What Kind of Paint Should I Use to Paint a Backdrop?


Backdrops are an important part of a stage. These large sheets of fabric or wood are used to create "scenes" for plays, choirs or dancers. Often, a backdrops are painted with sky, brick or mountain scenes. In other cases, they are highly detailed for the particular play or scene where it is being used. Using the right type of paint for the backdrop will help you to get the best results.

Scene Paint

  • Scene paints are used on professional backdrops in plays and other stage performances. These paints are designed for use with flame-retardant products. This is important because in some instances there may be codes that need to be followed for stage props. Scene paints are also designed so that they can be easily thinned with great results. Scene paints can be applied to most types of surfaces, including fabric, wood, plastic and metal. If you are having a difficult time finding scene paints, look for vinyl acrylic paints.

Latex Paint

  • Latex paint is used to paint backdrops for plays, photo studios and more. This type of paint is easily accessible and can often be purchased inexpensively. Look for sales or coupons from your local paint or home improvement stores. Latex paint can typically be tinted to your specific color for free. Latex paint thins easily with water, but may not produce as good of results as scene paints. Apply the paint with a paintbrush or foam brush.

Craft Paints

  • Craft paints are available at most craft or fabric stores. These paints are easy to use and clean up with water. Craft acrylic paints come in smaller sized bottles, so you may need to purchase a few of them for a large backdrop. These paints can be purchased in a wide variety of colors, making it easy for those who don't want to mix paint colors. This type of paint also dries quickly.

Flat Paint

  • All types of paint that are purchased for a backdrop must be flat. Semi-gloss or high-gloss paints will throw off the stage lighting, making it difficult for viewers to see the backdrop. You may also be able to see your brushstrokes in the paint because of the sheen. Most scene paints come in a flat finish, but check latex and craft paints to ensure they have a flat or matte finish.


  • Photo Credit Mike Powell/Lifesize/Getty Images
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