I sometimes feel like I am cursed with the thought or attitude of ‘oh, I can just make that’…or ‘you want me to pay how much for that…forget it, I’ll just make it’! [Case in point, those TULLE skirts...remember those?!]
Well, I don’t know how, but I stumbled upon this local photographer’s tumblr page and in a post he talked about painting his own backdrop. See post HERE. Of course…DUH! Beautiful hand-painted backdrops can cost hundreds and hundreds of dollars…but this in a pinch DIY solution I knew would only cost a few bucks.
Went to Home Depot and purchased a canvas drop cloth in their paint department. (The link is for the exact brand and size I bought, but it was an 8oz weight…not 10oz). [$20]
Then I found a gray color paint called DARK GRANITE that I thought would be the most versatile. I saved a few bucks by having it mixed over at Walmart using their basic interior, flat paint. [$10]
And finally I purchased a BIG 21 gallon storage bin (WITH LID) to mix everything in. [$6] … oh, and pick up some of those yellow cleaning gloves!! [$3]
ON TO THE MIX… and obviously DO THIS OUTSIDE! …oh, and I should mention that I started this at about 9am…
I poured 2/3rds of the paint into the bucket (I don’t know why 2/3rds, but it seemed to be all I needed) and then turned on the hose and filled the bin with water until the paint was evenly diluted – like Golilocks…not too thick, not too thin.
At this point we just wadded up the canvas drop and put it in the bin, however I would recommend starting at one end and put sections in bit by bit. When we put the whole thing in it took a while and a lot of churning to get the entire drop cloth covered. We had to keep pulling it out, shifting it, and dunking it again; probably more messier that way, too.
I put the lid on and let it sit for about 8-9 hours.
And here’s where it can get tricky…for sure helps to have someone you with to do this part. The canvas is going to be very heavy and very wet but you need to wring out as much of the diluted paint/water from the cloth. My husband and I folded it up several times and just twisted it in opposite directions over the bin and that seemed to work best. Then you gotta let it dry. We rigged something to hang it on, but we had to fold it in half to do that so it wasn’t touching the ground. If I had to do it again, I would just find a place in the yard to lay it flat or where it can be hung evenly and flat. I left it there over night to dry.
The next day in the morning it was about 75% dry so I took it down, unfolded it, and slung it over our block fence so that only a small part of it hung on our neighbors side until it was fully dried (about another couple hours). I could have just done this in the first place, but it would have left wet paint everywhere.
It was a little stiff when it was all dry, but definitely foldable and easy enough to roll up. However, if I had rinsed it some once I took it out of the bin initially then it might have been a bit more pliable.
All in all I am really quite satisfied with my little DIY canvas backdrop…not to shabby for $39. If I do this again I think I will go with a paint a couple shades darker (I didn’t think I’d loose any color by diluting it, but I think I did).
Here is pic that I made my daughter stand in for so you can get a quick glimpse of how it turned out…
I’m doing a full shoot using the backdrop today and will post those pics ASAP to get the full effect.
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