If you shoot food photography, a good backdrop is a must. And if you enjoy making your own props and backdrops, you’re going to love this project. In this video, Amie Prescott shows you how to make your own DIY background from a few simple ingredients and on a budget. You can give it your favorite colors, and paint it on both sides to get two looks in one.
You will need
- A plywood board – you can get as large a board as you like. I found this 4 x 8 ft board for $28, but you may even find them for less. Also, if you want to make more backgrounds, you can buy one large sheet of plywood and have it cut down to size, which makes each smaller board even cheaper.
- Acrylic paint – any color(s) you like. You can also paint the board white first so that its color doesn’t show through, or you can just apply multiple coats of your favorite colors or their combinations.
- A sponge – nothing fancy, just a regular kitchen sponge
- Matte finish spray – matte finish works better for food photography background. The glossy finish will create reflections that don’t look very neat. If you want neat reflections, it might be better to add a piece of glass or Plexiglas on top.
- Optional stuff: something to cover your floor with (old newspapers, trash bags), protective rubber gloves, and a bowl for mixing your paint if you use multiple colors. For example, Amie mixed white and red to get pink.
How to make
Making this background is pretty straightforward. For starters, Amy suggests creating two or more shades of the same color. Add a blob of each onto the backdrop and dab with your sponge to blend them until the entire board is covered.
Make sure to let the board fully dry before applying the second coat. First, only fully dried color will let you see how it turned out, so you’ll know whether you need to make it brighter or darker for the second coat. Also, if it’s still wet, you’ll just make a hot mess when you add a new coat.
Depending on the type of paint, you can use a hair dryer with cold air to speed up the drying process a bit. I’m not sure how it works with acrylics though and whether it will cause the paint to crack, so take this with a grain of salt.
Anyways, apply as many coats as you want, and always let each of them fully dry before adding the next. Once the last coat is dry, cover it with the matte finish spray. I wholeheartedly recommend doing this outside due to fumes and the mess you may create indoors. Alternatively, do it indoors with all windows open and your floor covered. It works best if you apply two coats of the spray, leaving the board to dry between them.
And that’s pretty much it. Other than waiting for the paint to dry, this is a pretty quick and simple process. You can do it on both sides of the board so you have two different colors on each. That doesn’t only make each DIY background even cheaper, but also saves you space.
This is something I’ll definitely try since I have everything at home or at mom’s (yup, even plywood). Let me know if you make it too, and don’t forget to share the results.