DIY Styling Blocks
Alright friends, here’s another SUPER easy tutorial that will help all of you beginner photographers, stationers, or you DIY queens out there. As a calligrapher, I am constantly making new products and different iterations of my paper goods, so you bet I spend a ton of time photographing them. If you haven’t heard of styling blocks before, they’re small clear acrylic pieces used to elevate your paper products, so they stand out against your background for flat-lay photography. I used to use small objects laying around my desk, like tea-light candles or coasters, but truthfully, it’s so much easier to bite the bullet and use the styling blocks! Plus, they’re clear, so it makes photographing vellum or anything see-through so much easier!
My biggest hesitation with styling blocks (and probably yours too, if you’re reading this) was the cost. I couldn’t justify spending over $30 on teeny tiny little pieces of acrylic when I’m not even a photographer. (I just pretend occasionally.)
One day I got the idea to make my own out of resin and some silicone ice-cube trays and guys. WHAT A GAME CHANGER. I had some leftover resin on hand from a past project and I spent like $12 on silicone trays. Even if you do purchase resin and the silicone trays, you may spend the same amount as just buying styling blocks on Etsy, but in my mind, I would much rather make them myself and get to keep the tools for future projects and DIYs. (Plus, I made like 15 squares whereas you can get a pack of four for $30 on Etsy, so really you are totally winning if you make them yourself!)
This project is so simple you probably don’t even need instructions! Just pour your resin into your ice-cube trays and in eight-ten hours you’ve got yourself some new styling blocks! I made them during winter, so it was way too cold outside for the resin to dry properly. (Plus, I live in an apartment, so I don’t have a garage I can work in.) I braced myself for the chemical smell of the resin since I needed to do this DIY indoors, but truly didn’t even smell anything! Also, I only used like a quarter of the resin from the 8 oz. bottle I had.
As far as the silicone trays, I got the large one from Target, and the tiny square molds from Amazon. (The most economical option was a three pack, so I saved two for ice!) Totally check out The Dollar Tree and your local thrift shop to see if they might have anything first! (& save yourself some money!!) I hope this goes without saying, but after using the resin in the molds, don’t use the molds again for anything food related. I plan on making some name card holders out of concrete in the future, so you can totally save the molds for future projects! You also may want to use a heat gun to pop any air bubbles in the resin, but I didn’t have any when I poured mine. You can also just use a tooth pick if you don’t have a heat gun!
There you have it friends! I really hope you found this helpful because I am so stoked about this little trick. Also, I totally encourage you to shop around for the best deals, but if you do use any of the links provided, I do make a small commission, at no extra cost to you!
Happy crafting friends!