Building Your Own Photo Backdrop Wall

Seamless paper backdrops among other backdrops are great for photography backgrounds, but sometimes, you want a background with some real texture. While having several different walls painted different colors or having different textures sounds great, the space and size of a studio can put limits on what you can actually do.  

Well, what options do you have to add more walls to your studio? A simple way to get around the limitations of space is to have some moveable backdrop walls; ok, well, maybe it's not that simple. 

Coming from Mango Street and a collaboration with Daniel DeArco, they share their design and the process behind creating their own moveable, double-sided photo backdrop. This isn't for the faint of heart; I suggest you have some skills behind woodwork and the tools required for building such a backdrop. You can watch as they break down the build into steps and show you the process and wrap it up with a photoshoot showing the new double-sided wall in action. 

While this was a fairly simple overview of the process, if you are familiar with building similar objects, you should be able to fill in the steps and build your own version. Do you think this is something you would give a try? Show us some of your examples in the comments below.

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9 Comments

Elan Govan's picture

Entertaining take on carpentry

Niels Veeneman's picture

exactly what i was thinking

Mr Hogwallop's picture

Over 30 years I have probably built ten of these rolling walls in various studios, solid walls, bounce walls and silk diffusion walls. Most had the wall go to about 1/4 inch above the floor, then used a length of moulding to cover the gap and give the appearance of a real wall for a room set. Some needed a middle set of wheels like the extra long like more than 20 ft used in car studios. Sand bags or 5 gallon paint buckets used as weights, just to be safe. Depending the materials they can weigh a LOT. Better to over engineer than under!
We used a yellow pad of paper and a pencil to noodle it out, but that 3d modeling program was wicked awesome.

David T's picture

This is an engaging video that captures the emotions you feel during a carpentry project, but doesn't illustrate the process at all. "Create a 3D model. Buy the stuff. Assemble it. Have fun."

Shots of the important parts (connections, screws, ...) were glossed over.

Basically, draw the rest of the owl.

Lenzy Ruffin's picture

Given that white seamless paper is already portable, that seems like a ton of work just to put some plywood on wheels to use as a backdrop..

If I needed to have such a thing, on each side, I’d clamp the plywood to C-stands with casters and put a dolly under the center. That would roll around just as easily and the C-stands and dolly could be used for other things when the plywood backdrop wasn’t needed.

Yeah, it would cost more, but someone with a studio space large enough to accommodate what they built and who needs such a thing often enough to justify that effort can afford a couple of C-stands, if they don’t already own them.

Interesting project that appears to be done very well, but this was definitely not a simple DIY solution to what was a simple problem.

John Dawson's picture

They needed a 3D model for that?! Building a wall for a background is like building a bomb to kill a fly.

Douglas Turney's picture

Technology for technology sake. Pencil and paper - done in 5 minutes.

I knew I was in for "entertaining" build when the intro included a HATCHET.

Lane Shurtleff's picture

Overkill! Use the same side support structure, but cut a vertical groove the thickness of your plywood to support a single layer, and allow it to be about 1/4" above the floor You could even glue fabric or paper to make it seamless to the floor. The middle support wheel would be unnecessary since only 2 sheets (instead of 4) are used. Plus it would be lighter overall so anyone could move it around easily.