As I was gift brainstorming it dawned on me - I had the makings of the perfect, hand-made, baby gift! I pulled out the baby clothes, some vintage fabric I'd been collecting and some vintage lace, then I made a trip to the craft store.
At the craft store I purchased a white shadow box, cute crocheted flowers and wooden letters to spell B-A-B-Y.
The end result:
Here are the steps!
- Shadow Box
- Fabric Glue
- Vintage Fabric
- Vintage Lace
- Wooden Letters
- Crocheted Flowers
- Pins (sewing pins or corsage pins)
- Baby Clothes
Step 1 - Cover the Board with Fabric
I always buy the shadow boxes with foam core or fabric boards, that way you can choose to pin items, versus gluing them to the board. Because I work with mainly vintage or antique materials I don't want to damage the items that I'm showcasing. I do the same thing in the displays I create for vintage purses.
My first step is always the items that take gluing, because glue needs time to dry. I select a piece of vintage fabric that I think will compliment the items I'm displaying and cut it to fit the board. I recommend using a fabric that is relatively thin, as most of the shadow boxes are cut to the foam backing and don't have a lot of wiggle room. Thicker fabric may cause you issues in getting the shadow box back together.
I use a fabric glue for this step, as it's usually of higher quality, doesn't normally bleed through the fabric and dries clear.
Step 2 - Cover the Letters
I bought unfinished wooden letters at the craft store, but white or colors would work too, it all depends on the piece you're showcasing. Because the antique baby clothes were very neutral in tone I wanted the lettering to feel as organic as possible and stay in the creamy beige family of hues.
I cut vintage lace pieces into squares a little bigger than the letters and then applied glue to the letters and laid them on the lace.
After letting the letters dry for a bit, to make sure the lace stuck in place, I trimmed up the lace around the letters.
The end result is letters with really wonderful texture and character that add a lot of charm to the piece!
Step 3 - Layout and Design
After some fiddling and rearranging this is the layout I decided worked best:
Step 4 - Gluing and Pining
The final step in this process is actually putting everything in it's place. I used a ruler to help ensure that the letters were placed evenly from both the sides and the bottom of the board. I wanted to make sure the letters were completely visible when the box frame was put over them. Then I glue them in place.
Next I placed the baby top on the board and arranged it until none of the little jacket was over an edge. From here it was just a matter of adding the hidden pins. I like to apply pins where they can't be seen from the insides of the fabric, hiding them in the sleeves and shoulders, along the seems, one in the middle and then I used one pin to hold the flaps of the jacket shut. It's the only visible metal and I made sure that only a tiny sliver was showing.
The point is to use enough pins that the weight of the piece is held evenly, it doesn't sag or droop and that there are enough of them in place that it doesn't strain or damage the fabric. There are eight large corsage pins in this piece for reference.
After that's done you just apply the crocheted flowers and stand the board up to test all your materials. If nothing sags or moves you're in good shape. If you notice something isn't hanging right or staying up, reapply glue or pins until you're happy.
Place in frame and seal shut!