It all started with a Circus Birthday Party. That led to pinterest and this picture.
I IMMEDIATELY fell in love and texted Val. You know Val of Valerie Cannon Photography. Her response was:
I knew then that this was going to be epic. I am not sure that anything my mommy tribe sets our minds to is any different. So I broke out the hot glue gun and started hunting down the basic ingredients for any circus.
What is the first thing that any good circus needs? A Ringmaster of Course!
- Ringmaster Coat – $30 with upgrades
- Black Leggings – $3 on sale
- Black Rain Boots – $3 at a thrift shop
I started cruising the websites looking for a ringmaster costume. I found a great template to make my own ringmaster coat out of a sweatshirt on Parent.com. I did do a little upgrading to it while I was at the craft store stocking up on supplies, so it did increase my costs a bit, but still reasonable considering I bought a sweatshirt 1 size too big, and I am having a hard time keeping it off of him.
The pants were super easy to find, on sale even at The Gap. I think I paid 3 bucks for them in the girls section during a 30% off.
The boots on the other hand proved a bit more difficult. I easily found the rain boots on Amazon, but the $20 price tag for a 1 time use item seemed a little steep. So I took to area thrift stores, BST groups, even Craigslist and eBay. Here is what I found, Camo Rain boots for $3 bucks no less! I turned to the Cosplay websites, and found that spray paint for plastic would work well. It just so happened we already and a can!!! Here were my results!
What is the second thing any good circus needs? A TENT
Val found a CUTE Circus Tent at Ikea, and for $20 it was well worth it. The only hitch, Ikea is almost 2 hours away from me in either direction. So of course I put a tracker out in my mommy groups. “Next person to go needs to pick one up for me. I’ll send PayPal immediately, just get me one please.” 2 weeks later a one of my fellow chapter leaders grabbed one for me while she was up there for her own house.
Any ringmaster needs a stand, right?
Taking inspiration from the original photo we set out to the craft store. Trying to keep it similar but different, we opted for only 2 colors.
- 1 can of Satin Krylon $7
- 1 bottle of acrylic paint $1.29
- 1 pkg of sponge brushes $1
- I already owned a #2 wash tub
It took several times to get the Harlequin Diamonds right. Tape didn’t work and I finally had to print off some templates, trace them out on the wash tub. For a total cost of $10 plus the unknown cost of the washtub.
Val asked for some wooden crates. We got these from Sam’s Club for free. They are wine boxes, you just have to ask for the empty ones. We have actually been getting these for years and use them EVERYwhere. They work really well on garage shelves and other long term storage places.
Every circus has cotton candy, but we don’t eat stuff like that. My sister and I got 3 small rolls of Toile from the craft store. We took small sections of news paper and rolled them in a cone. Then spun the toile around the cones until we got our “cotton” candy.
- 3 Rolls Toile – $3 each
- Newspaper – Recycled
The week before the shoot we decided that we definitely needed a strong man act. Pinterest showed us some really stupid looking paper cut outs. We knew we could do better than that.
- 1 Pool Noodle – $2
- 1 Pkg of Balloons -$2
- 1 Vinyl Table Cloth -$2
- Twine – Shed Find
- 1 Clothes Pin – Craft Room Find
- Serrated Knife – Kitchen Find
- Hot Glue Gun – Craft Room Find
- Scissors – Kitchen Find
I took the pool noodle and folded it in half. In the crook I used a steak knife and cut the noodle in half. When I unpackaged the vinyl table cloth I unfolded it once. It was still folded in half length ways. It just so happened that my length of pool noodle was the exact length of the first major fold width ways. I cut the table cloth to match, and ran a bead of hot glue down the noodle. I attached the noodle one end of the table cloth and rolled it up, closing the wrap with another few dots of hot glue.
The trick to the dumbbell is getting the same sized balloons. I did not notice this until after everything was assembled, and at that point I did not care enough to fix it. Once the balloon situation is fixed, Take a piece of twine about 6”-8” longer than your noodle. I knotted the twine around the bottom of the one balloon and clipped the clothes pin to the other side, dropping it through the pool noodle. Once on the other side I got my husband to pull the twine tight, the extra hands really helped, while I knotted the other side. I tucked whatever extra twine I had down the middle of the noodle. The balloons kept each other taut and looked amazing.
Val gave me the location the night before, only downside was being there at 830. The light was PERFECT though, and turns out it was 95 by 10AM. So in hindsight I am glad we sacrificed sleep for these beautiful images.
The End Result
Val Cannon is my friend and my go to photographer. I LOVE her work and her vision. You can see more work from Valerie Cannon Photography – The Mommy Photographer at valeriecannonphotography.com