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DIY Photo Backdrops

Because I am not about to drop $200+ on something I'll use once or twice a month.

 

Y’all know my thing isn’t recipes, kitchen shots, or perfectly manicured flat lays. I’ll leave that to the pros. HOWEVER, I do like to be able to take pictures of my latest snack hauls and have them look ~decent~. My brown granite kitchen island is too glossy, and I don’t really like the colors, and my faux wood desk is usually too cluttered and small. Also, my pop-up lightbox is a little too big for a few Kit-Kats.

So, I went looking for photo backdrops that were small, cute, and affordable and came up almost empty-handed.  If you don’t need such small backdrops, don’t like DIYs, or don’t mind spending a little extra, check out the businesses at the end of the post.

I did what I do best and decided to DIY it since nothing met my exact needs. I’m sticking to brand colors for my wallet’s sake, because there is an infinite number of patterns, colors and textures I could use. Which means I’ll be doing only grays, blacks, whites, and some turquoise and gold here and there. 

In the materials I listed wallpaper, contact paper, shelf liners and tiles or backsplash, but many of them seem to be the same thing, just sold under a different name. As long as there’s a nice pattern or design on the front, and the back is adhesive, you’re good to go.

I got mine from a few different places including JoAnn, Amazon and Dollar Tree. Of course, Michael’s, Lowe’s and Home Depot all have variations on these. I was quite surprised to find all of the above at Dollar Tree alone. They have foil backsplash in the kitchen section, shelf liners and contact paper in storage, and wallpaper and tiles in crafts, right in front of the foam boards I got for this project too. So, depending on the exact materials you get, you could absolutely make a solid backdrop for about 7 USD. You really can’t beat that.

Anyways, with all my materials gathered, onward.

DIY Photo Backdrops

Custom backdrops good for flat lays, lightboxes, and everything else you can think of.
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Author: Andrea Wintergerst

Equipment

  • 1 craft knife or pair of scissors
  • 1 cutting board
  • 1 ruler
  • 1 vinyl squeegee tool or other similar scraping tool
  • 1 pencil

Materials

  • foam boards
  • peel and stick wallpaper (waterproof)
  • decorative contact paper
  • adhesive shelf liners
  • peel and stick tiles (or backsplash)
  • washi tape (or crafter's tape)

Instructions

  • Cut down the foam boards down to desired size. In my case, one 20"x20" and two 10"x10". Foam boards are notoriously hard to cut so make sure your knife/scissors are sharp enough.

Wallpaper, contact paper, and shelf liner

  • Use a pencil to mark your desired dimensions on the backing paper, including a bit of margin. Cut.
  • Peel a little bit of the backing away from the decorative film and carefully place the adhesive side on the foam board, leaving the bit of margin on the edge.
  • A little at a time, keep peeling off the backing paper and smoothing out the film onto the board with the squeegee. I used a bench scraper.
  • Once the entire board is covered, remove the excess film with the knife, or fold it towards the back of the board so it wraps around and covers the sides.

Peel and stick tiles and backsplash

  • For tiles and backsplash sold in squares, follow the above instructions.
  • For tiles with uneven sides (they usually have an overlap area), trim off the excess on one side with the knife to create a straight edge.
  • Remove the backing and stick the adhesive side to the board, starting with a corner.
  • Interlock the following tiles on the overlap area. Once the entire board is covered, cut off the excess tile with the knife.

Washi tape

  • Washi or crafting tape can be used to create patterns with straight lines. I used thick black tape to create the stripes, and then super thin gold tape as a highlight between the black and white.
  • You can waterproof the board with clear adhesive film, which is usually available in both matte and glossy finishes.

This is how mine came out. The irony of needing a backdrop to take a picture of my backdrops is not lost on me.

They actually fit perfectly in this little space on my desk, so when I’m not using them for photography, I’ll be swapping out my wallpaper.

I’m really happy with how they turned out, so I’ll likely be making more in the future. If you’re not feeling like a DIY, though, there are a lot of companies out there that make these:

Will you be making these, or is your kitchen perfect enough that you don’t need backdrops?

 

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Based mainly in Colorado. Loves cheese, rain, and starry nights. Can usually be spotted in the wild wearing a Spirit Jersey and balancing two cameras. Often laughs and cries at the same time. Barely survived one Master's program, but wants to do another.

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