Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tutorial: How to make a Diaper Cake

Okay so for about 2 years I made and sold diaper cakes. While they are fun to make and not very expensive, I decided to 'close up shop' so to speak. Mostly because I no longer have the room in this house to keep everything out and the overhead (when not having consistent orders) was really limiting the income that I was making. Most cakes I just broke even on because I'm too nice of  a person I didn't like charging too much for something that is so simple to make. So, better late than never, I'm sharing a "How to" here and on the diaper cake blog.

Step 1: Gather your materials. Basic items you will need are:

-diapers (I highly recommend Pampers Swaddler size 1 or 2...they are all white, they are soft and even if the newborn is 8+lbs at birth, they'll still fit!)
-rubber bands
-cardboard or cake board, tissue paper
-ribbon (fabric ribbon, not gift wrap ribbon)
-scissors, hot glue gun, tape/double stick tape
-any accessories that you want in the cake (in this instance a hooded towel, washcloths, a travel soap/lotion set, a small pkg of wipes)
Alright, let's get started. First things first, we need to cover the cake board/cardboard. Pretty self-explanatory, place the board on the paper. Fold or cut it around the board, taping the excess to the bottom. It'll start out like this:
Finished like this:
So, take your diaper and face it towards you with the size/design facing up.
Starting at the top, roll it toward you. Tight enough that it makes a roll but not so tight that it's super skinny.
Once it's all rolled up, wrap it with a rubber band. Again tight enough that the diaper doesn't unravel but not so tight that it leaves a huge indention.
Now repeat that step...a lot. For a 2 tier cake you'll need about 25 diapers, for a 3 tier you'll need about 50. Once you roll a bunch, it's time to assemble the tiers. You'll need 8 diapers to make the center/core of each tier and also for the top tier. Start with one diaper, surround it by 6-7 to form a circle.
Once you have your circle, wrap it with a rubber band. Again, not to tightly..use a bigger band if needed. It needs to look like this:
Now if you're making a 2 tier cake, add another circle of diaper around the outside of your core. If you're making a 3 tier cake (like I am) then you'll need to add 2 more circles of diapers around the core. Bascially if you're making a 3 tier, you need a center diaper with 3 rows around. If making a 2 tier, you need a center diaper then 2 rows around it, etc.

Here is my bottom tier, for a 3 tier cake. I labeled it to show what I mean. There is one diaper in the middle labeled "center". Then 3 circles of diapers surround it.
Repeat this step until you have all your tiers assembled. Next stack them together. If you are going to be using something big in your cake, you can omit diapers to fit it in to your desired tier. If it's a stuffed animal, it can go on top. In this instance I was using a hooded towel...definitely too big to go on top, so I subbed it in to the second tier. You can see where I removed some diapers from the second tier to make it fit, inside of my outer rubberband.
Now stack your top tier.
 Now if you have any washcloths, burp rags, onesies, etc that you are wanting to include, roll those up to approximate diaper size and substitute them in. 
Now it's time to decorate or add little things. I always include a travel set of soaps/lotions with each cake. Sometimes I attach them to the outer ribbon, sometimes inside of the ribbon...just depends on what looks best. On this cake, I opted to place them inside of the ribbon, against the diapers. It's helpful if you have a little double stick tape, to make sure they stay up and against the diapers but it's not required.
Now we have the cake constructed. Let's add the ribbon and pretty it up. I must say that for me, it's an absolute necessity to use fabric ribbon and not that plasticy gift-wrap ribbon. It's so much prettier, the mom-to-be can reuse it if she wants (bow holder anyone?) and it's usually cheaper. Hobby Lobby *always* has this on ''sale'' for 50% off, usually less than $2 a roll. I typically choose 2 ribbons, one wider than the other and stack them.
The trick to using ''real'' ribbon is you must heat-seal the ends so it doesn't unravel. It's really easy to do...once you've measure how much ribbon you need (add an inch for overlap), take a lighter and (without actually touching the flame!) get the ribbon close enough to the flame that the ends melt together. Please use common sense when using fire..don't do this while it's on the diaper cake, etc. Once it's heat-sealed, wrap it around your cake and hot glue the top ribbon to the bottom ribbon. Never put hot glue on the diapers, just the ribbon.
If using an accent ribbon, attach it in the same manner, on top of the wider ribbon. Repeat for all tiers. So now you have all 3 tiers prettied up, but we need to ''stick'' them together.
My method? Bamboo skewers. They're inexpensive, they aren't intrusive, they don't reduce the amount of diapers that you use, and it's simple. So, stack your cake up again...bottom 2 tiers only. Then slowly push 2 bamboo skewers down through the layers, between diapers, until you reach the cardboard.
It'll look kinda funny with the skewers sticking up; go ahead and break/cut those off so they are even with the top tier.Take a 3rd skewer and insert it in into the center of the cake but DON'T cut/break it. Use this as a stabilizer to attach the 3rd tier. Carefully slide the 3rd layer over the skewer (careful not to rip any diapers). Now your diaper cake won't be so wobbly!
(I circled where the hidden skewers are..)
 Tada! Your cake is now finished :)
 Now if you want to wrap it up in tulle, you can do that now. You'll need about a 1.25yd of tulle (again, it's like $1/yd at Hobby Lobby) and you just place the cake in the center of the tulle yardage. Pull the tulle up and rubberband it just about the top tier. Cut the excess off, attach a ribbon to cover the rubberband and you're ready for gift giving. (I made this cake just before taking it to the shower, so I did not wrap this cake in tulle.)

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