How to Buy or DIY a Diaper Cake for Your Next Baby Shower
There are plenty of words to describe diapers—”useful,” “essential,” the list goes on. But “fun” and “festive” don’t usually make the cut. That is, unless you’re talking about diaper cakes. Yes, we said diaper cakes, the popular trend taking baby showers by storm. And no, we don’t mean desserts shaped like diapers—we’re talking baby must-haves displayed in arrangements that often look like confections.
There’s no doubt nappies are practical gifts, but they’re not the most exciting. Neither are many other baby items, like bottle brushes and washcloths. That’s why people are getting crafty with the way they package their presents. In fact, these faux cakes can be so impressive, they’re used as baby shower centerpieces too.
If a diaper cake sounds like the perfect gift for the soon-to-be parents in your life, keep reading. We’ll walk you through all the basics, starting with some advice and ideas. Then, we’ll get into how to make one (including how many diapers you’ll need) and where to buy one if you aren’t feeling crafty.
A standard diaper cake is just “an arrangement of diapers crafted to resemble a traditional tiered cake,” says Katherine Kommer, the founder of Baby Showers Inc. Stick with the simple, classic design or think outside the box. “More recently, other essential baby items such as clothing, bibs, blankets and washcloths are being used to craft custom gift arrangements and bouquets,” Kommer shares. Don’t want to DIY? Kommer’s New York City-based event planning team has also noticed “an emergence of specialized vendors that sell pre-designed and custom-made diaper cakes.” More on that in a bit!
Typically, whoever’s hosting the baby shower decides on the diaper cake design. That way, they can seamlessly tie it into the rest of the decor. That said, multiple people are welcome to pitch in, whether by providing supplies, contributing money or getting together to craft it. If you aren’t planning the party but you’d like to gift a diaper cake, coordinate with the host to make sure it aligns with the baby shower theme.
As for what products to use? Look to the baby registry to see what brands the parents are loving. Keep quality in mind, as this is a gift and not just a decoration.
Wondering exactly how to make a diaper cake? Kommer is here to walk you through the fundamentals—she’s even included photos in her tutorial! These are the steps to a three-tier design, straight from the baby shower expert. Follow the instructions for a minimalist DIY diaper cake design, or use it as your foundation and spruce up the final product with more decorations and accents.
- 60-65 size 1 or 2 diapers (but it doesn’t hurt to have extras in case; the final amount you need may depend on the size and brand of the diapers)
- A variety pack of rubber bands
- A wrapping paper tube or an empty paper towel roll (cut to 18”)
- A 10” round cardboard cake board
- A pair of scissors
- Ribbon (1.5” to 2.5” wide)
- Regular clear or double-sided tape
- A hot glue gun and glue
- Additional decorative elements, like bows or more baby products (optional)
- A cake stand (optional)
Step 1: Assemble the Base
• Attach the wrapping paper or paper towel tube to your cardboard cake board using hot glue.
Step 2: Roll the Diapers
• Starting with the top of each diaper, roll the diaper so the design is inside the roll. Secure each diaper with a small rubber band.
Step 3: Assemble Your Cake Layers
• Begin the base layer by encircling the cardboard tube with 6 diapers. To secure it, wrap a rubber band around the diapers. Arrange the diapers so the end of each rolled-up diaper is pointed toward the center. That way, the roundest, most seamless part of the diaper shows on the outside.
• Next, circle the first layer with 12 more diapers and secure them with a large rubber band. Wrap the rubber band toward the end of each diaper closest to the cake base. This makes it easier to hide it with ribbon later on.
• Finish the bottom layer by securing 18 more diapers with another rubber band. The diapers may overhang the cake board slightly—this is fine.
• For the second tier, add 6 diapers on top of the base layer around the cardboard tube. Secure them with a rubber band.
• Next, add 12 more diapers around the first 6. Keep them in place with a rubber band.
• For the top tier, surround the cardboard tube with 7 diapers. Then secure them with a rubber band.
Step 4: Trim (As Needed)
• If extra cardboard tube is sticking out from the top (this will depend on the size and brand of diapers you use), use scissors to cut it off.
Step 5: Decorate!
• Tape one end of the ribbon to a diaper, then tightly loop the ribbon around the whole tier, and tape or hot glue the ribbon on top of the starting point. For a cleaner look, you can use double-sided tape between the top and bottom layer of ribbon so no tape shows on the outside. Or, you can cover the ending point of the ribbon with a bow or another decorative adornment.
• Create a diaper cake topper by using large ribbon bows or even a small stuffed animal for baby. Secure it with ribbon to hold it in place.
• Consider placing other baby items on or inside the tiers. Certain products, like burp cloths and onesies, can be rolled like diapers. Other objects, like pacifiers, can stick out from the tiers. Stay consistent with the theme and color scheme to create a cohesive look.
• Lastly, show off your masterpiece! Display your diaper cake as a decorative focal point at the gift table. A cake stand will give it extra oomph.
Intimated by the diaper cake instructions above? (Or just don’t have time to DIY?) Say hello to these shoppable baby shower diaper cakes. Don’t see one that matches your theme? These sellers make tons of other unique diaper cakes, so check out the rest of their shops. We’re seriously impressed.
Woodland Diaper Cake
Kommer personally recommends Baby Blossom Company as a great resource for both premade and custom-made diaper cakes. This woodland design is all sorts of adorable and comes with diapers, thematic receiving blankets, and cute paper animals to preserve in baby’s keepsake book.
Buy it: Baby Blossom Company Woodland Diaper Cake, starting from $80, Etsy.com
Motorcycle Diaper Cake
This statement gift-slash-centerpiece swaps tiers for diaper wheels. The masterpiece also features bibs, socks and more to make up the rest of the “vehicle.” Choose the color palette and diaper brand for a customized design. Now that’s a diaper cake idea we haven’t seen before.
Buy it: Diaper Makeovers Motorcycle Diaper Cake, from $80, Etsy.com
Unicorn Diaper Cake
Make the baby shower even more magical with this of-the-moment unicorn diaper cake. The two-tier arrangement takes up less space—it’s also excellent for a smaller baby sprinkle. We especially love the washcloth flowers topping the “dessert.”
Buy it: Lovely Littles LLC Unicorn Diaper Cake, $74, Etsy.com
Diaper Cake Kit
Willing to do a little work? This diaper cake kit meets you halfway. For just $10, get all the supplies you need to build one yourself—except for diapers. The instructions walk you through creating the centerpiece. Pro tip: Reviewers recommend using baby lotion bottles to wrap the nappies around.
Buy it: Simplicity Wilton Diaper Cake Kit, $10, Amazon.com
Jeep Diaper Cake
Vroom vroom! Here’s another seriously unique diaper cake idea. The massive arrangement is decked out in diapers, washcloths, pacifiers, blankets, socks, a bib, a teether and baby toys. FYI: The seller also makes diaper tractors, floral “bouquets” and even diaper whales. The craftiness is awe-inspiring.
Buy it: O Baby Diaper Cakes Co Jeep Diaper Cake, from $150, Etsy.com
Elephant Diaper Cake
For a safari-themed baby shower, look no further than this elephant diaper cake. Personalize a message for the attached sign or stick with the cute default: “a little peanut is on the way.” This Etsy seller makes some of the more affordable diaper cakes for sale.
Buy it: Sunshine Gift Baskets Safari Elephant Diaper Cake, from $45, Etsy.com
Succulent Diaper Cake
We can’t believe something so pretty could be made of diapers. This is another one of our favorites from Kommer’s rec, Baby Blossom Company. Get two mini, one-tier arrangements topped with precious felt succulents.
Buy it: Baby Blossom Company Succulent Diaper Cake Centerpieces, $60 for a set of 2, Etsy.com
The Honest Company Diaper Cake
Did you know one of the most beloved baby brands, The Honest Company, makes diaper cakes? Choose a stylish diaper pattern and have the nappies wrapped up with ribbons and other goodies. Each package includes nursery essentials like baby wipes and baby laundry detergent. There are also mini Honest diaper cakes for sale for $40 if you’d prefer.
Buy it: Honest Company Diaper Cakes, $100 each, Honest.comPublished November 2019
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