Collect them all! Rainbows, Unicorns, and Limited Editions- Oh my!

Some families using cloth diapers are purely into the function.  It holds the pee and poop… we buy them… wash them…. and sell them/donate when they are done for.

Then there are the families who “collect them all!”

Collecting diapers and the concept brings about string reactions from people outside of this community.  I can understand why, what is the appeal of collecting an item meant for such a purpose?!  Yet, there is a segment of this comunity that cloth diapers as much for the thrill of adding a new print or color to their stash than saving the environment.  They are not cloth diapering to save money… collecting and saving money are two words that don’t go hand in hand.

Collectable diapers still make their way onto the bum.  Some collectables, even those that can serve a purpose, will sit unused to preserve their value.  Think of the toys still in their boxes…  diapers…. they almost never stay in their packaging!  Moms, after stalking their mail carrier all day for their newest addition, will often put the diaper right on that baby without even prepping!  And, because the baby somehow knows the drill, they will instantly poop in it.  Call it the “new diaper reflex” if you will.

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Most often, the diapers that are collected are made by WAHM’s who use specialty fabrics though in recent months bumGenius diapers have become just as sought after.  Ragababes are another highly sought after brand that has continued to be in demand since it became popular a few years ago.  Other brands have come and gone- Goodmama was once the most sought after diaper, and before that HoneyBoy diapers were one of the first to make collectors go wild on auction websites.  Recently a diaper by Sweet Southern Bums sold at auction for $2,025, the most expensive diaper ever sold to date.  See my list of the other most expensive cloth diapers.

Demand Drives the Price:  Enterprising cloth diaperers are just as in the know as the collectors and there are many people who buy diapers knowing they will sell for well above retail.  Try to buy a Ragababe at stocking and see what I mean- it is next to impossible!  Knowing that colors or prints will be out of print, people will often stock up and post their wares for sale at the right time to make double, triple, or even more than they paid.  Is it right?  Well… that is subjective.  The demand drives the price and if people weren’t paying for it then people wouldn’t buy diapers just to sell for profit.  To some extent, the brands themselves over-hype their products and create a rabid demand that translates into the “diaper black market.”  You may be looking in your own diaper stash and realize you have a small pot of gold…

So what it is that makes people collect diapers?  I’ve been asking myself this for years.  And even though I don’t want to admit it, there is a small diaper collector in me as well.  My son is potty trained and I have a full set of bumgenius Artist Series (not for sale, don’t ask!) nicely folded and put away in my son’s closet.  I donate most of my diapers to Giving Diapers, Giving Hope, but for some reason those never get sent off.


Some people just have that collector’s mentality!  Before diapers they may have collected cat statues, spoons from destinations, or stationary (that is something I see cloth diaper collectors also love!).  People either have the desire to collect or they don’t, and certain things may trigger it.  Diapers seem to trigger that for many people and the makers of diapers are not shy about feeding the addiction!  Now that custom PUL prints are a possibility for many brands they put a lot of thought into their designs, and will increase the demand for the item by making it a limited run.  Nothing makes a collector more excited than knowing the print will be gone forever… must get it while you can!  And if you don’t get it, you’ll pay above retail just to complete your “rainbow.”

A Collector’s Guide to Terms

Image Credit: Molly Fretag

Rainbow– A full collection of cloth diapers representing each color (and print when applicable) of a brand.  Almost always this refers only to one brand’s collection.  A rainbow of colors as a general term when used with multiple brands is just a “stash shot.”  Applecheeks fans are most notorious for their “Rainbows” and post creative images of their diapers stacked or shaped to showcase in their group and on Instagram.

Image Credit: Sloomb
Image Credit: Sloomb

Unicorn Diaper- The one diaper most sought after, the dream diaper, that can’t be found.  Collectors often have one “unicorn” diapers they are desperately searching for.  It may be the diaper that completes their rainbow or just a special diaper by any brand that they have to have.  Unicorn diapers don’t always have to be rare, hard to find, or out of print, but that is often the case.  Some people consider their Unicorn diaper one that hasn’t even been made yet, they’ve just designed it in their minds and hope one day that will come to fruition.  Sloomb has even created a Unicorn Club!

IDSO/HTF/OOP/LE- These are all terms you are likely to see on forums for buying/trading/selling diapers.  IDSO=In Desperate Search Of.  HTF= Hard to Find.  This usually refers to a diaper that had limited availability, can be a diaper still in print or not  Also refers to a style or version of a diaper that was discontinued.  OOP= Out of Print.  This diaper print was only made for a limited time, and the manufacturer made a certain number of them.  Once out of print that design will never be made again, and these diapers often go to HTF status and are someone’s IDSO!  LE= Limited Edition, referring to a limited custom run of colors


Are you a collector?  Would you go so far as to say you’re “addicted?”