Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Diaper Cake - A Tutorial

As promised here is the tutorial for how I made my diaper cake. This cake is a little different from the first, but the process was the same.

Things you will need:

  • Diapers - whatever size you choose, ~75 for 3 layers  or ~100 for 4 layers. You may want to ask ahead if your mom/dad to-be have a diaper preference. If not, use something you like, or is affordable. In this case, I used Target brand Up&Up diapers. It's what we put on Baby and I think they are wonderful.
  • Receiving Blankets - 40"x40" work best, but smaller will work too. You need 1-2 per layer.
  • Ribbon - 1.5" to 2" wide in a coordinating design.
  • Decorations - On the previous cake I used slippers and hair clips. On this cake I used an assortment of toys.

I also started with supplies I didn't use, such as burp cloths and the cow/blanket. I like to buy things I think might work, so I have options when I'm decorating the cake. I just return any unused items after the cake is finished.

Other supplies:
  • Cardboard base - I cut mine out of my used diaper boxes, although other cakes I have seen use actual cake board from a craft/hobby store. I'm just cheap, so I don't want to pay for cardboard. I also cut mine to 12"x12". You can make whatever size you want, just be sure the cake will fit. :)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Curling ribbon
  • Rubber bands. Lots and lots and lots of rubber bands. You need some really large ones, so it's best to have the pack of mixed sizes. In my opinion.
  • Baby wrapping paper
  • An empty wrapping paper tube - you could probably substitute paper towel rolls if necessary...
  • Cellophane bags - I like to buy the biggest one and make it work. I had these on hand from other crafting adventures.

Now, on to the good stuff.

Step 1: Construct the support for the cake.
  • Start by making sure your base is sturdy. Because I cut mine from a box it has weak places/folds, so I cut two squares of the same size and glued them together to start.
  • Once you have a sturdy base, cover it with the baby wrapping paper. **If you chose to buy a decorative base of some kind, you can skip covering it...
  • Take the empty wrapping paper tube and cut about 3" slits in one end. It should look vaguely like a fan.
  •  Hot clue the tube to the center of the base. Be sure to measure to find the exact center so your cake isn't offset when it is finished. Apply the glue to the flaps you made in the wrapping paper roll and press down securely.

Step 2: Roll your diapers. - This step is a little tedious, so I recommend a good Spotify playlist, or something from the DVR to help get you through it. 
  • Stretch the diaper out. Starting from the back (where the tabs are) roll the diaper into a roll. Try to make the rolls the same size, whether you roll the diapers super tightly or a little bit more loose. They just need to be uniform.
  • Secure the rolled diaper with a rubber band. You want the rubber band to be snug, but not overly tight.
  • Roll on. And on. And on. And on....

This was only the first half...
Step 3: Build the layers of your cake.
  • Take a large rubber band and put it over the tube. 
  • Make a ring of diapers around the tube, and secure it with the rubber band.
  • Once the first ring is secure, repeat the process to make a larger ring around the first. Secure with another rubber band.
  • And another larger ring...

  • Keep going until the layer is as large around as you like. I like to make the base layer have one ring for each layer in the finished cake.
  •  Repeat step 3 to create a new layer on top of the previous one. I subtract one circle of diapers from each layer. Continue until your cake is as tall as desired.  
  • Each round should have some amount of diapers less than the one below it to give your cake tapered tiers. But whether you remove one or two rings is up to you! 

Step 4: Trim the wrapping paper tube.
  • When your layers are finished you need to trim the wrapping paper tube so that it supports all of the layers but doesn't stick out the top of the cake. 
  • Remove one diaper from the top layer, and cut the tube just below the top of the cake. Once the tube is cut, replace the final diaper.

Step 5: Cover the cake layers.
  • When you have as many rounds as you like, take the first receiving blanket, and fold it to be the same height (or just slightly taller) then the rolled diapers. I like to iron mine, but that's probably not really necessary...
  • Wrap the blanket around the cake layer, and secure it with curling ribbon tied in a knot.

  •  Trim the ends of the curling ribbon close to the knot.
  • Cover with the decorative ribbon. You can tie the decorative ribbon in a bow, or simply tape the ends together with scotch tape.

  •  Repeat step 5 until all layers are covered.

 **A few tips/variations of step 5 are: if the blanket doesn't completely cover the layer, you can use two blankets, so that you won't have diapers showing on the back of the cake. Also, on smaller layers you can use burp cloths/cloth diapers/towels to add another item to the cake. On this one I layered baby hats over the blanket on the top layer.**

Step 6: Decorate the cake!
  • This is the fun part! Add your toys/accessories as you see fit! Just have fun and make the cake look however you like!
 **I added a baby toy blanket, rattle, rubber duckies, hand-made pacifier holders, and the stuffed monkey.**
 **I also used plain white satin ribbon, jungle themed ribbon, and yellow baby ribbon to keep it interesting.**

Step 7: Package up your cake. There is obviously no rule for how to package/deliver your cake. If you are hosting a baby shower you can even use it as a centerpiece. For ease of transport I like to use a large cellophane bag.
  •   Open the cellophane bag, and fold from the top down until the bag is resting on the table (or floor) with the sides folded to a manageable height.
  • Set the cake in the bag, as flat as possible.
  • Unfold the sides of the bag up over the cake.
  • Twist the top and tie tightly with curling ribbon.
  • Trim any excess bag, leaving a cute little topper.
  • Add ribbon or bows to your liking.
  • If you have excess bag sticking out from the sides of your cake at the bottom you can just fold the bag over itself and tape it together. I do this, to give the bag the same shape as the cake. 
 ** I added one last piece of jungle ribbon to tie it all together. Well, really because I had already cut the ribbon but it was too short to use on the cake. Oops!**

Tada! You're done!

All in all I think I spent about $70 on this cake, which included everything, even the ribbon (which I have some leftover) and the supplies for the pacifier holders (which I also have some leftover). The cake includes: 100 size 1 diapers, 4 receiving blankets, 2 newborn hats, 2 pairs of newborn mittens, 2 pacifier holders, 3 rubber ducky bath toys, a frog rattle, a lion baby blanket, and a monkey stuffed animal.

I hope you take a shot at making a cake like this. It is fun, and I find it to be a great combination of practical baby gifts and pizazz!


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