DIY & Affordable Photo Backdrops

Today I want to talk about something a little different- photography backdrops! As you know, good photography is very important (especially here at Party HarDIY!) and sometimes you need to be creative about your photo backdrops. I had written a blog post about my favorite photography items a few months ago, so I wanted to follow up with some other backdrop options that you can try! These backdrops come in a variety of prices from all sorts of places. I hope it helps you to think about your photos in a new way!

*This post contains affiliate links

 DIY & Affordable Photo Backdrops

Paper Backdrops

 DIY & Affordable Photo Backdrops

DIY Polly Pocket Iron-On Tee with Backdrop Paper in No. 37 Tulip

Backdrop Paper 
Probably the easiest to use, this backdrop paper is meant for photography! It's got a wide variety of colors and it's matte, so you don't need to worry about weird reflections in your photos. Also, it comes on super wide rolls, so you can have a seamless backdrop without having to photoshop out weird edges or seams. I even used it to make my wall look pink once! It can be a bit pricey but if you're careful, you can get maximum usage out of it.

Scrapbook Paper 
Available at any craft store or online, in literally any color or pattern you can think of, scrapbook paper is an affordable way to create a backdrop for small items. You can also layer the paper in interesting ways or angle it, etc.

Colored Cardstock
Colored cardstock is great for photographing small items like jewelry. I made a small hole in mine for the earrings, and I was able to keep the earrings in place while also keeping the look consistent across the different colors of paper and style of earrings. 

 DIY & Affordable Photo Backdrops

DIY No Sew Embellished Shirt with wrapping paper backdrop

Wrapping Paper 
A nice mix of the papers above, I think wrapping paper is a great way to add some color or pattern affordably. It does have a slight sheen to it, so it can add a colorful "glow" to your items, but it's cheap enough to get tossed away. I love using it for DIY posts, which can get pretty messy. You can easily gather up the paper and toss it out- barely any cleanup needed!

Easel Paper Roll
Again, this type of paper is great for when you're making a mess! I used it when I was painting my colorful blocks and I wanted to keep the backdrop neutral. It allowed me to paint freely without having a bunch of cleanup after. It's also great for making a clean white backdrop or covering a table with some scratches on it.

Wood & Paint

 DIY & Affordable Photo Backdrops

Pineapple Garland DIY with a Wood Backdrop

Painted Abstract Backdrop
If you're looking for something quirky and fun, this painted backdrop is for you! Damask Love used it as a large backdrop for portraits but you could totally make a smaller tabletop version if you wanted! 

Solid Color Photo Backdrops
If durable but simple is more your jam, try this painted wood backdrop! It's really easy to make using plywood panels and house paint samples. 

Stained Wood Backdrop
If you like something a little more rustic, try a stained wood backdrop! This tutorial shows you how to whitewash as well as how to add a colored tint to your wood. 

Colored Wood Paneling
If you like the look of paneling, or if you want it to look like a floor/wall, try this colored paneling DIY. This one is so cute, I think I may just have to make one for myself!
 

Party Backdrops

 DIY & Affordable Photo Backdrops

Hey Girl: Ryan Gosling Gender Reveal with Paper Fan Backdrop

Paper Fans
Paper fans are such a cool and easy way to make a statement! I have used them countless times, as both a small photo backdrop or a large scale party table backdrop. I never use the glue it comes with and instead prefer to paper clip them or staple them so that they're reusable! More info on that here.

Balloons
Although they aren't great for the environment, balloons can be such a cool way to make a statement! You can do a balloon arch, make them into letters or numbers... the possibilities are endless! Check out my Balloon Pinterest board for some fun ideas.

Sequin Tablecloths & Runners
If you've got a sequin table runner or tablecloth, they make a PERFECT sparkly backdrop for your pics! You can see how I used it here and here (scroll down).

 DIY & Affordable Photo Backdrops

DIY Disco Ball Earrings with Fringe Curtain Backdrop

Fringe Curtains
These are a super cheap and easy way to transform an ordinary wall. They're fairly large and come in all sorts of colors, so they make the perfect backdrop! They're sold everywhere- Amazon, Party City, even the dollar store!

Crepe Paper Streamers
Another dollar store staple, these party streamers make a really cool backdrop! You can mix and match colors, do various shades of the same color, or do all one color to create some depth as a backdrop. You can use them hanging on the wall with a piece of tape, or you can lay them down on a tabletop and place your item on top of them. Works either way!

Misc

 DIY & Affordable Photo Backdrops

Mean Girls Conversation Hearts and Fabric Backdrop

Fabric
Although it can be wrinkled sometimes, a piece of fabric is a great way to add a pop of color to your photos. It comes in all sorts of colors, patterns adn textures, plus everyone has it lying around their house somewhere. For one post, I even used the fabric from my ironing board as a backdrop! You can also grab a curtain, a blanket or a tablecloth too!

Foam Boards
In what is probably the easiest and cheapest backdrop of all, you can grab some foam boards from your local dollar store or Target and use those for a backdrop. They're also great for bouncing light, so be sure to place them around your subject while facing the window (aka... don't block the window light with a foam board!) to maximize the light coming in.

 DIY & Affordable Photo Backdrops

Tissue Paper
I think I've only used tissue paper as a backdrop once, but I really liked the look so I have to try it again! Since tissue paper is somewhat sheer, it can give you an interesting look if you layer it over another pattern/paper. Mine had some folds, and it made for a great, lightly textured background. And best of all, it's cheap!

Vinyl Backdrop & Stand
I have my vinyl backdrop and stand permanently set up in my attic studio. Since the walls are sloped up there, it acts as a "fake wall" so that there isn't a giant shadow where the ceiling bends (see before pics here). It's large and wide, and can be even wider if you placed it the other way! I've used it on nearly every  and you can't even tell it's a fake wall most of the time!

 DIY & Affordable Photo Backdrops

Cutting Mat
If you're a DIY blogger, chances are you'll be cutting something at some point! If you use a cutting mat, why not incorporate it as the backdrop of a photo? Mine is this really cool, bright pink color and it really adds a pop of color to a photo.

Matte PVC Backdrop
I saved the best for last! This is my most used backdrop, hands down. It's literally the backdrop in nearly every single photo I have. It cleans easily, it's bright white, and it's the perfect size for nearly every flatlay and DIY shoot I do. I purchased the entire collection of them, but I really only use the white one. I've had it for nearly 2 years now and I only had to replace it once because I spilled oil paint on it and it just wouldn't come off. After that, I made sure to use a cover in case things got too messy.

Well, there you have it! Tons of backdrop options for your next photo shoot. If you're looking to improve your photos further, I'm creating a FREE photography e-course to help you do just that! Be sure to sign up and get your workbook by clicking the photo below!

DIY Sun Hat String (aka Stampede String)

It’s summer vacation guys! I'm ready for sun, sand, unlimited ice pops, and best of all, sundresses! And, the perfect addition to a summer dress is a stylish sun hat. Unfortunately for me though, I have a super small head and they always end up flying off! I got tired of holding them down and/or chasing them around, so I wanted to create a solution that would keep my hat where it belongs- on my head! Here's the super easy, genius DIY so your hat can stay on all day long- a stampede string! PS- I wore the string behind my ears/hair, this way I didn't look like a total dork with a string below my chin! You couldn't even see it.

*This post contains affiliate links.

 Tired of your sun hat flying off your head on vacation? Me too! Add this stampede string to your hat to keep it on your head where it belongs. Click for the DIY.

You will need:

Sun hat with an elastic rim (mine is from Target)
Suede cord (similar here)
Wood bead (similar here)
Flat pin (similar here)
Scissors
Felt Scraps

Directions:

 Tired of your sun hat flying off your head on vacation? Me too! Add this stampede string to your hat to keep it on your head where it belongs. Click for the DIY.

 

  1. While wearing your hat, find the point near your ears and mark on the inside where the strings should go. 
  2. Take your suede cord and make a hole for your pin near the top, leaving a little extra on the end so it doesn’t break off. I found that it was a bit hard to use the pin to make the hole, so I suggest using a safety pin or thick needle
  3. Repeat for the other side. 
  4. String a wooden bead through both pieces of suede and tie a knot on each string so it doesn’t slide off. 
  5. Using your felt, use a small piece to cover both sides of the pin. If felt is too thick, you can use some regular fabric with fraycheck on the ends. Repeat for both sides. Note: This step is optional, but I realized on the trip that my hair would get caught in the pin and it would hurt when it pulled. 
 Tired of your sun hat flying off your head on vacation? Me too! Add this stampede string to your hat to keep it on your head where it belongs. Click for the DIY.
 Tired of your sun hat flying off your head on vacation? Me too! Add this stampede string to your hat to keep it on your head where it belongs. Click for the DIY.

Although this isn’t 100% foolproof (especially if it’s super windy!) this strap will help you to keep your hat on if a big gust of wind comes your way. I know that without it, I definitely would have had to wave my hat goodbye as it flew down the street. It was already flying off in the Target parking lot after I purchased it!

 Tired of your sun hat flying off your head on vacation? Me too! Add this stampede string to your hat to keep it on your head where it belongs. Click for the DIY.

I left my bead natural wood, but you could totally paint it to match the string, the hat, or to add an extra pop of color. If you're looking for something to do with those extra beads, try this necklace DIY. It's one of my faves!

So what do you think about this hat string? Are you ready to add one to your oversized sun hats? Or, do you have another hack that's even better? Let me know in the comments below!

Wire Cactus Potted Plant

Although I am creating life within me, I am absolutely terrible at keeping plants alive. I even got succulents because I thought they were supposed to be easy to care for. Um... nope. They all dried up and died! In an effort to save the plants, I’ve decided I’d better stick to fake plants from now on. So, I decided to make these little beauties! They’re actually really simple to make, so its pretty funny that I started working on them about a year ago (!!!) and never got around to finishing them. Since one of my 29 goals for this year is to finish what I started, it seems like an appropriate task to cross of my to do list! After all, it’s been on there for so long. So grab your supplies, and maybe a friend, and let’s get crafting! 

 Do you somehow kill all your plants like I do? In an effort to save the plants, I’ve decided I’d better stick to fake plants from now on. So, I decided to make these little beauties! This wire cactus is perfect for your home. Click for the full how-to!

You will need:

Wire (similar here)
Styrofoam Cones (similar here)
Acrylic paint (similar here)
Ceramic pots (from the local craft store)
Aquarium rocks (here)
Small flowers (similar here)
Glue gun (similar here)
Wire cutters (here)
Long knife or small saw (similar here)

Directions:

 Do you somehow kill all your plants like I do? In an effort to save the plants, I’ve decided I’d better stick to fake plants from now on. So, I decided to make these little beauties! This wire cactus is perfect for your home. Click for the full how-to!
  1. Paint your ceramic pots in your choice of color and let dry. 
  2. Take your styrofoam cone and place it inside your pot, starting with the smallest one. Mark where you need to cut. 
  3. Using your knife or saw and a cutting mat, carefully cut the styrofoam cone in a straight line. Test that it fits, and adjust if necessary. Repeat for all 3 pots.

Directions: Small Cactus Plant

 Do you somehow kill all your plants like I do? In an effort to save the plants, I’ve decided I’d better stick to fake plants from now on. So, I decided to make these little beauties! This wire cactus is perfect for your home. Click for the full how-to!
  1. Take your wire and fold it in half. Cut the wire. Repeat so you have 4 parts. 
  2. Fold your half wire loosely into a U shape and place into the styrofoam. Take another piece and do the same, crossing over the first piece of wire. 
  3. Repeat for the remaining pieces. Adjust if necessary. 

Directions: Medium Cactus Plant

 Do you somehow kill all your plants like I do? In an effort to save the plants, I’ve decided I’d better stick to fake plants from now on. So, I decided to make these little beauties! This wire cactus is perfect for your home. Click for the full how-to!
  1. Take a long piece of wire and fold it in half. 
  2. Turn the wire so the curve is at the top. Bend the wire up then down to create cactus arms. 
  3. Take a new piece of wire. Fold it in half, and measure so that it covers the arm cactus. Trim. 
  4. Place the arm cactus into the styrofoam, then add the loop you made to fit. 

Directions: Adding the Rocks

 Do you somehow kill all your plants like I do? In an effort to save the plants, I’ve decided I’d better stick to fake plants from now on. So, I decided to make these little beauties! This wire cactus is perfect for your home. Click for the full how-to!

Once you are happy with the placement of your wires, you’re ready to add the rocks! 

  1. Using your glue gun, add a small patch of hot glue in the center of your cactus. 
  2. Cover your glue with a hefty handful of rocks. Press them into the glue gently. 
  3. Give it a moment, then tilt the plant to get rid of any excess rocks that are not glued on. Repeat until your styrofoam is covered. 
  4. Note: for the large cactus, I had to remove one side to create a hole big enough for my hand. Just make sure you remember to put it back before you cover the whole thing up :)
  5. Add a few small flowers on your wire to dress up your cactus. 
 Do you somehow kill all your plants like I do? In an effort to save the plants, I’ve decided I’d better stick to fake plants from now on. So, I decided to make these little beauties! This wire cactus is perfect for your home. Click for the full how-to!

Artwork can be found here and blocks DIY can be found here.

 Do you somehow kill all your plants like I do? In an effort to save the plants, I’ve decided I’d better stick to fake plants from now on. So, I decided to make these little beauties! This wire cactus is perfect for your home. Click for the full how-to!

Love it! Here are some photos of the cacti in action at the Cinco de Mama party.

 Do you somehow kill all your plants like I do? In an effort to save the plants, I’ve decided I’d better stick to fake plants from now on. So, I decided to make these little beauties! This wire cactus is perfect for your home. Click for the full how-to!
 Do you somehow kill all your plants like I do? In an effort to save the plants, I’ve decided I’d better stick to fake plants from now on. So, I decided to make these little beauties! This wire cactus is perfect for your home. Click for the full how-to!

This plant is perfect for those of us who don't have a green thumb. You can make them as big or as small as you'd like, in any color you want. You could probably even use pipe cleaners if you wanted to! 

So, what do you think of this wire cactus? Perfect for your home, or do you prefer real plants? Let me know in the comments below!

DIY Rainbow Alphabet Blocks

Call it a mother's intuition but I made this project before I even knew I was pregnant! I wanted them for an Instagram challenge I have since put aside, but hey... they're pretty cute and I've used them for a few blog posts already too! You probably saw them make a cameo in my Easter party post, my baby post and my Painted Notebook post. They're too awesome (and useful) to resist. Find out how to make a set for yourself!

 Colorful rainbow alphabet baby blocks? Yes please! Find out how to make a set for yourself. Click for the full how-to!

Disclaimer: I do not have children, and therefore I do not know what age this would be for. I’m going to say 3+, but please use your discretion! Mine will be mainly for decorative purposes. I don’t want any children getting hurt with toxic paint or swallowing a loose letter. Please use caution when giving this project to children!!!

You will need:

1.5" blocks (here)
Painter’s tape 1 inch (here)
Paint in your choice of colors (similar here)*
Wood letters (from Michael’s, similar here)
Paintbrushes (similar here)
Super glue or wood glue (here)
Newspaper or similar to cover workspace

*My colors were Martha Stewart Pink Dahlia, Apple Barrel Pink Parfait, Martha Stewart Wild Salmon, Martha Stewart Yellow Jacket, Martha Stewart Diving Board, Apple Barrel Parrot Blue, Apple Barrel Bimini Blue, Craft Smart Grape Taffy

Directions:

 Colorful rainbow alphabet baby blocks? Yes please! Find out how to make a set for yourself. Click for the full how-to!
 Colorful rainbow alphabet baby blocks? Yes please! Find out how to make a set for yourself. Click for the full how-to!
  1. Pick the colors for your paint, and decide on whether you want a pattern. I wanted to do a rainbow, so I assigned each letter a color and counted out how many of each block I needed from that. 
  2. Find the best side of your block to be the front, and add tape to the center as a “stripe”. I did this on two sides so that I would have the ability to add extra letters or something else to the back. Or at least, if gave me an extra option in case one side looked funky!
  3. Once you’ve taped a few (or all) of your blocks, begin painting them. Each round, I painted the “front” of the block with two stripes, 2 sides full color, and the “back” with two stripes. I did the stripes first, then the sides, and went and did a second coat on the stripes before letting it dry. 
  4. Peel your tape off your blocks and save it for round 2. Make sure your blocks dry fully before doing round 2! 
  5. While your blocks dry, start painting your letters. I did the front and all the sides with a few coats. 
  6. Take your tape, and reposition it on the sides with the stripes, this time going the other direction to form a “border” of color around the edge. Paint the stripes on the front, back, and opposite sides. And let dry fully. 
  7. Glue your letters into your blocks and let dry according to directions. 
 Colorful rainbow alphabet baby blocks? Yes please! Find out how to make a set for yourself. Click for the full how-to!
 Colorful rainbow alphabet baby blocks? Yes please! Find out how to make a set for yourself. Click for the full how-to!
 Colorful rainbow alphabet baby blocks? Yes please! Find out how to make a set for yourself. Click for the full how-to!
 Colorful rainbow alphabet baby blocks? Yes please! Find out how to make a set for yourself. Click for the full how-to!

Alternatives:

  1. For a safer alternative, you can paint or stamp the letters onto the blocks so that there is no choking hazard
  2. Instead of matching all the blocks and letters, try mixing them up or color blocking with different shades of the same color! I tested that below.
  3. Add stamps to the sides of the blocks for extra learning fun! 
  4. Add numbers for a complete block set 
 Colorful rainbow alphabet baby blocks? Yes please! Find out how to make a set for yourself. Click for the full how-to!
 Colorful rainbow alphabet baby blocks? Yes please! Find out how to make a set for yourself. Click for the full how-to!

Ahhh! I mean, how stinking cute are these!? They'd also be really cute as decor with just the letters of your baby or child's name. I love love love these! Are you planning to make a set for your kids? Let me know in the comments below!

DIY Affordable Book Art

As I mentioned in my last post, I've got a serious lack of artwork in my home! I wanted to find some cute and colorful cocktail-related images for above my bar, but everything was either cheesy or expensive. Also, the space is a weird size- there's a light fixture above and a light switch below, so I only had about 2 feet in between for art. I had a book of cocktails that I rarely used, which had some GORGEOUS photos inside. That's when it hit me- why hide the images in the book, when I could display them proudly on the wall?! I went to Michael's to pick up some cute and simple white frames with a mat so the images would take up enough space while also "popping" against the frame. I'm sooo happy with the result that I decided to show you guys exactly how I did it.

 Got a spot that needs some artwork? Why not save some money and use some artwork from your books?! It's affordable and easy as can be. Click for the full how-to.

The best part is that you can use any type of book or magazine that you have. My suggestions? HGTV books and magazines for cool and colorful homes, Cooking Magazines or Recipe Books with tasty recipes for the kitchen, and Artwork Books and Magazines for the rest of the home. Even National Geographic would be great with its artistic animal photos!

*This post contains affiliate links

You will need: 

Frame (from Michaels, similar here)
Books (here)
 

Directions:

 Got a spot that needs some artwork? Why not save some money and use some artwork from your books?! It's affordable and easy as can be. Click for the full how-to.
  1. Flip through your book or magazine to find your favorite images. Tear them out as close to the spine as you can.
  2. Remove the back of your frame and take out the placeholder image and the mat.
  3. My mat was double layered white and gray, so I carefully pulled off the gray one from underneath to leave only the white one. It worked perfectly!
  4. Position your artwork within the mat, and tape in place if needed.
  5. Place the mat and artwork into the frame, and close up the back. Make sure there is no dust or hairs on the inside of the glass before you do!
 Got a spot that needs some artwork? Why not save some money and use some artwork from your books?! It's affordable and easy as can be. Click for the full how-to.

I mean... how cute does this artwork look?! This is such an affordable way to add some artwork to your home, especially if you have gorgeous books that you occasionally look at but don't use. This way, everyone can see the beauty within- right there on the walls! I also styled my bar with some really cute, colorful stuff. That blog post is coming later this week, so stay tuned!

Are you planning to create your own book art for your home? Let me know what you plan to use in the comments below!