DIY Cake Smash (& Milk Bath) Photoshoot

Last week, Hailey turned one year old! It was a rough week because she had a cold or was teething, poor thing! There was one day that she was feeling slightly better, so I decided this was the day to do her cake smash session. You see, I had originally had these grand ideas of setting up a backdrop indoors, adding all this colorful stuff behind her, creating an amazing cake topper and making it an experience. However, life is what happens when you’re busy making plans. So, I took what I could get and figured if she was feeling slightly better right now, this was the time to do the cake smash pics!

Hailey was in a pretty good mood until I left her to set up the cake smash. By the time I was done setting up (which by the way I did in a super fast manner and totally different than my original plan) she was completely snotty nosed and red in the face. Instead of playing with all her toys in the playpen, she decided that she wanted to cry because she kept seeing me walk by her and not actually interact with her. All this to say, it doesn’t have to be perfect when you’re setting up your shoot. All that matters is that you get it done and have those memories to cherish. I could’ve given up in that moment, because let’s let’s face it I was READY to. But I kept it on, lived to tell the tale, and decided to share what I learned because it really isn’t as hard as it looks. I was even able to throw in a bonus milk bath photoshoot afterwards!

Setting up for a DIY cake smash photoshoot doesn’t have to be hard! Find out how I set up without a backdrop stand or external lights, plus my tips for setting up easily and editing quickly! #diycakesmash #cakesmashphotoshoot #cakesmashideas #cakesmashgirl

Setting Up For Your DIY Cake Smash Photoshoot

For starters, you’ll want to find a well-lit spot for your cake smash session to happen. Things can get really messy, so make sure that it’s somewhere that you don’t mind getting dirty. Doing it on your carpet would not be wise unless you have a tarp or plastic tablecloth of some sort to protect it. I have a backdrop stand that I was planning to use, but as I had mentioned there was no time for such shenanigans! Because of this, I took a look around my home (which by the way, was dark because it was cloudy and not the day I planned to take the pictures originally) and then took a look outside. I realized that taking the pictures outside would not only provide me with a natural backdrop stand ( the fence around our deck) but also had much better lighting than there was inside the house.

Setting up for a DIY cake smash photoshoot doesn’t have to be hard! Find out how I set up without a backdrop stand or external lights, plus my tips for setting up easily and editing quickly! #diycakesmash #cakesmashphotoshoot #cakesmashideas #cakesmashgirl

Lighting for Your Cake Smash Photoshoot

On that note, let’s talk about lighting. If you’re taking pictures outdoors you’ll want to make sure you do it either in a shady area or during golden hour, which is when the sun is going down. Make sure you don’t take the pictures right in the blinding sun, as your baby will be very cranky with the sun in their eyes and the pictures really won’t come out so good.

For indoor photos, keep the session near a window or a large sliding screen door. You want to find a room with the best lighting at that time of day so that the pictures come out as magical as possible. If your room is dark, your pictures may turn out OK with a cell phone or on automatic mode. However, when you go to edit them you’ll notice that they came out pretty grainy. That’s because your camera is struggling to find the light within a dark room. So, to avoid that, always find the best, most well-lit area for your photo shoot.

Setting up for a DIY cake smash photoshoot doesn’t have to be hard! Find out how I set up without a backdrop stand or external lights, plus my tips for setting up easily and editing quickly! #diycakesmash #cakesmashphotoshoot #cakesmashideas #cakesmashgirl

Cake Smash Backdrop

Next up is the backdrop. There are tons of options for what you can use as a backdrop. On Amazon you can find backdrops that you can purchase for this purpose, but very often those are filled with wrinkles. Make sure you reserve some time to remove them with a steamer or an iron. Personally, I absolutely loathe trying to get wrinkles out of things, especially the deep folds that always ends up on backdrops. For this reason, I would recommend either using a rolled-up vinyl backdrop (which you probably wouldn’t know unless you read the Amazon reviews or asked how it was shipped) or a paper backdrop. I have these at home and love them. Just know that as the baby is moving, the paper may end up with wrinkles or folds. If you have a very active child, this may not be your best choice. Another option is to use some fabric that you purchased at the store. But, I think the best way to do it is to use a tablecloth! For my pictures, I used a sequin tablecloth that I had on hand and I covered it with a piece of tulle that I had left over from trying to make a wedding veil and used at Hailey’s half birthday party. The tablecloth was the perfect length for the backdrop and added a little sparkle, while the tulle kind of diffused the shine and created a more matte surface that was less reflective. To prevent the backdrop from moving, I used backdrop clips that I had on hand and attached them to my deck railing. Then at the bottom, I used blocks from Hailey‘s baby shower. The wind was blowing and everything was flying up, so you want to make sure that everything is stuck in place so you don’t have to worry about it while you’re shooting. An important note to make, make sure that whatever you use to hold up the top part of the backdrop is not heavy. If your baby moves or pulls the tablecloth, you don’t want it to come crashing down on their head. It’s for that reason that I used a clip, but you could probably also use some other sort of clip like a hair clip, although it wouldn’t work as well. You could probably also tired up in someway with a knot, but I recommend investing in a pair of these clips as they’re the most effective route and won’t fall down. 

Setting up for a DIY cake smash photoshoot doesn’t have to be hard! Find out how I set up without a backdrop stand or external lights, plus my tips for setting up easily and editing quickly! #diycakesmash #cakesmashphotoshoot #cakesmashideas #cakesmashgirl

Cake Smash Cake

I had gone to the grocery store and picked up a cake, but it had this very ugly dark purple icing all around the top edge. I bought it because I wasn’t sure if I would have time to find a better cake or make one, but I knew I didn’t want the cake to look like that. So, I went to my local home goods which is right next to the grocery store and picked up small cake pans. I wasn’t sure what I’d have time to do because I intended to do her photo shoot earlier in the week. However, since Hailey was so sick I had a few extra days to create the cake. I ended up making a strawberry cake and just used box cake and premade icing to cover it. I used a flat spatula to smooth out the edges so that it didn’t look totally horrible. While I was going to BJ’s looking for Hailey’s birthday party cake, I noticed that they actually have a lot of small “cake smash” cakes that actually come in a variety of colors. I managed to get a pink one for her party, but this is a great alternative if your grocery store only has hideous cakes like mine did.


Cake Smash Cake Topper

The cake topper was another funny part of it. You see, I was so concerned about having the right cake that I forgot all about the topper! So, I was scrambling around the attic looking for the right craft supplies to very quickly make my own cake topper while she was still in a good mood. This was, of course, before she started being very upset with me. I may do a blog post on how to create the cake topper I made, but overall it was really simple. I used wooden skewers, wood balls and a fringe embellishment/ribbon that went across it. Then I used wooden letters that I glued on to spell her name. To add a little more sparkle, I added some paper punched glitter card stock and put those on toothpicks. To be honest, the smaller sparkly stuff was totally unnecessary, so I’d recommend skipping it altogether. As soon as the baby starts eating a cake, hand over fist, you won’t want to pokey things in there and you’re going to remove them. I’d recommend picking one great topper or keeping it towards the front of the cake, letting them really feast on the cake towards the back.

Setting up for a DIY cake smash photoshoot doesn’t have to be hard! Find out how I set up without a backdrop stand or external lights, plus my tips for setting up easily and editing quickly! #diycakesmash #cakesmashphotoshoot #cakesmashideas #cakesmashgirl

Cake Smash- The Little Details

Now let’s talk about the little details. I went to her closet and picked out a dress for the shoot. I knew that my cake did not have any dyes, so I wasn’t too worried about it having a lot of staining. Either way, I figured that this is probably not something she would wear every day and wasn’t too concerned about it getting messed up. If you are worried, you can just do a tutu with a necklace on top or an affordable dress. Another option is to add a cute bib that will protect her dress or his little outfit, but also matches the theme. So anything about cake or it being the baby’s birthday is ideal. Then, I added a little hat that came with Hailey’s birthday party outfit. You can purchase a similar one on Amazon or Etsy, or you can make your own crown. I knew I wanted a little extra color in the photo shoot, since the background was just silver with that light peach overlay. So, I grabbed a tassel garland that I had left over from Hailey‘s half birthday party. I also attached the garland by sticking it under those backdrop clips so that everything was kept together nicely with no risk of falling. I put Hailey‘s cake on a plastic plate, because I was worried about her possibly knocking over a cakestand and breaking it. However, she actually was fairly tame the whole time and probably could’ve been fine with a glass plate. Use your discretion on that one!

Setting up for a DIY cake smash photoshoot doesn’t have to be hard! Find out how I set up without a backdrop stand or external lights, plus my tips for setting up easily and editing quickly! #diycakesmash #cakesmashphotoshoot #cakesmashideas #cakesmashgirl

DIY Cake Smash Photos

Now that your scene is all set up, it’s time to commence the cake smashing! All that’s left to do stick your little baby at the back of the cake, grab your camera and get ready to take pictures. I recommend taking all sorts of angles and distances. For example, you want to take a picture of the cake before I get smashed, a picture of the baby with the cake before they smash it (if you can!) and then a picture of their full body. After that, you want to get in on some details. The little hands grabbing at the cake, the little foot covered in icing and cake, and their little mouth. Take all sorts of angles and get in on those little details! This is how you would have a nice, well rounded session. Try to make your baby smile, but also acknowledge that they may just be so into eating the cake they don’t even bother to look up at you. For my shoot, it was difficult because as soon as she saw the cake she was happily eating, although she still mad at me for having ignored her. Because of that, her face is still a little bit blotchy from the crying and I feel like her eyes say it all.

Setting up for a DIY cake smash photoshoot doesn’t have to be hard! Find out how I set up without a backdrop stand or external lights, plus my tips for setting up easily and editing quickly! #diycakesmash #cakesmashphotoshoot #cakesmashideas #cakesmashgirl

How to Edit Cake Smash Photos

Once you’ve taken your photos it’s time to edit them! I always say it but I’ll say it again, the magic is in the editing! I really want to make sure that you take the time to go in and edit your pictures. Pick out your favorites, And load them into your favorite editing program. My favorite is Lightroom (or the LR app),but you can also use a ColorStory, Snapseed or PicMonkey. From there, you want to do things like lift the shadows, add some brightness, and increase the vibrancy (if you like your photos bright and colorful like I do!). Then you want to export them from there and save them into a folder on your computer somewhere you can easily access them in the future.

Setting up for a DIY cake smash photoshoot doesn’t have to be hard! Find out how I set up without a backdrop stand or external lights, plus my tips for setting up easily and editing quickly! #diycakesmash #cakesmashphotoshoot #cakesmashideas #cakesmashgirl
Setting up for a DIY cake smash photoshoot doesn’t have to be hard! Find out how I set up without a backdrop stand or external lights, plus my tips for setting up easily and editing quickly! #diycakesmash #cakesmashphotoshoot #cakesmashideas #cakesmashgirl

DIY Milk Bath Photoshoot

After the cake smash, you can also do a really cute cleanup session! Keep everything set up as it is, just add a milk bath and a few flowers, fruit, toys or rubber duckies. I used warm water and heavy cream to get a nice, milky bath without using a gallon of milk. We used her regular bathtub, but I would say that a round tub would probably be nicer. Then, I added a crown and placed her in the tub. At that point, I added in all my pre-sliced fruit (oranges and grapefruit) plus my flowers. I trimmed the stems and they floated nicely at the top of the water. The fruit was perfect because Hailey ate it while I took pictures. She LOVES citrus, especially lemons!

Setting up for a DIY milk bath photoshoot doesn’t have to be hard! Find out how I set up without a backdrop stand or external lights, plus my tips for setting up easily and editing quickly! #diymilkbath #milkbathphotoshoot #milkbathideas #milkbathgirl
Setting up for a DIY milk bath photoshoot doesn’t have to be hard! Find out how I set up without a backdrop stand or external lights, plus my tips for setting up easily and editing quickly! #diymilkbath #milkbathphotoshoot #milkbathideas #milkbathgirl
Setting up for a DIY milk bath photoshoot doesn’t have to be hard! Find out how I set up without a backdrop stand or external lights, plus my tips for setting up easily and editing quickly! #diymilkbath #milkbathphotoshoot #milkbathideas #milkbathgirl

So, that’s all there is to it! It’s actually really simple to do a great DIY cake smash session with your baby. Even if you cannot hire a professional photographer, I think it’s really important to capture the special moments with your baby. If you’re interested in improving your pictures further, I have an extremely affordable class for moms so they can learn how to take professional photos of their baby. It’s called Dreamy Baby Photography and teaches you how to set up a great shoot, how to make sure you got the best lighting in your home or outside, and how to keep your baby happy. Additionally, I go over how you can sort your photos with ease and edit them in a flash. I’ll even teach you how to “copy and paste” your edits! You can find that right here.

DIY Glitter First Birthday Crown

On the morning of Hailey's half birthday, I suddenly decided I needed to do an impromptu photoshoot. I had to post about her being 6 months old on social media, because I was pretty amazed at how fast the time had gone. And, since I had plans to do her half birthday party, I knew I wanted to make her a crown. Unfortunately, I didn't think to do it sooner, so I found myself on the morning of her half-birthday scrambling around the attic to find the supplies I needed. Luckily, it wasn't hard to do and I was able to make the template and the crown within just an hour! Imagine how quick it'll be for you since the template is already made. What can I say except “you're welcome"! (Anyone else get that Moana reference?)

The template contains all the numbers and two different sizes, so you can decide what’s best for your baby/toddler/child/yourself. It also contains directions and a bonus cake topper template! Oh, and it’s totally free. By making it yourself, you’ll save money. It's really easy and you can get everything you need on Amazon (lifesaver!) or save even more money with a trip to your local craft store.

*This post contains affiliate links

Everyone’s birthday is better with a crown! This DIY glitter birthday crown is super easy to make and even includes a free template. Whip one up, then get your camera ready – your baby it’s gonna look amazing! Click for the full DIY and the free printable. #DIYCrown #BirthdayCrown #firstBirthday
Everyone’s birthday is better with a crown! This DIY glitter birthday crown is super easy to make and even includes a free template. Whip one up, then get your camera ready – your baby it’s gonna look amazing! Click for the full DIY and the free printable. #DIYCrown #BirthdayCrown #firstBirthday

These tutorial pictures were taken on my kitchen table as I worked so that I could give you guys a nice step-by-step tutorial without having to go up to the attic and try to cram in a blog post PLUS a craft project while Hailey napped, so it's not quite as detailed as I usually am. However, I figured done is better than perfect! I knew that if I put this project onto my never-ending to do list, you'd probably get this post when Hailey's going off to college.

You will need:

Template (see below)
Printer (I use this one and love it!)
Glitter paper (similar here)
Felt (similar here)
Scissors (similar here)
Trim (similar here)
Glue gun (similar here)
Elastic (similar here)

The printable is available in my resource library, which you can get totally FREE access to, just by signing up. What exactly do you get? Access to all my printables, including party planning guides, checklists, and my projects. By signing up, you'll have access to all projects- past, present and future! 

Directions:

1. Download and print your template. It consists of 3 pieces- a crown template with the space for the numbers, the template for the numbers, and a bonus cake topper.

2. Before cutting anything out, test your trim on the template and make sure it's wide enough that you can glue it on without covering the numbers. If not, add a bit of height by placing the template a few cm's above the edge of your glitter paper.

Everyone’s birthday is better with a crown! This DIY glitter birthday crown is super easy to make and even includes a free template. Whip one up, then get your camera ready – your baby it’s gonna look amazing! Click for the full DIY and the free printable. #DIYCrown #BirthdayCrown #firstBirthday

3. Cut your crown template out of glitter paper and felt liner. When cutting your glitter paper, I recommend leaving a little bit extra on the sides so you have some width to play around with. This will make it easier to glue your crown shut.

4. Now some cutting tips! First, place your template against the bottom edge of your glitter paper so you'll get a nice, straight edge and one less thing to cut. Second, when cutting out your triangle points, or any small area like in the cake topper, I recommend only putting your scissor tip as far as you need to cut. Meaning.... don't intend to end your precise point in the middle of your scissor blade, because most likely when you cut it, you'll end up going a bit too far and your inside points won't be neat. I hope this makes sense- it’s hard to explain!

Everyone’s birthday is better with a crown! This DIY glitter birthday crown is super easy to make and even includes a free template. Whip one up, then get your camera ready – your baby it’s gonna look amazing! Click for the full DIY and the free printable. #DIYCrown #BirthdayCrown #firstBirthday

5. Once you have your glitter paper crown and felt liner cut out, it's time to add the numbers! Cut them out of felt, using a colored pencil or washable ink marker to draw the template onto the felt. If you're thinking, “ok Cathy there is no way in freakin HECK I can cut numbers out of felt that small, ya looney”, never fear. I have 2 alternatives! Either purchase felt numbers and glue those onto your crown instead or in the scrapbook paper section, they have a flocked paper that looks like felt, but the backside has a cardstock backing. This will be much easier to trace your numbers onto and cut out. Just remember, ESPECIALLY with the flocked paper but the felt too, you should be tracing your numbers backwards so that the front is the correct direction and looks nice and neat with no ink or pencil marks.

Everyone’s birthday is better with a crown! This DIY glitter birthday crown is super easy to make and even includes a free template. Whip one up, then get your camera ready – your baby it’s gonna look amazing! Click for the full DIY and the free printable. #DIYCrown #BirthdayCrown #firstBirthday

6. Glue your numbers onto the glitter paper, following the template. Add your trim to the bottom and glue that on too.

Everyone’s birthday is better with a crown! This DIY glitter birthday crown is super easy to make and even includes a free template. Whip one up, then get your camera ready – your baby it’s gonna look amazing! Click for the full DIY and the free printable. #DIYCrown #BirthdayCrown #firstBirthday

7. Cut a piece of elastic large enough for your baby's head. I used 1/8 inch wide. You'll want to glue the elastic between the glitter paper and the felt liner, placing it by their ears so that it fits neatly and isn’t an eyesore. Then, glue your felt to the glitter paper.

Everyone’s birthday is better with a crown! This DIY glitter birthday crown is super easy to make and even includes a free template. Whip one up, then get your camera ready – your baby it’s gonna look amazing! Click for the full DIY and the free printable. #DIYCrown #BirthdayCrown #firstBirthday

TA-DA! You're done mama! Now place that crown on your baby's head and snap some photos. They're gonna look SO CUTE!

Everyone’s birthday is better with a crown! This DIY glitter birthday crown is super easy to make and even includes a free template. Whip one up, then get your camera ready – your baby it’s gonna look amazing! Click for the full DIY and the free printable. #DIYCrown #BirthdayCrown #firstBirthday
Everyone’s birthday is better with a crown! This DIY glitter birthday crown is super easy to make and even includes a free template. Whip one up, then get your camera ready – your baby it’s gonna look amazing! Click for the full DIY and the free printable. #DIYCrown #BirthdayCrown #firstBirthday
Everyone’s birthday is better with a crown! This DIY glitter birthday crown is super easy to make and even includes a free template. Whip one up, then get your camera ready – your baby it’s gonna look amazing! Click for the full DIY and the free printable. #DIYCrown #BirthdayCrown #firstBirthday

When you make this project for your babe, you have to tag me so I can see! I love baby photos.

Total Cost:

Template FREE!
Glitter paper $2
Felt $1
Trim $3
Elastic $2

Total: $8

Such a bargain! I've seen similar crowns on Etsy for $20 plus shipping, so you'd save a lot by making your own! Plus, you can customize the colors and you don't need to wait for it to ship or even worse, have to spend extra for rush shipping prices! Because us mommas are always doing everything at the last minute, amiright?

Looking to take better photos of your baby? I can help! I have an extremely affordable e-course that will teach you everything you need to know. Learn more here.

Mess-Free Baby Painting (Perfect Baby Gift!)

Get ready for the easiest gift your baby can make. It’s absolutely perfect- minimal mess, beloved by all, and your baby is HAPPY to do it. In fact, depending on their age, they won’t even know they’re doing anything at all! Let’s backtrack a little bit. Wayyyyy back in February, I needed a Valentine’s Day gift idea for my husband. I wanted it to be something from the baby, and something that he would cherish for years to come. Plus, I knew it had to be simple because we had JUST gotten our puppy, and Hailey was only 4.5 months old. I was overwhelmed but I wanted to make something special for my husband. That’s how this gift came about! I’ve seen lots of these painting projects on Pinterest, but never one with a baby as young as Hailey was! And that’s why I added the extra element of putting it on the floor (in a trash bag!) and letting her jump and leap on it in her bouncer. It’s so easy to do that you’ll be buying paint and canvases by the truckload. I promise!

*This post contains affiliate links

Looking for a gift that your baby can make? Check out how to create this mess-free painting that your little one can make using their hands, feet, or their bouncer! It’s the perfect mother’s day gift too! Click to see how easy it is. #babysensoryplay #babypainting #nomessartwork

You will need:

Canvas panels 11x14 (here)
Paints (similar here)
Glad Press’n Seal (here)
Large clear trash bag (here)
Newspapers/fliers
Photo Frame (similar here)

Directions:

Measure and cut your Press’n Seal to size. I ended up using two long sheets since it wasn’t wide enough to do one long one. You want to have enough overlap so that paint doesn’t ooze out anywhere! I used the Press’n Seal instead of regular saran wrap because it stuck to the canvas nicely and it wasn’t a total mess to unwrap from the roll. Usually saran wrap seems to get all tangled up- this made it easy, AND the seams stuck together nicely!

Looking for a gift that your baby can make? Check out how to create this mess-free painting that your little one can make using their hands, feet, or their bouncer! It’s the perfect mother’s day gift too! Click to see how easy it is. #babysensoryplay #babypainting #nomessartwork

Add your paint around the canvas in little globs. Don’t use too much paint or it’ll take forever to dry. Try to use a nice mix of colors that blend well. You can also use metallic paints for added dimension and shine.

Looking for a gift that your baby can make? Check out how to create this mess-free painting that your little one can make using their hands, feet, or their bouncer! It’s the perfect mother’s day gift too! Click to see how easy it is. #babysensoryplay #babypainting #nomessartwork

Carefully place the saran wrap over the canvas and seal it closed. For this step, you want to make sure that you don’t smush it shut, but just gently fold the saran wrap and seal the edges as tight as you can. Remember, we want the baby to create the art- not you!

Looking for a gift that your baby can make? Check out how to create this mess-free painting that your little one can make using their hands, feet, or their bouncer! It’s the perfect mother’s day gift too! Click to see how easy it is. #babysensoryplay #babypainting #nomessartwork
Looking for a gift that your baby can make? Check out how to create this mess-free painting that your little one can make using their hands, feet, or their bouncer! It’s the perfect mother’s day gift too! Click to see how easy it is. #babysensoryplay #babypainting #nomessartwork

Ta-da! See? The artwork is fully intact after I sealed it in the Press’n Seal. That leaves the smushing to Hailey.

Looking for a gift that your baby can make? Check out how to create this mess-free painting that your little one can make using their hands, feet, or their bouncer! It’s the perfect mother’s day gift too! Click to see how easy it is. #babysensoryplay #babypainting #nomessartwork

Now for the very last “prep step”- place the saran wrapped canvas into a large clear trash bag. A black bag would work in a pinch, but with clear you can see whats happening. If it’s a larger bag like mine was, you can fold it over for added protection and, mostly, to get it out of your way.

Looking for a gift that your baby can make? Check out how to create this mess-free painting that your little one can make using their hands, feet, or their bouncer! It’s the perfect mother’s day gift too! Click to see how easy it is. #babysensoryplay #babypainting #nomessartwork
Looking for a gift that your baby can make? Check out how to create this mess-free painting that your little one can make using their hands, feet, or their bouncer! It’s the perfect mother’s day gift too! Click to see how easy it is. #babysensoryplay #babypainting #nomessartwork

Place the canvas under baby and let him/her jump around, crawl, or play like usual. Guide the canvas around so that all parts of it get spread out. I used the bouncer which ensured that worst case, only her feet would get dirty. Luckily nothing got dirty :) When it got down to the very end, I spread the excess paint into the bare corners of the canvas so that it would go all the way to the edges. This also helps to avoid giant globs of paint next to bald spots!

Looking for a gift that your baby can make? Check out how to create this mess-free painting that your little one can make using their hands, feet, or their bouncer! It’s the perfect mother’s day gift too! Click to see how easy it is. #babysensoryplay #babypainting #nomessartwork
Looking for a gift that your baby can make? Check out how to create this mess-free painting that your little one can make using their hands, feet, or their bouncer! It’s the perfect mother’s day gift too! Click to see how easy it is. #babysensoryplay #babypainting #nomessartwork
Looking for a gift that your baby can make? Check out how to create this mess-free painting that your little one can make using their hands, feet, or their bouncer! It’s the perfect mother’s day gift too! Click to see how easy it is. #babysensoryplay #babypainting #nomessartwork
Looking for a gift that your baby can make? Check out how to create this mess-free painting that your little one can make using their hands, feet, or their bouncer! It’s the perfect mother’s day gift too! Click to see how easy it is. #babysensoryplay #babypainting #nomessartwork

Take the canvas out of the trash bag, and unwrap it carefully. I recommend having a trash bag handy to toss out the Press’n Seal, because it’ll be covered in paint and so will your hands. This is the messiest part of the entire project- well, the only messy part of this project! Don’t say I didn’t warn ya ;) There are no pictures of this step for obvious reasons.

Lay the canvas on the newspapers to dry. If your paint was thick it may take a few hours or even a day, so you’ll want to make this gift ahead of time. If you need it the same day, just use less paint (a lot less!) which will dry faster. But, to make this canvas a true work of art I highly recommend making it about 2 days before and this way it’ll be perfect- and dry!

I gave this gift to my mom and my MIL for mother’s day and they LOVED it!

Looking for a gift that your baby can make? Check out how to create this mess-free painting that your little one can make using their hands, feet, or their bouncer! It’s the perfect mother’s day gift too! Click to see how easy it is. #babysensoryplay #babypainting #nomessartwork
Looking for a gift that your baby can make? Check out how to create this mess-free painting that your little one can make using their hands, feet, or their bouncer! It’s the perfect mother’s day gift too! Click to see how easy it is. #babysensoryplay #babypainting #nomessartwork
Looking for a gift that your baby can make? Check out how to create this mess-free painting that your little one can make using their hands, feet, or their bouncer! It’s the perfect mother’s day gift too! Click to see how easy it is. #babysensoryplay #babypainting #nomessartwork
Looking for a gift that your baby can make? Check out how to create this mess-free painting that your little one can make using their hands, feet, or their bouncer! It’s the perfect mother’s day gift too! Click to see how easy it is. #babysensoryplay #babypainting #nomessartwork

The gift recipient is sure to love this gift that came directly from your little one! It’s such a great keepsake for moms, dads, grandmas, aunties… everyone! Seriously, everyone will want one of these for their home. It’s truly the greatest gift a baby can give, besides just being their awesome, poopy self!

Hailey’s Happy Half- A Confetti Carnival Half Birthday Party

On March 28, Hailey officially became 6 months old! I truly cannot believe how quickly time flew by, but it’s true! I love a good party (surprise surprise!) so I decided to throw Hailey a small (but adorable) half birthday party to mark the occasion. I knew the party had to be cheap, because our budget is a little tight these days. I also knew it had to be simple so my husband wouldn’t get annoyed at me for having an unnecessary party. And I knew it had to be cute, because IT’S ME and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The result was an adorable little party on a budget that any mom can throw for their baby!

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Picking a Half Birthday Party Theme 

The first thing I had to do was pick a theme for the party. I was a bit stumped at first, but I knew I wanted something colorful and maybe with confetti. I browsed Pinterest for ideas, then I looked up the silly holidays and found that March 28 is food on a stick day. My mind instantly went to carnival food like corn dogs, and that’s how the confetti carnival theme came about! I created a mood board for the party (more on that coming to the blog soon!) and I began planning my purchases and menu. 

One of my goals for this party was to not generate a ton of trash afterwards. So, I purchased reusable supplies like the honeycombs instead of balloons. I decided not to use cute patterned paper/plastic plates because we had enough everyday plates for the guests. I also used our turquoise footed glass goblets that we never get to use with company and regular silverware. The only plates I got where these half circle plates because they just fit with the theme wayyyy too well, and I knew there was no way I’d find that affordably for a reusable set. I skipped paper straws altogether because no one really uses them anyway. 

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Carnival Party Crafts 

The good news is that all the fun DIYs that I did will be coming to the blog soon! I wanted to get this party post up before Hailey turned 9 months (or 9 years!) old. Like I said, I kept it simple and only did a few diy projects. I made Hailey a crown to wear with a 1/2 on it which at first seemed a little big but looked pretty cute overall. She wore it comfortably for most of the party! Then, I made a 1/2 cake topper. I had big plans for it with hanging ribbons but it looked funny, and 9pm the night before means you just gotta move on. I kept it simple with just glitter paper and a skewer stick. And lastly, I really wanted to display the photos I’ve been taking of Hailey each month so I made some picture holders! I picked my favorite photo from each month plus one from when she was first born.  It was really amazing being able to capture her growth each month because I can’t believe how big she’s gotten already and it hasn’t even been a year yet! I think I’m going to look back at these with such appreciation.

Psst- I made a baby photography course so that you can learn how to take better baby photos too! Learn more about Dreamy Baby Photography here.

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Carnival Party Decor

I knew I wanted to make a tent (even though it’s more circus than carnival) so I raided my fabric stash and found some tulle that I had bought for my veil, but it was too narrow. I would have preferred something bolder but hey, sometimes you just gotta move on! I also knew I wanted to have balloon animals, so I used these figures I had and put them around the house. Finally, I wanted to add some pizzazz to the party area so I purchased a set of tassel garlands and a pack of honeycombs and lanterns. I made some of the garland tassels thicker and some thinner (2 pieces of tissue paper vs 4) so I was able to make a ton of tassels and hang them up around the party area. I also used the tassels and the honeycombs to decorate the tent and give it more of a carnival feel. I also added my DIY cotton candy garland which is so fun and complimented the theme!

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Carnival Party Menu

You can’t have a party without food! Well, you can but it wouldn’t be as good haha. We decided to keep the menu really simple (and cheap!) with traditional carnival fare. 

Popcorn chicken
Corn dogs
Mexican street corn (elote)
Loaded tot kabobs (recipe here)
Cotton candy
Cake pops
Popcorn
Buffalo wings (brought by family)
Spinach pies (common at Greek fairs!)

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Rainbow Layer Cake 

I decided that I wanted to do a layer cake and make it rainbow. I’ve never made a layer cake before nor a rainbow cake so I was a little worried. But it came out soooo cute! Since it was her half birthday I cut the cake in half, which left the layers out for everyone to see. The cake was actually really easy to make but in case you want a “tutorial”, here’s what I did. I used 2 white cake mix boxes and dyed them using neon McCormick dye. I sprayed the pans with flour spray which helped the cake not to stick to the pan. After they baked and cooled, I took them out of the pans and cut them flat using a long sharp knife. Then, I cut them in half and assembled the cake with a layer of frosting in between. Hailey was too young to eat the cake, but we took some pretty cute photos of her with the cake!

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I mean…. look at that rainbow gorgeous goodness! Not bad for my first attempt at rainbow cake and a layer cake. I served the cake on the half circle plates, because what better to eat half a cake on than half a plate?! Once the cake and dessert was served, Hailey opened a few gifts from my mom. We requested no gifts but she said she had purchased the items months ago and since my parents were moving, she didn’t want to lose them. Fair enough! Most of those toys ended up being some of her favorites.

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Such a fun and simple way to celebrate Hailey’s Half Birthday! Most of those decorations are still up, 2 months later. I love how festive the honeycomb balls and lanterns are! Even the circus tent is still up, although that’s probably due to laziness more than anything else. It’s hard to believe that in less than 4 months, we’ll be celebrating her first birthday. Seriously, where has the time gone and how do I stop it?!

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Well, that’s all folks! I’ve got the individual DIY projects for this party (including the crown and photo holders!) coming to the blog soon, as well as Hailey’s monthly updates. It’s been a little busy around here and sadly I’m slacking on those! Part of me was thinking maybe I shouldn’t bother with them anymore but I think someday I’m going to look back at them longingly so I’m going to keep going! Keep an eye out for the DIY projects and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for more behind-the-scenes plus reminders for new posts!

The Dreamy Baby Photography Course is LIVE!

If you’ve been trying to take better photos of your baby…. have I got the perfect thing for you! I’m creating a baby photography course and it’s now available for pre-sale! I’ve been wanting to launch this for several months now and I am so excited that it’s happening! I’ve been working on baby photography since Hailey was born and I know all mommas want better photos of their babes, so I’ve been taking notes so I can teach my ways to you! I’ll also be answering some FAQ below.

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Why did you create this DIY baby photography course?

Great question! When we took Hailey for her newborn photoshoot, it left a lot to be desired. I decided that I wanted to take better photos of her and I wanted to take them more often than just the milestones. So, I started learning more about photography and applying these new skills to taking pictures of the baby!

Will I learn how to take my own newborn photos?

Yes! There’s a module all about newborn photos! I’ll teach you what I learned from taking photos of Hailey plus another newborn session I did! They’re only that tiny once, so it’s important to capture those little details and to do it right the first time.

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Do I need a fancy camera, or can I just use my cell phone?

No matter what equipment you’re using, I’ll show you the basic principles that will take your photography to the next level! If you’re using a fancy camera, I’ll teach you how to get off automatic mode so that you can get the very best pictures possible.

Can I get this for a mother’s day or baby shower gift?

Yes! You can either use the person’s email address to send them the course right away, or use yours and update it once you’re ready to give them the gift. It’s really easy to change the email address by going to your account and updating it.

I’m so busy- will I even have time to learn this stuff?

Yes! One of the very first lessons will show you how to find time to watch these videos. Plus, my system is quick and easy so that you’re only taking a few minutes to set up plus how to find the perfect time of day for ideal lighting. Then, you snap pictures for as long as you want! Editing is quick and easy with my method, which I’ll teach you step by step.

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That picture up there? It’s a cell phone picture I snapped of Hailey in the moment! Nothing fancy was done when I took it- she just looked cute so I snapped a pic. Then I edited it so that it was well-lit and dreamy. Which picture would you rather have- dark and dreary or bright and airy?! I’ll also add that this course will teach you how to edit your photos WITHOUT those fancy presets that get advertised. Instead of putting a band-aid over your photos, I’ll be teaching you how to take better photos AND how to edit all of them to look amazing.

So, don’t dawdle! Head over now to enroll in the course and start taking better photos of your baby today! The course is affordable and for every sale, I’ll be donating $1 to March of Dimes. If you have any other questions, pop them below and I’ll be sure to answer them ASAP!