Create Your Own Backgrounds for Your Pics


Sometimes I get tired of taking pictures of my final, smaller projects on white boards.

Sometimes my white boards are looking less than stellar and I don’t really want to keep them, but I don’t want to throw them away either.  (If you don’t have white boards, I can occasionally find them at Dollar Tree).

After a failed photo shoot for my shop in the freezing cold, where I’d run to my van to warm up my hands between every item, I figured I’d just make my own backgrounds.  That way I don’t have to go anywhere when I have to photograph smaller items!

All my ideas I recommend using on the hard white boards.  They measure about 20” x 30”.  They are sort of like cardboard, lightweight and the texture, though smoother.  I can find them at Dollar Tree or always at Wal-Mart in the craft supplies/school section.  They range from $1.00-$4.00 normally.  The ones at Dollar Tree are certainly not as nice quality, but if you are just spraying and texturing them, it doesn’t really matter.  The ones from Wal-mart I get are dark blue on one side and white on the other.  They are frequently used in school projects for kids, like a science project.

You can divide the boards up, cut them, cover parts so you can do half a board at a time with a different method, or whatever.

Today I will be showing you how to create all the backgrounds pictured in this collage:February 2011

Let’s get started!


I love the look of an orange peel textured wall.  With a leftover can of spray paint and some spray texture purchased for around $10.00 at Home Depot, you can make your own orange peel textured mini “wall”.  That’s quite the mouthful!


One can of the spray texture covered two of the white boards that are about 20” x 30” big.  Just follow the directions on the back of the can.  It was a really cold day here, but I know if you turn the dial clockwise on this nozzle, it was supposed to produce a finer texture, but I think it was just too cold.  I had wanted to make one with a finer texture and one with larger bumps, but that didn’t happen. DSCF4585

Spray your board with the texturizer, let dry for a few hours, then spray paint or paint with a roller over the top.  The great thing is that you probably have paint sitting in your house somewhere just begging to be used for this project!  If you want a different look, you can knock down the texture when it is wet following the directions on the can. DSCF4599

When you are done, you’ll have a couple new fake walls to take pictures on.  My boards did slightly curve once they were dry, but I really think they will un-curve if I sit a couple books on either end of the board.  Just be careful when storing these boards, because you don’t want to knock off the texture.





You’ll need:  a hard white board, a little spray paint for the base paint (the yellow in mine—you don’t need spray paint.  You can use any paint but spray paint is so easy and fast!), a 7 oz. bottle of Elmer’s glue, one bottle of acrylic paint for the top layer color, and a foam brush or two.  I learned how to do this on YouTube.  While I was looking at Home Depot for the crackle spray paint, a helpful employee there said you can learn how to make your own online with Elmer’s glue.  So that’s just what I did.  If you don’t have time to watch a video, it’s really easy and I’ll explain it here. DSCF4582

First paint the white board the color you want peeking out from the cracks.  I used spray paint since it’s fast, but you can use a different kind if you want to.  Let the paint dry completely.DSCF4584

I’m positive the amount of glue and the amount of strokes in your glue will result in a different look every time—a brush verses your fingers will also.  I used the entire bottle of glue.  Experiment and see how you like it best!  I also think the glue could be watered down a little bit, because it didn’t really want to brush with my foam brush so I ended up using my fingers to spread it out. DSCF4587DSCF4589DSCF4590DSCF4591

Now immediately after applying the glue, paint on your top coat of acrylic paint.  I tried spray paint over the top of the glue the first time just to try it out, but it didn’t work for me. DSCF4592DSCF4595DSCF4597

See where that white glue is showing through?  When it dries it will be the yellow part.  It took overnight for mine to dry completely, but that’s probably because I used so much glue.  DSCF4598

And here’s the finished board, being put to good use!DSCF4620



I purchased these paper doilies for $2.00 in the wedding section at Walmart.  There were 20 in the pack.


And they make a beautiful, easy background for photos. DSCF4628


***For these next ideas, I used 1/4 of a white board.  You can certainly make them on a larger scale though!  If wanting to divide the board, you can either leave it as one board and cover up the other 3 sections as you are working, or cut it into fourths (or half, or whatever.  I would still recommend doing the next methods on the hard white boards.  A thinner, more pliable poster board soaks things and bends/curls the paper so it doesn’t lay flat.  Trust me:).  I tried it!  But if that doesn’t bother you then go for it!***


This one might be my favorite, simply because I think you can use it in a lot of crafts—even framing a simple word with this method would be fun.

You’ll need:  a white board, puffy fabric paint, two colors of spray paint, and some sand paper (not pictured). DSCF4651

First, write a word or design that you’d like on your board. Then use the puffy paint to write over it.DSCF4645

After the puffy paint dries, spray it with whatever color you’d like to show through.DSCF4695

Once that dries, spray over the top of that for the main color of the board.DSCF4706

Once that has dried, take some sand paper and lightly sand over the word or design you made with the puffy paint.  That’s it!DSCF4726



Very self-explanatory!  Just take some cans of whatever colors float your boat and have fun!DSCF4646





I wasn’t sure if this one would work, but I was happy when it did!  You just need some salt, spray adhesive, and spray paint.


First sprinkle some salt all over the board, until it looks how you want it.  Then spray the adhesive over the salt.  Still don’t move it around too much since not all the salt sticks.


Lastly, spray with spray paint and let dry.DSCF4728___________________________________________________________________


Also very self-explanatory.  Paint the board with chalkboard paint, or spray with the chalkboard spray paint.



Other ideas you’ll see lots o’ places online:

-use fabric as background

-use scrapbook paper for the background

-props like books, vases, flowers, clocks, etc. are always great to liven up and personalize a picture

-spell things with buttons, ribbon, candy, or other small items.

The possibilities are endless!  I always love a good, creative photo!


  1. says

    Great ideas! A friend and I just opened up our Etsy shop and I’ve been struggling with how to get some good product photos – with the cold and lack of “pretty” surfaces in my house (not to mention the lack of good lighting – but that’s a whole ‘nother issue). Thanks for the ideas!

  2. says

    Thank you so much!!! This was a much needed tutorial and I love how all of the backgrounds turned out. Great ideas, especially being that it is so cold and dark out.

  3. says

    I love them all but the word is absolutly fabulous! I also love the different techniques.. The glue and paint is great i have in the past paid alot of money for the crackle stuff… Not anymore! Thanks.

  4. says

    All really good ideas! I’m sure I’ve seen some here and there, but it’s nice to have them in one place for reference. Thanks for the tute. Very cool!

  5. says

    These are some fun ideas. I actually made a light box out of an old cardboard box and vellum paper and swap out colored cardboard for different looks – but I really like the idea of creating some with texture! That would look awesome in the light box.

  6. says

    holy schmoly, genius! i’m super impressed with all of these. you have such an amazing, creative eye for things, Christie.

  7. says

    Christie, what a fabulous post! I really love all the ideas, and need them! I’m an etsy newbie, and you’re so right, it’s hard to keep a white background looking spiffy. Photos are the hardest part of an online shop, so can’t thank you enough for this!

  8. says

    Awesome ideas! I’ve always wanted to try the crackle paint, but never had the guts. I could totally try it with glue! Thanks for the ideas!

  9. says

    Lots of fun ideas, but I think the Elmer’s glue crackle paint is the best. I never knew it would work out like that!

  10. says

    Christie – What a great idea! I’ve never seen a tutorial for this and I’ve never thought of making cool backgrounds. You are so clever. Love knowing that glue crackle tip too. Thanks!


  11. says

    I love that you posted this! It’s so easy to become stagnant with project pictures. Thanks for the reminder to “shake it up” a little :)

  12. says

    Emily, I’m glad you asked–it’s kind of like cardboard. The thickness is like a cardboard box, as is the weight, really. It’s just white. I have some white boards purchased in the school supply/craft section at Walmart that have one side white and the other side is dark blue. The ones I purchase at the Dollar Tree are white on both sides, but bend a little easier–they aren’t as densely made. They measure about 20″ x 30″ and range in price from $1.00-$4.00 normally. They are typically used for school projects like science projects.

  13. says

    Such brilliant ideas – my backgrounds are seriously lacking, but you’ve inspired me to get creative ASAP!

  14. says

    I loved all these ideas. Especially the “create” and crackle paint ideas. I think it would be fun to use some of these to make your own art. You are so clever! Thanks for sharing your creativity.

  15. says

    This is really great. You put so much work into this, and it’s a really great resource! I linked on the Crafterminds facebook page & also on our Blogging Resources page at!

    You rock, Christie!

  16. says

    I love all of these ideas! Thank you!!!
    You are painting when it is really cold?? I bought some paint at HD a few weeks ago for a project or two but I refuse to paint until it warms up. I thought the paint wouldn’t even cooperate over a certain temperature. Then of course there is the issue of having to go OUTSIDE or in the shop.

  17. says

    This is awesome!! Thanks so much for these great ideas! I definitely need to revamp my background ideas. :)

  18. says

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I love them all. The crackle and the puffy paint ones are probably my favorites.

  19. says

    These are all great ideas! I have a red table in my lanai and I get such good sunlight in that room that I take many of my photos on it. I think it makes an interesting background! ♥

  20. says

    CJ, yes, I’m painting when it’s really cold:). I’ll keep the paint inside, run out and spray it, then bring the boards inside to dry while cracking a window so the fumes don’t get to us. It seems to work pretty good!

  21. says

    So totally cool! Love the salt one…though they are all beautiful and they really enhance your projects! Thanks so much for sharing.

  22. says

    totally get ya on the yucky white board. ;)

    I have some walls I use too. Very fun! thanks for blogging about this so others can get some great ideas!

    sharing it on twitter :)

  23. says

    Oh my gosh Christie, you are genius! I always use a white board but have never thought to paint them! I think I just found my weekend project, I’m so excited!

  24. says

    What a fabulous post, Christie! Found you via the Creative Apples blog.

    Can’t wait to share these background ideas with my readers! I love the salt and paint background the best. Thanks so much!

  25. says

    These are all such great ideas. I’m tired of my plain white backgrounds for my Etsy shop… I LOVE the last one. You can tell your customers a story with the item as well as a key word or two. Thank you!

  26. says

    I caught this article in Crafterminds. I’m always scrambling for the perfect background for my “final shot” and now I start making background boards to have on hand. Thank you for sharing your secrets & showing us how to do this!

  27. says

    this is AWESOME! I want to paint WALLS like this for bigger backgrounds ^_^ thanks so much!