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How to: Spell your name in sparklers!

You all know by now that I love sparklers, so they were obviously one of the first things I thought of when I decided to make a creative header for this site. I wanted my blog to stand out a bit, and what better way than with pyrotechnics and a little photo-shop magic?

It was fairly simple to create–it just takes a lot of patience (and probably even more on the part of the photographer…thanks, dad!), some sparklers, a camera with a long shutter speed, and a basic image editing software (I used GraphicConverter, but I’m sure almost anything would do the trick).

Step 1: picture taking

The picture taking process itself is fairly simple. However, you need to set up your camera so that the picture’s exposure is longer than normal. So, slower shutter speed. My dad kept the shutter on his camera open for 2 seconds. This allows the camera to capture the movement of the sparkler as you write each letter.

Some helpful tips for this step: 1. use a tripod! and 2. keep the rest of your body still. If you move anything besides your writing arm, it’s going to show up in the picture and make it look strange in the background. Also, if possible, try to stand in the same place for each picture. This part was hard for me because I had to keep running back and forth to get new sparklers.

Step 2: upload the pictures, then crop them

When you’ve taken pictures you’re happy with (sometimes it can take two or three takes, depending on the difficulty of the letter…I had a particularly hard time with “E”), upload them to your computer! When they’re all set, open each picture individually in your photo editor of choice. Next, crop your letters so they all have the same dimensions.

Tips for this step: 1. flip pictures if needed. For a lot of the letters I was creating, when I drew them out, they came out backwards in the picture. Don’t worry, this can easily be corrected in any photo program using the “mirror” or “horizontal flip” tool. 2. pick a reference point in your pictures. I picked a little speck on the wall I was standing in front of. If you always start your crop at the same point, it makes it easier for your pictures to come out uniform.

step 3: put it all together

After the pictures are all cropped, and you’ve got them down to what you think is a workable size, it’s time to layer them all onto the same picture. In the same photo editor you’ve been using, create a blank canvas with enough horizontal room to fit all the letters you want. Drag, drop, layer, splice…play around with it and eventually you should come up with something that looks like this:

Cool, huh?

It sounds like a lot of work, but really, it’s not that bad. I’d say that in total, it took me and my dad 45 minutes to shoot, upload, and piece together the finished product.

What do you think? Share something you’ve made in the comments!

xoxo, Karoline

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2 Comments

  1. A simple idea well executed, so now you’ve got a fun and unique header for your site!

    Got you a bit of exposure via tagsurfer too :)

    Reply
  2. First time to your site and the header blew me away. Seriously cool. Well done.

    Reply

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