Cheap & Easy DIY Photography Backdrop
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It's easy to spend a small fortune on gear, equipment & accessories, but you don't have to go broke for your photography to look like a million sheckles! This sleek flat lay backdrop was made for under $35 dollars and minus a quick trip to the hardware store, can be ready for its close-up in under 20 minutes.
All you'll need for this project is a roll of contact paper, a 2' x 4' handy panel (basically a thin piece of plywood!), a straight edge for smoothing out any air bubbles and a pair of scissors. The great thing about this combo is that you can customize the backdrop in so many ways. There are a lot of great options when it comes to colors and styles of contact paper. We've tried a white marble look before on an old Ikea desk top, but this time, we wanted something darker and a little more more dramatic. We went with a dark slate/concrete contact paper, which really makes your subject pop, especially under some good lighting!
After you pick out your contact paper, you're going to want to make a trip to the hardware store for a flat, smooth piece of wood. We went for a $7 piece of 2' x 4' plywood from Home Depot. Plywood isn't the strongest material, but as a flat lay backdrop for your food photography, this is a great, inexpensive investment that'll leave you with enough money in your pockets to try out a couple different looks. These thin (5 mm!) pieces are super easy to tuck away when you're not shooting.
Making this a two man job helps, but it can be done solo! Start by checking the edges of your plywood. If you notice a lot of splintered edges, you can smooth it out with some sandpaper. If it's still not as smooth as you like, you can always run some gaff tape around the edges.
Roll out the contact paper to the length of the plywood board, leaving a little overhang on both ends. Slowly peel away at the back of the contact paper and press the sticky side over the edge of the board. Peel back and stick a little at a time, carefully smoothing out any air bubbles with a straight edge or ruler. Fold over any overhanging edges. And there you have it! In under twenty minutes, you can have what looks like a really fancy, slate backdrop that'll make your photos pop! See how we put this puppy to good use in the latest post on our food blog, TheCraftChew.com!
Update: We now have a double-sided flat lay backdrop with two, eye-catching looks! We ordered the darker ‘slate’ contact paper and covered the opposite side of our backdrop. This color is seriously GORGEOUS. It’s easy forget that this is a roll of contact paper and not a gigantic piece of slate.
After some splinter “close calls”, we decided to secure the edges with a layer gaff tape. Not only did it protect the edges, and more importantly, your fingers, but it also made both sides feel more secure. We don’t have to worry about any edges peeling up over time. You can rip the tape in half, longways before wrapping it around the edges. It’ll give you a smaller border (aka more usable backdrop space) and it’ll stretch that tape further, since no one’s giving away gaff tape, ok! Stuff’s not cheap.
We are loving this flat lay backdrop even more since we double sided it. With one piece of plywood and two rolls of contact paper, at a grand total of around $60, you can have two really quality looks for photography that can be easily tucked away. Give this look a try and show us how you backdrop turns out by tagging us on Instagram @BrightsidePictures!
One more update! We bought another piece of 2' x 4' plywood to make a new round of backdrops with this eye-catching teal contact paper and this sleek marble contact paper. But this time, we cut a foot off of the length of the board first, making it 2' x 3'. It's a slightly more manageable size and since the rolls are 6.5' long, we can get two separate flatlays from the same roll of contact paper. Double whammy!