Looking for the perfect gift for an upcoming baby shower? Or perhaps you’re the host on the hunt for the perfect showstopper for the dessert table?

Nappy cakes are equal parts fabulous and practical for future mums. If there’s one thing you can never have too much of as a new mum, it’s nappies. Read below for some nappy cake ideas and tips on creating your masterpiece.

What Exactly Is a Nappy Cake?

A nappy cake is pretty much what it says on the tin: a cake-shaped gift constructed from nappies. Ribbons, miniature baby items, paper cutouts and little signs often adorn the cake to make it a true eye catcher.

Nappy cakes are commonly gifted by one of the guests to mums-to-be at their baby showers, or the host may opt to create their own as a centrepiece for the food table.

There are no rules when it comes to design. Nappy cakes can match the theme of the baby shower or be decorated in a design that screams everything baby. It might also be themed according to the mum’s personality or tastes. If she’s a gardening enthusiast, a modern design with greenery could be a great choice. Or the cake could be emblazoned with the colours of her favourite sports team – it’s entirely up to you!

Nappy cakes aren’t just great gifts for baby showers. Why not take the opportunity to gift one to a colleague before she goes on maternity leave, or as a present after the baby is born? Either way, we’re sure the mum-to-be will be overjoyed and grateful – and you’ll have a great time making it too!

What You’ll Need to Make a Nappy Cake

The sky’s the limit when it comes to making and decorating your nappy cake. That said, there are a few basics you’ll need for every cake:

  • Nappies. One or two packs of nappies (depending on the size of the pack, of course) may be enough for a small to medium size nappy cake, but you can also go much larger and use more nappies if you wish! As a rough guide: the base typically requires between 20 and 60 nappies, the second tier about 10 to 40 nappies, and the third tier 5 to 20 nappies. These numbers are just estimates, though. It’s completely up to you how big to make each tier and how many you would like to create.

  • Elastic rubber bands. You’ll need one extra-large rubber band for each tier and as many small ones as you have nappies if you’re using the rolling method.

  • Decorative ribbon. You’ll need this to hold the nappies in place and as decoration.

  • A base. Decide whether you want to use cardboard, a cake stand, or a tray. You can also opt for a slice of wood, which you can buy at some arts and craft shops or online.

  • Glue. While you don’t necessarily have to use glue, it can help to secure the ribbon.

  • Dowels. If you plan to have tiers, you’ll need dowels to keep the layers fixed on top of each other.

  • Scissors.

  • Optional extras: small baby gifts to decorate the nappy cake, and any craft supplies for the sign and/or decorations you would like to have. Check out our decoration ideas below for more inspiration on what you might need.

  • Large lengths of cellophane wrap or soft tulle. You’ll need this if you plan to wrap the finished product.

What Nappies to Use

As perhaps goes without saying, you’ll need nappies to make a nappy cake. We recommend using New Baby or Baby-Dry™ Nappy Pants .

You can choose any nappy size. However, it may make sense to buy a bigger size. Bigger nappies are easier to work with when making the cake.

It can be useful to use one size of nappies when making the cake to keep it level and avoiding juggling different widths and heights. That being said, you may want to use a different size to create each tier of the cake. This has the added benefit of providing the expecting parents with a variety of sizes for their baby.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Nappy Cake

You might need to exercise patience when making a nappy cake, but the end result will make it more than worthwhile. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to get your creative juices flowing. Follow these five simple steps, and before you know it, you’ll have the finished product ready to go.

Step 1: Select a base

A sturdy base is a crucial element of your nappy cake, particularly if you plan on transporting it. You don’t want all of your hard work to go to waste due to a flimsy base. We recommend using a piece of firm cardboard, a cake stand or a large tray. If you opt for cardboard, you can cover it in foil or wrapping paper, or cut it into a circle that’s the exact same size as the bottom tier of the cake so that it will be virtually hidden.

diaper cake – step 1

Step 2: Prepare the nappies

There are two main methods for making a nappy cake — the roll-up and the wrap methods:

For a roll-up nappy cake, roll up each individual nappy and secure it with a small rubber band so that it can’t unfurl. You can also tie a ribbon around each nappy, but this can be a little arduous so isn’t necessary. Set each one aside until you’ve rolled them all up.

diaper cake – step 2

For a wrap nappy cake, there’s not much you need to do. Simply take the nappies out of the packaging and move on to step three.

diaper cake – step 2

Step 3: Position the nappies

For a roll-up nappy cake, position the rolls vertically and close together until you’ve reached the size you want for the base tier. Secure the rolls in place with an extra-large rubber band or ribbon. If you’re using a rubber band, you can cover it with ribbon later on. To fasten the ribbon, either use a bit of hot glue (taking care not to get any on the nappies) or tie a small knot that you can hide under a decoration later on. Another option is to tie a big bow using the long ends of ribbon.

diaper cake – step 3

If you’ll be adding a second tier, place about three wooden dowels between the nappy rolls to firmly hold your next layer of rolls in place.

diaper cake – step 3

Create the second tier by placing more nappy rolls around the dowels. The second tier should be smaller than the first. Secure the second tier with an extra-large rubber band or ribbon just as you did with the first tier. If the dowels stick out, you’ll need to cut off the top tips (or use shorter dowels), so they no longer show.

diaper cake – step 3

Add as many tiers as you like (most cakes have two or three tiers), and then move on to step four.

For a wraparound nappy cake, place a clean paper towel roll upright on your base and wrap the nappies around it. Keep wrapping until the first tier of your nappy cake is as wide as you want it to be. Once you’re done, secure the nappies in place with an extra-large rubber band or a ribbon. The ribbon can be fastened with hot glue (just take care not to get any on the nappies), or with a knot or bow. If you use a rubber band, you’ll be able to cover it later on when you get to decorating your nappy cake.

diaper cake – step 3

You can even replace the paper towel roll with a bottle of champagne as a fun surprise for the expectant parents – for consumption after birth, of course. Alternatively, you could also use a baby bottle as an extra special touch, which could become a part of your gift to the parents. To add a second tier, keep wrapping nappies around the top half of the paper towel roll. Make sure the second tier is smaller than the first tier and secure it with a rubber band or ribbon. Add a smaller third tier in the same way or move on to step four.

diaper cake – step 3

Step 4: Add decorations

Now it’s time to get creative! There are no limits when it comes to decorations. If you’ve used a rubber band to keep your nappy rolls in place, it can be a good idea to cover it with ribbon or fabric.

As a next step, you could add some small toys to the base or on each tier of the cake. For a real showstopper, you could sit a big teddy bear on top of the cake. The world is your oyster when it comes to decorations: fresh flowers, paper cutouts, signs written in calligraphy… to name just a few. You can match the baby shower’s theme or get creative and choose your own colour combination or theme. If you’re the baby shower host and haven’t settled on a theme yet, check out these ideas for baby shower themes and decorations. Be sure to scroll down to find inspiration, like jungle, pram, superhero, outer space, twinkle, twinkle little star, flower power and baby under construction themes.

Step 5: Wrap the nappy cake

If you’ll be transporting the cake, it’s a good idea to wrap it to help prevent it from coming apart or getting damaged. Place a large sheet (or two) of cellophane wrap or soft tulle on the table and place the base of the nappy cake on top. Then pull the corners of the cellophane up around the cake, cinch it together, and secure the wrapping with ribbon.

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25 Nappy Cake Decoration Ideas

Stuck for inspiration on how to decorate your cake? We’ve got you covered with this list of 25 great ideas to make your nappy cake a true showstopper:

  1. Colourful ribbons. Ribbons are both practical when it comes to holding the cake in place and a great decorative addition. Why not opt for one of the following colour schemes?

    1. Baby blue and white — a baby shower classic

    2. Baby pink and white — another baby shower classic

    3. Yellow and baby blue — a lovely gender neutral option

    4. Dark blue or black and silver — for a sleek modern look

    5. Gold — gold pairs well with many other colours but also works well if there’s a star-related theme

    6. Purple — purple suits a fairy or woodlands themed shower

    7. Green and brown — great for a nature-inspired nappy cake

    8. Red, blue, and yellow — classic children’s colours, which also work well for a superhero themed baby shower.

  2. Use patterned ribbons or layer the ribbons. To add a special touch, go for patterned ribbons like polka dot or a ribbon with a special trim. You can also place a wider ribbon on first, then layer a thinner ribbon of a different colour or texture on top. You can even get creative with other fabrics like lace or burlap.

  3. Use twine. Natural themes are en vogue at the moment, so why not opt for a boho twist by using twine instead of ribbon to keep the nappies in place. Twine also looks great paired with greenery or flowers.

  4. Cover each tier in fabric. Having a farm or country themed baby shower? Why not opt for some plaid material to cover each tier. For a simpler look, use some muslin as part of your gift.

  5. Get creative with the base. Why stop at the cake? Let your creative juices flow when it comes to the base. Use a slice of wood as the base for a woodlands or nature-themed baby shower or place the nappy cake on a mirrored tray to reflect dazzling colours. If you’re using cardboard as a base, cover it in wrapping paper to match your nappy cake’s colour scheme.

  6. Create or print some paper cutouts. If you’re going for a woodlands theme, you might like to add cutouts of fairies, toadstools, owls, or foxes to the side of your nappy cake. Not quite sure what to go for? Don’t worry. Anything baby related will do the trick. Cutouts of bodysuits, baby bottles and booties are a great choice. You could use small, decorative pegs to attach the cutouts, or glue them to the ribbon, taking care not to get any glue on the nappies.

  7. Add a bow and bow tie. If the baby shower has a ‘bows or bow ties’ theme, add both to your nappy cake to reflect the theme.

  8. Add tulle as the trim. If the theme is ballerina or princess, consider adding white, pink, or purple tulle trim to the bottom of the nappy cake for a magic touch. This will also hide the base, making the perfect princess cake!

  9. Say it with flowers. Every expectant parent deserves some beautiful flowers. Why not add some fresh (or fake) flowers to your nappy cake, or make flower bud shapes out of paper or other craft supplies like felt? DIY felt flowers can make a beautiful addition.

  10. Hang bunting. Nothing says party like some good old bunting. See if you can find some small bunting in your local arts and craft shop to drape around one tier of the cake. You could also make your own by cutting triangles out of colourful card and attaching them with string or twine. Add lettering to each triangle for a personal touch, perhaps spelling something out like ‘baby’.

  11. Make a sign. Create a sign that says something like ‘Oh, baby!’ or ‘Oh boy!’ (if the gender has already been revealed), or something else that matches the baby shower theme. If you have a friend with calligraphy skills, now is the time to employ their skills. Use different colours of card, glitter, colourful pens, or anything else that takes your fancy. Finger paint could also be cute! Once your sign is finished, stick a toothpick on the bottom edge and place it between two nappy rolls so that it stays upright.

  12. Place some small gifts around the base or on each tier. Add a few small gifts for an even more impressive nappy cake while also giving the parents-to-be some extra goodies. Some fun gifts include a teething ring, a bath toy, a baby bottle, a rolled-up bib or muslin cloth, baby booties, socks, mittens, a small travel pack of wipes and a dummy. There’s no need to go overboard – just a couple of little add-ons will make your nappy cake look even more fabulous.

  13. Place a soft toy on the top. Nothing says baby quite like a cuddly teddy bear! Plop a plush animal toy on top of your nappy cake, such as an elephant, bunny, or a teddy bear. If your nappy cake has a colour scheme (for example pink) you may want the cuddly toy to match the colour. For a bold look, you could also pick a contrasting colour. For example, if you have baby blue nappy cake decorations, place a dark brown teddy on top.

  14. Add crinkled paper to each tier. Crinkled paper can be a great way to cover the nappy rolls of each tier. Buy shredded paper that matches the colour scheme or theme of your nappy cake and place handfuls on each tier.

  15. Place a rubber duck on top. Yellow rubber ducks are a childhood classic, so the perfect thing to place on top if it matches the rest of your nappy cake décor. A rubber duck is a great addition to the cake and fun gift for the baby for years to come.

  16. Give the décor a modern spin with greenery. Nappy cakes aren’t just about the baby. They’re also for the parents. Why not reflect this by decorating your nappy cake with green branches, or native flowers, for example. This can look particularly lovely when paired with twine or burlap.

  17. Place baby booties on top. Is there anything quite as cute as a pair of baby booties or shoes? Top off your cake with a pair as an adorable centrepiece.

  18. Add a small helium balloon. Nothing quite says party like balloons. Check your local party supply shop to see if they have any balloons in fitting colours or with words like ‘Oh, baby!’. Tuck the straw that comes with the helium balloon in between two nappy rolls to hold it in place.

  19. Give it the unicorn treatment. Unicorns are totally in right now, so adding the horn, ears, and eyelashes to your nappy cake will make it a guaranteed success. You can use simple craft supplies like card and glitter to make your unicorn shapes. Stick a toothpick onto the shapes and stick the other end between the nappy rolls to secure them in place.

  20. Add sweet treats. Cake is sweet after all! So why not stick some wrapped cake pops or cookies on sticks between the nappy rolls. You could also add a sign saying something like ‘Sweet Baby’ to take the theme to the next level.

  21. Match the decorations to the season. During summer you might like to add sunflowers to your nappy cake or give it a bee theme. Celebrate autumn with warm, orange tones and leaves. In winter, why not make your nappy cake look like a snowman or use grey ribbon, silver glitter, and snowflake cutouts. A ‘Baby it’s cold outside’ sign is the perfect topper for a winter nappy cake. And, in spring, think butterflies and daffodils as decoration or go with a bunny theme. Flowers work well year-round, but most of all in spring!

  22. Add a children’s book. If the baby shower has a ‘bring a book’ theme, or you just want to include your favourite storybook as a fun extra touch, then why not add it to your nappy cake.

  23. Wrap string lights around each tier. Find a string of battery-operated lights from your local home store to add a glistening highlight to your showstopper. Gorgeous lighting can work really well if the theme is ‘twinkle, twinkle, little star’ or ‘a star is born’. All eyes will be on your beautiful creation!

  24. If the mum-to-be is having twins, double the fun. Take the opportunity to create two small nappy cakes or add two toys so that each baby gets their own soft toy.

  25. Keep it small and simple. Nappy cakes don’t have to have multiple tiers, and lots of decorations. You can also opt for a minimalist design. For example, you might like to simply create a one tier nappy cake using one pack of nappies and decorate it with a lovely ribbon, adding a sign or a soft toy on top. Voila, all done!

The Bottom Line

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to nappy cakes. Big or small, maximalist or understated – it’s the thought that counts. The expecting parents are sure to appreciate the work you’ve put in and having a few extra nappies to hand never hurts! Have a great time making it and look forward to the joy on the guest of honour’s face when you unveil your creation.

For even more baby shower gift ideas, check out our article on 50 baby shower gift ideas parents will love. A baby shower card is another great way to express your love and support. Whatever you gift, the parents-to-be are sure to love it!