While some parents find it absolutely adorable to keep the DOC Band Helmet a blank canvas, I knew I was going to have fun decorating it. We waited until his second appointment (3 weeks) to make sure that there would be no major changes. While I waited I recruited the help of my brilliant neighbor/graphic designer to help me think of some ideas.
I decided I didn’t want to go too ‘baby’. Our little guy is a bit on the rough side, and we wanted something that fit his personality. I remembered that his papa told me that he was nicknamed “Shine-a-saurus” in high school because of his size, and that gave me an idea. We would create a “Lucas-a-saurus” helmet. I also decided on black and white because I was afraid too many colors would be difficult to match with outfits. Yes, I know – I’m nuts. I was also afraid to paint the helmet because (a) what if I got sick of the color and (b) I’m not crafty and would mess it up.
A Shorter Route to Decorating your DOC Helmet
Before you read all this and think that you just don’t have the time, let me give you the quick option. Go to Michael’s or similar and find any rub-on transfers. They have amazing pre-fabricated designs that you can play with. One baby at Cranial Tech had these on his helmet and they looked amazing! It will save you A LOT OF WORK. I just didn’t find anything that I loved, and decided to go with a custom design. I would still recommend the mod podge final steps below if you go this way.
Not including the ink, I spent about $20 on the supplies. We bought all of our supplies at Pearl Art Center near the Cranial Technologies offices in Paramus so that I didn’t have to pay for shipping. These links are meant to show you the exact products we used. We used (1) Inkjet printer (2) Grafix Rub-onz Film & Adhesive Film print at home transfer paper (3) Scissors (4) Mod podge (4) Foam paint-brushes
Decorating the DOC Band Helmet:
1. Search Google Images for ideas. We searched for ‘cute dinosaurs’ and ‘cute dinosaur stickers’. Finally found images I wanted on a paid site, but had access through my designer friend. There are tons of free resources out there, including free coloring pages that you download, crop and save.
2. Download and save the images to your computer at the highest resolution possible (sometimes you don’t have a choice on the resolution, but most download in a very acceptable size). Recommend you create one folder to save all the pictures in. It will make it easier for printing later.
3. Open the pictures using Microsoft Office Picture Manager. I find this has the best printing options for me, but Picasa or similar programs may work for you.
***Make sure that you select ‘mirror’ printing in your print options so that letters and “humps” go in the direction that you planned out. I made that mistake – - cost me a sheet of the Grafix paper.***
***First print on plain paper, cut the images and plan your layout.***
4. Select the images that you want to print the same size. To get the size effect we got for the dinosaurs, print in “wallet size”.
5. Select the smaller sized images that you want to print. To get the size effect that we got for the dino prints, select “contact sheet”. You can select the number of times that you want the image to print. I printed 15 prints.
6. To print your baby’s name, find a font treatment that you like. Search for free fonts online. Download and install the fonts you like, and ‘write’ the name in MS Word (or similar). Print the name in different font sizes. Our “Lucas-a-saurus” was about a 14 point font.
7. Once you are ready to print on the Grafix paper, cut the images but NOT TOO CLOSE to the edge. Those are the instructions that come with the Grafix paper. I made that mistake and had to reprint a bunch of them. That was lost sheet #2!
8. Follow the instructions carefully for how transfering the images. Remember step 6! Don’t go to step 9 for at least two hours.
***warning: I am NOT crafty and it took me two dumb tried to get the transfer to work. If you haven’t done this before, test it on something else. I used ruined sheet #2 to test this process!
9. Once you are finished, lightly brush on the mod podge. It may look like it isn’t going to be clear, but it really does dry clear. I put the helmet in front of a fan, and let it dry for an hour. I repeated this process again the next day, and did two coats.
***I should do another coat. I can see that the mod podge is starting to wear down, but I plan to replace the design at some point for Halloween, so I’m not going to bother.***
CT would probably yell at me, but I did end up keeping the helmet off for more than an hour, probably closer to 2 1/2, the night I decorated it. I wanted to make sure everything was SUPER dry before Lucas got his little hands on it. Though none of these items are toxic, better safe than sorry. Besides, this was a lot of work.
So I hope this was helpful. Though I’m not crafty, I am pretty good with printing, cropping, etc. so if you need any help at all, follow the blog and leave me a comment. I will gladly help out a fellow “helmet head’!