my DIY photography backdrop {for only $10}!

What's a girl to do with these long midwest winters?!

I've been starting to work on my indoor studio and been experimenting with backdrops. In my dreams I have endless Oliphant backdrops at my disposal, but for now, I thought I'd take a stab at creating my own backdrop when I found a piece of muslin in my mom's fabric stash. I wanted a soft coral and pink backdrop for my daughter's 10 month photos, and I thought I'd snap some pics along the way to show you how I did it - it's super simple! Keep in mind that I fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to DIY projects, and my method may look different than yours. If you make one yourself, use your creativity and don't over-think it. You can improvise by using things you already have around your house, like using old rags or t-shirts to rag on the paint instead of buying paint brushes. This is what helped me keep the cost of this project to a minimum, and the only thing I had to buy was the paint and fabric softener (and I only ended up using about 1/4 of the containers). 

Painted backdrop materials:

Watch how easy this is...

 Day 1. I mixed the base paint color with fabric softener and water with an approximate ratio of 1:1:4. I took a rag (corner of an old receiving blanket), dipped it in the paint mixture and wiped it all over the canvas until it was completely covered. It dried in an hour or so. You don't have to necessarily wait for it to dry before adding the next layer of color. Mine had some time to dry between layers since I did this project while "watching" the kids. 

Day 1. I mixed the base paint color with fabric softener and water with an approximate ratio of 1:1:4. I took a rag (corner of an old receiving blanket), dipped it in the paint mixture and wiped it all over the canvas until it was completely covered. It dried in an hour or so. You don't have to necessarily wait for it to dry before adding the next layer of color. Mine had some time to dry between layers since I did this project while "watching" the kids. 

 For the second layer, I took the remaining mixture from my base coat and added my highlight color and more fabric softener and water. 

For the second layer, I took the remaining mixture from my base coat and added my highlight color and more fabric softener and water. 

 I applied the second layer using the same method of dipping the rag in the paint. 

I applied the second layer using the same method of dipping the rag in the paint. 

 I sloppily wiped on the second layer, just as I did the first layer. As you can see, no special skills are required to do this. 

I sloppily wiped on the second layer, just as I did the first layer. As you can see, no special skills are required to do this. 

 Here's what it looks like with the first two layers. 

Here's what it looks like with the first two layers. 

 I wanted to add back in more of the base color, so I added a very small amount of the base color to the remaining mixture I had left over from the second layer. I mixed this in a small cup since I was using just a little amount. I also  didn't add water or fabric softener this time. 

I wanted to add back in more of the base color, so I added a very small amount of the base color to the remaining mixture I had left over from the second layer. I mixed this in a small cup since I was using just a little amount. I also  didn't add water or fabric softener this time. 

 I took a paint stick and dripped and splattered the paint all around the canvas. 

I took a paint stick and dripped and splattered the paint all around the canvas. 

 Then I took my rag and lightly dabbed the canvas to feather any big splotches. 

Then I took my rag and lightly dabbed the canvas to feather any big splotches. 

 (I'm a bit of a reckless painter. But that's OK, because you can get all.out.messy with this project and still end up with an awesome canvas in the end).

(I'm a bit of a reckless painter. But that's OK, because you can get all.out.messy with this project and still end up with an awesome canvas in the end).

 I wanted to lighten up the middle of the canvas a bit more, so I added more of my highlight color, fabric softener and water to the remaining mixture from the last coat. 

I wanted to lighten up the middle of the canvas a bit more, so I added more of my highlight color, fabric softener and water to the remaining mixture from the last coat. 

 Then I just poured it. Randomly.

Then I just poured it. Randomly.

 Basically, I wanted to lighten up the inside of the canvas and I didn't care how the paint was applied. 

Basically, I wanted to lighten up the inside of the canvas and I didn't care how the paint was applied. 

 I used a sponge to spread out the color. It's hard to see in this picture, but the highlight color I just added is really thin and won't look this bright once it's dried. 

I used a sponge to spread out the color. It's hard to see in this picture, but the highlight color I just added is really thin and won't look this bright once it's dried. 

 I took a wad of paper towels and dabbed it randomly to pull up some paint to add more of a textured look. 

I took a wad of paper towels and dabbed it randomly to pull up some paint to add more of a textured look. 

 Day 2. My canvas dried overnight and looked like it could use a burnt orange vignette, so I grabbed some acrylics, stashed away from my high school days, and mixed brown, red, and yellow until I had a burnt orange/coral color. I added a bunch of water to really dilute it. 

Day 2. My canvas dried overnight and looked like it could use a burnt orange vignette, so I grabbed some acrylics, stashed away from my high school days, and mixed brown, red, and yellow until I had a burnt orange/coral color. I added a bunch of water to really dilute it. 

 I dipped my sponge in the mixture and rolled it around the outside of the canvas like how you roll play dough. (And now my hands look like I've been applying fake tanner).

I dipped my sponge in the mixture and rolled it around the outside of the canvas like how you roll play dough. (And now my hands look like I've been applying fake tanner).

 Finished! (My iPhone pictures don't show the accurate colors and texture)

Finished! (My iPhone pictures don't show the accurate colors and texture)

Here's a sneak peak of the finished backdrop in action...

painted photography backdrop - Louisa Nickel