DIY Photo Prop: Newborn Basket Filler AKA “Fluff”

For today’s DIY photo prop I thought I’d teach you how to make newborn “fluff” – the beautifully colored material used to fill baskets and buckets in newborn photography. It’s actually very easy to make it yourself and you can save a ton of money simply by investing a little bit of time and effort into creating your own.

Newborn “fluff” sells on Etsy for $15-$20. You can make yours for the cost of a skein of yarn from the craft store and a little patience!

I purchased five skeins of yarn when they were on sale for less than $4 each and got enough from each of them to easily fill a newborn basket. I chose five different colors of variegated yard which gives your finished fluff a variety of colors and adds some depth to your photos. I chose four skeins of Lion brand Homespun Thick & Quick yarn and one skein of Baby Bee Angel Fleece.

Start by choosing a skein and cut a piece of yarn roughly 12-18 inches in length. Any longer than that and it becomes difficult to work with. For this example, I chose to use Homespun in Mimosa which is a pink/purple/blue variegated yarn.

You’re going to notice after you cut the yarn that there’s a thin thread, in this case it’s dark pink (you can see it in the example above on the right). You’re going to take a hold of this piece of thread and pull the string of yarn thru your fingers. It should look like this:

The yarn will bunch up nicely in the palm of your hand and the string should pull out easily. Now, we’re going to repeat this same thing, only this time with the thicker white thread that also runs thru the yarn (most skeins have a thinner and thicker thread and almost always two total). See below for what the thicker white thread looks like.

Repeat the same process as above, holding the string and pulling the yarn thru the your fingers. Discard both strands of string (and if you have a cat, throw them out so he doesn’t try to eat them!). You’ll now be left with the “fluff” part of the yarn.

Now, we’re going to take these strands of yarn and pull them apart gently with your fingers. It should look something like this:

Keep pulling this apart, over and over, until it becomes wispy and “fluffy.” The finished product should look like this:

The fluff is on the left and the discarded strings on the right. Repeat this process – over and over – for the remainder of the skein of yarn. This takes quite a while but it’s something that can easily be done while watching TV. It’s repetitive, but kind of meditative at the same time. I found I enjoyed it! I also enlisted the help of my 8-year-old daughter who had great fun helping me make this batch.

Here’s what a big bunch of the finished “fluff” looks like:

See all the lovely different colors mixed in there? I love how this looks and it makes the perfect newborn basket filler. When you finish your skein of yarn, pull all of the fluff together to blend the colors. I purchased some 9×12-inch organza bags off eBay ($9 for 10 bags) to store my finished fluff in on the shelf in the studio.

What DIY photo props have you made? Drop me a comment and share your talents with me – I’m always looking for more inspiration!



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6 Comments

  • Vicki @ Babies to Bookworms

    Oh I wish I had seen this when my daughter was a newborn! This would have been great for newborn pictures!

    • Jen

      Thank you – it’s such a fun, almost meditative craft to do!

  • Meg

    What a great, simple tutorial. Beautiful!

  • roxy

    What a simple idea for a beautiful photo!

  • Kerry

    What a great idea! I love anything that saves me money too. I love the colors you choose.

    • Jen

      Thank you – I love doing this because it’s almost meditative, pulling the yarn apart over and over, and you have something really cool to show for your work!

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