Friday, January 31, 2014

DIY Valentine Banners for Photos or Home Decor
I prefer to see Children's Photography done as simple as possible. For the most part I don't like to see props of all kinds in the photo I want the focus to be on the child and the stage of life they are in. Just a personal preference I have. However, the one time I let this rule fall to the wayside is during the Holidays. Holiday photos can be done with simple props that show the season as well as the child. Parents, Grandparents, and the children themselves will love having these pictures now and in the future as they look back on children they once were. 

Should you find yourself looking to the Valentine season and wanting to try your hand at some Valentine sessions for either your children or clients, consider purchasing or making a garland for your session. It adds that Valentine flair and leaves no question as to what time of year it is. Hearts not your thing? There is more to Valentine garlands than hearts. Read on for the classic heart banners, twists on the classic and some new ideas you have not seen before. Many of these are easy Do It Yourself projects that can be done in an afternoon. I hope you find some ideas you can use or change up a bit to fit your style.

Simple Paper Hearts
Don't make it complicated. This simple heart banner allows the photo to show that it is Valentines Day quite easily and still leaves the focus on her cute smile and excitement. Simply cut out 5 or 6 hearts and attach them to a string. 

Bethany F Photography
This heart garland is simple to assemble and ends up dressing up a photo session quite well. Use the same colored paper on each strand or alternate every other one red/white or pink/white, or any color combination you are going for. These can then be strung as a garland or as separate pieces from the ceiling for a mobile effect.
Again simple hearts on string. Use different colors and hang them as a backdrop if you don't use them as a garland.
A vintage look; string hearts of differing sizes together. Or use a vintage stamp on weathered paper to create an old time feel. 
Not just red and white. Think outside the box. Hearts say Valentines even if they are not red and white. Try unique color combinations together the results might surprise you.
Choose your colors from paint swatches and make a mini heart banner for little ones to hold. Or make several and string them all together so one small one does not look "lonely" in the photos.
Newspaper or book paper hearts are classic and will let the child stand out especially if they have on brightly patterned clothing. The following garlands will blend with almost any clothing combination and allow your little stars to shine.

Shannon Rowe
Classic red heart and ribbon garland. Use large hearts with different patterned paper and a classic red ribbon. Use this garland as a back drop or have little ones hold it across them.

Felt Hearts
Felt hearts strung alone, or altogether will add that touch of Valentines to your photos. Easy felt hearts can be cut out and strung, sewed together and strung, or with a twist added to pinecones for a different look.

Hugs and Kisses XOXO
Valentines is all about hugs and kisses. Show some love with these XOXO banners. They can be purchased on or you can cut out felt shapes and make your own. Use a sewing mating to run a simple seam down the middle of xoxo's mixed with colored hearts.
Punch holes in the X's and O's and string them together or use a small dot of hot glue to attach them to a string.
Simple scrap book paper is cut out and then threaded through a ribbon for this simple banner. I love the colors, and that it does not have a pattern on it. If it would have had a valentine pattern it would have clashed with her shirt. As it is they compliment each other.

Love Birds
Different than your typical Valentines decor these love birds could be the perfect backdrop for Valentine photos. Available at Should you attempt to make your own find a template of a bird to cut and trace so all of your birds are the same size. Use a Sharpie marker for eyes and small buttons to attach the wing to the body. Twine would work better than ribbon for this project.

Puppy Love
This would be easy enough to make if you could purchase di cuts of the shapes. Cutting out each individual shaped dog would be a little too time consuming. Check your local craft store for available shapes. You may not find dogs but other shapes in paper or wood are bound to be available. If you prefer puppy love head over to to purchase this banner.

Warm Hands Warm Hearts
Small hearts to let you know it is Valentines placed on a mitten add childish charm. Trace mitten pattern on your choice of paper add a small red heart and string.

Do It With Doilies
Paper doilies can be purchased at Walmart and Target at this time of year. You can also purchase them in bulk online at sites like Oriental Trading Choose from a variety of colors and then string the doilies together.
Visit Family Fun Magazine for this doily idea. Shaped into x's and left for o's this garland is simple but would stand out on a colored backdrop.

Queen of Hearts
Visit the dollar store for a deck or two of playing cards. Add a few types of red ribbon and you have a unique Valentines banner you'll love. Assemble the cards on the floor as you'd like to see them first. Then punch two holes in the top of each card. Lace ribbon in and out and then add accent ribbons in between each card.
Whitney Prawl

Valentine Letter Banner
Create "valentines" envelopes that is out of different colored paper and hang on a ribbon. Little Valentines in the back of a photo would be oh so cute.

Word Banners
Be Mine, My Valentine, Love, XOXO, Happy Valentines Day. Find your favorite phrase and add it to a burlap banner. Cut the pieces yourself or purchase a blank one and add letters with paint stencils. This one can be purchased at

 Classic Triangle Banner
Fabric, felt, or paper will do. Find at least three different patterns cut out triangles and hang in a pattern.
Pretty Pipe Cleaners
Pipe cleaners in red, white, and pink bent into hearts and hooked together make a garland or wreath you can use in the background of your photo.

Tulle Colored Banner "Ballerina Skirts"
Small pieces of tulle hung on a ribbon resemble ballerina skirts. These would most likely work best for a girl session.

Valentine Tree
Though not a garland this old tree branch adorned with Valentine heart ornaments has a similar effect of a hanging garland. Try it out and place little ones beneath the branches. Make sure your "tree" is anchored well or you'll have to stop in the middle to fix it and the children may not be eager to get underneath it once it has fallen over on them.

Cupids Arrows
These could be turned into a garland either alone or with hearts added here and there. Simple twigs from your years or local park with bits of felt glued to the tops and bottoms make a version of Cupid's arrows that little ones won't mind holding.

There you have it my favorite garlands of the moment. I hope you can use them or use your ideas along with these to make something  uniquely yours for your Valentine photos. 

A few tips to remember when making photo props.

  • Try and keep the colors simple so as not to clash with clothing choices.
  • Make sure your props are finished at least a day in advance of when you plan to take pictures. You don't want drying glue or paint to be an issue.
  • Set up your backdrops before your children or clients are ready. Time is precious with little attention spans when they are ready you should be behind the camera not still setting up.
  • Look around your house for decor items to use in your session. it might surprise you what you already have on hand.
  • If you can let your clients know what type of decor you have available so they can dress their children accordingly.

Check back on Thursday for ideas on Valentine Photo Props, as well as Photo ideas for posing and other tips you might find useful this season. Good luck with garlands. I'd love to see your finished products!


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