When it comes to newborn, and baby photography, the props are endless.  It’s easy to get addicted to prop buying, and if you are a newborn photographer, you WANT THEM ALL!!! Problem is, they can be very expensive, even for the basic necessity props.  If you are just starting out, it’s often overwhelming, and its hard to keep up and build a stockpile.  I’m still fairly new to newborn photography, and am on a tight household budget as is.  I simply don’t have the money I wish I had to drop on props. While I am certainly not a DIY expert, I consider myself somewhat crafty, and inventive, so I decided to make what I could, and it has saved me quite a bit of money.  It takes patience, and sometimes a little trial and error.  Today, I am showing how I make soft fringe burlap layering pieces for a newborn session.  I’m no expert, and there may be other ways of doing this, but this is how I do it.

You can buy burlap at almost any fabric store or craft store with a fabric department. It’s very inexpensive, usually somewhere around $3-4/yard.  I like going to Joann’s fabrics and using my 40% off coupon which makes it really cheap.   There are usually several colors to choose from, and even patterned burlap.  I usually buy a yard, so I can make more than one piece.  You will notice burlap is scratchy and stiff.  Not something you would want to put a newborn baby on, but that’s ok, we are going to make it softer!  Here’s how we do it…

First, cut off any factory edges.  You want to be able to pull the strands out.  Once you have raw edges, decide what size you want your piece.  You now want to make a straight cut, to make pulling the strands easier.  The best way to do that is  to remove one strand, and cut between it like this:

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Once you have your piece cut to size, you simply start pulling off strands from all 4 edges to start making the fringe.  However much fringe you want is up to you.  Start pulling!!!

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Once you have made your fringe you will have something that looks like this:

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Looks pretty good now, and for a basket filler, would work just fine like this.  You could call this done if you want, but I want that soft fluffy look.  To do that, it needs to go in the washer.  I must warn you before you do this that this part is messy!  It will make a mess in your washer.  I would suggest putting the burlap in a delicates bag to keep the mess contained.  Or you could even hand agitate (although I have not ever tried that)  I set my cycle to delicate, in cold water.  I do not add any soap.  Once the cycle is done, pull out your piece.  You will probably have a big ball or two of fibers hanging off your piece.  That’s normal.  You will now need to sort of clean your piece by pulling off  anything loose.  You may even need to remove a few more strands.  Now, take it outside, and shake it out.  Shake, shake shake, and when you think you are done, shake some more until the loose fibers are pretty much out  After you get it cleaned up, Lay it out flat to dry.  It’s looking and feeling much softer now.  I did a pink and white one.

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Once it is dry, shake it out again, to get any remaining loose fibers.  (I promise, they will come out)  And Voila!  Here you have soft fringe burlap layering pieces for your newborn and baby photography.

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