How To: Make a Diaper Cake Centerpiece

Last month I got a text from my friend Kristen that said, “I have the best post for your blog!”  I told my husband multiple times that I was going to be at Kristen’s house working on a diaper cake and it wasn’t until about the tenth time that he finally asked, “So explain to me how this works…like, do people know they’re eating diapers, or is it like.. a trick cake?” I tried to control my hysterical laughter and explained that a diaper cake isn’t for eating, that would be weird.  It’s a darling decoration you can use at a baby shower!  The actual “cake” is constructed with diapers and then it’s accessorized with cute baby things.  It looks great as a centerpiece at the shower and then the Momma-to-be gets to take it home with her and use all of the items.  It’s actually super easy, and it doesn’t take very long, especially if you’ve got a helper!

Supplies Needed:
Diapers– I love Target diapers because they don’t have lame pictures on them.  I think the blue and green polka dots are so cute, and as you’ll see below, they totally work with a girlie cake too.  But use whatever diapers you want, this is what we used and one box was the perfect amount for the size of cake we made.  If you’re looking for plain white diapers, I’ve heard that Whole Foods 365 brand are white, and Seventh Generation are off white.  You can also make this with cloth.

Roll of paper towels
Rubber bands or string
Accessories, like flowers, baby toys, hair bows for girls, toy trucks for boys, socks, toiletries etc.
optional– tissue, bottle, goodies for the middle opening

You need something at the core of your cake- Kristen suggested a half used roll of paper towels and it worked great!  It ended up being the perfect height.  You could use a full roll of paper towels as well and then it might require less diapers for the same amount of bulk.  I’ve seen people use a large bottle of lotion or baby soap too, and someone in the comment section had the great idea of rolling up a receiving blanket.

There are actually a LOT of ways to make these (go do a Google image search for “Diaper Cake” and you’ll find lots of inspiration) I’m just going to show the two most popular ways below.   Shown below on the left, you can roll up individual diapers and secure each one with a rubber band, or tie them with a ribbon.  Place the rolled diapers around the cake and secure each layer with one big rubber band or ribbon.  We went with the method on the right because it was a lot less time consuming, so I’ll show ya how!

This is definitely easier with an extra set of hands so grab friend.  Or an enemy.  Doesn’t really matter as long as they have functioning hands.  Lay down the diapers overlapping like shown below left.  Then take your roll of paper towels and roll the overlapping diapers around the bottom.

When you get a layer all the way around like shown below (that’s actually 2 layers) have one person hold them like this and the other person can easily slip a rubber band around it.

Now just keep adding layers around that base until it’s the size you want it.  You can always go back and add more at the end after your other layers are added.  If your rubber bands aren’t large enough to fit around the outside layers, you can always use string.  I’m pretty sure we used dental floss at one point.

Follow that same pattern, making each tier a little smaller than the one below it.  Once you have all three tiers, you can adjust by adding or taking away layers.

Once you have the cake base made, it’s time for the fun part!  Kristen grabbed all of this fun stuff from Hobby Lobby.  You can see how even with blue and green polka dot diapers, you can still make it fun and girly.

The first step is to wrap ribbon around your tiers to cover up the rubber bands.  We just secured the ribbon with tape.

And we did 2 layers of ribbon- I love how this blue dotted ribbon matches the diapers, and it looks so cute over the pink!

You’ll also be left with an open spot on the very top.  We just stuffed a piece of tissue paper in ours.  You can artfully make it spill out, or fill the open space with goodies, a baby bottle, baby lotion or soap, or just stuff it like we did.

We took some cascading ribbon and used a little wire butterfly decoration to hold them together.

It worked well because we stuck the wire right down the middle of that opening we stuffed with tissue and it helped hold in all the ribbon.  We’re sort of geniuses.

And Kristen is a super genius because she grabbed a spool of ribbon, did a few ninja moves, and turned out a gorgeous bow in the time it took me to check my camera settings.

One tip I have is to use the layer of diapers to attach your accessories.  Like, if you’re using flowers, leave some stem on and just tuck them in.  You obviously don’t want to use glue anywhere that will attach to the diapers, but you can creatively attach things to the ribbon.  Be creative and you’ll find it’s pretty easy to stick stuff in there.

We also used this darling initial for the top, and baby utensils that we tied a infant headband around and slipped in the layer of diapers.  If you’re doing a girl cake, definitely check out hair accessories- they make darling adornments!  Little boy cakes are adorable with little toy trucks tucked in.  Little soaps and lotions are cute too.

I think my very favorite thing were these little socks!  They came in a box like that, over little plastic foot molds, so we just wrapped another headband around them.  We then took a piece of one of the wire flower stems we had cut off and slipped it in the layer of diapers.  It acted as a little  hook and we just slipped the little sockies on there.

Just move things around until you like the look of it.

and pretty soon you’ll have a gorgeous centerpiece!  How cute is that?


  1. Love it! I’ve made 2 diaper cakes in the past couple of years for friends showers. So much fun. I’m normally not super duper crafty. But this was something I was able to pull off and everyone was wowed by it… and you can use the diapers afterwards… makes a great gift for the mom to be!

      1. when I make mine I do not use a roll of paper towels I use blanket, baby outfits and cloths in each layer in the order the mother will use them. It is like a gift inside of a gift. Make sure to roll in the same height as the diapers. Roll and use a rubber band to hold then lay on the diapers and roll. I use plastic spoons to hold the 3 layers from falling off of each other. It works great. I have made so many diaper cakes. I use the spoons to hang things on the out side. That way every thing is usable.

  2. I have made the same sort of thing for perhaps not quite so much $$ – using a bouquet of roses. I bought one pack each of onesies, socks, and diapers, rolled them up to make the roses, attached to floral wire, with rubber bands and ribbon, then wrapped into a hooded towel to act as the tissue paper to hold all of the roses. Mom-to-be was delighted, and no one else had a gift that looked like that.
    Your cake is lovely.

    1. I have used a small section of a pool noodle as a base. Also little hand mittens make great little pockets to hold little things like combs and nail clippers.

  3. What an awesome idea – a virtual shower! I now need to go force one of my besties to have a baby so I can make one of these for the shower!


  4. The seventh generation diapers also do not have any pictures on them; they are a cream color and would make a pretty cake as well. Yours is beautiful; it’s the prettiest I’ve seen.

  5. This is the cutest cake ever! how fun! You are all way to crafty! I love it! Thanks so much for participating in my shower. You gals are the best. I can’t say it enough! xoxo

  6. So cute. I have made several of these in the past years. Instead of a roll of paper towels I have rolled up a receiving blanket. Tied tons of toys and stuff for mom on it. You did a fantastic job! Love the colored diapers!

  7. So in my version of diaper cakes I follow a little bit different process. You will need a box/bag of rubber bands (I usually choose the colored ones) and some plain old gift wrap ribbon (the little 1/4″ wide kind that is super cheap) in a color that will work with your overall theme.

    Start by purchasing 1 8oz. baby bottle and 1 4oz baby bottle (these will end up being your “middle” (where you used the paper towels). If you want it 3 tiered then you would just buy another 4oz bottle.

    Grab a whole box of diapers (I’m not a mom yet so I don’t remember what size boxes they have, but 80 to 100 count seems right). You are going to roll each individual diaper up and secure with a small rubber band. You do not need to unfold the diaper to roll it up, just roll it up the way it comes out of the box.

    Once the whole box is rolled you can begin assembly. The 8oz bottle is your base (you could totally use another 4oz bottle here, especially if you found a 3 or 4 pack on sale). Then stand up a ring of rolled diapers around the bottle and secure with a rubber band. Then make another ring – use a rubber band or a length of ribbon to secure each ring – and another, until you have 4 or 5 rings built up around the bottle.

    Then repeat the process on the remaining 4oz bottle(s), but only use 3 to 4 rings – each tier in decending diameter.

    If you want to make a 3 tier cake you might consider rolling up about 10 bibs similarly to how you rolled the diapers and distribute those evenly amoung the outer tiers.

    Then make a topper out of tons of curled ribbon in the shower colors, or saftey pin 4 or 5 pairs of socs together at the opening to make a little sock pom pom, or use flowers, whatever…

    I then take some 2.5″ or 3″ decorative ribbon and go around the perimeter of each tier to cover how I held the cake together.

    I usually decorate my cake with baby items (pacifiers, snot sucker, nail clippers, etc) amoungst other little baubles that coordinate with the shower theme.

    I have pictures of a really cute “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” cake that I made if anyone is interested.

    These are really fun and bringing one to a baby shower is a big WOW factor – not to mention that you are automatically entered into the diaper raffle 🙂

    1. I would love to see your pictures as well. I am fixing to make my first one of four three I need to make. I have three nieces (two sisters and a sister in law) all pregnant right now. So I thought this would be a great idea as a gift but I want all three different.

    2. Would you be so kind as to e-mail the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, I would like to make a diaper cake for a friends daughter that had a little girls about 6 weeks ago. If you have any bright ideas for me I would appreciate it tremendously. I live in South Africa and this is something new! I really think she would appreciate such a beautiful diaper cake. Thanks a ton.

    3. I have gotten two cakes that were put together with each individual diaper rolled. As grateful as I was that we got a bunch of diapers, it was a pain in the rear to remove all of the rubber bands. The one described in this tutorial sounds so much easier to take apart.

      1. I’m assembling a diaper cake this week. Since the gender will be a surprise, I used some small fuzzy hair ties (a girl can never have enough of those either, with them getting lost so easily) to hold the rolled diapers, and will add a few trinkets once I get a chance to go shopping before the shower.

  8. Haha, I have to say, my husband has also said that “diaper cakes sound gross.” I just laugh. It’s a funny thing isn’t it? Way cute.

  9. This is a great tutorial! I love to put a bottle of champagne in the middle of my diaper cakes for the new parents to enjoy after the baby arrives!

  10. Perfect timing! I’m doing 2 baby showers in the next month!! I loved your decorations on the cake too! Thanks for the tutorial!

  11. darling cake! and thanks for being a part of this – it just gave me LOTS of ideas for a baby shower i’m hosting in two weeks! i’ve got my menu down and a baby diaper cake to make thanks to you!

  12. Slightly different construction that what I’ve seen in the past, but the overall effect is the same. Love these “cakes”.


  13. So cute! Also try using a folded receiving blanket to cover each layer of the diapers. Just fold it so it is the right width and put it around the diapers. I use a straight pin to keep it in place. Then the cake can be pink, blue, etc. Use the ribbons on top of the receiving blankets.

  14. This has to be one of the cutest diaper cakes I’ve ever seen! And the links at the bottom…I am cooking desserts tonight!

  15. I’ve made several of these before but always the other way, rolling up each individual diaper. I’ve seen this way before, but never knew how to accomplish it! Thanks for the pictures they really help. Rolling the paper towel around the laid out diapers makes perfect sense. I kept trying to place them around the paper towel part and it never worked! And your right a helper is always nice! I make my husband help me when I do them! Anxious to make another one now. I too have used the target diapers, they make a cute cake! Thanks for the post, it was most helpful!

  16. A million thank yous for posting this. SO many people have tried to explain to me how these are done and it’s the dumb long drawn out compliacted way. this is simple and with pictures. and of course no one i know right now is having a baby. seems our ward has tapped out after having a total of 12 babies born since last august.

  17. Ignore Kiki’s comment! I love all your posts! 🙂
    I recieved a diaper cake at my last shower~ loved it. The best surprise though was inside when I was taking it apart I found a baby bottle full of M&M’s!
    Knew you would love it so I had to share!
    Been following you girls for a LONG time! Love all your recipes! NEVER a bad one! I recommend your recipes on fb so much… my friends are probably sick of hearing of it! lol!
    Keep up the good work!

  18. I read the first paragraph and thought to myself, “Oh good, I’m not the only guy that is baffled why someone would make a cake for a purpose other than eating.”

    @ Sara’s Husband: I know where you’re coming from.

  19. I have seen these beautiful “cakes” before, but have never understood how the hack to make one! Thanks for demystifying that for us. Sooooo happy you were able to join in on the celebration for Maria, Josh & baby pea 🙂

  20. So creative, girl. You two always amaze me over here at OBB! I wish we could have all been together in person for Maria and Josh. 🙂

  21. If you’re making one of these, consider using a size up from Newborns (usually a 1). My baby was 9 pounds and never wore newborn diapers, so the lovely diaper cake I received went to waste!

  22. I made one of these for my friend’s baby shower, and I found a tutorial that recommended using a bottle of whiskey or vodka for the center! Since alcohol isn’t really something me or my friend are into (and because giving new parents hard liquor doesn’t seem like such a great idea anyway…), I used a bottle of Martinelli’s as the center! It makes the cake a bit more hefty, but the parents get a nice surprise when they disassemble the diaper cake!

  23. I like this one! The ones with the individually rolled/banded diapers are pretty, but MAN are they a pain to take apart. I helped my best friend take 2 apart after her shower and that was sucha pain in the butt!

  24. So cute! I was sort of wondering what the heck this was. Figured you could eat it, but it really is quite darling. Will have to try this next time a friend gets knocked up!

  25. In line with Lisa’s comment, I always feel like a need to leave a disclaimer when I see a diaper cake post… If you’re giving a diaper cake as a gift, ALWAYS have part of the gift be volunteering to take it apart! (Especially for the other kind where each individual diaper is rolled and rubber-banded) And save the box the diapers came out of so the parents-to-be have somewhere to store the disassembled diapers. I got two diaper cakes at my shower and it took four people to take them apart. Then we just had a giant sack of diapers that didn’t store flat anymore. Cuter than cute, nicer than nice but a bit of a pain… ^_^

  26. I love the way you rolled the diapers around the paper towels – so much easier that rolling and tying up each one individually. I think it makes a better gift for the mom-to-be, also. Less work for her to put the diapers away. Let’s face it, with all the planning and details to attend to when your about to give birth, all the gifts to unwrap, de-tag, and sort through, NOT having to untie and unroll every single diaper would probably be appreciated. Super cute!

  27. I’ve been making these for years and do you think I ever thought to use a paper towel in the middle? No! Thanks for sharing! You’ve saved me from buying 2 packages of diapers!

  28. The person this cake was made for kept the cake intact (it was not her “present”, but a centerpiece for the shower) and has used it as a decoration in her baby’s room. The baby’s room was already decorated with flowers so it went well with the decor. If you know what the baby room colors are, you can decorate it for that purpose . . . just a thought.

  29. I make diaper cakes all the time, in fact my family and friends have come to expect them everytime they have a baby:) I like to wrap my diaper tiers with receiving blankets (either store bought or homemade…depending on how much time I have) and then top the cake with a stuffed animal. I also try to work with a theme. For example I just did a Winnie the Pooh for my SIL and have done things like butterflies, trucks, monkeys, etc. Then I try to find items that coordinate with the theme. They’re always a big hit and so much fun to make!

  30. I think this is a great idea. I’ve seen these given away at baby showers in the midwest often. Take your time making it. I’ve seen great ones and I’ve also seen sloppy looking diaper cakes. Done right, they look great.

  31. Rolling each diaper does take a little bit longer but I like the look of rolled diapers better. So many cakes I have seen online done the other way end up looking sloppy, lopsided etc. Yours came out very nice though, I love it!

  32. Instead of bottles, paper towels etc, I used a large bottle of sparkling white grape juice. (Don’t tell what is in the middle holding the cake together)SURPRISE, when they start using the diapers they find the bottle and can have an unalcholic drink together.

  33. I have been making diaper cakes for over about 20 YEARS! Some good ideas never die, just get better and better. I haven’t made it with the paper towels, but I usually stick a baby bottle filled with M&M’s coming out the top of mine. Gotta have something for mommy too! Then I add lots and lots of little items baby needs. So cute and a fun, practical gift.

  34. Getting ready to have a baby shower for my DIL, this is her 3rd child but there are 10 years between her last baby and this one. After 2 boys she is so excited to be having a girl. I thought a diaper cake would make a great centerpiece for the gift table. Need to make this one look very girly!!!! I have never tried to make one but your instructions made it look so easy. Wish me luck her shower is in about 3 weeks.

  35. I have made MULTIPLE diaper cakes. My favorite diapers are the Huggies Pure & Natural…they do have a picture on them, but it is very light and pastel-y. Plus you can wrap the diaper the other way and you don’t see it at all.

    We do it a little differently…and this way only one person is needed. 🙂 You need diapers (you can make a small cake with a small pack or a larger one with a larger pack and a roll of curling ribbon (I prefer the larger roll like florists or party shops use.

    I used an empty paper towel tube stuffed with paper for the center, but anything round would really work.

    You start by rolling the first diaper around the tube and tying it on to the tube with the ribbon. DO NOT CUT THE RIBBON. Leave it attached to the roll. Stretch the ribbon out (I do this while sitting on the floor with the roll straight in front of me. Lay the next diaper down flat next to the tube laying on TOP of the ribbon that is on the floor. Start rolling the ribbon and the diaper until it’s rolled 1/2 to 3/4 of the way then layer another diaper and continue rolling.

    It’s soooo hard to explain with words…but essentially you’ll be making a “cinnamon roll” effect with the ribbon being the “cinnamon.” This keeps the diapers from coming undone as you roll but also makes it easy for mom to take apart so she can actually use the diapers!

    I got one that was individually rolled and banded and it was a HUGE process to undo it!

  36. Great tutorial! I have my own website and make these as a side job. I LOVE it! I construct mine a little differently. I use round cake pans, dif. sizes, and fan my diapers around in the pan. I take the paper towel tube and insert it in the center of the diapers then wrap a big rubber band around the outside of them, making sure they are all uniform. I start with the bottom layer, then as I go on with the other layers, I use the smaller pans and place them all over the paper towel tube. You’re right, 1 tube is perfect for a 3 tier cake. For the 4th tier, when I make one, I roll the diapers and wrap a rubber band around then place all together and wrap a big rubber band around them all and sit on top of the cake.

    You can check out my cakes at 🙂

    Adorable cake ladies!!! 🙂

  37. Thank you for this information! I actually kept this up on my phone while shopping for reference. I needed a unisex diaper cake on green and didn’t find any online that I liked. Two things – I bought the rubber bands that were for making tie-dye shirts. Worked best for me. Also I used a tri-scented tall pillar candle as the center so my mom to be can use it in the house later! Little more expensive but a better surprise for the mom than just baby shampoo or paper towels 🙂

  38. I have been looking all over for A step by step guide to the famous diaper cake,Thank You so much,I think I can do this now! My younger sister is having her first baby and I wanted to make this for her shower so bad!! This is my first time becoming A Aunt and I’m so Excited!! I want everything to go great,but trying to find ideas on A budget is really hard!! I want the shower to look like A thousand bucks but cost much,much less!! If U know of any other great ideas I could sure use them! Games,decorations,…..well everything!! LOL!! Thanks again U saved the shower!!

  39. This is a very cool and creative idea for baby showers. It can always be tough to plan or decorate for a baby shower. Thanks for the post, I love the pictures.

  40. This is cute. I always use a baby blanket rolled up in the middle of my diaper cakes, then there an extra surprise that they can keep once the diapers are used.

  41. That is the greatest idea yet I have been making multiple diaper cakes and never thought of using paper towel for the center that’s awesome thank you for your ideas

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