Monday, January 28, 2013

Cheer Bear Photo Prop

I started doing photo props for birthday parties two years ago when we first started having little friends for guests. It works triple-duty as party decor, as a party activity, and as a cool souvenir to include in the thank-you cards. Plus, following the party, these end up as bedroom decor, so they definitely serve their purpose and make it worth the time invested in making them. Two years ago, it was a stand-up Ariel that I ordered online and painted. Then, last year, it was a bit less work for me because I got enlarged color copies of Fancy Nancy and did my own version of home "laminating." This year, however, Mia chose the theme of Care Bears, which I couldn't find anything for anywhere I looked, and I tried many stores: Dollar Tree, Michael's, Jo-Ann, Target, Wal-mart, Meijer... The only place I saw any Care Bear items was online, and since I wasn't interested in ordering anything, I realized I would have to make it myself. Here's how I did it.

  • good sized cardboard box
  • scissors/X-acto knife
  • Care Bears image for inspiration
  • pencil
  • black Sharpie marker
  • acrylic paint (I used white, hot pink, fuchsia, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple)
  • paint brushes
  • plate/tray to hold paint
  • ruler
  • about 50 cotton balls (optional)
  • Aleene's Tacky Glue or white glue (if using cotton balls)
  • turquoise plastic table cloth (optional for photo back drop)
  1. I cut the side off of a good sized corrugated cardboard box. I re-used one that had been used for shipping Christmas presents to our house.
  2. Then, I found the image I wanted to use. My picture was from a coloring book that Uncle Ryan sent Mia as a birthday present.
  3. Next, I drew the Care Bear onto the cardboard using a pencil. My Cheer Bear is about 25" tall and 17" across at the widest point.
  4. After that, I cut out Cheer Bear. I used mostly scissors for this, but switched to my X-acto knife for tight corners and curves.
  5. Then, I gathered my paints, brushes, and a palette. (Okay, my "palette" was a plastic take out lid that I am re-using. It washes cleaner than the Styrofoam trays that I frequently use for painting, and since I switched colors often, this was helpful.) To get the pale pink of Cheer Bear's fur, I made an approximately 50/50 blend of white and hot pink paint. Of course, her belly, eyes, and snout are white. The rainbow is pretty self-explanatory: red, orange, yellow, green, and blue. I don't know why there is no purple, but that's her belly badge. Accents include the red heart tush tag and hot pink heart nose, freckles, eyes, and eye brows. One lollipop is painted fuchsia and purple mixed with white. The other is painted purple and hot pink mixed with blue. The sticks are white. Apply as many coats of paint as desired for the coverage you want, and allow all paint to dry completely.
  6. After the paint was dry, outlined it with a black Sharpie marker. This made it look more finished.
  7. To make the Care Bear stand up, I took another side of the box (this time a thinner side) and folded it in half so I had two equal size pieces. I used a pencil and a ruler to find the center of one, then I made it into a semi-circle shape. I cut it out, traced it onto the other piece of cardboard, and then cut it out. My semi-circles are about 12" wide at the base and about 5" tall at the center.
  8. I painted both of the semi-circles white, let the paint dry, and then flipped them over and painted the other sides white as well.
  9. Next, I used my scissors to make a small wedge-shaped notch (the smaller point faces the straight edge of the semi-circle, which is the base) into each of the cardboard semi-circle. At the widest, they are about 1/4".
  10. I took another thinner side of the box, drew a cloud shape onto it, and cut it out. Again, I painted it white, but only on one side.
  11. I fluffed out some cotton balls by pulling them apart with my thumbs and forefingers and then I glued them onto the cloud shape and both of the semi-circles (one side only) using Aleene's Tacky Glue. This added a lot of dimension and made it more cloud-like.
  12. To set up the photo prop, I slid Cheer Bear onto the two wedges of the semi-circle shapes so that the fluffy sides faced out. After that, I just propped the fluffy cloud against the front. I took a bit of extra cotton ball and glued it to the tops of the semi-circles that were showing a bit just to make it more cohesive. I set Cheer Bear in front of a turquoise plastic table cloth (97 cents at Wal-mart) that I had doubled over and taped to our fake fireplace. As the guests arrived, I took their photos next to Cheer Bear, and I once I get them printed, I will include them in the thank-you cards.


  1. I must say you did had awesome job with all the decorations!! My daughter is turning 1 in August and we are having her party at a park. The theme is Care Bears.
    I dont have much time to do alot of the decor by hand so I was just wondering if you are willing to sell any of this stuff? esp. the cheer bear prop?
    Would be very helpful to me

    Thank you,

    1. Hi, Nida, thanks for stopping by! The prop has been living in my daughter's bedroom for a few months now, so it's not really in "mint" condition any longer. I wouldn't be able to determine a price, anyway, so I can't imagine trying to sell it. The shipping would be a bear, too! Thanks for the compliment, though. It makes my day!