Decorating Olivia’s DOC band – my tricks and tips

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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  1. 3


    Nicole, this is terrific! My niece wore one of these and it would have been wonderful to have it decorated so sweetly. You did a great job and I’m glad you were able to seal it and keep everything intact. Lucky Olivia!

  2. 8


    Your girl is adorable!! my 4 month old baby is getting a DOC band next week… I am so nervous… I am not sure how he will react. How is your little girl doing now? I have heard that the first few days are hard while they adjust… can you tell me your experience? Thanks

    • 9


      Hi there – I just saw your comment and realized that I had not responded. I am so sorry! First of all, thank you for your visiting my blog! Olivia has had her band for over a month now and is doing really well. I can already see that her head is more rounded than when we started. She adjusted really easily to the band. She had no problems sleeping and really didn’t seem to mind it all. Even now she doesn’t fuss when we put it back on after cleaning it. She is a pretty easy going kid to begin with so I’m sure that helps. I know not all kids are the same and I have heard other stories of kids who take a little time to adjust. Good luck with your little one and feel free to come back with any other questions! I am happy to discuss! :)

  3. 10


    Thank you for the tips we are getting a DOC band soon for our 5 month old “fuss pot” soon and I want to paint it. My question to you is:
    Do the stickers stay with the sealer and do you go over it with sealer once in a while

  4. 12


    THANK YOU!!! This post has been beyond helpful. My baby gets her Doc Band tomorrow and I was getting really worried about how to paint her band. I called a wrap shop and they wanted $125. No way I could afford that! I was starting to feel bad, I mean literally sick to my stomach about not knowing how to paint her band. I stumbled across your post and now all is well with the world.

    • 13


      Hi Nicole – I am so glad this post helped! That was my main intention in writing it. Good luck with your little girl! Olivia is at the half way point right now. She is doing well with it but I am ready for it to come off!

  5. 19


    Hello, Nicole….I too wanted to thank you for posting these step by step instructions. Super handy, I’ve been looking for ways to pain my Daughters doc band and haven’t really found the help needed. Today is my daughters 3D measurements and also my other Daughter and Sons initial measurements. I have triplets…not sure if all three kitties will have the Doc band but for now, we know for certain baby A needs it. I was thinking of purchasing the paint from amazon since having three babies its been supper hard for me to ever go to the store, but I will definitely go to Michaels because of the price. At amazon its way more expensive almost 7.00 bucks and I found a man online who paints them for about $125.00-$475.00 depending on the hours it takes him to get the job done, hes super artistic very nice designs but way to expensive for me, especially with triplets as it is we have to pay for the Doc band our insurance does not cover it unless we meet our deductible which is very high. Anyways thanks once more for the detailed information, very much needed it.

    • 20


      Thanks so much for stopping by my blog Violeta! I’m glad you found it helpful! Good luck with your three little ones! I know how difficult a trip to Michael’s can be with just one, so I honestly can’t even imagine three. LOL! I have started ordering a lot more online since I had Olivia too, but $7 bucks! Ouch! I think the paint is less than $3 at Michael’s so it will be worth the trip. Again, good luck to you and your family!!! :)

  6. 21


    Oh my goodness, I LOVE this! I stumbled upon your blog while researching DOC bands and will definitely save this for later. We just had our consult today, and our daughter is a candidate for the band. Now we just decide if we should do it. I’m fairly certain we will, as it seems that the pros greatly outweighs the cons, but it’s still a big deal (to me, at least)!

    Anyway, great job painting your little girl’s band! Super cute and I am certainly inspired!

    • 22


      Sierra, thanks so much for stopping by! We are definitely glad that we went through with the treatment. Olivia is almost 2 now and those few months that she wore the band went by so fast, it almost seems like a blur now. Good luck with your daughter’s treatment. It was a tough decision for us at first too, but we have no regrets. Best wishes to you and your family!

  7. 23


    Thank you for this! Your daughter is so adorable and her band looks great!!! We had our detailed 3D scan today and I am like you in that I don’t want to screw it up (being that these are not cheap)! I thought I’d use the next couple of weeks while it’s being fabricated to research how I will decorate our little guy’s band and your post will be extremely helpful! Now just to finalize the design….

    • 24


      Ahh!! I am just now reading your comment. lol! Thanks so much and good luck to you! I’m glad you found the post helpful and I hope all is well with your little one! :)

  8. 25


    Thx Nicole, there is actually very little info on how or where to decorate the doc band, fortunately I came across your blog. I went to Michaels today and got all the supplies, Im nervous but ready to decorate my Bella’s band. Feeling the pressure! But thx again for the detailed info. I’ll let you how it went…

  9. 27

    marilu says

    I saw your post and give ideas. My son is going to get his in 6weeks for 4 to 6 months. I dont want people to see him weird. But if i decorated his helmet would help me to see thing differently. My son like to be everywhere im afraid the paint would come off.

    • 28

      Nicole says

      Hi there! Good luck with your Son’s DOC band. I’m sure he is going to look absolutely adorable no matter how you decorate it! If you use my technique beware that the paint does tend to chip off over time. I did a few paint touch ups while my daughter was wearing hers because she was in the crawling stage and all over the place. Good luck and have fun! :)

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