some pink, polka dots, & a hint of giraffe (all of which match her nursery decor). So I created the diaper cake with that in mind. There are a few different ways to go about making one of these, but I’ll show you mine & explain how to DIY!
First, decide on a base for your diaper cake – a cake stand, a platter, or even a thick piece of cardboard covered in fabric. I choose to use a cake stand from our wedding. To make it match the theme, I just draped it with some crinkly cream fabric (which I already had) and cinched it with a pink ribbon tied in a floppy bow.
Now you need the diapers. Plain white diapers (without the cartoon characters) are ideal…but if you live in a small town like me, you would swear they don’t exist. I used Huggies sizes 2 & 3, since I was told that the wee ones grow out of the newborn size so quickly. For a 3-tier cake the size of mine, you’ll use about 60 diapers. Roll the diapers individually and secure each one with a rubber band.
You’ll need a center support to start building the cake. For a surprise when the cake is eventually disassembled, I’ve seen people use a baby bottle, or some sort of baby product like shampoo or baby powder, or even a bottle of wine for the stressed out first-time parents (haha). I just went the simple (and free!) route and used a sturdy paper towel roll. Sorry Kristen – not as exciting, I know!
Then you simply just surround the center support with the rolled diapers and secure the ring with a larger rubber band. Encircle it twice more for a total of 3 rings, each ring held together with a large rubber band. For the outside ring, try to keep the ends of the rolled up diapers facing the center so that it looks less messy on the outside.
Repeat again for the second tier – this time creating just 2 rings.
Since the paper towel tube only reached the second tier, I choose to just rest the last tier on top. It worked out fine for me, but you could easily secure it to the middle tier by inserting a dowel/skewer/pencil/etc down between the diaper rolls through both tiers. So the top is just a single diaper roll surrounded by one ring of diapers (again, encompassed by a large rubber band).
To hide the rubber bands & some of the patterns on the diapers, wrap each tier with a strip of wide ribbon. Snip to length & overlap the ends just enough for a thin line of hot glue.
My ribbon must have been the cheap stuff because you could totally see right through it to the Disney characters & the pattern beneath. So I had to double it up. You can try out plain white ribbon, different colors or patterns…or create your own design like I did! I used markers to make ombre giraffe print.
Giraffe print is so easy & forgiving to recreate. I just drew random shapes, trying to keep the spacing even in between. I looked at some giraffe pictures for reference, but what I was mostly imagining was something like a natural stone pathway. For a more seamless look all around – leave the ends of the ribbon blank, and then finish the pattern once the ends are secured together around the tier.
Then all that’s left to do is the decorating! For a more practical design, you can attach baby toiletries and little stuffed animals. But I choose form over function, as I typically do 🙂 I adorned it with yarn pom-poms, paper accordion wheels, and tissue paper poms, to tie in with the cupcake toppers I made (more on those later!). To attach your decorations, glue or tie them to bamboo skewers or toothpicks and stick them in wherever between the folds of the diapers. The great thing about this part is that you can cover up any holes or other weird areas. For their placement, I preferred a more scattered, asymmetrical look, but you could definitely make a more uniform design by completely surrounding each tier.
And that’s it! Pretty simple, right?