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How to Make a Diaper Cake

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We celebrated a very special friend’s baby shower over the weekend and, although with the move I’ve been trying to curb my creative crafting juices lately, I really wanted to make something special for her. 

Usually when I find out a good friend is expecting, I start working on a cross stitch project.  Then sometime during the first year of life it gets completed.  Unfortunately, I’m still working on a cross stitch stocking for Little Bug, which has no end in sight.  It was a lot bigger than I planned and seems to be taking FOREVER.  She also keeps misplacing my stitching bag, so I haven’t worked on it for weeks.

Instead, I was inspired when I came across this beautiful diaper cake on Hostess with the Mostess a few weeks ago.  I loved how it incorporated items that new parents absolutely need and some fun pieces too.  I decided to design my own diaper cake baby gift for my friend’s baby shower.  She is expecting a boy, so I focused on the classic light blue and white colors.  Nautical blues and grays are also the color palette in the nursery, including classic whales.


I found this handcrafted whale on Etsy from Wendell Mancill’s shop Manwood.  His shop features beautifully handcrafted wooden toys and other decorations.  I love the classic look of the natural wood whale and thought the whale would make a great cake topper.  Little Bug has been so into rolling things lately that I could imagine this new little guy pushing this whale all around our friend’s house.  Until then, it would make a beautiful accessory for the nursery.

Crafting in my typical style, I didn’t actually put together the diaper cake together until an hour and a half before the shower.  This left me with an hour to assemble the cake, fifteen minutes to get dressed and fifteen minutes to get to the location. 

Amazingly enough, with only a few bumps in the road, I was only a half hour or so late and I can’t even blame it on the diaper cake.  What girl do you know gets ready in fifteen minutes?


Diaper cakes are quite easy to assemble and can be created in about an hour.  If you do want to make one though, I recommend gathering the pieces and creating it a few days before the actual event.  This will guarantee a happier and less stressed preparation time leading up the special celebration.

How Many Diapers Do I Need for a Diaper Cake?

One of the keys to making your DIY diaper cake experience successful is double checking that you have all of the supplies before getting started.  For this medium sized diaper cake, you will need 64 diapers.  I used 38 diapers on the base level, 19 diapers for the middle level and 7 diapers for the top level.  You can also add an additional base level if desired to create a bigger cake.

Keep in mind that the size of the diapers matters.  I learned when I was expecting my first that most babies are already out of “newborn” the day they are born.  Instead, get the first or second size of baby diapers. 

The number of diapers that you use is determined by the size of the diapers.  I chose the first baby size up for this diaper cake. 

You can also use diapers of different sizes as long as you keep the size the same on each level.  The diapers won’t be easy to assemble if they are different sizes.

You Will Need:

64 diapers – 38 for the base level, 19 for the middle level and 7 for the top level

1/4 yard of burlap – cut into 4 inch strips

ivory grosgrain ribbon

#33 rubber bands (affiliate) (although you can use any rubber bands, I found that these held a large number of diapers without breaking)

baby washcloths

cellophane roll (affiliate)

shrinkable basket bag (affiliate)

cake topper – a wooden toy, board book, small stuffed animal – I used this adorable handmade whale push toy (affiliate))

wooden letters spelling the baby’s name or BABY (affiliate)

straight pins

thin light blue ribbon

2 wood skewers

yarn pom poms

cake plate or cardboard base (optional)

Making the Diaper Layers


1.  For the top layer, roll up the first diaper and secure it with a rubber band.


2.  Roll up six more diapers individually.  Surround the first rolled diaper with the six rolled diapers to make a circle.  Put a rubber band around the entire circle to hold them together.


3.  To make the second tier, roll up 19 more diapers, securing each one seperately with a rubber band.  Place one rolled diaper in the middle.  Surround that diaper with six more diapers making a circle (it should look exactly the same as the first layer).  Secure that circle of diapers with a rubber band.  Arrange the remaining 12 diapers around the inner circle.  Secure with a rubber band to complete your second tier.


4.  For the last tier, it will be too wide to be attached together with one rubber band.  Instead, you will need to attach it in different sections.  Roll up the 38 remaining diapers.  Use 19 rolled diapers to create a layer exactly the same as the middle tier.  Arrange the remaining 19 rolled diapers around the inner circle.  Connect in different sections to create a large tier of 38 diapers.  This layer required a little bit more flexibility and patience. You might find that some of the diapers fall out and need to be squished back in.


5.  Stack the layers together to create a three tiered diaper cake.


Secure in place by sticking two wooden skewers through all of the diaper cake layers.

Creating Candy Washcloths


1.  Fold the washcloth in half and then in half again.  Roll the washcloth length wise to create a lollipop spiral.


2.  Cut a 12 inch by 9 inch piece of cellophane.  Place the lollipop spiral face down at the top of the cellophane.  Fold over the top part of the cellophane and tape to the washcloth.


3.  Roll up the washcloth and secure the end in place with tape.  Gather each side like the end of the candy wrapper.  Tie with a piece of thin light blue ribbon.

Adding the Burlap, Ribbon and Other Embellishments


1.  Wrap a piece of burlap around the top tier, securing in place with stick pins.  Repeat on the other two tiers.

2.  Cut a piece of ivory grosgrain ribbon to place on top of each piece of burlap.  Use glue dots or double sided tape to attach to the burlap.


3.  Hot glue or use glue dots to embellish the second tier with wooden letters.  If you know the baby’s name, you can add that.  Or try BABY or IT’S A BOY or IT’S A GIRL.


4.  Decorate the rest of the cake with the yarn pom poms, candy washcloths and cake toy topper.  You can secure elements using glue dots.

Transforming the Cake to a Gift Basket

1.  If you are giving the cake as a present, it’s a great idea to package it into a gift basket bag.  This cellophane bag makes it especially pretty to display for the mom-to-be.  Carefully, place the diaper cake into a large cellophane basket bag.  Gather the bag around the cake and tie it closed at the top.


2.  Using a hair dryer, shrink wrap the bag around the diaper cake.  Top the cake with a bow made from the ivory grosgrain ribbon.  Add a small card or gift tag.  You’re diaper cake is ready for gifting!

A Few Other Tips…

If you are “serving” your diaper cake on a dessert or gift table, you might want to place it on a cake plate or cardboard round.  I did find that the cake was solid enough without this piece, so it isn’t necessary. 

I also regretted adding the decorative shred at the end.  It really was not necessary.

A nice part about making a rolled diaper cake is that you don’t have to use just diapers to fill it.  Consider switching out some diapers for onesies, washcloths or even burpcloths.  Just wrap them up the same way and secure with a rubber band.  Then, slip them into the cake instead of a diaper.

When creating your burlap strips, cut the strips with pinking shears to prevent the edges from fraying.  You can also use 4 inch burlap ribbon instead.

If you want to give more than just the diaper cake, consider slipping in gift cards between the diapers or layers of cake.  You can get the parents-to-be gift cards to places on their baby registry, a local spa for a rest day or take out restaurants to enjoy when baby arrives.


A diaper cake is a wonderful gift idea for the parents-to-be.  When designed correctly, you can give them everything they need for those first months of parenthood.  I know that I truly appreciated ours (and it was really fun to disassemble).

Planning a baby shower?  Check out this assortment of baby shower party designs in our shop.  They are a wonderful way to make your baby shower celebration even more special and unique.  

Happy Celebrating,



  1. this wooden theme diaper cake is so adorable, thank you so much for the detailed tutorial. Have a great day!

  2. The diaper cake look so beautiful and sharing of everything in detail will be really helpful to make the cake, I really liked your burlap idea.

  3. Thanks so much for stopping by our blog. Making diaper cakes isn’t quite as hard as I once thought. I am glad this tutorial helped and am sure your diaper cake was a much appreciated gift for the new parents-to-be. Thanks again!

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