DIY Wood Photo Backdrop

9:27:00 PM

I am a self taught photographer. Actually, that’s not quite right. I’m an internet-taught wanna-be photographer, but I keep trying to improve.

In my search for photographic excellence, I decided that I needed to figure out some backgrounds for my craft and food photographs. The normal backdrops around my house tend to reflect the people living there--such as my toddlers and preschooler--not attractive! So I needed another photographic backdrop!

I settled on creating a small wooden backdrop—and I wanted it to be reversible—mostly because I have some white plates that I want to stand out, but at the same time I want a white background most of the time.. But we’ve already established that I’m cheap—I mean frugal. I wanted to spend as little money as possible, so no premade photography backdrop for me. I wanted a wooden backdrop, so I went to Lowes and purchased one 8-foot length of a wood furring strip. This isn’t finished wood, folks—you have to pick through the pile and make sure you don’t get something too warped or split. It is about 2 1/2" wide by 3/4" thick. But the advantage—it costs less than $2 a board. I then had my husband cut down this board into 16-inch long pieces. I could have done it myself, but my husband apparently didn’t believe I could—something may have been said about my klutzy nature. In an effort to keep the peace, I graciously allowed him to cut the wood for me. Thanks babe.

wood for photo backdrop

I then took the boards and sanded it down a little by hand using 80 grit sandpaper. I wasn’t looking for perfection here…I mostly wanted to knock down the rough edges so I didn’t get splinters. I wanted the boards to stay a little rough to give it a shabby look when I was done—mostly to add a little bit of visual interest to the background. After all, if I wanted a plain, smooth background, I could have used posterboard. A curious little five-year-old wanted to try her hand at sanding…so I let her. You never know when you might need a little girl with sanding know-how.

Once the sanding was done, I painted all but one face of each of the boards with a white. I had a sample of Valspar Polar White on hand that I had received free with a coupon a month or so back. I used a little mini roller, but you could easily have used a brush

I then sanded the boards down again, allowing the wood to show through where it would naturally wear, such as the edges and any pronounced grain.

Then I painted the other side of each board with a bright blue (Valspar Weathered Glass). I also painted one edge of one board blue, as well. Once the blue was dry, I sanded the blue paint down.

I had some antiquing top coat from another project, so I wiped it on all surfaces of each board and immediately wiped it off. I wanted to give the wood a darker look, as well as the nooks and crannies, without compromising the color of the boards.

And that’s it. You may be wondering why I didn’t glue the pieces together, or join them some other way. I wanted the flexibility to have a white backdrop, or a blue backdrop, or even have a white and blue backdrop! I am looking forward to using this as a backdrop for a lot of my food and craft projects.

Architecture of a Mom Signature

TDC Before and After

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  1. I saw this on Google+ and I love this idea! I think leaving the pieces separate is a great idea.

  2. Great idea! The backdrop is my nemesis!! Also on the hunt for a better one.

  3. Here from Keep Calm & Link Up... I LOVE THIS!! :) Thanks for sharing!

  4. They look great! and for $2! Well done. I need to get more creative with my backdrops. Thanks for the idea.

  5. I love this! What a great idea! I never have good backdrops for my photos - the rare DIY or food photos that I take! You should link this up on my PinIt! Tuesday link up!