Thursday, April 9, 2009

Diaper Cakes

I told my brother over the phone that I was making a diaper cake, and he said, "That... Is the most disgusting thing I've ever heard in my life." (And for someone who rented every horror movie that was available at Video 102 in the eighties over six times each, that's saying something.) No doubt he envisioned the SNL skit in which Kristen Wiig cooks up "edible Pampers" as a recycling solution. But no, as I'm sure the two people who read and contribute to this blog are aware, diaper cakes are not for eating. They're for smiles! And also, pooping on.

When Ruby was first born, I did my Gina thing of trying to "getting ahead" and be a prepared, good mommy. So I bought the giant cases of diapers because they are less expensive, not realizing that what I'd given birth to was Giant Baby, who would rapidly outgrow each size in a week or two, pick them up and look at me as if to say, "Can I eat these, or what?" So I ended up with lots of extra teeny diapers that will not so much as cover one of her thunderous little thighs. And then I Googled "diaper cakes," and ended up with this video on YouTube. I knew lots of people locally that were having babies, so I decided it would be a good way to give gifts.

The video was very helpful, though I'm not sure the numbers that she gives for each layer are what I ended up with. You can use any size diaper, and as a tip, the pampers newborn ones give you a totally white cake, while some of the Huggies give you a patterned one. I used 66 total for each cake, with a center of eight in each layer. The middle layer has 20 total, with 8 in the center and 12 outside that, and the bottom layer has the 8, then the 12, then another 18 around that. Here is my general list of supplies:

about 66 diapers (if you have a couple less, you can insert presents inside the cake)
a 14" cake round, or other base, such as a wrapped box flap, cake pedestal, or books
a roll of ribbon (Joann has some on clearance, usually)
wooden cake dowels (one bag does several cakes, and these are necessary)
tulle netting (one roll, again, does several cakes. I got lavender because it is neutral) or cellophane wrap
assorted rubber bands (these are available at Target)
various stuffed animal toppers, outfits, blankets, whatever

So, what you do first is sit in front of "Biggest Loser: Couples," and roll up the diapers, open end first. I'm a little obsessive and I fold the sides in a bit so that I get a roll with flat ends, and they stack better. Center the bands on each diaper, and then gather eight together, with one in the center and seven around it. Put a larger rubber band around that. Do that three times, then build the middle and lower layers around two of those. Turn all the diaper seams to the inside. Stack the layers and push two dowels down through them. This really works well to stabilize the cake. If they stick up above your cake a bit, no worries, just pop a topper up there. Put the cake on your base, tie the tulle across your cake one way, put the topper on, and tie another tulle ribbon across the stuffed animal or topper's "lap."

You can also take out some of the diapers and put surprise gifts inside the cake. (The Mustela products work really well for this, because they are cylindrical, and fill the center on two of the layers.) Or, you can roll an outfit and tie it with a rubber band, etc.

I was making a cake for my friend Jenny, when I realized that I had enough for two. Our brand new next door neighbor had just had a baby boy two days before that, so I tested out my first one on them. I used leftover blanket quilt binding for the ribbon around each layer (this hides the rubber bands), and wrapped a box flap in foil for the base. (It can be square, as long as it is smaller than the cake). This one is all white, and I didn't even need to make a second trip to the store! I delivered it with a giant pan of manicotti, and I think I made some new friends.

The second one I made was the one that I spent a little more, for my friend Jenny. She had a circus theme to her shower, and I had so much fun making this one. I got a circus receiving blanket on Ebay, as well as Wilton circus cake toppers, an "M" for the baby's name (Milo), and an outfit for the monkey. I doubled the ribbon for that circus look (the bows are all made with hot glue, not actually tied. And everything is hot glued to itself, never to the diapers). I put the blanket on top of a plastic cake pedestal, and the cake on top of that. I tied the monkey's hands together around the cake, and stuck the "M" in between them.

I was going for Kong scaling the cake, but I asked Chris if he thought it looked like the monkey was humping the cake. He said, "Oh, I hope so."

The third cake I made was for my friend Beata, who had a safari-themed shower. I got the animals on sale after Valentine's Day, although the dollar store has some good little topper animals, too. I stuck two books together with Zots (removable sticky dots) so that the books aren't hurt, and used that as the base. I also put Mustela shampoo in this one.

I found the ribbon on sale. I hope I don't sound cheap - but the idea is that the diapers and the baby supplies are really the gift - you don't want to spend too much decorating the cake.

Maybe it is really "suburban mom" of me, but I have lots of fun making these. I used all my extra diapers, and then some!

1 comment:

brooke_hc said...

GD, these are cute! (If I start that with GD, does that make us less suburban mom?) Seriously, these could be the centerpiece of any shower, not just a gift! I love the you can be precious and practical all at the same time.
I also like the advice of sitting down to Biggest Loser before beginning this project. So far, we have kept up with the diaper situation. Lily just moved to size 2 (she and Ruby should compare thunderous little thighs) but we were given lots of size 2, so I will keep this cake in mind lest we move up to the 3s sooner than anticipated.