I was so excited about decorating Olivia's DOC band, but when the time came to actually make my first move I got really nervous. I didn't want to screw up an expensive medical device that took two weeks to be custom made for her. Needless to say I felt the pressure!
In the end I think it turned out really cute and I learned a lot in the process. When I was ready to start Olivia's band I began by doing a little research. I was surprised at the lack of detailed information out there. So hopefully this post will help other parents who want to save some money and decorate their own band too.
I knew I wanted her band to have an overall background color. So I decided to paint it pink. I found baby pink Apple Barrel Acrylic paint at Michael's. I bought two of these little pink containers at 99 cents each but ended up only using one. I also bought a bottle of purple paint to write her name with.
For the paint brushes I wanted something good quality but not too expensive. Basically, I didn't want the brush bristles coming off as I was painting. I got two packs of these Taklon brushes and they worked really well. One pack had flat tips and the second pack had pointed tips. They cost $4.99 for each pack.
I used the small flat brush on the left for painting on the background color. Then I used the skinny pointed brush to paint her name. Last I used the large flat brush to apply the sealer. In order to not jeopardize crucial band time, I decided to only work on Olivia's band during the one hour she has it off each day. I figured it would take about a week to finish.
On day one I started with the edge closest to the foam. I actually bought some painters masking tape and planned on taping off the foam. Good plan, but the tape didn't stick to the foam at all. Even if it had stuck, I realized that with the curvy edges of the band, the tape would have been really difficult to apply. So I had to free hand it. Luckily, it actually wasn't that hard at all! The raised lip of the foam provided a little edge to guide my brush and it ended up being pretty easy to keep a clean line. I recommend doing one side, letting it dry, then starting the other.
I quickly tackled the edges and worked my way in. I soon found that the tape did not stick to the Velcro strap either. So again I was left to free hand it around the strap. I took my time and went really slow. At one point my husband even helped by holding the strap back while I painted around it. I was very happy after the first coat of paint was finished. Once it dried it went back on Olivia's head and she was off to bed.
On day two I was horrified when Olivia woke up and her band looked like this! I knew there had to be a change of plan! A LOT of the paint had come off her band at night. Mostly on the back and side she sleeps on. I quickly realized that I was going to have to repaint it (with several coats), finish decorating it and seal it all in one day. This wasn't ideal because it meant that Olivia had to be out of her band all day. But that was the only way to get it done without having all my work come off while she slept at night!
So I started again by repainting her band over all the chip marks. I ended up putting on three coats of pink paint. In the research I did a lot of people applied a primer before the paint but I skipped that step and everything turned out fine. Then I went back to Michael's and bought this multi-purpose sealer made by Americana. It says right on the bottle that it will help paint stick to slick surfaces. I think it was $5.99 for this big bottle.
I also found these cute little flower stickers on the scrap booking isle. I hadn't originally planned on using stickers but it seemed easier than painting the flowers by hand. These stickers were perfect because they are small and they didn't have a white or clear plastic edging. The stickers came one page to each package and I bought two packages for $1.49 each. I ended up using most of them too!
When I got back home and the paint was dry, I started by applying the stickers to the back of her band. I learned the hard way that you CANNOT put the sticker down and pull it back up. It will pull the paint right up with it so place the stickers carefully! I wanted the pattern of flowers to seem whimsical so I placed them to look as though they were sort of scattered about.
Once the stickers were placed on the back and sides, I worked up the courage to write Olivia's name on the front. I chose not to use stickers for her name mainly because I couldn't find any letter stickers I liked. Also, I was worried that the spacing with the stickers would be difficult. I was so nervous about painting on her name I actually asked my husband to take our daughter out of the room so I could concentrate!
I practiced painting her name on paper about a gazillion times before actually writing it on her band. It doesn't look as perfect as stickers would, but I like the homemade look it has! I ended up going over her name with two coats of purple paint. Once her name was finished I then came to the front with the stickers and placed them around her name.
Finally, after the last sticker had been placed, I applied the sealer. I put on three coats of sealer allowing each coat to completely dry in between. Don't forget to put the sealer on those edges too! I actually forgot to do it and a little bit of the paint started to chip just at the edges. Luckily it wasn't too bad and I was able to touch it up the next day.
The sealer gave the whole band a nice gloss and made it look really finished! I was done with my last coat of sealer around 6:30pm on day two and since Olivia goes to bed at 7pm, we let her sleep without it for one night while it dried.
Overall I am very pleased with the way it turned out. It has now been three days since I finished her band and I think it's holding up really nicely so far. I did read that even with the sealer I may have to go back and touch up here and there. With how cute her band turned out it will be worth it!
I hope none of our future children need the DOC band but if they do I'm definitely one step ahead. I also hope this helps other parents who are unsure of painting their own band. It really is easier than it seems. I was very nervous about messing up but I'm glad I tried and love the way it turned out! Plus it only ended up costing about $25 for all the supplies!
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