If you have kids, you know how expensive they can be! From birth to marriage, there are going to be tons of costs! This also means, there will be tons of opportunities to try to save some money on expenses along the way.
One of these expenses you are likely going to run into (if you decide to have photos done), is the classic one-year photo shoot! I had never done a smash cake before, but they are pretty popular.
If you are new to the idea of a smash cake, it is basically a small cake that you let your little one smash! You get to witness the sensory overload they will have digging into that frosting and cake. Most likely they are going to look to you to find out if it really is okay they are about to make a mess. Once you encourage them, they will just go crazy digging into that cake. It’s a blast and can make for some really cute pictures and memories.
If you can’t afford to have everything done by a professional, but still want to take some cute photos for memories, I can share with you exactly what I did! I put together a smash cake photo shoot for $10!
How to have a Smash Cake Photo Shoot on a Budget:
Step 1. Choose a location.
Pick a spot in your home that has a blank background (aka: a wall that is clean) and a floor you won’t mind if it gets dirty. This could be anywhere in your home without carpet. If you don’t have a spot in your home, ask a friend to use their space if it is more appropriate.
Just be sure to let them know you will do the cleanup afterward!
In my home, this ended up being my kitchen. The tile is light and the wall was blank with a window for natural lighting. I had to move all the furniture out of the room first and clean everything really well. Especially the baseboards since they would show up in the pictures.
Step 2. Make a smash cake.
If you are not a baker, don’t worry. You can do this! Keep it simple!
- Use boxed cake mix (you will just need one box)
- Make two 6 inch round cakes using pans like these.
- Use a bread knife to shave off the tops to make them flat.
- Trace the bottom of the cake pan onto a piece of cardboard and cut it out.
- To assemble: Use white frosting (from a can is fine) and put globs of it on top of the cardboard and put one cake on top of it. Then put globs of frosting on top of that cake layer and put the other cake on top of it (from top to bottom it should be cake, globs of frosting, cake, globs of frosting, cardboard). The globs of frosting are like glue to hold it all together.
- Now frost the entire cake with white frosting (a thin layer) to make it all one cohesive unit. Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes.
- The grocery store now has these nice cans of frosting with different tips on them (Walmart is where I found this).
You can use this to make rosettes (scroll to the bottom to see the rosettes on my daughter’s cake) on the cake in whatever color you want. This is a great YouTube tutorial on technique (https://youtu.be/UH4Jjn0nqIU)
- Keep the cake refrigerated until you need it.
All of your ingredients should cost you $5-$10 depending on where you buy them. (I got everything at Aldi except for the cupcake icing, I got that from Walmart).
Step 3. Pick out an outfit for your child.
Smash cakes are messy! The best thing is typically a diaper and that’s it. If you have a girl and want to dress her up, tutus and headbands can be very cute. If you have a boy, a hat may be all that is needed. I have seen some with boots as well!
To keep this in the budget, try to use what you already have. I had a headband and tutu passed down from someone else that I utilized for our shoot. The tutu was too big, but we made it work!
Get creative and keep it simple. Even if your child is just in a diaper going nuts on a cake, that alone will be cute enough!
Step 4. Pick out decorations for the shoot.
The easiest and cheapest things you can do are balloons, ribbons, and streamers. You can pick up this stuff for $5 and have all the right colors for your shoot. You could use streamers to make a cute backdrop, have balloons hanging down for the backdrop or just have balloons and ribbons strewn about the room.
We went the messy option and had balloons and ribbons everywhere for our shoot.
The fun thing about this was, afterward, my son and daughter had DAYS of entertainment with all the balloons hanging around. The extra entertainment made it totally worth it!
Step 5. Take pictures and have a blast!
You are all set for your photos. Now just let your little one go nuts and enjoy the cake!
Capture all the moments from discovering, smashing it, eating it, playing with the balloons and walking around on a floor covered with balloons. You will have more than enough moments to capture the cuteness!
A smash cake photo shoot doesn’t have to be overly expensive or complicated. Do your best with the cake and don’t stress about it. They are just going to destroy it anyway. Spending $10 for a cake and decorations for your photo shoot to stay on budget is totally doable. Instead of spending $50-$100 on an outfit, cake, and decorations, you can have a guilt-free photo session and just have the memories of how much fun it was, instead of how expensive it was.
Your little one will be the star of the shoot no matter what the decorations and cake look like.
Here is a behind the scenes look at our shoot and how the cake turned out.
All for $10! You can’t beat that!
Have you tried your own smash cake photo shoot??
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