Fun, Practical Baby Gifts

Courtney Rubin

This article, entitled Fun, Practical Baby Gifts comes from Courtney Rubin at Embracing the Insanity.

I have a love for creating baby gifts out of practical items that every mother can use. I have made items for craft shows and private parties, along with numerous personal parties for friends and family. I don’t make a lot of money doing this, but it’s a fun escape from the craziness of mothering 3 little ones.

Recently, I have had a few people contact me for tips on putting together cakes and other baby goodies in original ways and I would love to share them with you. The prices of most of the diaper cakes on the internet are ridiculous so if you are even the slightest bit crafty, you can absolutely make a fun, practical gift yourself for a fraction of the cost. I am no professional designer, obviously, but I truly believe you can tell when someone’s heart goes into a project and that means a lot to people in this age of generic gift giving! So, please feel free to use/tweak my ideas for your personal use and share pictures with me if you are inspired to create something magical!

  • If the person you are making the gift for has a baby registry, scour it early on in order to see if they have established a theme for their nursery because it will help you in deciding how to decorate. The registry may also include specific items that the parents are looking for that fit the theme (such as rattles, bottles, pacifiers, etc.) and you can purchase those to use in/on your cake if you so desire. You are purchasing from the registry while giving the gifts a unique twist so it’s a win-win.
  • If you know the expectant mom very well, think about her own personal tastes and incorporate those into a gift. I have done this for friends and family via the “pregnancy craving” route, which is why so many of my non-cake creations are still food items. Some foods are easier made than others, but I’m convinced anything is possible if you have time to try!

  • “sushi” made from layette items, diapers and washcloths

    “sub” made from blankets, diapers, washcloths and socks

    “lollipops” and “candy”

    fuzzy sock “cupcakes” (or “ice cream” if you add a spoon to the package) for the mommy

    diaper “cupcakes”

    If the personal tastes are of the non-edible nature (such as flowers or shoes), you can try to create something in that genre too. I’ve always wanted to try to make a diaper jewelry set, just haven’t gotten around to it yet.


    flowers made from a layette set

    baby bootie made from diapers

  • Don’t forget the dad when creating the gift. Everyone always oohs and aahs over the mommy and her growing belly, and rightfully so because it is no joke to be pregnant, but sometimes the dads get lost in the shuffle and it takes them a little longer to really get the feeling that they are about to become a parent! I like to make a little daddy diaper kit that is silly, but funny, and helps the dad feel like part of the process too. You can also get little bibs or clothing with sayings like, “I love daddy” or “daddy’s little helper” which you can include in the project in order to let the special guy know he is thought of as well.

  • silly items included in the diaper changing kit (goggles, gloves, mask, tongs, diaper, wipes, powder, hand sanitizer, and diaper bag)

    all wrapped up with a cute poem (if you are interested in the wording of the poem, send me a message and I will get it to you)

  • If you can’t come up with a specific theme, there is nothing wrong with going down the traditional blue or pink path (or green/yellow if the gender is unknown). It may seem less creative, but despite a lot of parents wanting to break down gender barriers, there’s only so many times you can deal with a stranger asking “how old is he?” when you have a brand new little girl – or vice versa. Having a little pink or blue lying around can help avoid the mix up in the beginning when ALL babies look like little, wrinkly old men. (Be forewarned that some people are just dumb and still won’t get it, regardless of the obvious color scheme you present, but we’re going with the assumption that most humans will understand).

  • twin “generic” cakes

  • Don’t use adhesive that will ruin any of the items that you are giving as gifts. I have seen diaper cakes that are absolutely stunning in person, but they use so much glue/tape to hold it together that a lot of the diapers are ruined in the process. This kind of defeats the purpose of giving diapers (or clothes or blankets, etc.) as it should be something that is easy to take apart and use immediately! **8 oz. Bottles are the perfect item to place in the center of the diapers to hold cake tiers together with no adhesive. Large cloth diaper pins (or safety pins) work well when you want to wrap a cute towel or sheet or blanket around something without destroying it. The holes never show when you take the pin out and the items will stay in place. Also, if you are wrapping up diapers individually in rolls, the little, clear plastic hair bands that you can find in packs of 500 at any store work FANTASTIC for holding the roll together and maintaining the integrity of the diaper at the same time. Tying ribbon or tulle around the edges also helps to keep everything together during the transport of the gift and can also allow a safe surface to glue or tape tiny decorative items to, if need be!**

  • everything is held together by hidden rubber bands, ribbon/tulle, and diaper pins!

  • Don’t overdo the decorations if you are making a cake! It is so tempting to keep adding toy after toy and bottles and socks and all other sorts of goodies to the outside of the cake. However, it’s difficult to attach all of these things in a permanent way and even if you can manage to do it, the cake starts looking really cluttered and overwhelmed.

    The good news is that a lot of the items that you will want to include can be hidden within the layers of the cake (onesies rolled up just like the diapers; fork/spoon sets pressed into the center of a diaper and hidden with a nice pair of scratch mittens; the top of a bottle covered in a cute skull-cap, stuffed animal, or bath mitten, etc.). When it comes to decorating, less is more; just remember to add a tag listing all of your ingredients so the recipient knows everything that is included!


plenty of hidden treasures, but in a subtle way

I hope these little tips and pictures will come in handy and I hope you are inspired to make your own fun baby creation. It seems to always be baby season these days, no matter who you are, so it’s fun to mix things up for each shower you are invited to attend! If I can help with any specific questions that I haven’t answered here, feel free to ask!



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