To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part I)

Good golly I love bad puns!

After our wedding got published on Wedding Chicks, our blog traffic got cah-razy and we’ve been getting lots of requests for more wedding tutorials- especially for the backdrop we made for our DIY photobooth!

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

The photobooth was SUPER popular, and we knew our family/friends would be taking tons of photos, so I wanted to make a nice backdrop for everyone to stand in front of.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

We actually planned on using the backdrop as our ceremony backdrop and then later moving it to the photobooth area, but we decided against that for a couple reasons. First off, the wind was SUPER crazy during set up and we worried it would be blowing all over us during the ceremony. Observe.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

Luckily the wind was just a light breeze for the rest of the night so this ended up not being an issue anyway. But also, the flowers that day on the gazebo were so so beautiful that we did not want to cover anything up. (Plus they matched the flower in my hair so it was pretty much meant to be!)

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

But enough pretty pictures (though I could look at these all day!) – onto the DIY (aka lots of not-as-pretty but hopefully helpful pictures!)

Our backdrop consisted of a couple parts- the frame and the fabric. I’ll start with the frame.

To make our frame, we decided to build two legs with feet to keep them sturdy, and notches on top of the legs that could hold 2 curtain rods for our fabric to hang from. In the picture below, you can see the front-on view (along with close up photos of the notches).

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

Here is a top-down view of the feet. I’ll get into more details about these soon, just wanted y’all to have a visual first.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

We knew we’d be driving this contraption from Houston to Austin for the wedding, so we wanted something that would pack well and be easy to set up. To make it pack well, the legs needed to be removable from the feet so everything could lay flat. And instead of doing wood across the top we decided on curtain rods because they were also easy to remove AND the curtain rods would allow our width to be adjustable (we didn’t want to be locked into a specific width).

We started with the feet. We knew we wanted them to be able to hold a 2×4 vertically in place as a leg, but that 2×4 also needed to be easily removable. We bought some 2×4’s and got them cut at Home Depot into 6 pieces. Evan sanded a few rough edges, but how much sanding you do will depend on how polished you want it to be. We didn’t do much haha.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

For each foot, Evan placed 2 pieces parallel to each other and one across the top. The plan was to secure the top one to the bottom two with some long screws, so he drilled pilot holes first.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

With the pilot holes drilled, he then secured the boards with 5 long screws on each side. We wanted this backdrop to be sturdy people! I’ve seen too many “wedding fail” videos to risk this thing crashing down on us (or small children, or grandparents, or drunk uncles).

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

To make assembly and disassembly easy, Evan decided we could use L brackets and these little bolts with pins to hold everything in place. You’ll see what I mean as we get there. First, we used a 2×4 to space two L brackets in the center of each foot. We made sure they were as tight as they could be against the 2×4.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

As you can see above, we secured those to the foot with screws and washers. Since I was holding the 2×4 steady, I didn’t get photos of the next part, but basically Evan then drilled screws through those two holes in the L bracket and out the other side of the 2×4. These holes were just barely big enough to hold our bolts, so everything was nice and snug. Then we used a rubber mallet to pound the bolts through the holes, like so:

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

And below is a photo of what the bolts and pins look like in real life. You can get these at Home Depot.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

After the bolts were pounded through, we made things extra extra secure by popping a little pin through the other end. Like I said, I was not taking any chances of this thing being flimsy! The photos below were taken after we stained it, but they really help demonstrate, so just pretend that wood is still a blonde :)

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

For the legs, you can really do whatever height you want. We wanted something that was tall enough for Evan to stand in front of, so we just used the full length of the 2×4’s you get at Home Depot.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

Evan stained them using the same stain we used for our marquee letters and string-and-nail letters: Minwax’s Dark Walnut.

After we stained it, we labeled the feet and legs so that when we reassembled things we would put the correct leg with the correct foot. Even though you’d think 2×4’s are all the same size, there is a little variation sometimes. And since we wanted the legs to fit so snugly in the brackets on each foot, we wanted to make sure we paired the right leg with the foot that was fitted to it. So we labeled the left foot and leg with an A, and the right foot and leg with a B.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

Then we cut notches in the top of each 2×4 that would be able to hold the curtain rods going across the top. Again, we chose to use curtain rods (instead of another 2×4 or PVC) because they would be width-adjustable. Plus, we already had them, so they were freeeee.

We roughly sharpied on some zig-zags onto our wood as guides (since that would be easier to cut than anything rounded out).

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

Then just a couple quick cuts and we had notches for our curtain rods to sit nicely into!

Pssst, the reason we did two notches on each leg instead of one is because I’ve seen too many barren-looking backdrops. You know, where the breeze flutters it a bit and you see how sparse all those fabric strips look when there is no solidity to them. So I decided to have one curtain rod with fabric strips, and another curtain rod behind it with white sheer curtains that would act as a solid background for the fabric. The awesome part was that we already had cheap white sheer curtains from Ikea so we just used those!

The curtain rods sat nicely in the top of the notches when everything was assembled. And that’s pretty much it for the frame, all done!

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

This post is starting to get long, and now that we’ve finished going over the backdrop frame, I think we’ll call it a day and write about the fabric in part II! But below, you can get a little sneak peek of how it all started coming together :)

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

PS- you can hop on over and see Part II (making the fabric) right here!

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