Making a "blurry lines" background for doll photography. An experiment.

Hi there! How is your summer going so far?
While I was working on one of my previous posts, I had a Twitter conversation with Fashion Doll Stylist in which she gave me some great ideas for doll photography. While we were "talking" I got a few ideas for patterns and motives that could be used for backgrounds, but since my previous post was already too long, I decided to keep some of them for future posts.

I came across this idea of doing a blurry background/ blurry lines when I started taking photos of my dolls with my phone. A couple of months back I got a new phone that has a portrait mode that difuses the background much easier than my camera does.  In fact, some of the pics in my latest post have been taken with my phone. So, I thought it would be a nice idea to have some sort of blurry/ undefined background for taking doll pics. I also wanted to do something quite easy for anyone to do and with supplies that anyone can easily find. So, I took my craft supplies and decided to do a little experiment. I have no plan, I have no idea of how it's going to end, it was just pure impulse to do something. Spoiler alert: it didn't turn out exactly as I expected it to turn, but hey, I learned something in the process. Let's start with my little experiment.

At first, I thought on painting a big cardstock sheet, but for a first time project it may be a little bit too big. Also, an A4 size sheet may be too small and not bigger than a cereal box, Luckily, a few weeks ago I found out that my regular stationary store now brings the carstock sheets that I use in A3 size, which is easier to work with. I bought two, one in black and one in white. For today's craft I'm going to use the white one. I also decided to use two acrylic colors: Folk Art in Light Periwinkle and Americana Acrylic in Sea Breeze.

I decided to place my sheet in vertical position because that's how I place most of my backgrounds and I thought it would look better. Then I measured and marked the center of my sheet.

Since I wanted to do 3 stripes, I decided to make each of them 7 cm (2.75 inches) wide.  I started marking the middle one, making sure the center of the stripe is on the center of the sheet. In other words, starting from where I marked the center, I measure 3.5cm upwards and 3,5cm down. From there, I mark the top stripe measuring 7 cm up, and the bottom stripe measuring 7cm down. I didn't draw a full line, I just marked the points so I could have a guide. Since this is a blurry background, it doesn't need to be perfect, but I just want it to be quite symetrical.

Now is time to start painting the lines. I start with my seafoam color on my top line. You don't need to paint with perfect strokes, just make sure your brush is a little bit dry when you reach the edges.

I ended up with something like this. Again, it doesn't need to be perfect, as "blurry" is the keyword here.

Next, I painted the bottom stripe using my periwinkle color. Again, you don't need to give perfect strokes. You can paint the inner part first and then use the "dry brush" technique to paint the edges if it's easier for you.

My initial idea was to mix both colors and paint the middle stripe with whatever color came out of there and have some sort of "gradient" of color. However, you never know how some factory colors are going to react when you mix them. They may have a pigment on the formula that is not very noticeable, but that reacts weird with other colors. Let's see what happens. 

The color didn't turn out as I expected, so I ended up adding a little bit of an acrylic color from the brand Amsterdam and it started looking closer to what I wanted. 

I painted the center stripe with that color using, again, the dry brush technique on the edges. If you feel like the center color has taken over the other two, you can always take a little bit more of those and retouch the edges. 

And this is the final result. I know, it's not a masterpiece and it looks a little bit wonky, but I hope it looks fine on camera.

Once it dried down, I brought Lorna McNessie for a quick photoshoot. 

I think this color scheme will suit Generation Girls Lara. I rescued her from my parents' house a couple of years ago and I haven't really showed her here. Now it's her time to shine. 

I thought it would be a good idea to place the sheet in horizontal position, to see how it looks. It turns out that I like it better that way. 

Overall, I'm quite happy with the result, despite I made a few mistakes and it didn't turn out exaclty as I had in mind. I expected the colors to look more pastel, but they dried down darker than I expected. Also, I originally wanted to make some sort of watercolor effect, but I was affraid that the cardstock would end up curling if I thined the colors too much. It did curl a little bit, but it went back to place once the colors dried down. Anyway, I think it looks nice on camera. I may do a similar one in the future, but using warm tone colors, only that next time I'm going to test my colors first. 

Also, I found a cardstock sheet with a print on it on the tiny stationary store in my town. It has a tiny diamond print on one side that looks very subtle on camera

On the other side, it has this 70s looking print. For some reason, it reminds me of bathroom tiles. 

It's quite a big sheet. For reference, here's a "behind the scenes" pic.

It's from a brand called Maildor that I've just seen that's also avaliable on Amazon. Here are the details in case you want to look for this:

I hope you guys enjoyed this post. It has taken me ages to write it. I took all the photos and then I got super busy and didn't have time to write the post. Then, when I finally got some time, I wasn't feeling very inspired to write. I'd love to be able to write a couple more posts before summer ends, but I'm a little bit busy and I don't know if I'll find the time or the energy. It's not that I don't have ideas for future posts, but seing how busy I'm already getting, I don't think I will have enough time, which makes me feel a little bit overwhelmed and less excited about writing. Does it ever happen to you? 

I would like to end this post on a positive note by giving a shout out to my dolly-friend Dom. She was one of the very first doll collectors I "met" when I started collecting and she was so lovely. She's an OG collector and, on her website, you can see her incredible dioramas. You can also show her some love on her Facebook page, My Doll Space

I hope you're having an amazing summer and I'll see you on my next post. Take care.


PS: I recently got my grades and they were pretty good. We'll see how the next semester goes. 

Similar posts:
Quick and easy background ideas for doll photography
Making more backgrounds for doll photography


  1. Loving the new blog theme there.... and I'm so in love with those paint colors you chose - I live in a tropical country so these colors are pretty much what I see every day ;)

    1. Hi Shasha! You're the first one that has given me feedback on the theme. I wasn't fully convinced at first, but this looks nicer than my old one. I may customize it later on. My partner said the background looked "very summer themed". I live in a small mediterranean town, so I see those colors too.
      Thanks for your lovely comment.

  2. I think you did a great job! Making your own backdrops for photos shoots sounds fun and I like the idea of using different cardstock designs. Thanks for the idea!! :) I'm glad to hear your semester went well. I hope you enjoy your summer off!

    1. Hi Farrah! I love crafting and painting, as it puts me in a good head space, but I just don't have the time for big projects, so I'm trying to do simple and small projects. I'm glad you liked my idea. Please, let me know if you ever make your own version of this project.
      Hope you enjoy your summer too!

  3. Hi MC!
    These ideas are simple and easy for anyone to do, which is really great! I'm with you on the vertical use of the background, it looks really great behind that doll. Perhaps if you had made your stripes wider, so you didn't see the white, it would have looked as good vertical too.

    I am pleased to read you did well with your studies and hope next semester you do as well.

    Excellent post and worth reading. :)

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Xanadu!
      Since this was an experiment, I wasn't quite sure what it would look like. I wanted the white part to be visible, since I thought the colors would look lighter. I was thinking that next time I should make my lines wider too. Lesson learned.
      Take care.

    2. You did realise that the last vertcal was meant to be horizontal then? My fingers often go off on a tangent of their own, especially in the morning when my brain isn't in gear. :)

    3. No, I wanted something that I could flip and it would give a different effect. I expected it to look more pastel, but I'm quite happy with the result, considering this was an experiment and I had no plan. It also depends on how far the doll is from the background. I will do it in a different way next time, so I can see which technic is better.

  4. Great post! I do not know if my newest cell phone has that blurry thing - have not checked. But there is always other ways to go and your tips and tricks are really great. Painting like that you can make many different styles and even use them in different ways - flip and turn any way. :) Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi DollsDolour! In my phone it's called "portrait mode", it's a Motorola.
      I wanted to do something that you could turn and would give a different effect. It's also quite easy and inexpensive, so anyone could do it.
      Thanks for stopping by.


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