DIY Weathered Wood Photo Backdrop

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One of my blog goals this summer is to update a some of my recipe photos.  I have a few from the very beginning that were snapped with my phone or just not very appetizing looking.  I may even update some that were taken this past winter in my kitchen.  (Most of those photos aren’t bad, just a little yellow from my kitchen lights.  We’ll see if I get to those, it can be hard to squeeze in picture taking with 2 hungry little monsters sweeties hanging from my apron strings…)

I am always on the look out for pretty dishes, tablecloths, place mats or backdrops I can use to dress up my food photos.  I’ve had a weathered wood backdrop on my to do list for a while, but I kept putting off the trip to Lowes for supplies.

I finally got it done and love it!

We do have a garage full of supplies and tools, but I wanted this project to be simple. (And it was… why drag out a bunch of tools and get hot and sweaty when you can work in the AC and use a little glue…)  Here is how I made it:

Supplies needed for a weathered wood photo backdrop:

  • Shims (they come in different sizes, mine were 12 inches long and came in a pack of 42, I bought 2 @ $3.87.)
  • Wood for the back supports (I bought 3 1/4X3X2 aspen planks @ $1.24 each.)
  • Wood glue (I used Elmer’s wood glue that I already had.)
  • Paint (I used paint I had on hand- The blue was a sample I had for my laundry room, leftover white paint and some of my Ralph Lauren tea stained glaze.)
  • Clear coat sealer (I used one with a matte finish.)

First of all, I found out something about shims that I didn’t know.  They come like this:
Oops, just added a little more gluing than intended to my project…

Step 1:  Glue all your shims together so they make a flat level piece of wood and let dry for about an hour.

Step 2:  Line up the support pieces, using the shims as a guide on how far apart to space the supports.

Step 3:  Add glue to the support pieces and place the shims.  Let dry.  (I placed a few heavy objects on top of the drying shims to help make sure they dried securely and flat.)

Step 4:  Once the glue is dry, add your paint.  To achieve a similar effect as mine, I applied one thick coat of  regular blue paint, and let it dry.  Then find something to distress the wood.  (I could only find was a very heavy chain.  It was so heavy, all I could do was drop it a few times on the wood.)

Next , with a wet rag, I rubbed my dark glaze over the entire panel, then rinsed the rag and wiped away most of the color.  (You could mix water with a dark color to get the same effect.)

After the glaze dried I did the same thing with white paint- mixed it with water, wiped it on and then wiped the excess off.

After it dried, I finished it off with a quick coat of Valspar matte finish spray sealer.

Isn’t it pretty?

In this picture, I used Photoshop Elements to change the background to a dull yellow.  (At the time I looked up this link, Elements was on sale for $63.  That is a good price!)

I am thinking about adding some dark stained shim pieces to the back side so I can have 2 looks in one.  I need to find some dark water based stain next time I am at the craft store.

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  1. Love this backdrop! I need to make something like this!

  2. What a great idea! I have been looking for ways to add something "extra" to my photos. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  3. Kristy LifenReflection says:

    great tutorial, I'm always looking for new ideas for photo props!

  4. stopping by from CSI. love this project. i had no idea shims were so cheap. at less than .10/lf, i'll be keeping these little guys in mind for future projects.

    meegan @ crafylittlebitches

  5. Maria @ Craft Crazy Mom says:

    I always admired photos taken with weathered wood as a backdrop. Cute idea and love the color! Stopping by from the CSI project.

  6. Aimee - The Crazy Craft Lady says:

    This is such a great idea. Maybe I can convince one of the "handy" men in my life to make me one 🙂

  7. Shatzi LoveandLaundry says:

    I love this!! When I first saw it, I thought it was 2x4s. It's so much easier to make than I first thought. I might just have to make one for myself. I'm your newest follower. =)

  8. this is so great! and sure beats buying scrapbook paper over & over! pinned it to try later 🙂

  9. Trish - Mom On Timeout says:

    What a fabulous backdrop! So versatile especially if using Elements! Thanks for the great tutorial and sharing at Mom On Timeout!

  10. Makes the perfect backdrop, I need to make me one too! Thanks for the how-to!

    Britta @ TheHandmadeHouse.net

  11. This is such a great idea!