Sunday, August 24, 2008

How to make a diaper cake/ How to paint a mural

Diaper Cake Surprise/Trading Spaces Reprise
(Originally published May 8, 2008 in the Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Diaper cake

I will admit I haven’t been to a baby shower in at least five years. So I was amazed to learn that there are more than a few websites dedicated to making diaper cakes—the latest in show-stopping, totally practical shower gifts. One of my co-workers made both a diaper cake and a washcloth bouquet for her sister’s upcoming shower, and shared her techniques with me. If you have qualms about promoting disposable diapers, check out, which sells diaper covers with flushable, compostable inserts—which could still serve as the building blocks for your diaper cake.

For a three-tiered diaper cake you need:

  • 50+ diapers, newborn and size 1
  • Fishing line
  • Silk flowers
  • Cake platter with lid
  • Wide ribbon
  • Wooden skewers
  • Wooden skewers

Using the cake lid as a mold for the bottom tier, pack the diapers tightly together in a circle of diagonal spokes. Fill the center with rolled-up diapers. Tuck a piece of fishing line around the circumference of the diapers and knot the ends, so that when you remove the lid, the diapers stay together. Make the second tier in a medium-sized saucepan and the third tier in a small sauce-pan with newborn-sized diapers and bind both with fishing line. Stack the layers and skewer to keep them joined. Wrap each layer with wide ribbon and a decorative bow. Finish with silk flowers or a bouquet of pacifiers.

Washcloth bouquet

  • 12 washclothes
  • 16 wooden skewers
  • Floral tape
  • Clear packing tape
  • 40 silk leaves
  • Four other small, useful baby care items

Fold a washcloth into thirds the long way. Turn 90 degrees and fold one third. Roll from the crease around the end of a skewer, so that the washcloth resembles a rosebud. Tape the bottom of the rosebud to a wooden skewer to hold it together. Wrap with floral tape from the top of the skewer stem to the bottom, adding 2 or 3 leaves near the top. Make a bouquet of a dozen washcloth flowers, then make more flowers using skewers, tape, and a small tube of diaper rash ointment, baby powder, a pacifier, etc.

Trading Spaces reprise

About 5 years ago, one of my earliest Sentinel columns featured my daughters—then aged 8 and 10—redecorating each other’s rooms behind closed doors. The finale came when each was ushered back into her own room, and un-blindfolded for the big reveal.

Something of a reprise has occurred this month (without the surprise element) when my oldest daughter designed a mural for the wall of her sister’s room. The younger sister approved the design, we bought some paint, and they were off painting, even enlisting visiting friends to help a bit along the way. In the process, we learned a few things about mural-making.

Measure the wall you want to paint. Let’s say the wall is 12 x 8 feet.

  1. Draw the design on a piece of paper measuring 12 x 8 inches.
  2. Make a photocopy of the original drawing and draw a grid of 1-inch squares in pencil over the drawing.
  3. Using chalk, draw a grid of 12-foot squares over the wall.
  4. Using chalk, transfer the drawing to the wall by simply drawing what you see in each 1-inch box to the corresponding 1-foot box on the wall.
  5. Using 8 oz. bottles of acrylic craft paint, or small cans of latex, paint your mural

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