As part of the September Pinterest Challenge, I’m going to show you how to make an adorable diaper cake topped with an elephant made of receiving blankets.
The purpose of the Pinterest Challenge is to motivate all to not just pin, but act on it!
At the end of the post you’ll find links to lots of other great projects, recipes and ideas by other bloggers. Bee sure to check them out!
The monthly blog hop is hosted by Erlene of My Pinterventures.
Diaper cakes make great table decorations and centerpieces for baby showers, or as personalized, hand-crafted gifts for new parents. I’ve made about five as gifts so far, and all have been big hits.
Come see what inspired the elephant-topped diaper cake, with tips on how to assemble and personalize your own creation.
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The first diaper cake I made was three years ago, as part of a baby shower gift. While checking the online gift registry, I was thrilled to see the couple had selected a number of items depicting elephants — to go with a grey and white color palate for the nursery.
I picked up the elephant print crib sheet, receiving blankets, and little stuffed animal to create a diaper cake — like ones seen on Pinterest. Many of the diaper cakes I liked best, were made by Simple Showers, who used blankets and sheets to “ice” the layers of the diaper cake. It’s a nice way to incorporate specific items from a baby gift registry, or a nursery color and design theme.
I also went to Pinterest for a number of different tutorials on constructing and assembling a diaper cake. In the end, I combined several different techniques — picking and choosing what I liked best.
Adding a Special Topper
For that first project, I ended up not using the stuffed elephant as the diaper cake topper. Instead, I added the elephant to a theme gift basket that accompanied the decorative, tabletop cake. The reason? Well, I saw the tutorial pin by TwentyTwoWords on creating an elephant made by folding receiving blankets. How clever is that?!
As you’ll see below, it wasn’t difficult at all. It just took me a few times to get the hang of it. Because towels and receiving blankets come in different sizes and dimensions, you’ll need to make adjustments on the elephant’s head and trunk. Compare the elephant topper pictured above, with the one used in the tutorial below.
There are other pins with instructions on folding baby washcloths into elephants too. As with the receiving blankets, you use one washcloth for the head and another for the body.
I had a variety pack of washcloths in four colors. In hindsight, it probably would have looked better to use a single color for each elephant washcloth. What do you think?
Can you tell the diaper cake topper and washcloths are elephants?
Let me show you how I recently created a similar diaper cake with another elephant blanket topper.
DIY Elephant Diaper Cake
Since that baby shower, I’ve made a number of different kinds of diaper cakes. But, the elephant topper is still my favorite.
- Rubber bands
- Tall cardboard roll & toilet paper rolls
- Receiving blankets
- Diaper or safety pins
- Decorative ribbon
- Round cake or catering tray
- Baby gift embellishments
Most tutorials recommend a larger size, but I always use newborn diapers. I figure the new mom can put them to immediate use.
Even though they may not show, I also chose diapers with a cute diaper print. Because this is more of a decorative gift, I usually purchase inexpensive diapers. Until they went bankrupt, I always bought Babies r Us brand.
Step 1: Roll Diapers
There are several different techniques to creating a diaper cake, but rolling is the method I use.
Disposable diapers have two different sides. Place the diapers with the gathered waistband side up. Roll them from the gathered end, and then place a small rubber band around the roll. Finish rolling and banding all the diapers in the package — in this case 50.
Step 2: Create 3-Tier Diaper Cake
Usually, the diaper cakes I make are three tiers high, with some type of topper; like a stuffed or folded blanket animal.
To hold the tiers together, I start with a tall cardboard pole in the center. A paper towel roll may be too short. Wrapping paper rolls can be cut down to size.
Note: the round Christmas tray in the picture is just used as a work surface.
Begin by placing the rolled diapers around the center pole. You’ll need about six rolled diapers, depending on the size of the center pole and the diapers. Use a large rubber band to secure the ring of diapers together, around the pole.
If you aren’t going to insert baby cups, bottles and other gifts into the outer rings, 50 diapers won’t be enough. Supplement, as needed, by using toilet paper rolls on the inner diaper rings where they won’t show. That will save you the cost of purchasing another package of diapers.
Now, encircle the first ring of diapers with a second. Secure it with another large rubber band.
The bottom layer of a three-tier diaper cake will be made of three rings of diapers.
A second ring will take about 11 newborn-size diapers.
You can build the diaper cake one tier at a time, or work from the center up and and then out — as I tend to do. I like to make sure I have a very secure center column of diaper tiers.
For the second tier, simply place the diaper rolls on top of the bottom ring. Don’t forget to encircle that ring with a large rubber band.
The center cardboard pole helps to keep tiers from sliding, when transporting or mailing a diaper cake.
Continue assembling until you have three rings on the bottom tier, two on the second, and one at the top of the diaper cake.
Step 3: Ice the Cake
Most receiving blankets tend to be wide enough to encircle the top and middle tiers of a diaper cake.
Note: the indentation area in the bottom and middle layers of my cake are for placing cups and bottles later.
First, measure the height of a diaper roll. In this case it was four-inches. That’s the height you want when folding the receiving blanket. Be careful to measure each fold so that when you’re finished, the blanket height will only be slightly higher than the diapers.
The width of the receiving blankets I used allowed me to indent as I went around the second tier diapers. I indented because I didn’t want the blanket to cover the baby cups.
I secure the blankets around the diaper rings with either one large, or two small safety pins.
The safety pins are going to be hidden behind the Re-Play feeding gifts added to the outer rings.
You can also hide pins behind ribbon and bows. Embellishments like rattles and teethers can also shield the pins from sight.
Or, use a fun diaper pin that fits your cake theme.
Now it’s time to wrap the top layer of your cake with another blanket. Just repeat the process.
Because of the width of the bottom layer, a crib sheet works best. Use the same folding process as the receiving blanket. The original elephant diaper cake I made used a crib sheet. Because five blankets came in the Gerber set, I fudged it a bit to ice the bottom layer too.
4. Make the Elephant Blanket Topper
If you use a stuffed animal or other embellishment to top your diaper cake, skip to the next step.
All you need to make an elephant topper is two receiving blankets, some aluminum foil, ribbon and a pipe cleaner.
Follow the towel folding instructions in the illustrated pin above, but insert sheets of foil within the folds of each baby blanket.
The foil helps give the body and trunk of the elephant structure and shape.
Now, attach the head to the legs (before unfolding and shaping the blanket into the head) using a pipe cleaner.
Unfold the elephant’s head, shaping the trunk and ears. You’ll have to play with it a little.
Finally, use a piece of ribbon to cover the pipe cleaner and tie in a bow.
Step 5: Embellish with Ribbon & Baby Gifts
I incorporated baby and toddler feeding items made by RePlay into the diaper cake. RePlay is owned by my sister and her husband.
“RePlay was founded on the belief that mealtime is family time. Family-owned and operated for over 25 years.“
Sold worldwide, the products feature affordable, durable, and sustainable infant, toddler and family tableware in a wide color palette. The products are all manufactured in the USA from recycled milk jugs, and are FDA approved, BPA-free, and food safe plastic. The sturdy tableware is also dishwasher and microwave safe.
Infant and toddler items added to the diaper cake include; Soft Spout Cup, 10-oz Drinking Cup, No-Spill Sippy Cup, Utensils and Snack Sets (with or without Travel Lid handle).
You can find Re-Pay in major retailers like Target, select grocery chains, boutique baby shops, and Amazon. Or access their entire collection and rainbow of colors from their website.
After attaching any gifts, it’s helpful to place the diaper cake on top of a round tray. I picked up a clear plastic tray from Dollar Tree. You might also want to put the tray and cake into a large basket gift bag. Both the tray and the bag make it easier to transport the diaper cake, or to lift it out of a box.
Now let’s see what other things Pinterest inspired! Head over and visit the other hosts to see what they crafted, cooked, built, or tried!
Elephants remind me of my youngest son D, who has loved them since birth. When other kids wanted a pony, D wanted an elephant! Seriously… every year he’d ask for one, even when sitting on Santa’s lap. To this day, D receives an elephant tree ornament every Christmas.
D also wanted to be a zoo keeper when he grew up. Well, you know me and themes LOL! So, I created a safari theme bedroom for him — complete with mosquito net tent over the bed and a pith helmet on the headboard. Overtime, it evolved into an adult guest bedroom.
Take a look around at, Safari Theme Transitions from Kid to Guest Bedroom and Sophisticated Safari Decor,
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