With my daughter’s first birthday coming up, I started thinking up ideas for her 1 year photo shoot. I wanted to try to create a large photo prop from scratch and immediately thought of those large numbers you see in kiddie photo studios. My only problem was, I knew I didn’t want a studio photo shoot and I knew I didn’t want white (which is all I’ve ever seen them in). So I’m going to take you on my journey of how to make a huge number prop- cause let me tell ya, it was a journey!
It all started with an oversize cardboard box (don’t worry if you don’t have a large cardboard box, you can also buy cardboard by the flat sheet at home improvement stores- which might actually be easier, just not free).
I drew out the number 1 in pencil and using a razor blade- cut it out. Or scissors- I used both.
I knew that just cardboard alone would not be sturdy and possibly could not stand up on its own, so I ventured to our scrap wood pile. Honest to goodness, in all my luck, I was so giddy to find a piece of wood that was exactly the length I needed. I had already set my mind on begging Jonathan to have to cut one for me, and prepared myself for the disappointment of putting this project on hold until he could. When I found one the perfect length already, I was stoked! I first glued then stapled the wood base to the cardboard.
While the glue dried, I cut the top and side pieces to my number one out of the remaining cardboard box. With all the scraps of cardboard, I created filler that I zigzagged inside the outline. This created a more solid piece that wouldn’t fold in.
Once the filler was in, I pieced together the sides. I didn’t care about exposed tape because I knew I’d be covering the outside anyway. What started out as a paper mache project, quickly turned to me covering the entire thing with joint compound (LOL!). The paper mache worked, but once painted you could see every wrinkle from the paper and it just wasn’t the the look I wanted to go for. So I ventured to the garage and found joint compound– figured it was worth a shot. I let it dry over night, and then spray painted the entire number 1 with metallic gold– let it dry over night and then sealed it with aerosol glaze.
And here we are:
I like the rugged look the compound gave- but could have also sanded it down smooth if I wanted. I will post the actual pictures from the photo shoot when we do it- but this is the final product and although it might have been time consuming, it was easy as far as skill level goes!