LE FESTE – CELEBRATIONS
Photo props give parties that little extra spark. They make the event festive and enhance the theme. Most of all, they give people an excuse to round up folks and take pictures to document the occasion, which is nice for hosts and guests alike. That’s why I’m drawn to all things photo prop. While I didn’t have the usual blow out Halloween party this year, I did want to make the house look festive for the kids. So, I started looking for a new photo prop, a different one than we’ve had all the other years.
Most of the time I invested a few dollars into a plastic poster board with holes in it for people’s heads. Don’t get me wrong. They’ve been cute and have served their purpose quite nicely. I have reused them for years in a row, and I even gave my Italian relatives one to keep. But I wanted something extra special this year, precisely because we weren’t doing our traditional gathering and so the photos look distinct.
Then, I saw it, a vision of Halloween with the perfect balance of spooky and sassy. In the Home Decorators catalog, I found a cloth photo prop. It was basically a white sheet with two black skeletons holding hands and two holes where the heads should be. It was simple in its color scheme and unadorned background. I loved it, but there was no way I was paying $40 for it. I immediately realized I could make my own for much cheaper, and so I did. Here’s how:
- Cheap, white fabric – I found this remnant on a clearance rack at JoAnn Fabric and Craft Store. You could also use an old white or pale colored sheet. Fraying and holes just boost the spook factor, so don’t sweat them.
- Iron-on paper in black glitter (you could also use plain black or another color, especially if you are using a different color background)
- Pencil or chalk
- Card stock in orange glitter
- Iron and a hard surface (such as an ironing board)
- Cricut machine for cutting or a razor or scissors
Cut the fabric to size.
The width of the remnant was perfect for my Halloween project, but I had to trim the bottom, so people wouldn’t be tripping on it and it would hang properly from the doorway. You might need to do more or less trimming than I did; it all depends on the original size of your fabric. Check where you plan to hang it and measure and cut accordingly.
Cut out the hole for the head.
I opted to make one skeleton as opposed to two because my remnant was narrow and it would be significantly cheaper. I would have had to buy a bigger piece of fabric and two sheets of iron-on transfer paper. This project was so the kids could have a little fun, not so I could break the bank. To cut out the hole for the head, I hung the trimmed fabric from the very place I intended to put it. A few pieces of packing tape did the job, by the way. Next, I stood in front of the fabric with my nose touching it. I took the pencil and I traced around my head. Then, I took scissors and cut the circle where I had traced my head. I was careful to cut just around the outer edge of the circle, so my trace marks would be cut out.
Make the skeleton and crown.
With the Cricut. This is simple enough. You can find a skeleton image in Design Space, the Cricut software, have the machine do the cutting, and follow the directions for ironing it on. The same is true for the crown. This is, indeed, how I did it. But you could also do this without a cutting machine. Using a razor blade and scissors, you can cut out the image yourself on iron on paper or even fabric (if you’re willing to sew). I would aim to use a larger-boned skeleton template if that’s the route you’re going because those intricate cuts can be a pain when you’re doing them by hand.
Adhere the skeleton and crown to the fabric.
Iron the fabric on the highest possible setting. Shut off the steam setting on the iron when you are ready to iron on the skeleton. Careful how you place the various pieces. Be sure to follow the instructions for properly ironing on the material. Put the iron directly on the iron-on for 30 sections. Then, use a piece of transfer paper or a white linen cloth over the iron on and slowly smooth the iron over the patch until it seems to be adhering to the fabric. Wait for it to cool down before you start pulling away the sticky paper. If you do it too soon, you can rip pieces of the iron-on off before they have stuck onto the fabric. I didn’t have another sheet of iron on paper in a different color, but I wanted a crown because I thought it would be cute. Using the Cricut again, I cut the crown out of orange glitter card stock and just sewed it to the fabric (with a sewing machine). Fabric glue probably would have worked too.
Voila’ you’re ready to put the photo prop on display and start taking those spooky pictures. What do you think? Share it on Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter if you think this is a cool idea.
Di Meglio has written the Our Paesani column for ItaliansRus.com since 2003. You can follow the Italian Mamma on Facebook or Twitter @ItalianMamma10. For more handmade crafts and party gear, visit the Italian Mamma store on Etsy.