diy cake smash tips

DIY Cake Smash Tips

Tired Mama & Papa, I’m here to tell you – a stress-free, low-cost first birthday cake smash is just a few simple diy cake smash tips away! It’s true, I promise. I don’t have any fancy photography skills, or any fancy sewing/decorating/creating skills. I don’t have a magic wand that makes kids cooperate. But with very little money, some ingenuity, and a decent camera, I was able to create this first birthday cake smash for Miss Pickle that I think is pretty spectacular. Read on to find out how you can do this, too!

diy cake smash tips


Colour Schemes/Themes

Of course it’s not necessary, but it can add a touch of pizzazz and help you focus your thoughts. There are a thousand fun ideas you can find and dream up, but your kid is only going to let you pull off so many. Choosing a theme and sticking with it will help you narrow down your choices. For example: for our daughter’s cake smash, I went with a colour scheme of purple and lime, for our sons it was a dress-up affair because I found coordinating three-piece suits on consignment for $5 each (which I resold at $5 each on consignment!).

A white plastic tablecloth (or shower curtain) makes a quick and easy backdrop. It can help with using automatic adjustments in photo processing, AND it makes cleaning up MUCH easier. My advice: spend the extra dollar for the shower curtain liner or heavier plastic/tissue tablecloth, as it will usually look a touch better and hold up to some wear and tear and re-positioning.

The Cake

Make it (or buy it, of course) early and set it up the night before to check out your plan. Take some photos of the set-up without your child. And have lots of icing! Go for contrast: chocolate cake and white icing work great, or incorporate your theme colours if you want.

Simple Props

Don’t overload the background – and remember how short your subject is! A lantern or two, a quick banner, some balloons. If you want to make a pennant banner but aren’t crafty, buy some scrap fabric in a pattern you like and cut it to resemble pennants; it’ll work just as well! Bonus tip: A great family gift is a homemade Happy Birthday banner that can be used again and again!

Cake Stand

A tumbler with a plate on top makes a perfect cake stand, safe for little ones to knock over.

Have a Helper

Someone to stand above you and get your child to look up so you get some great photos of their face. Having something to catch their attention, like blowing bubbles, can be a great help and work nicely into the pictures.

Make a Photo List

Remind yourself to take close ups of toes covered in cake crumbs, icing-smeared fingers, and the little bits of your baby that you kiss the most!


Enjoy It!

Whether things are going as planned or it’s all going off the rails, enjoy it. Focusing on the moment is much more important than a photo of it.

Oh, and our go-to plan – schedule the photo shoot separate from any big celebration planned. We did both first birthday photo shoots the weekend before the actual birthday, so it was just Mom, Dad, and Baby and nothing else to worry about!

People have been taking pictures of kids digging into their first birthday cake for decades – and any snapshot of an icing-covered face is priceless. But in the Age of Pinterest, some folks like to take things a step further than just remembering the camera at the right moment. I hope these DIY cake smash tips help you realize your Pinterest dreams – and, more importanly, have a great keepsake of your little one’s first birthday!

diy cake smash tips




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