Backyard Patio Retreat: Cushions and Backdrops

After putting together my reveal post last week, I realized I still had a few more photos I wanted to share from this patio project.  Today I'm giving a look at how I made the cushions for the patio furniture and the new backdrop I used for this shoot.





Let's start with the cushions.  I cut out some 1/4" foamboard to match the shapes of the lounger and tall chairs.  I did one layer for the lounger and doubled the thickness for the chairs.  To make the long cushion lie flat against the bent lounger I scored the foamboard on both the top and bottom, cutting right through the foam but not through the paper on the other side.  


 


I used a spray adhesive and tacky glue to attach some white felt and fabric.  I only put the layer of white felt on the top, mostly because the fabric was really thin and I thought it gave it a smoother appearance.  (The great thing about using thinner fabric in miniatures is that it is much easier to fold and manipulate so I highly recommend keeping this in mind when you shop.)   I didn't properly finish the bottoms of the cushions because I knew no one would see them.



The layer of felt:



Not pictured: Once the fabric was on I placed the cushion on the lounger and added some small objects on top overnight to help the lounger cushion dry into the bent position.

Here is the same process with the chair cushions:

 
Don't they look comfy?

For a little bit more of a behind-the-scenes look at my build, this is one of the photos that didn't end up in the landscaping post but was a great example of the realities of crafting.  Having the garden growies spread out on the surface allowed me to pick out the nicest bits of fluff, but it went everywhere!  I kept the vacuum beside my desk during the entire project!


I also did something different for my photoshoot this time and I hope it helps some of you too.  Typically when I go to make a backdrop for my build I start by finding a commercial-free image from Pixabay and use photoshop to crop and manipulate it.  Then I go to my local Staples (office supply and print shop) and use their big copy and print machines to print backdrops on 11x17in paper for 99 cents each.  I then tape them all together and make one big photo backdrop.  It's a lot of work, especially when I have to photoshop out so many overlap lines in the post-edit stage, but it's been the most economical way to do things.

Last time I was there one of the employees suggested I look at doing an Engineer print in colour, which is used by architects and designers for blueprints.    The thing is these prints are far cheaper than any other large print I've seen!  For a 24x36 sheet it was $11 Cdn ($14 for same day service).

I only did one print this time because I didn't know if they would work, but next time I'll do 2-3 depending on the size of the project.  I found the colour and paper quality great for this purpose and the bigger size makes my life so much easier.

Here are a few shots of the backdrop.  I have the engineering print in the middle and then a couple of 11x17 prints on the side.  It was a super dark and rainy day so I've also got this bright led light and a photography reflector from Amazon.

It's such a nice size!  Post edits were a breeze, a lot of images I took stayed within the border of the engineering print and didn't need to be blended out.  (Keep in mind a lot of time the background is out of focus anyways).


In comparison, here is the backdrop I made for my Belmont house, over 30 sheets!  They each had to be trimmed and taped together.





Would you like to see more posts about how I photograph my miniatures?  I was thinking once my big dollhouse is a little bit further along I could show how I properly light my scenes and what equipment I find most helpful.  Especially when taking photos indoors and in dark light.

I just realized Canada Day is next weekend, and now that I have this great outdoor roombox it only seems fitting to have a BBQ.  Hope you'll all come over again and join me!


16 comments

  1. What a fascinating post! I’m just learning that having a miniatures blog is as much about photography as it is about making miniatures. Your backdrops add so much and your discovery about making larger prints is a tremendous improvement.

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    1. Thank you Sherrill! I just found your blog and am really looking forward to following along!

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  2. I always learn so much when you post about photography. I still feel like there's tons to learn so I'll look forward to more posts! I love how the cushions look on the furniture. Just a bit of extra comfort and color.

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    1. We post what we love, right? Miniatures are so different to photograph and display I think it's so helpful when we get the behind the scenes looks too. I know it's something I always am looking to improve myself. :) My dollhouses are too big to carry outdoors to take photos, that or theres 5 ft of snow for 1/2 the year! lol

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  3. Great work! Photographing mini's is for me even harder than making them - thanks for the great tips =)

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    1. :) Happy you liked them! The new print method was such a big deal for me! I got into miniatures because of photography so it's still something that I really enjoy during my building process.

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  4. I would love more of anything you do. Prep work, photos, lighting!, and accessories. Love your work.

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    1. Aww thanks! I do post what I love to read. Even if it's something really simple I find we can always get new inspiration to try a different method or tool.

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  5. Absolutely fascinating "behind the scenes" look, Kristine! Thanks for the really useful tips! Amazon sells photography backdrops and I've been meaning to pick one up to give it a try. The ones I have saved are different sized and start at around $8. Here's a link so you can check them out:

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DG6XGIM/?coliid=IJUKEWKHI8FHO&colid=1XT581I8KQWWY&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

    I so appreciate the planning and effort it takes just to set up an photograph your work and you do such an incredible job of it!

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    1. Thanks Jodi! That backdrop you suggested is so nice! I love the size of it too. I do have a big photo backdrop with both a white and a grey sheet I've been using for my large dollhouse with all the support beams and everything from amazon. The thing is most of the photo backdrops with images just don't seem to compliment my builds. I find the only way to get the right scale for trees and leaves etc is to print them out... but I'll keep looking... this would really be a fantastic solution!

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  6. I am ALWAYS interested in the behind the scenes posts Kristine, and seeing the mechanics of how you composed your backdrops as well as how you contrived your great lawn furniture upholstery was both interesting and inspiring to the Max!

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  7. This magnificent project has been great to follow from start to end. A background photo is a great tip, especially for one with no garden. I love your garden furniture. Thanks for all your inspiring tips.
    Hugs,
    Drora

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  8. Thank you for all the tips! It would be very interesting to have more tips about how to photograph miniatures.
    Geneviève

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  9. Hi Kristine! I am sorry to be so far behind in my comments! This whole project has been packed full of useful methods and tips! You have mastered the beautiful photos part for sure! The info about printing for architectural purposes is very useful. I have wondered how to get better backgrounds in my pictures. LOL! I could use lighting tips as well... dark norther homes in the Winter are challenging! I look forward to visiting for the barbeque!!!

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  10. Yes, they do look comfy. Nothing worse than a numb bum when you're relaxing in the garden ;P I would love to see your photography techniques. I spend more time photographing inside than out and the light here is rubbish!

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