Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Personalized Kids' Art

Hi Friends. Welcome into my home. Today, I want to share something personal and yet, something for you: Making Personalized Kids' Art.  

1. "Liony" --- a personalized portrait of our youngest's favorite stuffed animal.
2. Bunny for baby.

This is an "everyone can" project. Whether you are looking for a personal way to decorate a children's room or maybe planning a gift for someone special. Take portraits of cherished stuffed animals, enlarge the photos, frame and decorate kid's spaces with personalized kids' art --- art, tailor-made for each child, with a twist and a tale.

Continue below for more photos and how-to...
It doesn't matter if the toy is a plush toy or a hard, classic, toy like the bunny. They both work.  For Gray, our son, I loved the rock star quality of the stuffed lion portrait and then, for a baby, the modernity of the miniature, classic, white bunny, oversized as a print.

1." Liony" (top) 
Liony has been a trusty-toy- friend to our youngest, riding in suitcases, filling pockets, dressing up for sailing (here) and now posing for his portrait that hangs above, as art work, over our youngest son's desk. (In fact, all of the kids have a portrait of their favorite.) 

2. "Baby for bunny:"
The bunny is a gift for a friend and had me thinking: wouldn't it be fun to choose and photograph a toy for a coming baby, as you're expecting, side by side, with your older children as a way to incorporate them in your planning? You do the photography, but let your children decide on the toy? Oh, the possibilities! I hope you see this, too and I'd love to see what you do!
Do write something about each poser on the back of their frames. Some day, things like that fact that Carmel, the above pup in the red sweater, belonged to our oldest son, was given to him on his first airplane ride. The sweater was one that I knitted to his specifications, the winter I was expecting and knitting for baby number two. Recorded as a print, Carmel is "around" even though he not in active play these days. He's a time capsule. Carmel's print, in contrast to his younger brother's,  is a wallet print in a teeny frame. Carmel's portrait is included in an expansive, collection of old and new extended family black and white photos and I love the surprise of finding him there.

Favorite Stuffed animal or toy, camera, solid colored surface, frame

How to:
1. Prep: Groom toy. To prep Liony, we wanted to keep his wild personality, but felt that a little comb out before his big portrait, would be helpful. We wanted his mane to look grand and paid extra attention to his eyes -- brushing the plush away from them so that they would photograph at their finest; fluffing and squaring ears, squeezing and re-distributing fluffy bodies to look as even and balanced, as possible.
2. Prop. Pose.  Prop and pose toy on a clean, open, surface into a sitting pose. We tried this a few ways and I found that my personal favorite gave a "portrait" quality when we propped the animals looking straight-on at the camera (shoulders square or just slightly tilted). I love a clean white background, so we used a white table that has a white wall as the backdrop behind it. I also prefer natural light and took his photo at mid day with natural light streaming in the window but, not shining directly on him. A note: if your stuffed animal is very dark or black, pay attention to the eyes which can get lost in a photo. Make sure the fur is pulled back.  If you're doing this with your young assistant, you can ask them to hold a piece of white paper up to reflect light back to catch the light in their eyes.

3. Photograph: Shoot. When taking a portrait, leave plenty of white space around your stuffed animal and shoot from low.  Hold the camera very still or use a tripod, if you have one available. I think our best portraits were taken when the shot was taken "head" on and on the same level.

4. Develop. Choose photo and develop. You determine the size. I considered making over-sized wall paper with these stuffed animal portraits but, found that a poster-sized portrait + minis were right for our house. I wish you inspiration! I'd just love, love, love to see how you use this tutorial. Happy making! Happy Willowday!

Get all willowday posts, projects and play in your in-box!


  1. Replies
    1. I'm so glad you liked it! I hope you might find a way to use this idea, too! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. Your projects are so unique - I am your new biggest fan! It was so great to meet you at the Minted chat, and I'm glad you made the big trip to Alt - I hope you found it worthwhile! My 2 year old has a teddy bear that has been by her side since birth. I absolutely must do a photo shoot with him before he gets any more tattered!

    1. Oh, Haely, What a thoughtful thing to say and it really makes my day! Me, too! I'm just so happy to meet you and will confess that I'm still trying to catch up from my trip "over" so give three cheers to have a post up this week and that you can imagine yourself in it! That makes me very happy. Oh, I hope you take the teddy bear photo. I'd love to see it! Thanks for taking the time to comment and I look forward to meeting here and at your space, too!

  3. Hi! Thanks for this blog-post. Photographing children's favourite toys is such a wonderful idea. Your post inspired me to use this as a topic in my children's art classes at A Little Creative - and they had heaps of fun!! I have just written a blogpost about it here, and have referenced and linked to your page too - hope that is okay with you :)
    Here's the link:


Thank you!