Today I thought I’d show you a DIY that will take you about a day but will be worth the time and effort if you’re a photographer and/or stylist who wants to shoot more interesting photos from your studios. This DIY isn’t that detailed (sorry) but what I show and tell will hopefully give you enough help to go out and do it yourself. You guys are pretty clever so I’m going to assume that you won’t really need details for this project anyway.
(This is not a white floor or table – it’s simply a white paneled surface I created that is 97 cm x 97 cm – Fooled ya!)
Okay, so you know how you drool over all of the pretty food photos and other pictures online? Have you ever looked at the details? Particularly the surfaces and backgrounds in the photo? Do you really think people have cement tables, white wooden tables, wooden floors painted glossy white, black walls, gray walls, paneled walls, etc? In some cases, maybe they are shooting with what they have in their home or at a location, but after awhile, any photographer or stylist gets bored with using the same props and wants to add new texture and life to their work. They usually do this through prop rentals and swapping things out – BUT ALSO through creating their own custom backgrounds and surfaces to trick the viewer into thinking they are looking at a table or floor or wall surface that really doesn’t exist. Smoke and mirrors, people. Smoke and mirrors. And I love it.
So I decided to create some of my own smoke and mirrors using wood from the home store. I wanted to create cool backgrounds and surfaces for my photography and styling work out of wood that I could store behind my big cabinet in my studio and pull out on the fly to shoot things on or in front of. I recently wrapped up a major ad campaign for Canon Europe and these would have come in handy for the styling work I did at home. But hey, better late than never.
I love the look of wood so I thought that it was time to hit the local Home Depot, which over here the German equivalent is Toom, only they have a bakery and serve Bratwurst – ha ha! But yeah, so I hit Toom with my husband and looked through the lumber dept. when he told me how he had all of this experience in the past with paneling walls and ceilings and I was like, “Wha???”, because we’ve be together for eons and I never knew he could panel rooms. Holding back until the perfect time, I guess… So I asked him to tell me more. Then he walk over to these like 2 meter high pieces of wood with slots in packages and said, “We can buy a pack of these, have that guy over there cut them for us in any size we want, and then we’ll go home and fit them together, paint, etc.” Then he suggested the right dimensions to the wood guy, he fired up his mega cutting machine, cut them, and in the end we ended up with two gorgeous surfaces that I can use at home for my projects. ALL FOR $10!
I was all shades of happy. Wood with slots for sliding together to create paneling (not MDF but using 100% wood)? Really? I don’t need to use a thousand nails? This is fantastic! Above you can see what the surface looked like after we fit them together (which was easy and took maybe 5 minutes), and then you can see how we used a piece of wood (x 2) across the back to keep them in place so they don’t slide around. Make sure your pieces of wood are the exact width of your surface so it’s supportive and also doesn’t wobble in use. That’s annoying. I still have to decide what I’ll do to the wood surface above, but to the second surface we put together, I painted it white with two coats of wooden exterior home paint that I had left over from another project – you can see it below. I always try to use up all of my leftover paint before I buy new pints and gallons.
See the shot taken above on the right side? Okay so that is what a shot looks like BEFORE smoke and mirrors is applied. A stylist would put the surface in place and then the photographer would ensure to not show that the surface is really only part of the prop. So they’d crop the image or simply zoom in as I’ve done below.
This is how it looks AFTER smoke and mirrors, in other words how it would look best to fool the eye and also give you the chance to change up how the walls look where you’re shooting. Brilliant, right?
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this little stylists’ DIY. If you have any questions that don’t involve power tools, please ask me in the comments section below. And now when you see any white paneling in my photos I’m busted, right!?
Lots of love and happy decorating!
Hi there decor8 readers! My name is Holly Marder and I’m an Australian writer, interior design journalist and stylist based in the Netherlands, and I document all things style, interiors and lifestyle on my blog Avenue. I am so pleased to be sharing this quick little DIY project that is beyond easy! My good friend recently gave me a cute little book for my birthday called Home Made Vintage by Christina Strutt, the lady behind Cabbages & Roses. It’s all about creating a cosy home with homemade lovelies from cushion covers and lamp shades, to well…basket linings! After picking up an inexpensive woven tote from my local Dille & Kamille (they do the most gorgeous, simple kitchen and lifestyle wares), I though it was high time I whipped out the book and got cracking on one of the easy projects! Would you like to see what I’ve done so perhaps you can try this too?
You will need:
Wicker tote; I chose this one
Paper for making patterns
Needle and thread
How To: Measure the depth and circumference of your basket and make a paper pattern, adding 5/8 in. (1.5cm) all around for seams and hems. Make an oval shaped paper pattern for the base of the basket in the same way. Lay your patterns on the fabric and cut out the correct number of pieces. You may need to join several pieces to get a piece large enough to fit around the circumference; if so, remember to allow for extra seams. I divided the circumference of the basket opening by four to end up with four pattern pieces.
Join the fabric pieces, right sides together, for the sides of the basket into a ring, taking in 5/8 in. (1.5cm) seams. Press seams open. With right sides facing, pin the base piece to the lower edge of the ring, snipping into the seam turnings on the lower edge of the ring to help fit around the curved edge. Stitch the pieces together, taking a 5/8 in. (1.5cm) seam.
Fold over and press a 1 in. (2.5cm) hem to the wrong side along the top raw edge of your lining.
Insert the lining into the basket and pin the top edge in place. Hand stitch the lining to the basket along the top pressed edge using a running stitch. Bear in mind that the color thread you choose to use will show through on the outside of the basket, so go for something neutral.
Hope this all made sense and it has inspired you to give this little project a try. I love the look of the tote now, and the best thing is when the bag starts to wear out (because trust me, I haven’t left the house without it), I won’t run the risk of losing things that might disappear through the tiny holes at the bottom of the bag. The lining also just throws in a little bit of personality and color, and I personally love the combination of the leather, wicker and fabric. While I love the graphic print and simplicity of this fabric, a delicate floral would also make a lovely fabric choice, as well as an earthy linen. But the best part has to be that it can be easily removed and inserted into a new bag when this one finally gives in. It doesn’t get much simpler than that!
Good luck trying this out yourself! Thanks so much, Holly, for having me on decor8 while you’re off shooting and styling for your next book! Have a great day everyone – Holly Marder
(images/text: holly marder)
I’m a regular reader of Danish magazines now, thanks to my neighbor who is in Denmark at least once a week and generously brings them home for me to drool over. One that I really like is called BoligLiv. They recently shared a fun DIY that I simply must show you because these two ideas for round paper lights are both so easy and creative – two of my favorite words when it comes to DIY!
Lamp with paper strips: Get a rice paper orb from IKEA, copy paper, glue stick, spray paint in the color you love and scissors. Now you spray the bottom edge of each sheet of paper and let them dry. Once they are dry, stack multiple layers of the papers together and cut them into 2 and 2.5 cm wide strips. Stack the strips according to length, you will have two piles. Glue the strips individually onto the paper orb keeping some space between each one. Use the longest strips first, starting from the bottom, using your glue stick. Use row after row of strips altnerating between the 2 cm strips and the 2.5 cm strips. Note: Hang the longest strips at the bottom. Full instructions here in Danish.
Lamp with fabric triangles: You will need 1 rice paper (Ikea) orb, scrap fabric, glue and scissors. Now you should cut a pair of triangles in two sizes in the fabric. Fold the fabric along a few times, and cut several triangles in two sizes through the layers with the first triangles as templates. Keep the big and the small triangles separated. Glue the triangles from the bottom up. Allow approx. 1 cm between each triangle and about. 2 cm distance between rows so you can still see the lamp between the triangles. Full instructions here in Danish.
What do you think, will you try these DIY projects??? I may because they look fun and I’d love to try using some of my spare Liberty fabrics for a project like this!
Oh my gosh! I spotted this DIY project for the Malm dresser by IKEA on Pinterest today (thanks to Noor) and loved it. I discovered it was done by Pinja over at the Pinja Colada blog which is based out of Helsinki. What a sweet idea, I love this for a kid’s room!
Happy Saturday everyone!