Mango Circle Backdrop for WDS and A Lesson is Staying Calm

Posted on Jul 13, 2012


Photo by Tammy Stroebel


A couple of months ago, I was asked if I wanted to help with 2 photo booths for last weekend’s the World Domination Summit.  I immediately said ‘yes’, but almost just as immediately I thought ‘eek, what am I getting myself into?’.  I took a deep breath and knew it would all work out.  My good friend Jen (in the middle of this picture, I’m on the right) had this crazy idea to create a backdrop made out of felt circles.




She created this grid of what it would look like.  OK, that’s a lot of dots.  I counted all of those dots to figure out how many circles I would need to cut.  It turned out to be over 5,000 circles.  Gulp!  I had cut up the 6 yards of felt we had bought and only had about 3,000 circles.




To make the circles, I cut the yards of felt down into 1.5 inch strips. Then I cut the strips down into 1.5 squares.  With a T-square and a rotary cutter, this whole process went pretty fast.




After I had my squares, I cut 3 of them at a time with my Sizzix Big Kick to create circles.  I spent at least 15 hours cutting 3,000 circles. Here was another point of the project where I just didn’t know how this project was going to turn out – if it would at all.  But I just kept telling myself that I was going to be zen about the whole thing and that it would work out.




I packed up my circles and headed to Jen’s house.  She is an expert with the sewing machine and I was so grateful that I didn’t have to sew.  My sewing ability is poorly lacking. I counted the circles for each row and got them ready for her to sew.  We quickly realized that our math was off.  We hadn’t allowed for spaces between the circles.  So the math was re-calcuated and adjusted.  I was adding and dividing until my eyes crossed.  The great thing that came out of this process was that the number of circles we needed quickly dropped. Knowing I wouldn’t have to cut another 2,000 circles was a huge relief.




We met several times to sew all of the circles together.  The ends of the piece where it was only mango circles went crazy fast.  The section with WDS in red was challenging to say the least.  The incorrect math really messed with the letters, but we kept plugging along.  I chanted my mantra ‘It’s all going to work out’ over and over silently as we worked.



Jen working her magic on the very complicated S.



While Jen corrected the letters, (which meant eyeballing where the red circles should be and cutting/sewing circles into the correct position) I tied each row to a curtain rod.  It felt so great when the last row was hung and we wrapped the entire backdrop in a sheet for transport.




We used this backdrop at the photo booth for the opening party and the closing party.  When we arrived at Pure Space last Friday to set up the backdrop, I was super nervous.  We spent over an hour untangling rows after unrolling the piece from the sheet.  When it was finally hung, I finally relaxed.  It was done!  It looks so great in the photo booth pictures.  I had brought along the photo booth props I had made for my niece’s graduation party in June.  The addition of mustaches, glasses, bow ties on sticks and chalk board thought bubbles that people could write on made the whole project come together.


Tammy and Logan
Photo by Armosa Studios


This entire project was a great lesson for me. I’m a natural worrier. I’m really good at worrying about everything.  I was able to keep my worry in check, because I had confidence in my abilities and in Jen’s abilities.  When she told me that we’ll just make it work – I trusted and believed her.  She is a wiz at problem solving and I’m not too shabby either.  I wasn’t passively thinking that it would all work out.  I knew it would be successful, because I knew we would work until it was perfect.  And we did.



  1. This is so freakin’ awesome! I love that you documented the process. It was an epic journey and totally worth it!! I’m going to repost this everywhere!

    Post a Reply
  2. Thanks, Jen! We make a great team. It was such an epic journey and I’m so glad we were in it together. :)

    Post a Reply
  3. Very inspirational! And the end result looks awesome, to boot. Great work, both of you.

    Post a Reply
  4. I love the story behind the backdrop. You two are unstoppable!

    Post a Reply
  5. Next we will cover the world in felt circles. :) Just kidding, I think for my next trick I’m going to take a nap.

    Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>