Having a high-quality backdrop stand is a shortcut to capturing breathtaking photos. They allow you to select any background for your photography and accentuate anything in your camera's focus. So, whether you photograph people or products, having a fantastic backdrop stand is a life-saver.
Unfortunately, not everyone has access to backdrop stands, whether due to a limited budget or limited logistics. Luckily, DIY backdrop stands are exceptionally easy to assemble and relatively affordable to make.
In this article, we'll cover the basics of how to make a DIY photo backdrop stand. Of course, we included all the supplies you'll need, along with the measurements and a detailed guide for assembly. So, without further ado, let's make a DIY photography backdrop stand.
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While most store- or retail-bought stands feature metal construction, in this article, we're discussing a DIY stand made of PVC pipes. Here's what you'll need:
There are two main types of PVC pipe: schedule 40 and schedule 80. The difference between the two lies in the pipe wall thickness, with a higher number corresponding to thicker walls. The inner diameter will remain ¾-inch, but the schedule 80 pipes will be thicker, heavier, and pricier. You can use any schedule for this project, but construction made of schedule 80 pipes tend to be sturdier.
Most hardware stores sell their ¾-inch PVC pipes in 10ft length, which we used in this project. The combined measurements of parts for our DIY photography backdrop stand fit within the recommended supply list, with very little leftover piping.
The measurements for this project are following:
The cumulative measurement of listed parts (pipe lengths) is 465 inches, which is slightly shorter than the cumulative length of four 10ft long PVC pipes. This means you’ll be left with less than 10-15 inches of PVC piping, which is used to connect the leg assembly with the frame.
The approximate measurements of the complete DIY photography backdrop stands are 75” x 80” x 40”. We offered approximate measurements to account for the cutting errors and tolerance, as well as the dimensions of T-pipes and Elbow pipes.
Building a DIY photography backdrop stand
There are a lot of DIY tutorials on the internet about building your own backdrop stand. We decided on this specific build because it offers the best in terms of background coverage while remaining sturdy, lightweight, and affordable at the same time.
The houses are built from the foundations up, so it’s time to build the foundations for your DIY photography backdrop stand. So, let's start by making the base first.
Step 1: Cut the parts for the base
Building a stable and robust base is key to any DIY photography backdrop stand. Most online tutorials assemble the frame first and attach the legs at the end. We don't. It's important to note that our DIY model has a horizontal bar at the base, which only adds to the model's stability and sturdiness.
For this step, you'll need the following materials and tools:
We recommend using a pipe cutter or a hacksaw for this build as they have the narrowest bite. In layman's terms, they remove the least amount of material when cutting. Keep in mind that this is the most complicated step of the guide. To prepare the materials, you should make the following cuts:
You'll notice that you're left with 5 inches long leftover from the first 10ft PVC pipe. Save that for later. Also, two 40 inches long pieces of ¾" PVC is used for other assembly parts and aren't required in this step. Save those for later, too.
Step 2: Assemble the base
For assembly, you'll need one 75 inches long piece of PVC (previously cut) and four 20 inches long pieces for the legs. To join them all together, you'll need four T-pipes and four end caps to seal the ends of the legs.
Start by attaching one 20” pipe to a T-piece and adding another 20” part to the opposite end. Now attach the end caps to each end, and you’ve assembled one pair of legs for your DIY backdrop stand. Repeat that with another T-piece and two 20” PVC pipes. You’re now left with two pairs of legs for your stand, with the middle openings of the T-pipe still unused.
Next, take the 75” pipe, and attach the T-pieces at both ends. Use the middle openings, leaving the opposite ends open for further assembly. It should now look like an incredibly wide letter H. This will be the horizontal bar that provides your stand with enough sturdiness to withstand any type of background.
Remember the 5" long leftover piece. Cut that in half, and make two 2.5" pieces, which you'll need to complete the assembly. Put one of those pieces into the center hole of the T-piece on one of the legs. Repeat that with the other pair of legs. Now, attach each leg pair to the bottom openings of each T-piece mounted on the 75” bar. Congratulations, you’ve assembled the base, and you can now move onto the frame assembly.
But before we move on, here's the drawing of the base assembly, which you can use for reference:
Step 3: Cut the parts for the frame
The frame is the part on which you hang the background. On this particular model, you just hang the background over the top of the stand, and it will hold it in place beautifully. You can opt to install small clamps to hold the background for an additional cost and some extra work. But to keep things as simple as possible, we didn’t feature them in this build.
Assembling the frame is a lot easier than assembling the base since it has fewer parts. The main idea is to create a frame with two horizontal bars, one on top, and one in the middle, and four vertical bars. The frame would later connect to the base to form a DIY backdrop stand with not two but three horizontal bars for added sturdiness.
Upon completing the base, you’re left with the following materials:
With the two 40” vertical parts already cut in the previous step; you need to make the following cuts:
With those pieces cut, you’ll be left with approx. 5-10 inches of leftover PVC piping. You can safely dispose of these leftovers or use them on another DIY project. Now it’s time to move to the frame assembly.
Step 4: Assemble the frame
Besides the parts listed in the previous section, you'll need two elbow pipes and two additional T-pieces of PVC. We'll start with the top bar.
Take the first 75 inches long pipe, and mount elbow pieces on opposite ends. Needless to say, opposite ends of the elbow pieces should point in the same direction. Next, take two 40" long pieces, and connect each pipe to the available elbow opening. You should now have a construction that resembles an upside-down letter U.
Leave that part for now; we'll come back to it in a second. Now, take another 75" piece of PVC, and connect each T-piece to one end, as you've done in the base assembly process. Of course, you should use the T-pieces’ center openings. Once completed, you should’ve created another H-looking part.
Now connect the upper ends of T-pieces to the corresponding ends of each of the 40” PVC pipes. Use the two 40” leftover pipes that you’ve cut during the base assembly, and connect them to the free ends of each T-piece.
If you find it hard to follow the instructions described here, the frame is assembled following this schematic:
Step 5: Assemble the DIY photography backdrop stand
Once you assemble the base and the frame, it's time to put it all together, and the process is pretty straightforward. Place the base the way it should naturally stand, and connect the open ends of each T-piece with free ends of 40" pipes of the frame.
Viola, the backdrop stand construction is complete, and you can now use the stand to hang your backgrounds. Still, this stand is easy to disassemble because no adhesive was used. If you don't plan on dismantling your stand, we suggest using adhesive to bond the pipes and joints. We'll discuss that in the latter section of the article.
For now, here’s the final schematic of the assembly process:
Side notes contain additional advice, explanations, and steps on how to improve the DIY photography backdrop stand.
Slip-on, not threaded
We specifically used slip-on parts for this build, like end-caps, elbow, and T-pieces. Threaded pieces offer better stability, which is true, but they also require a great deal of expertise to assemble. Besides requiring expertise, using threaded parts requires you to thread the pipes manually.
This, in turn, requires the use of a pipe threader, which needlessly complicates the entire process of building a DIY backdrop stand. If you're worried about the sturdiness of your stand, you can simply hot-glue the joints.
Measurements and tolerances
All the dimensions in our build are the maximum measurements for specific parts of the assembly. Since cutting removes some of the material, your parts may end up being slightly shorter than listed in this article.
As long as your parts don’t end up being shorter by ¼ of an inch, the joinery will cover the difference in fit. However, you should pay attention that your PVC parts don’t end up longer than recommended values.
Using hot glue is recommended if you intend to move the stand around. It provides additional sturdiness to the build but somewhat limits disassembly. Once you hot glue the joinery on your stand, you won't be able to disassemble it easily. So, this is only recommended if you have to move it around the house or a studio, and not take it with you on travel.
Another critical step is to assemble the stand entirely before you apply hot glue. That way, you can account for and correct all the measuring and cutting mistakes within the joinery before applying the adhesive. If you're going to use hot glue, use it only once you're confident in your build.
Building a DIY photography backdrop stand is pretty straightforward, and we dare say, an easy task. All you need is some PVC piping and a smidge of elbow grease to bring stunning backgrounds to your photos. Feel free to come back and reference this article next time a friend or someone asks you how to make a DIY backdrop stand.