How to Make Double-Sided DIY Backdrops!

Creating quality artwork or other goods usually leads to wanting to share them with the world, especially if you're doing it as part of a business! Social media sites like Instagram give artists & sellers an opportunity to showcase their work to a large audience and hopefully lead them back to your website or shop, but if the photos are poorly lit and the products don't stand out, viewers are likely to scroll on by. Listings on shops like Etsy and Ebay are much more likely to sell if there are multiple, clear and well-lit photos that display the product in an attractive way. Displaying your work well helps you stand out from the crowd, and builds a sense of credibility for potential buyers and clients.

If you're just starting out, you don't need to spend a lot of money or have a large studio space to create attractive photo backgrounds! Today I'm going to share how I created three backdrop options (marble-look, blush pink, and pine wood) for about $27! Keep reading for information on what supplies I used, how I DIYed them, and examples of how I'm using them to photograph artwork, giveaway prizes, and more.

 
How to make double-sided, DIY photobackdrops for your artwork, crafts, and other products! Create three different backdrops in white marble, pink, and pine wood for less than $27! For more info, check out danielleandco.com.
 

One of the first decisions you need to make is what style of backdrop will best showcase your work. Having consistent colors, textures, and overall design look will help brand your work and create an overall polished and professional atmosphere. I chose to create a white marble-look backdrop, a blush pink backdrop, and a light-wood tone backdrop for my own work. I believe my work stands out better against light backdrops as opposed to dark ones, and I know I prefer the look of Instagram accounts that are bright and clean-looking. Both white marble and blush pink are very popular backgrounds right now, so while they may not be unique or original, I know that viewers respond well to them and I enjoy how they look overall.

The below instructions could be easily updated to suite your personal tastes! You could choose any paint color you prefer, stain the wood backdrop any tone, or chose completely different contact papers; the possibilities are endless!

 
All the supplies you need to create three different DIY photo backdrops, for less than $27! From danielleandco.com
 

All of my supplies came from Lowes (this is not a sponsored post; it's just my favorite local hardware store option). One quick trip and about $27 later, I had everything I needed.

DOuble-sided DIY Backdrop Supplies

  • Birch plywood square plank, available in multiple sizes (Mine were $7.44 each, and are about 2'x2'.
  • Peel & Stick Shelf-Liner, $6.97 for a 20" x 15' roll from Duck Brand (I chose White Marble, but you can see below how many options there are! I only needed a small portion of the roll.
  • Small jar of latex paint, $3.49 for a sample-size by Valspar at Lowes (I chose an off-the-shelf sample jar in Baby Blush)
  • Cheap foam brush, $.98 from Lowes

Let's start with the marble backdrop! This is so simple, it almost doesn't need instruction. It's as simple as lining your shelves or sticking up wall decals!

I began by laying my birch plywood board down on a flat surface, and choosing which side I would stick the shelf liner to. My boards had one side of the wood in better shape than the other, so I chose the worse-looking side to stick the shelf-liner to (since it would be covered up). I grabbed a sharp pair of scissors, and rolled out my shelf liner (or contact paper - whatever you call it).

 
How to DIY a Marble-Look Photo Backdrop to showcase your artwork, crafts, and other projects. Supply list and instructions on danielleandco.com
 

This brand of shelf liner comes with a convenient grid on the back, which was nice for making a straight cut. It is only 20" wide, which is shorter than the 24" width of my board, so I knew I would have to use the entire width of the paper once, and then cut a strip slightly wider than 4" to cover the difference (and ensure I didn't have a gap).

 
How to DIY a Marble-Look Photo Backdrop to showcase your artwork, crafts, and other projects. Supply list and instructions on danielleandco.com
 

I decided to put down the narrow strip first, and then the wider piece second to ensure it was laid down straight. Following the typical instructions for putting down any sort of adhesive liner, I began by sticking down the short edge and then slowly adhered the length of the liner to the board, pulling off the backing paper as I laid it down and smoothing down the liner carefully to eliminate bubbles. A credit card can also help with smoothing it down. Below, the 4" strip of liner is down, but the larger piece hasn't been put on yet.

 
How to DIY a Marble-Look Photo Backdrop to showcase your artwork, crafts, and other projects. Supply list and instructions on danielleandco.com
 

If you put it on a little crooked to begin with, no worries; it is adjustable for awhile, as long as you don't try to unstick it too many times. Once I had it down straight and the bubbles all smoothed out of it, I made sure the edges were smoothed down too so it wouldn't get snagged.

While there is a visible seam in the marble pattern, I haven't had it be a big deal when actually using the backdrop; I'll explain more toward the end of the post, and you can see some examples of it in use with no visible seam!

 
How to DIY a Marble-Look Photo Backdrop to showcase your artwork, crafts, and other projects. Supply list and instructions on danielleandco.com
 

Above, you can see how smooth it turned out, even on the rough plywood surface! This particular liner has a realistic-enough marble look, and also isn't too shiny on camera, so it got a thumbs up from me! Also, I only used a small portion of the roll, so have a lot left over for future projects... or even just lining my shelves, if I ever get around to it.

Let's talk about the painted background now! This could actually be started first, and then the shelf liner backdrop made while the first coat of paint dries.

I grabbed a cheap foam brush for less than $1, to save time and avoid washing paint brushes, etc. This was meant to be quick and easy, and I knew I didn't need a fancy brush for this particular project. The brush was a little too wide to fit in the paint jar, so I just tipped it sideways to drip the paint out on the surface as needed (a more narrow brush or pouring the paint into a wider container would fix the issue, too). I simply applied a smooth, thin coat then left it to dry for about an hour while I went and worked on other things.

Tip: wrapping your foam brush in saran wrap while the paint dries will keep it fresh, and if you stick it in your fridge you can even wait a day or two before coming back to the project.

 
How to DIY a Blush Pink Photo Backdrop to showcase your artwork, crafts, and other projects. Supply list and instructions on danielleandco.com
 

After it dried, it was definitely splotchy, as you can see in the photo below, taken right before I began the 2nd coat. This paint by Valspar is a high-quality one (it's also what I use to paint my walls at home, too) so I knew a 2nd coat would likely do the trick. After applying another smooth, even layer it looked great!

 
How to DIY a Blush Pink Photo Backdrop to showcase your artwork, crafts, and other projects. Supply list and instructions on danielleandco.com
 

Below, I carried them outside so I could get a good picture of the marble and pink backdrops together. The love how the pink tone turned out; it was exactly what I was going for! While you can see the seam in the marble shelf liner, in most photos I place the artwork on the side with the wider piece of liner, and I've only needed to use Photoshop once to blend the seam out.

 
How to DIY three different photo backdrops (marble, blush pink, and pine wood!) to showcase your artwork, crafts, and other projects. Supply list and instructions on danielleandco.com
 

The plain pine backdrop is just the unfinished side of the blush pink backdrop. I made sure to save the best looking side of wood planks for this; I also plan to use a matte finish varnish spray to protect it, but am waiting for good enough weather again to do it outdoors. Living in upstate New York is no joke when you're trying to do DIY projects.

What about the fourth side? The one on the same board as the marble liner? I have plans for it, but they are up in the air! Let me know in the comments what you think. Should I stain the wood a darker color? Attach thin balsam wood planks for a hard-wood look? Use a different color paint, maybe something darker like a charcoal? So many options...

 
How to DIY three different photo backdrops (marble, blush pink, and pine wood!) to showcase your artwork, crafts, and other projects. Supply list and instructions on danielleandco.com
 

Below, you can see examples of how I have used all three backdrops to showcase my artwork and even create blog post and weekly giveaway images!

Using a limited number of backdrops has helped me create a consistent style, and I don't need to stress about where I'm going to shoot photographs. I love how the pale pink backdrop turned out, but I make sure to change it up occasionally with the wood and marble styles, too.

While I mostly use the backdrops for photographs, below is an example of when I used it for a video backdrop as well, when I shared a process video of painting this little goldfinch. I keep the backdrops stacked in a corner near where I work, and pull them out as needed. (You can also read about my video set-up and supplies).

 
How to DIY three different photo & video backdrops (marble, blush pink, and pine wood!) to showcase your artwork, crafts, and other projects. Supply list and instructions on danielleandco.com
 

Well, that's it! I hope this has helped you find some ways of creating attractive product photographs of your work without having to break the bank with expensive supplies. I'd love to see some examples of what you make, and if you get creative with colors and textures - please tag me on Instagram or shoot me an email with the results of your own DIY backdrop adventures!

- Dani

How to make double-sided, DIY photobackdrops for your artwork, crafts, and other products! Create three different backdrops in white marble, pink, and pine wood for less than $27! For more info, check out danielleandco.com.
 

Holiday Gift Guide: 19 Gift Ideas for Artists & Makers

Creative people can be really hard to shop for. Do you go for something quirky, useful... or both? How do you know what tools they already have, or what they would enjoy? Is a gift card to Michaels too basic? I totally get it. When I hint at what gifts I want, I also often have to explain exactly what they are and why they exist. For instance... a bone folder? Unless you've spent a lot of time with big sheets of fine art paper, you might not know what it is - but it can be a great stocking stuffer! So, I've put together 19 gift ideas I know I would love, and that I bet the artist or maker in your life would appreciate.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission if you purchase an item using one. Thank you for supporting danielle & co.!

GIFTS TO ADD TO THEIR TOOL BELT

Gift ideas for artists & makers; how to add to their tool belt this holiday season! From danielle & co.

 

  1. A quality pencil set, $11.85: All creative people can use some high-quality sketch pencils! Jot down some ideas, invent a new logo, or begin a new fine art project. This set by Staedtler covers all of the bases.
  2. Brush cleaner & preserver, $5.99: The perfect size to stuff in a stocking or add a little something to a larger gift, this small but long-lasting brush cleaner works for watercolor, oil, acrylic mediums and more.
  3. Bone folder, $5.73: As I noted at the beginning of this post, a bone folder is super useful and on my own wish list for this holiday season! My college-era bone folder was lost somehow over the years, and I definitely miss it. A bone folder is perfect for getting a just-right edge on paper, and getting neat & clean tears.
  4. Finetec Pearl & Finetec Metallic sets, $24-$27 each: Finetec palettes are way more than a typical paint set; they are useful for creating fine art, scrapbooking, calligraphy, and adding a touch of something pretty or bright to pretty much anything.
  5. Mjello water bucket, $10.59: For all painters, calligraphers, or anyone else wielding a brush or dip pen, this water bucket can take things next-level. The handle multi-tasks and a brush-rest, and with multiple compartments there is always clean water at-hand!
  6. A very good pencil sharpener, $26.99: Not all pencil-sharpeners are created equal. When you're using fine art or watercolor pencils, you need something that can handle different densities of lead or pigment and that won't loose it's edge. This one can be plugged in when it's in your studio, but battery operated if you need to sketch on-the-go.

Gifts To Upgrade Their Studio

Gift ideas for artists & makers; how to upgrade their studio this holiday season! From danielle & co.

 

  1. Canvas brush or pen organizer, $28.79: One thing that seems universal for painters is, brushes are everywhere! This simple, canvas roll-up brush organizer can also be used for pens, sketching pencils, knitting needles, etc.
  2. Hand-made ceramic brush or pen rest, $12.04 for a 4-brush holder: warmceramics shop on Etsy offers ceramic brush rests in a variety of lovely colors, and they have such a sweet hand-made look, who could resist?
  3. Portfolio backpack, $18.99: This sturdy canvas bag can fit a drawing board along with all of the supplies needed for a day painting in the park, sketching at the beach, or just hanging out at the local coffee shop. A regular backpack can't manage all that.
  4. Artist apron, $24.99: Creating is messy work, and this
  5. A classy portfolio, $17.99 for 17"x23" size: This is a step-above the plastic, black portfolio's of my student days! A great value at an affordable price, this sophisticated, felt portfolio is sure to show-case artwork when it's being delivered to galleries.
  6. Wood table easel, $16.96: I do almost all my painting at my kitchen-table, and a portable wood easel can help keep things at a comfortable angle while providing valuable storage, too.
  7. Custom address stamp, $24.95: This was one of the first gifts I got myself when I launched danielle & co., and I don't regret it for a minute! A custom address stamp makes all of your  mailings look professional, and you can provide your own font so it stays on-brand, too.
  8. Air-lift artist stool, $179.99: This may be a splurge for a gift, but will save your artistic loved-one some back pain while keeping their work space sleek and fashionable. Height-adjustable and with a real-wood seat, this is a studio must-have.

Gifts To INSPIRE (& Have Some Fun)

Gift ideas for artists & makers; how to inspire & add some fun this holiday season! From danielle & co.
  1. Not Paint Water mug, $16.95 for 15 oz size: In my house, it's my cat that's known for drinking the paint water, but I could see myself making that mistake, too. This cheeky mug makes it clear which is your coffee!
  2. Calligraphy complete starter kit, $39.50: Give the gift of a new skill this holiday season! There are so many great starter-kits out there that even the most seasoned artist can find something new to try. This calligraphy kit on Amazon provides everything you need to get a calligraphy skill launched!
  3. Bob Ross novelty socks, $11: Am I getting a little too weird? I don't think so! Available from FlightApparelSocks on Etsy. Who doesn't love Bob Ross? #happylittletrees
  4. A great book, $10-$16 each: A useful, inspiriting book is a classic holiday gift a reason. Some of my favorites include The Freelancer's Bible by Sara Horowitz and Modern Calligraphy by Molly Suber Thorpe (both of which are on my own bookshelf). I'm excited to get my hands on the new book, Modern Watercolor by Kristen Van Leuven - I've followed her on Instagram forever!
  5. Color Schemes Poster Set, $22 for 11"x14" size set: While it's great to decorate your own house or studio with your own work, having something a little different (and in this case also functional!) can be refreshing, too. This poster set by BackAlleysBackRoads on Etsy provides a nearby color theory guide that looks great, too.

I hope this list has given you some fun, new gift ideas for the artists & makers in your life!

What creative gifts have you given to artists, before? Do you keep it fun & quirky, or go for the useful supplies? Let me know in the comments!

- Dani

Gift ideas for artists & makers; how to add to their tool belt, upgrade their studio, inspire and add some fun this holiday season! From danielle & co.
 

Holiday Gift Guide: 19 Gift Ideas Creative Entrepreneurs

Managing a creative business is challenging, time-consuming, and takes a lot of resources. Most importantly, you need support from those around you and to know they believe in your work. This holiday season, you can support the entrepreneur in your life by choosing a gift that gives them a creative boost and edge up in their daily work!

I've gathered up 19 gift ideas that are specifically fit for the hard-working, innovative & fun creatives in your life. They are all things I know I'd be happy find inside a bright-wrapped package! I've sorted them into three categories so you can find just the right gift you're looking for (even if it's just to buy for yourself, after-all.)

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission if you purchase an item using one. Thank you for supporting danielle & co.!

Gifts To Add To Their Tool Belt

Gift ideas for creative entrepreneurs; how to add to their tool belt this holiday season! From danielle & co.
  1. iPhone Tripod, $21: This small, flexible smartphone mount means being able do more, almost anywhere. Great for taking photos and videos hands-free, or multi-tasking while you're on FaceTime.
  2. Elle & Company Library subscription, $6.99/month: I have followed Elle & Company for quite awhile now, and Lauren Hooker is one of the best resources for running a creative business that I know of. She has put together a library described as "a convenient, inexpensive online collection of workbooks, templates, and files to help entrepreneurs organize and customize the behind-the-scenes of their business." Totally worth it, for the same cost as a cup of fancy coffee.
  3. Ultra-Compact Portable Charger, $20: Never have a phone die mid-brainstorm chat or photo session again! Just the size of a tube of lipstick, it can be easily tucked into any messenger bag and will always come in clutch.
  4. Denim-Covered iPhone Cable, $12:  Avoid getting into "is this cord mine or yours?" conversation, and keep them from dangling and fraying too.
  5. Professional Headshots: Having a professional photog take your photo may feel like a splurge, but in a competitive business world the right image can mean everything. If you're looking for headshots on a budget, consider hiring a photography-major college student or someone just starting out; I had outdoor headshots taken by a student two years ago, and for $60 have a great set of quirky, high-quality photos I can use everywhere. (Photo by Adil Ansari on Unsplash.)
  6. Adjustable Laptop Desk, $45: You've probably heard sitting is the new smoking, and this light-weight laptop desk can turn any regular-height counter or desk into a standing one. It can always be adjusted to a lapdesk for lounging on the sofa, when late-night emails need answered.
  7. Wood-look Photo Backdrop, $18 for 3'x3': This high-quality, non-glare vinyl backdrop by Simply Photodrops on Etsy provides a quick, on-trend background to any product-photography or Instagram post.

Gifts To Upgrade Their Office

Gift ideas for creative entrepreneurs; how to add upgrade their office this holiday season! From danielle & co.
  1. Cable Management System, $9: It may not sound exciting, but every entrepreneur has a lot of things plugged in and charging at once. This versatile cable management system can corral all of those loose cords and keep them neat, lined-up, and out of sight.
  2. Don't F*cking Procrastinate Mug, $19: For the person who needs some tough love (and/or has a sense of humor), this bluntly phrased mug will serve up some motivation with their coffee.
  3. Marble Laptop Cover, $13: For a more polished look (yes, that was a marble pun.) this classy-looking laptop cover can make a device seem fancier, for way less cost than an upgrade.
  4. Motivational Pencils, $8 for set of 6: Give them a daily reminder of how hard they hustle and how answer they are, with these affordable message-pencils by CurioPress on Etsy.
  5. HappyLight, $32: As someone who lives in a cold, dark climate much of the year (I'm glaring at you, upstate NY), this is a practical gift that will keep giving, as it lifts an entrepreneur's spirits while they're stuck inside working.
  6. Bamboo Keyboard & Mouse, $60: One of the pricier gifts on this list, these wood keyboard & mouse combos are so unique they are sure to be something they don't already have.
  7. Don't Look Back Art Print, $24 for 11"x14" size: Remind them everyday of how much you believe in their work! This print is available in a range of sizes, by TypeCadCo on Etsy.

Gifts To Enrich Their Experience

Gift ideas for creative entrepreneurs; how to enrich their experience this holiday season! From danielle & co.
  1. Entrepreneur Magazine, $10.99 for an annual subscription: For your friend or family that loves Ted Talks and wants to talk shop over coffee, they can get a year's supply of detailed information & inspiration for just under $11.
  2. Marimekko Postcards, $16 for 100: Everyone running a creative business needs to network; these beautiful, artistic postcards will be memorable when they are sent as a thank-you after an interview, or to request a coffee date.
  3. Audible Subscription, $45 for 3 months: When you're spending hours crafting, making, or typing it can make the time go a lot faster to have something interesting or inspiring to listen to. While podcasts are amazing (and often free), there are so many books it's hard to find the time to read them.
  4. An Inspiring Book, $11 each: I highly recommend Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, for a boost in how to take creative risks. Adam J. Kurtz is one of my favorite entrepreneurs to follow on Instagram, and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of Things Are What You Make Of Them.
  5. Canvas Fold-Over Backpack, $98: Help them haul all those laptops and notepads in style and comfortable. This bag by Madewell is a perfect fit to keep items secure, and in a neutral and dark enough fabric to hide the inevitable espresso stains.

Well, that's a wrap! I hope this gift round-up has given you some fresh, new gift ideas for that entrepreneur in your life.

What other gift ideas would you recommend? Do you have a favorite gift to give?

- Dani

Gift ideas for creative entrepreneurs; how to add to their tool belt, upgrade their office, and enrich their experience this holiday season! From danielle & co.

Gift ideas for creative entrepreneurs; how to add to their tool belt, upgrade their office, and enrich their experience this holiday season! From danielle & co.