How to Make Easy and Affordable DIY Food Photography Backdrops

How to Make Easy and Affordable DIY Food Photography Backdrops


In this helpful video by Joanie Simon of The Bite Shot, she explains how to do DIY Food Photography Backdrops that are both affordable and easy. Costing you less than US$30 per backdrop!

Before beginning, please be sure to use your spray paints outdoors and always paint in a well-ventilated area.

Things you will need:

  1. Laminated plywood
  2. Paint scraper/palette knife
  3. Joint Compound (used for drywalling)
  4. Oil-based spray paint
  5. Chalky finish acrylic paint
  6. Acrylic or oil-based metallic spray paint.

When you pick out your paint, ensure that you choose paint that has a matte finish to stop glare and reflection.

Stick to colors that are subtle so that your food is the star. For example, browns, topes, cool greys, mossy green, and robins blue.

Step 1:

Use the scraper/palette knife to apply the Joint Compound to the board. Allow it to be organic and textural. Explore cross-hatching and mixed textures for different boards.

Let it sit for a few minutes and drag the palette knife across the applied compound to flatten it a bit while still leaving interesting grooves and patterns.

Let it dry overnight (24hrs).

Step 2:

Apply your darker peak-through color first (oil based spray paint). There is no need to apply full coverage as the other colors will be overlayed.

Step 3:

Next, brush on your chalky finish paint. You can use a short blending brush. Brush, stipple, use circular motions to blend over the previous color so that the peak through color still shows through.

If you put too much on, you can use a damp cloth to wipe the acrylic paint back off.

Step 4:

Take your colored spray paint and just spray sections from a distance to give light coverage for extra tone and texture.

Step 5:

Spray a little water onto your board and spray your oil-based metallic paint over it. The paint won’t adhere to the areas of water. Wait ten minutes for the paint to dry and once it is dry, wipe the water off. You are let with a really cool effect.

Step 6:

Take your other boards and play around with these techniques using your different tones and textures.

Step 7:

Apply a matte finish spray to your boards to protect the surface. 2-3 coats will do the trick.

Please share with us any of your DIY food photography backdrops in the comments below.


You may also find the following helpful for your food photography:

Food Photography – An Introduction

5 Tips to Seriously Improve Your Food Photography Techniques

Are You Making These Five Food Photography Mistakes?

Household Items to Bring to Your Next Food Photography Shoot

The Secret to Finding the Hero Angle in Food Photography

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

Caz Nowaczyk lives in Wollongong, Australia and has worked as a photographer, filmmaker, and designer in her business, Exposure Arts and Media, for 15 years. Her background extends to Digital Content Management for radio, and Editorial Design for the news industry. In her spare time, she composes music as Dreamgirl and the Motorist. Since the age of 12, she knew she would be a photographer - the other stuff came as a surprise!

  • Tom Cooper

    Upper left dropdown / flag as inappropriate / report as spam.

  • Giuseppe

    Very good Caz. I really like your enthusiasm. Greetings from Italy.

  • PDL

    By definition plywood means laminated. Sorry, but it does.
    I understand that you had a lot of fun using the term laminated plywood, but if you go to Home Depot and ask for “laminated plywood” they will give you a strange look since plywood is made up of thin sheets of wood that are laminated together.
    Just sayin.

    You might want to investigate coatings “sealers” that are food safe too.

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