One of the things I have always wanted is a beautiful hand painted fine art backdrop for some fine art portraits and unique to me. I would love to be in a position to buy a bespoke hand made creation but unfortunately that is not something that my bank balance will allow 🙁
So what is a girl to do? Well the answer to everything always lies in google so that is what I did! I read tones of articles where people have tried to create their own backdrops and I was so inspired that I had to give it a go!
So last week that’s is exactly what I did. I managed to pic a hot sunny day and spent the afternoon after the kids were back from school in the garden with them painting away on my hands and knees. I do not recommend this position as my poor knees and back after were not thanking me!
So what did I use? What do you need?
Well the first thing I thought of was “what am I going to use to paint on?” So I visited B&Q and decided that I would use a dust sheet. I cut this to fit my 2m backdrop stand (although its a bit thinner than 2m) and left it fairly long with the idea of painting the whole length. I didn’t really want to use the whole dust sheet this being my first attempt in case it all went horribly wrong! I also have a similar sized one left and maybe some smaller pieces I can use for some newborn sessions. I am not one to waste anything he he.
The next thing to sort was the paint, and after a bit of research I decided that acrylic paint would be the best option and knew that Hobbycraft would easily have enough colours in to choose from and it should, hopefully, leave a more matt finish.
Every article I read though seemed to suggest that the dust sheets would need priming so I thought a primer would be the best option. To be honest I should have brought a bigger tub of it as it didn’t cover as much of the sheet as I initially thought, although in retrospect I am quite glad I never painted the whole sheet as I was already suffering enough!
Unfortunately, I didn’t have any rollers at home (which I thought I did have otherwise I would have brought myself one from B&Q), so I found a lonely paint brush left over, unused from painting the studio. I only used the one brush through the whole process and next time I am thinking i may get some Artist sponges and the paint from The Range – as it would be cheaper than Hobbycraft!
So what did I do?
So the first step I need to do was iron the blooming dust sheet. I hate ironing at the best of times so ironing the dust sheet wasn’t a highlight of mine but it is an essential step. You could at this stage sew a seem at the top of the sheet to insert the backdrop pole into but to be honest I didn’t really think of this at the time but I left enough room at the top of the sheet to be able to hang and support my sheet with clips.
Once ironed, the fun was about to begin!!!!
I decided to sit in my garden with the kids not having a big enough place to paint the sheet and also thinking it would be safer with little hands helping me!
I covered the floor with some plastic sheeting, placed the dust sheet on top sticking down some of the edges with tape to ensure it did not blow away with any breeze that may come my way.
I then started painting the sheet with the primer from the middle out with a paint brush.
Now ideally a roller on a pole would be a much easier way of doing this and I will of course be using that method next time!!!
I only did one coat with the primer as I ran out and to be honest I don’t think it really need a second coat but time will tell I guess.
Then it came to the really exciting bit – getting a bit creative!
I had an idea of what sort of colour and style I wanted to go for. I had purchased grey and a black acrylic paint with the idea of mixing some of the grey with some white primer to get another tone of grey too but as I ran out of the primer I found some left over white emulsion in my shed and decided I would use this too.
I then mixed some of the grey with the white emulsion and used this lighter grey in the centre of the backdrop and slowly worked my way outwards darkening the paint as I went. Lots of dabbing and brushing and generally messing around happened here and I even started mixing some of the edges with my hands to get ride of some of the brush strokes. I really did end up in a bit of a mess!!!
I guess there are no rules as to how you paint it, just have a play and just go for it using whatever technique you want!
And the Result?
When I stood back I have to say I was rather pleased with myself. Whilst I may have been very achy and completely covered in paint I was feeling pretty happy with my little self!
Yesterday I got to try my new backdrop out for the first time and I have to say I am really pleased with the result. There are some things I would change in my next one, such as I wouldn’t have my lighter shade so square (this came from me not really stepping back and looking what I was doing when I did it).
I do love my new back drop and have plans to make a number of different variations with varying colour palettes, once I have forgotten the effort it took to make this one ha ha