Photography backdrops can be so expensive, and I mean, expensive. Well, for good-looking high quality ones. If you want a cheap, white or black, you can find it on amazon for around $20, but I’m not about that cheap life, not when it comes to a backdrop anyways. I am cheap tho, so I won’t spend the money on a Oliphant or even a gravity, which are not as expensive.
So, I decided to paint my own backdrop. Here is what I did and you can also do it, if you have the time and space.
First thing is to decide what type of back drop you want. Solid color, or texture, or mix and match… I wanted a dark gray color. I knew I didn’t want a very well blended one, so I wanted some texture. Here is the list of what I bought at Lowe’s :
1 – 6×9 painter’s drop cloth/canvas.
1 – gallon of dark gray indoor paint
1 – quart of a lighter shade indoor paint
1 – painter’s tray ( got the package that has a brush and a roller.
1 – extension pole
1 – sea sponge
1 – pack of 3 plastic cover sheets (better buy them bigger than your back drop.)
I got home and cleared a space in the garage. Then I washed, dried and ironed my drop cloth. Once I had laid down the protective plastic I got, I centered my drop cloth over it.
I mixed the paint with a little water and then started spreading it with the roller. started about a quarter of the way down and moved only out because I didn’t want the canvas to move and wrinkle.
I did a coat a day, but I know that you can do several in a day and get it done in about 10 hrs.
Once my base was done, I use the sponge to spread the lighter color around. I wanted a textured look, so I didn’t do smooth. I just put the sponge in the paint and then tapped it all over the canvas, then I went back over it and spread it around a little. The only thing I knew for sure I didn’t want, was straight lines so I made sure all my movements were circular. I only did one coat of this lighter paint, I didn’t need more.
I let it dry for about 2 days before I move it.
I used regular latex paint, some people use chalk paint (not the same as chalkboard paint)
I didn’t use gesso, but some people do. I will use it next time.
I didn’t stretch and secure my canvas, but I know professionals do and I will do it next time.
Also, professionals use acrylic paint, and I am definitely using it next time.
One last thing, my garage floor has this weird cuts that are to close together to fit the entire canvas in between them, so I ended up with lines across the backdrop. I could have moved it and painted over them, but I can just remove them in Photoshop and it takes a whole 10 seconds.