Placing a photo backdrop at your wedding reception adds a look of sophistication and luxury. It also creates an opportunity for well-lit wedding pictures. Such backdrops, if provided by your wedding planner or photographer, easily can cost thousands of dollars. But you can make your own for a fraction of that price by using PVC pipe and the draping of your choice. This way you can have the pictures of your dreams, but still keep the cash in your pocket.
Things You'll Need
4 10 foot 3/4-inch PVC pipes
8 PVC end caps
2 PVC cross connectors
2 PVC T-connectors
2 PVC elbows
Cut eight pieces of 3/4-inch-wide PVC to 1 1/2 feet in length, using a hacksaw, to make the base for your backdrop stand.
Insert an end cap on one end of each of the eight pieces of PVC pipe.
Saw two 3/4-inch-wide pieces of PVC pipe at 2 feet. Place each pipe into a cross connector. This is a small connector that has four holes around it. Tighten as firmly as possible.
Place a T-connector onto one 2-foot PVC pipe. The T-connector has two holes on each side and one hole that goes up. Place one of your eight pieces of 1 1/2-foot PVC pipe in the hole on the opposite end of the T-connector. You now will have one 2-foot piece of PVC pipe, a T-connector, a connector and then a 1 1/2-foot piece of PVC piping connected together in a long rod.
Insert two more 1 1/2-foot PVC pipes into the other two available holes on the cross connector to complete a large T-shaped section of connected piping.
Repeat the process to make another T. Connect the 2-foot piece of piping, a T-connector, connector and the 1 1/2-foot pieces of piping.
Make the frame by sawing a 3/4-inch PVC pipe to 6 to 8 feet. This will be the height of your backdrop. You can make it higher if you prefer, but you will need additional PVC connectors to attach multiple vertical pieces.
Insert your vertical pieces to the base. Place the vertical piece into the T-connector on your base that protrudes upward. You will have two Ts with a long rod attached to the top.
Cut the bar that connects the two vertical sides to size. This bar should be equal to the width of your fabric plus 6 inches. Add an elbow to the vertical rods and place the bar in the elbow on each side to connect the frame together.
Prepare your fabric. Muslin works well for this project, but you can use the fabric of your choice, such as a polyester cloth or lace. A printed banner is another alternative. Wash and dry it if necessary or if it has arrived folded in a box.
Dye your fabric if you want to change its color. Fill a bucket with hot water. Add dye solution according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Place the fabric inside the bucket. Move it around to evenly distribute the color. Crumple it up and dip in the bucket for a tie-dye treatment. Remove from the bucket and rinse with warm water.
Place the fabric on an outside clothes line. This will prevent shrinkage so that your fabric retains its original width for the backdrop. Iron the fabric after it dries.
Add the fabric to the PVC backdrop stand. Place double-sided tape on the fabric to create a seam. Dislodge the top bar of the stand from one elbow and place the fabric on top of the bar. Reinsert the bar and elbow. Scrunch up the fabric for a draped look, rather than a flat backdrop, and add an additional panel of fabric.
Make the backdrop longer by replacing the PVC elbows with connectors and adding more bases. Attach lighting to the top of the PVC backdrop if you prefer.
Try out the backdrop before the big day to ensure that it can handle the weight of your fabric and that it fits the reception venue to avoid any last-minute problems.