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How to Make Your Own Photography Backdrop using Flat Sheets
Most photography equipment is fairly expensive. When you can get away with tools that are under $100, you are doing well. Using different, more cost effective items can help you to achieve the look that you want without breaking the bank. Photography backdrops are one of the easiest projects that you can undertake, and it can save you a great deal of money.
Start with the Proper Materials
In order to make your own background, you are going to need sewing equipment. Since it is a large piece of cloth, a sewing machine is recommended for the project.
There are a couple of different methods may be used in order to get the backdrop you want. You can purchase muslin from a craft store, but it takes quite a bit or work to get it the right size. You may also need to dye the cloth to get it the right color.
Instead of muslin, purchasing a king size flat sheet is a great option. These can be found at Wal-Mart for much cheaper than even the raw materials needed for the muslin alternative. You may also be able to get some of the more common solid colors, such as blue and black. If not, you can purchase the dye to change the color of a white flat sheet.
Canvas is also an alternative that can be used. It is sturdier than muslin or the flat sheet, but it needs to be sewed with a heavy-duty machine and needle. It is also very expensive. Generally speaking, it is not worth the trouble to make a canvas backdrop, as the tools needed to make it work can be as expensive as the original backdrop.
Sewing the Backdrop
Once you have the materials that you are going to be using, you need to sew the seams up the sides. With muslin, you will have to pin the sides so that you have at least a 1/4" seam. With a bed sheet, all the sides are already sewn, so this step is done for you.
After all the edges are sewing with the hem, the next step is to make the top where the holding bar will go through. This is a loop that goes all the way along the backdrop that is about 2 inches. Make sure that this is the short side of the material, as you need the longest side to reach from the top of the backdrop holder to the floor.
Dyeing the Material
When dyeing the material, make sure that you follow directions. It is important to note that you will need multiple packages in order to get the desired results. A Sterlite container is the best bet for getting the color right. Before removing the background from the dye, check and make sure the cloth is the desired color. If it is not, leave the cloth in longer, or consider removing the cloth and adding more dye. After it has been removed, wash the background to remove the dye so that it doesn't stain any clothing that may come in contact with the backdrop during a shoot.
After you are done dyeing and washing your fabric, the background will be ready. Put it on your stand, get a couple of (un)willing subjects, and shoot away! For examples of the finished project, check out the timeout and lesson hub that I have posted. The background that is in those photos was one that I had made.