Blog, Projects

Building the superb backdrop for a photographer expo!

So, my wife is a local photographer who does absolutely awesome work in Augusta, Georgia -> Kimmy Ray Photography, and I was tasked with building a backdrop for a baby expo in which she was a vendor this past weekend. Me being the engineer and creator that I am sought after Pinterest and some ideas that I discovered to throw together in order to come up with the best solution for a portable backdrop that I could make look rustic for her style and at a relatively low cost so I simply came up with the Rustic Portable Backdrop! I wanted something that we could use as 1) an event backdrop for more than this one event and 2) an actual photography backdrop whenever we need to setup outside of the studio.

My list of supplies included:

Tools you'll need:

  • Miter Saw (or circular saw if you have saw horses and feel like using that instead)
  • Drill (you don't want to just use a screwdriver)
  • Metal clippers to cut the galvanized steel
  • Paint brushes
  • Work gloves

You can choose to cut all of the boards, paint everything, and then piece it all together, or you can build out the side structures and then paint everything…it's up to you. For me, I chose to build the structures first.

Side Structures

Each side structure will need two 1"x4"x8' boards and one 1"x2"x8' board and I also used one of the fence boards to measure the distance needed between the 1×4 boards and to hold the boards steady while I was screwing them together. You want the 1×4 boards to be equal on top and bottom and shift the 1×2 slightly lower because this will be screwed onto the base to make it a little more sturdy (around an inch lower). If you don't want the top to be a little higher than the backdrop, you'll need to use a circular saw to even out the top of the structure with your backdrop boards as well. Follow these steps again for the other side.

Backdrop side structure


There is no exact measurement for this step because you can make the base as big as you want, but for me, I cut one of the 1"x4"x8' boards into a 21" and two 16" sections. Align one 16" section in the center of the end of the 21" section and the other 16" section in the center of the other end of the 21" section and screw the 16" sections onto the 21" section with three 1" screws as pictured so you can't see the screw head on the top of the longer board. Next, cut roughly two footlong pieces of the galvanized steel for support on the side structure.

Align the 1"x2"x8' section that is slightly longer to the center of the new base structure and use two 1" screws to attach the side to the base. Then bend the galvanized steel as pictured to add support for the base and the side structure using 2-3 screws to attach it.

You'll want to repeat these steps in reverse for the other side.

Backdrop base


Lay down the drop cloth to keep paint from splashing on anything. Simply paint the side/base structure with the antique white paint. I prefer at least two coats to hide the wood color. Next we will work on the backdrop fence boards.

First, you want to take the brown spraypaint and spray the edges of the 15 fence boards. Next, put on some gloves so you don't get splinters and use the vaseline to rub the edges of the boards on top of the brown spraypaint. Finally, paint the antique white paint (two coats preferably) on top of the brown spraypaint and vaseline.

The next step is simply to start rubbing the edges of the newly painted fence boards to chip away some of the antique white paint to give it that rustic board look.

Brown spray paint or polyurethane
Get ready to paint

Final Product

Here's how the final project looks after you've slipped the 15 backdrop fence boards into the side structures. Simple project that gives you a great backdrop look for your next event! Please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] if you need any help or have any questions/suggestions!

The setup

Thanks for reading!