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Hand Painted Beanbag Drops with Silk Flowers

Painted Beanbag Fabric with silk flowers

How to make your own painted beanbag backdrops with silk flowers

How to paint your own beanbag fabric

Crafting is something I enjoy doing in my downtime and making props is a favourite crafting pastime. I’ve been wanting to make some painted backdrops for a while and finally found the time to do it. Now that I have, I wish I had sooner because they are so easy and a lot of fun. Please note I am not a painter at all so if I can do it so can you! My strategy is to just go for it, not think to much about it and don’t worry about it being perfect.

What you will need:

  • Watercolour paint set
  • Stretchy smooth fabric 1.5 meters
  • Watercolour paint brush (or any small brush)
  • Silk flowers or handmade silk petals
  • sewing needle and matching thread
  • 20-30 minutes working time

Fabric choice

Choose a stretchy fabric with 4 way stretch for your beanbag fabric. I prefer a thicker fabric that is smooth in texture because they are easier to work on. Lighter colours will show your paint better than darker colours will.

Paint choice

I used a simple dry watercolour set for this project. Think of the type you used as a kid that required you to add water to. You could also use liquid watercolours or water down acrylic or chalk paint for a similar look.

Painting Process

Watercolour beanbag backdrop with silk flowers

Mark out the shape of a semi circle with a wet brush or with a similar colour chalk. If you want help to create the shape you can tie a piece of chalk to a string or you can estimate the shape. It doesn’t need to be perfect. If you make a wet semi circle shape this will cause the paint to bleed resulting in leaves that swell. I love this look but I also like the cleaner look without the bleeding. For cleaner leaves you will want to either eyeball the shape of the hoop or use chalk to mark the shape.

With a wet brush, wet the shape of the leaf then wet the paint puck you want to use. I started with green to make the shape of the leaf. I continue to add green to add some shading and detail. I used blue to add colour along one side and yellow along the other. Continue along the hoop adding leaves in small groupings with smaller leaves in-between.

After you have painted all of your leaves along the hoop, you can connect up the leaves with a thin line for the stems. If you have a flat brush you can use the corner / edge of the brush. You can also use a thin brush to make the stems.

After painting your beanbag drop you can blow dry on high to evaporate the water and help set the paint. You can also use the fixative Krylon 1311 to fix the paint and make your design more durable. Even still, I would treat your backdrop as spot wash only. For this reason I would strongly recommend that you keep a diaper on baby when using these drops.

Painted backdrop in use for newborn photography
Newborn baby on the painted backdrop

Attaching your silk flowers

I like to make my own silk flowers out of scraps of fabric. They are very simple and quite relaxing to make. Silk flowers are a topic for another tutorial but the basic process is to cut chiffon into a circular shape and singe the edge of the petal with a flame.

If you don’t make your own silk flowers you can also buy faux flowers or silk flowers from a craft shop such as Michael’s, and take apart the flowers. You could use the petals in the same way as I use the silk petals.

Sewing on your flowers is very simple. All you need is a needle and thread that you could pick up from the dollar store. Start on the back of the backdrop and attach your first petal. Tie a few knots to secure your thread and add a few stitches to each petal to secure in place. When you move from one flower to the next there will be a long thread on the back of your backdrop. Don’t pull this thread tight of your backdrop will pucker when it stretches under the weight of a baby. You could also attach and tie off each flower individually if you want a tidier finish. I add flowers in bunches with the biggest grouping in the centre of the hoop or off to one side, with smaller flowers as you head out to the edges of the hoop.

You can finish at this step or go one step further and add beading inside the flowers for extra detailing. The whole process will take 20-30 minutes to complete if you have crafting supplies ready.

For how to make a foam bucket ledge for your newborn prop see this post next.


Portrait Photographer Cloverdale BC

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