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How to create unique DIY photo backdrops

Would you like your Instagram photos to stand out? Do you want to create a unique look for your brand or products?

Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a bought backdrop, they are brilliant and I admit to having a small collection! Effective and reliable, but... there not cheap and may not deliver that personality that your looking for. The added bonus of creating your own backdrops is the fun of salvaging bits and pieces and the satisfaction of putting together your favourite colours and textures. A bit of effort will deliver wonderful results!

I've loved putting these backdrops together for my own product photo shoot but will use them over and over in different ways... before possibly repainting and using again... Here are a few I did with tools and a few tips and tricks:


Slate has a gorgeous tactile surface, often found heavily weathered, rusted and chipped it has a character already and is flat so ticks all the boxes. I dug these pieces out from behind a local garage so keep your eyes peeled on walks, days out and when passing skips as slate is often bought in bulk and discarded. If you live in Wales or other slate rich environments, lucky you, no salvaging required. I didn't use large pieces of slate, plus it snaps easily so you can use smaller pieces. If like me you have a brand colour look then using paint is brilliant as you can get exactly what you want. Goes without saying I have a massive collection of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint but you can just use the small sample pots from any range you love.

Natural slate: The back of a piece I painted pink and decided to leave the splodge of paint and pink edges. Painted in Antoinette.

Blue slate: Painted in my absolute favourite Annie Sloan colour, Aubusson Blue with pressed in gold leaf flakes (not real gold! bought in a set of 20 from Amazon)

Grey slate: Painted in Paris Grey. I painted two coats of paint on all pieces but didn't seal with wax as I prefer the matt look.


Cheap and cheerful, old unused and unloved tiles are everywhere. They are super for adding a pop of colour or texture especially if chipped and damaged. Use small piece to layer up the look. Old terracotta tiles work well as they absorb paint. I used the backs of some old bathroom tiles for these.

Blue tile: Painted in Aubusson Blue.

Pink tile: Hiding in the background, painted in Antoinette.


Loved making these! Now this is a messy job, but loads of fun. I used some pieces of very thin MDF but any old bits of wood, ply, floor boards or thick cardboard will do the job. You will need a pot of Ready Mixed Wall Tile Grout, any brand and a pot of water. The more water you add the smoother the surface, easy. All you do is smear the grout over your surface then texture using a trowel, fingers or sponge. Leave to dry then paint. I used Old White, Antoinette, Paris Grey and Aubusson Blue.

Blue texture: The first two boards are simple but I wanted to create something a bit more striking to photograph the plain white Khadi Papers so added more layers. Frankly, I got a bit carried away!! I painted in Aubusson Blue then using Old White added some dry-brushing effects followed by touches of White Wax. The gold leaf was pressed into the damp paint and left to dry. Much as I love a simple, classic background, sometimes more is better!

So, keep your eyes peeled for reusable bits and pieces and just have fun with it!

Let me know how you get on, I'd love to see your creations.

Nyree x


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