DIY Wood Photo Background

For a while now I've been wanting some kind of a new background to use for taking photos of my baby clothing.  I really like the look of a wood backdrop, but I also wanted something lightweight and relatively inexpensive.  I've seen a few made with peel and stick flooring, but I couldn't find any good colors at my local store and overall it was more expensive than I was expecting. 
 As I was wandering around the hardware store, something I actually really love doing, I came across a package of pine wainsot.  It was $12 for the package, and the finished dimensions are approximately 3 x 3.5 feet.  Perfect!
 The pieces are tongue and groove and are meant to be nailed into place.  I just put a little wood glue on the tongue part and put it all together on the floor. 
 I decided to keep a few pieces separate.  I put the weights on so that they would dry flat (they tended to pop up).
 After the glue dried, I painted both boards white with paint I had on hand.
 To give it a bit of a weathered look, I also added a little dark stain while the white paint was still wet.  After that all dried, I put a coat of clear finish on (that ended up turning a bit yellow for some reason).
 Here are the paints I used.  All of these were sitting on a shelf in my basement.  I think anything will really work if you are looking for a weathered look. Before I found the dark stain, I was considering using my kids tempera paints.  And in this picture, you can see how I used my 2 separate pieces.  The large piece is the background and the smaller board is on the floor.
I also made some really easy and cheap reflectors using foam board and clear tape from the dollar store.  I taped the boards a little offset from each other so I could fold them up for storage.

I'm really happy with how all my new photo props turned out.  Here are some of the first pictures I took with my new gear.  This cute outfit is headed to Texas for a new little Texas Rangers fan.  And you can see, I've finally perfected my heat transfer vinyl technique.  If you missed my last post, go check it out for my heat transfer vinyl fail and what I did to get it right!


Heat Transfer Vinyl Learning Curve and Tips

 I may have mentioned that a few weeks ago, I got a Silhouette Portrait.  I've wanted something like it for a long time, but didn't realize just how much it can do.  My newest obsession is with heat transfer vinyl.
I bought a roll of the Silhouette brand smooth black vinyl, and followed the instructions.  The elephant came out well, though it took me a couple tries to get it to stick.

My second attempt came out terrible.  The plastic warped and the design essentially melted.  After doing a little searching, I concluded that the iron was too hot. The instructions say your iron should be 300F which they say is a typical cotton setting.  My iron doesn't give me temperature numbers and everything I've read says a typical cotton setting is much higher than 300F. 
I tried again with some white and got much better results.  This time, I set my iron to the wool setting.  It took some work again to get it to stick. But at least it didn't melt!

For my most recent project, I think I finally got all the variables right and it worked perfectly.  This is a special little outfit for my son's kindergarten teacher.
She's pregnant with her first child and my son begged me to make something for her.  He came home with the information that she's having a boy, her favorite color is yellow, and her favorite animal is a dog (she has a black lab).
 He even requested that the hat have ears.  So sweet.  (hat tutorial HERE)
So, here's my list of heat transfer vinyl tips:

  • use a heat setting lower than cotton - I use the wool setting
  • don't use a cloth on top, instead use the parchment paper that comes with the vinyl in between the iron and the vinyl
  • use a hard surface underneath the design -I use a small cutting board


Easy Oven Mitt TUTORIAL

My little 6 year old boy has been very interested in helping make dinner lately.  My husband and I love having him help out.  I could see him one day being a very creative little chef.  To support his growing interest, I offered to make him some oven mitts just his size. To make a pattern, I just traced his hand and then added a good 1.5 inches all around.  Obviously you can make them any size, the instructions are the same.
 For ONE mitt you will need 2 exterior pieces that are mirrored, 2 pieces of insulating fabric (I used Insul-Bright) and 2 pieces of a lining fabric (I used a lightweight cotton). You will also need about 1/2 yard of double fold bias tape.

With right sides together, sew each set along the outside edge leaving the wrist part open (1/4 inch seam allowance).  Trim the edge.
 Turn ONLY the exterior fabric piece so that it is right side out.  Slip the insulating piece inside the exterior piece and the lining piece (wrong side out) into the insulating piece.  I did it this way so that there wouldn't be any seams hanging out on the inside of the mitt.

When you get all the pieces tucked in, trim the edge so it's nice and even.

Pin the bias tape to the raw edges being careful to get all 3 layers sandwiched in and overlapping the ends of the bias tape. 
Sew around.  I use a wide zigzag stitch so that I'm sure I've got all the layers sewn in.  I also sew on the inside as you can see in the picture.  It's much easier than trying to sew from the outside.
The little guy was really happy with his new mitts.  He looks kind of dazed here because he was trying really hard to hold still for one picture.  The next 5 pictures were of him doing his karate moves in his new mitts.  Gotta love that 6 year old boy energy.