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05-28-2011, 05:55 AM   #1
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DIY Backdrop

Made my first DIY backdrop using muslin fabric and RIT Royal Blue dye.

The total cost, for this test, from Jo-Ann's was $3.21 including tax--utilizing 2 coupons. It is 36" by 54". I can use this for my macro photography setup (diy pvc lightbox). Next is a 9 foot by 14 foot muslin backdrop--I guess I'll start with a medium gray.

I might dip this backdrop in some blue dye again later (saved it in 1 gallon plastic bottle) to help even out the tones; or I might just keep it the way it is--haven't made up my mind yet.

Looks much better on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/60949574@N05/5768130064/in/photostream

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05-28-2011, 06:37 AM   #2
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Looks pretty nice. Here is a thread on DPChallenge.com that has some hints on making the larger ones. It looks like you might not need the hints but others might.

Make Your Own Backdrops! - DPChallenge Forums

Tim
05-28-2011, 08:08 AM   #3
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Being thrifty and usually pretty broke lately I can't afford to just go out and buy most of my photography gear. I've actually tried making a few backdrops now and so far this is what works for me.

First, I grab some plain sail cloth curtains from Goodwill or my local bargain shops. I mean the canvas like kind with the fabric loops on top. These are getting more popular as a simple widow treatment and with these you have the advantage of them hanging perfectly straight if you're only using one panel as a backdrop because there are no gathers on top. They're fairly thick if you get decent ones, though you can just double the panels up too. I usually do because I like the backdrop to be pretty thick and sturdy. They do sew together pretty well. More importantly the sail cloth does take paint and dye very well though for best results you do have to wash them at least once. Unless you're shooting for a group most of the time one panel spread out will do you. They do come in wider lengths I've found or you can just buy some sail cloth at a fabric store and sew them all up yourself. Most fabric stores will have it now in various weights.

I have tie dyed one, but that was uneven and I didn't like it really. The best one I did, I used a natural sponge to actually paint it. It's just like doing a wall. I laid the panel down on a drop plastic cloth and I kept using two different shades of paint and white until I got exactly what I wanted. After I am done and they are dry I use them by hanging them on a long pole style swing up and down curtain rod thing that I've fixed to a wall where I do most of my portrait work. (They're made to swing out a bit so they can hang in front of another set of regular curtains and a pair or sheers or whatever. I got mine at Ross actually, $20, I think it was.)

I like that because after I am done I can just fold up the backdrop and push the curtain bar down and it's out of the way. You could probably do the same with a regular curtain rod so long as it sticks out a bit or even a clothing rack if it's one of the big ones. I mean to get one of those actually so I can make this set up a bit more portable.

Sheets, good ones, can work okay too, but they have to be nice thick 300 count ones I've found otherwise they're a bit thin. I infinitely prefer the sail cloth curtains though. I've used both the white and the natural, but I find that using the natural can work a bit better if I am aiming for a warmer tone in the backdrop. It's a nice undertone if you're doing say brown, beige, or rust shades.
06-03-2011, 10:02 AM   #4
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Geekette,

That's a great start there. I like the color. For me personally, I would put it in the blue dye again because I prefer a more subtle pattern that looks less tye-dye-ish. That's what I did with mine that I made. I also agree with going with gray for the next one. That way, by putting a color gel over a flash on your background, it will take on any color you use.

06-03-2011, 10:26 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jake14mw Quote
Geekette,

That's a great start there. I like the color. For me personally, I would put it in the blue dye again because I prefer a more subtle pattern that looks less tye-dye-ish. That's what I did with mine that I made. I also agree with going with gray for the next one. That way, by putting a color gel over a flash on your background, it will take on any color you use.
Thanks Jake. And I agree, I don't want too many backdrops tie-dye-ish. This first one looks pretty tie-dye-ish, but it turned out pretty well with my bf in front of it:

Background gaussian blurred in photoshop | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
(I had to do a gaussian blur on background in photoshop cause I had him too close to the backdrop when I took that pic lol)

I guess the next two I'll be making will be a medium gray, one looking tie-dye-ish and one with subtle pattern--both being 9' x 14'. Then I'll play with gels to give it some color.
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