how to make heart bokeh (or any shaped bokeh)

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Well, last week the DIY photo shoot and the heart bokeh was my So You Think You’re Crafty “love” entry. Even though it was my demise (SYTYC wise), I love the other competitors and their projects. And to be honest, I am a bit ‘competition-ed out.’ If you are considering doing back-to-back craft competitions, go into it (or both) with great gusto. They are so fun, but they require quite a bit of energy!

SYTYC demise aside, I am quite enamored with my newfound knowledge of how to make bokeh (that blurry part in the background of pictures) into different shapes. Don’t those shots make you want to make bokeh in every shape you can imagine? Let me show you how!

First, gather a piece of black cardstock. Trace a lens cap on the black paper. Trace your shape in the middle.

Cut out a large circle around the your traced circle. Also cut out the middle shape.

Cut slits from the perimeter, matching up to the traced lens cap. Fold the slivered ‘rays’ up to the traced line.

Tape in place. Fit onto the lens (it should be a snug fit, not letting in any light except from the shape cutout).

Hang lights in the background.

Using a low aperature (and placing your subject close to you), take your pictures. The lights in the background will take the bokeh-y shape of your cutout.

Fun, right? Can’t you imagine little starbursts for the 4th of July or leaves for fall or even trees for Christmas?


ps- Don’t forget to enter the How To Slipcover DVD giveaway– it ends tonight!


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  1. I really like this technique. I am trying to soak up all information on photos as I bought a new Nikon and am a beginner. I’m still learning how to adjust aperture … but still usually use the Auto setting. Hoping to take a class at the JC soon. Thanks for the tip….I bookmarked it for future reference.

      1. For a beginner on the Nikon turn it to A (aperture priority), then turn your wheel by your right thumb to the right and you should see the aperture number go lower ( You might have to push the split looking button just up and to the right of the shutter. If you just have the basic 18-55mm lens it may only go to 5.6 which won’t really allow for much bokeh). Your camera will select the proper ISO and shutter speed. If you have questions e-mail me

    1. Thanks Kristin! Is it awful to say that I’m a little relieved? ๐Ÿ™‚
      Then again, I do keep looking at all the fabulous competitions popping up and thinking, “Hmmmmm….” ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I think the heart bokeh was not only totally cute but totally educational! I didn’t even know what those blurry parts were called nor did I have any idea how people made them. Loved it! Sorry you’re out of SYTYC…I think you totally rocked it in back to back competitions!

    I love the story of Leah and Rachael in that Jesus Storybook Bible too…I was reading it to the kids the other night and started to get a little choked up! Thanks for reading my blog…is it weird to say that? I’m always surprised when someone says they’ve read it! Ha! I love Kojo Designs…it is seriously my favorite blog! I love being inspired by all you guys do!


    1. Meghan-
      Such a sweet comment- THANK YOU! Isn’t it funny, the glimpse you get of someone else’s life, through their blog??? Thanks for reading our blog too!!! I love this way to be connected. ๐Ÿ™‚
      And thanks for the sweet words about SYTYC. It is definitely a bit of a relief to be done. Wow do those take a lot of work! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. If you can adjust your aperature on your digital camera (it’s usually marked “A”), set it as low as it will go (mine was at 1.8) and try it. Would you let me know if it works???

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