Sunday, June 11, 2017

Diaper cake tutorial

This past month, I was diaper-deep in baby shower preparations and did not have much time for beading. Instead, I spent lots of creative time making shower decorations and I thought a few of my beading buddies might enjoy a tutorial on how to make a diaper cake. There are quite a few YouTubes on this topic but sometimes it's nice to have everything all written out. If I found something especially helpful on the Tube, I linked it in the tutorial below.

It is also helpful to have a couple assistants and my nieces were called into action as chief diaper rollers. Here you see them rolling away!

The detailed instructions are for a smaller “mini” diaper cake as shown below, about seven-eight inches in diameter. If you want a bigger cake or multi-tier, just increase the number of diaper rolls. Excuse the photo quality of this guy, which was taken on an iPhone at the shower. I thought it would be fun to show the confetti decoration which I sprinkled on the plates as a finishing touch.

Materials for mini diaper cake size:

  1. About 17 rolled size #1 swaddler diapers per mini cake. I bought an economy box of about 160 diapers which were enough for six mini cakes and two two-tier cakes. Source: Walmart.
  2. White loom bands (very inexpensive, come in packs of about 600!) Source: Walmart. See below photo.
  3. Larger rubber band to stretch to the diameter of your cake. You want a nice snug stretch but not too snug as to distort the diapers. You can probably find these in random drawers around the house. Because I am neurotic, I bought rubber bands in the color scheme for our shower. This is totally unnecessary since they are covered with ribbon. Source: My junk drawer and Office Max.
  4. Patterned papers to match color scheme. At least two sheets per cake, one for the bottom and one for the top. If you are making the two-tier cake, buy three sheets per cake. Source: Joann Fabrics or any craft store.
  5. Assorted ribbons and tulle in color scheme to make decorations such as bows, flower pom-poms. Source: Joann Fabrics or any craft store.
  6. If you are good with photo editing software, make round medallions created from the event invitation. Mine are copied below.
  7. Topper to match theme. I used a TY brand beanie named Whopper since our theme was elephants. You can find these on sale at Joann Fabrics and they are the perfect size (and softness). I made medallions to tie around the beanie neck as a memento of the event and will provide directions for those too. These make a nice thank you keepsake for all the folks who helped organize the event. I needed six mini cakes for our shower and two two-tier cakes. Source: Joann Fabrics.
  8. A charger plate or other flat surface to show off your cake. You can always go without the charger plate and just use your decorative paper as the cake base but a larger plate allows you to sprinkle decorative confetti without making a mess. You can buy these at the dollar store and spray paint them to match your theme or if you don’t mind spending a bit more, you can just buy them in the colors you need. Tuesday Morning and Party City are good sources.
  9. Hot glue gun and glue sticks.
Here's a photo of the loom bands:

And a photo of the decorative paper I used for the base and topper:

The front and reverse side of the beanie medallions:

Whopper the Elephant by TY - a perfect cake topper:

An idea of the decorations I made to glue on the band around the cakes:

For two-tier cakes, these additional materials may come in handy:

  1. Craft dowel sticks – one stick per cake
  2. E6000 glue
  3. Shredded paper in your color scheme
  4. Straight pins
  5. Circular image about seven inches in diameter in the appropriate theme, copied onto heavier stock paper. If your home printer will accommodate card stock, use that for greater stability. You will need two images which will be glued onto the dowel, reverse sides together.

For custom medallions:

  1. Circular image – my circles were 3 inches in diameter but you can size them to scale with the item you selected for your cake topper
  2. Pellon heavy interfacing
  3. Leslie Riley’s Artist Transfer Paper
  4. E6000 glue
  5. Ultra suede in complementary color
  6. Embroidery thread in complementary color
  7. Yarn in complementary color for a crochet border (optional). I used a #4 worsted weight yarn.
  8. Needle and 3.5mm crochet hook

Making the Mini Diaper Cake:

  1. Roll diapers and secure with a small loom band. The diapers are folded in half in the box. Lay diapers out flat with the wider sides tucked in and roll. Keep your rolls neat so they are pretty uniform in size when you stack them on their end.
  2. Once you have rolled the number you need (I used 17 size 1 diapers for the mini cake), stack them on their ends. Holding about four in your hand, put the larger rubber band around them. Then insert the remainder tucking under the rubber band. For the diapers on the outside perimeter, make sure to face the end of the diaper to the inside – it just looks a little prettier that way.
  3. Now you are ready to decorate. You may want to make some ribbons and cut-outs ahead of time. Above are a sample of the cut-outs I printed on my computer on a heavier-weight paper. I traced the little elephants onto a sturdy template and just traced those onto some pretty pattern scrapbook paper.
  4. Cut a length of at least 1-inch ribbon to fit the circumference of your cake with an inch or so extra. This ribbon will be placed directly over the larger rubber band holding all your diapers together, hiding it with a decorative flair.
  5. Heat up your hot glue gun. Use a straight pin to hold the starting end of the ribbon about an inch in from the end. Holding the end steady with your non-dominant hand, put a dab of glue on the outside of the ribbon. Continue to lay the ribbon covering the rubber band and hold the remaining end on top of the glue tab until it cools and is secure. Gluing in this manner preserves the diapers so Mommy-to-be can recycle them for their intended purpose! 
  6. Then glue your decorations to the ribbon.
  7. Once you are satisfied with the cake, cut two pieces of complementary paper. Size the bottom large enough to fit on your charger plate. Mine was 12 inches in diameter, shown above. I just traced a doily on the reverse side of the paper to get uniform scallops. Your second circle should be smaller – mine was six inches in diameter. For this one, I traced a plate that was just the right size. If you look around your house, you will probably find similar objects that will serve as perfect templates.
  8. Then figure out what you want to use for your cake topper. As I mentioned earlier, I really liked using the stuffed Beanie. I was able to find these on sale for about $4.00 but if you don’t want to spend that much, you can really use any baby-type object like a rattle, a teether, a smaller car or truck – just wonder through the aisles of your local discount store and find whatever works in your price range.
  9. For my Beanie elephant cake topper, I made custom medallions to tie around the Beanie’s neck that turned the cake topper into a nice memento of the event. To make these, I used Leslie Riley’s Transfer Artist Paper (how I love this stuff) to copy the image I wanted to use. If your image has writing, be sure to use your photo editing software to flip it so it will transfer properly. Then I transferred the image to some Pellon interfacing. This can be a little tricky due to the fibrous nature of the Pellon but the thickness really makes a nice medallion. Then I glued some ultra suede to the reverse side, punched a hole with my crop-a-dial and installed an eyelet. To finish I did a blanket stitch around the edges with embroidery thread to secure and crocheted a border using the outside thread of the blanket stitch with a regular worsted. Below are links to instructions on how to install an eyelet, how to sew a blanket stitch. My crochet border was just one row of single crochet. If you don’t crochet, you can always secure the outside using a beaded sunshine edge or just leave it with the blanket stitch.
  10. Use some pretty ribbon to tie the medallion around the Beanie’s neck and voila! You have a customized cake topper.
  11. Most likely you will need to transport your cakes so at this point, stack your charger plates and papers and then load your diaper cakes and toppers.When you arrive at the destination, assemble your cakes by placing your larger paper circle on the charger plate, then the cake then the smaller paper circle then the cake topper. If you really want to go crazy, you can also sprinkle some confetti on the rim of the charger plate for a festive touch!

For Two-Tier Diaper Cakes

Here's a photo of the mini and the two-tier cakes:

  1. My two-tier cake used 35 diapers: 20 on the bottom layer and 15 on the top.
  2. Follow steps 1-2 above to prepare your diapers and assembling into two cakes, one with 20 diapers and the second with 15.
  3. Cut an extra piece of pretty paper to place between your layers. Use an awl or other sharp object to poke a hole in the center. The hole should be large enough to accommodate the dowel you purchased.
  4. Prepare your dowel decoration. I used Photoshop to make seven inch circular designs which I copied onto a heavier weight card stock. I cut out the circles. You will need two so the design is visible from front or back.
  5. On the reverse of one circle, use E6000 to glue one dowel leaving 2-3 inches inside the circle and the remainder protruding from the bottom of your design. Allow to dry.
  6. Apply E6000 glue to the reverse side of the second image and make sure the images are aligned so the bottoms are both pointing in the right direction. Gently rub over the dowel to secure and smooth. Allow to dry.
  7. Then decorate both layers as described above.
  8. When you arrive at your destination, assemble your layers in the order:
  • Charger plate
  • Larger decorative circle on paper
  • Bottom tier of diaper cake
  • Circle on paper, with the hole poked in the center
  • Smaller tier of diaper cake
  • Insert the image secured to the dowel through the center of the top layer, down through the hole in the middle layer of paper and into the bottom layer of the cake. You may need to fiddle a bit with the diapers to make sure to position the dowel in the center.
  • I made some gathered tulle pieces to tuck inside the top later of the cake to puff up around the circle-shaped topper but this is optional. You could also add some shredded paper if you like.

Helpful YouTubes:

How to Make a Mini Diaper Cake:

How to Make Bows:

How to do a Blanket Stitch:

How to Make Tulle Pom Poms:



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