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So your baby just got a DOC band for her plagiocephaly. Instead of having your baby wear a plain old helmet, why not have some fun and decorate it!
I used decoupage technique to paste pictures and stickers onto the DOC band and seal with mod podge. The man of the house is a die-hard Batman fan so not surprisingly our son is getting a bat-band. You can, of course, use any pictures and stickers to your liking 🙂
Before you start
The entire decoration process from first cleaning the helmet to finally waiting for it to dry took about 3 hours for me ( I’m a beginner decoupager so it took me longer than expected). Since the helmet is usually worn for extended period of time, please get clearance from your baby’s clinician on how long the DOC band can be removed. In Chunbao’s case, he wears the helmet for 23 hours a day. However, we got clearance from the clinician that it’s ok to have it removed for about 3 hours for me to decorate it.
Alternatively, you can work on the helmet on separate days. For example, apply base coat and let dry on day 1, apply sticker and seal on the second day, and so forth. This way, your baby will get the full wear length.
Things you’ll need
- Mod Podge (gloss finish)
- Acrylic paint
- 2″ Sponge brush
- xacto knife
- printer and paper, stickers, fabric, napkins… anything you can cut pictures out of
Alright. Let’s get started!
How to decorate DOC band
- Find images online and print them out. You can also use fabric, wallpaper, magazine, basically anything that is thin and can be cut out of. I sort of eyeballed how big I want the image to fit on the helmet and resize them before printing them out.
- Use stickers for letters. Sticker letters are widely available and come in wide varieties. It’s less time consuming and looks neater than cutting letters out of paper. I used these sticker letters for my son’s name.
- Cut the images. I used xacto knife for most of my DIY projects. Here, I was able to precisely cut out Batman!
- Phew~ my eyes almost crossed after cutting Batman and Gotham City out ?
- This is an optional step. You may choose to apply the images directly onto the clean band. Or, apply acrylic paint as the background color. Carefully to not paint on the foam parts of the helmet.
- To avoid brush strokes, I added a small amount of water to the paint to let it travel more evenly when drying. Also, I found using sponge brush causes fewer brush strokes than the traditional flat brush.
- Some of you may wonder will sanding the helmet make the paint stick better? It is advised to NOT sand the helmet before you start painting. I’ve confirmed with the clinician that sanding may distort the helmet regardless how fine the grit of the sandpaper is.
- After the paint is dry (about 15 minutes), carefully apply images onto the band with mod podge. I brushed mod podge on the back of the images and placed it on the helmet. To contour images on curved areas, use xacto knife or a pair of craft scissors to cut the edges of the image. Apply gently pressure using your fingers to make sure images stick.
- Trim excessive material with xacto knife.
- Here, I also painted the strap. Gotham City is coming together!
- Put on letter stickers.
- Notice I layered the black letters on top of yellow letter sticker. If you can’t find the right color combination, you can layer letter stickers too!
- Then, used the sponge brush and apply mod podge all over. Carefully to not paint on the foam parts of the DOC band. If you have an old jar of mod podge, I advise putting a bit of water to thin it out. This will reduce brush strokes when dry.
- Final step – let dry! Since I only applied 1 thin coat of mod podge, I let the helmet dry for about 1.5 hours.
Have fun DIY your baby’s DOC band! Let me know how yours turn out 🙂