Sep 26, 2011

Ask Amy: Backdrops

By: Amy Atlas, in Ask Amy


Hey Amy! I have my own candy and dessert buffet company and would like to know how you get such gorgeous backdrops? I have read one of your blogs about using a foam board; however, can you give us all some tips on how to create more professional looking backdrops?


Hi Salin. I’ll get a diy post on this one day in the future, and it will definitely be in my book. In the meantime, here is a little information on backdrops…..

I either print custom patterned paper, seal patterned wallpaper, or use fabric to create a professional look for backdrops. I always use either foam or gator board.  Gator board is a little sturdier, however, foam board can work for smaller or home events. My backdrops are generally 8 feet long {since I usually use 8 foot tables} and my backdrops are usually either 3 feet or 4 feet high, depending on the venue. Often, I’ll have the backdrop drilled into the table to ensure that it will not fall during the event.  You never know when guests are going to bump into it and it is a precaution that I like to take.

Printed Backdrops
Often, we create a custom pattern for clients and then have it professionally printed and then sealed onto the gator board.  We did that here.  If you are having a printer seal patterned paper onto the backdrop, then the artwork for the paper should be the exact measurements of your backdrop.  Make sure you ask your printer for a proof before printing it so the colors are right and the design is printed properly.

Wallpapered Backdrops
We also use wallpaper and glue the wallpaper onto gator or foam board.  We did that here.  Cut the paper to the exact measurements of your board and then use spray mount {good for temporary mounting} to seal the paper to the board.  If the paper is on for a long period of time, it may buckle with humidity so don’t do it too far in advance of your event.

Fabric Backdrops
We also use fabric for backdrops and embellish the backdrops with ribbon.  We did that here. If you are using fabric, then make sure your fabric is wide enough to cover the height of your backdrop.  My fabric is usually 54 inches wide and so it can easily clear the 4 feet height of a backdrop.  For an 8 foot backdrop, I always get at least 3 yards to make sure there is enough fabric to cover the width of the backdrop.  Lay the board on a surface.  Place the fabric over the backdrop with the fabric right side up.  Pull the fabric taut, but not so much that it buckles and then secure excess fabric on to the other side of the board with dressmaker pins. Embellish with decorative ribbon.

Salin – I hope this was helpful!
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  • Thanks for sharing Amy……

  • Thank you so much for sharing, Amy. I’ll be trying my first two backdrops in 6 weeks and this information is priceless. I can’t wait to read your book !(in fact, I pre-ordered it from amazon already 🙂

  • Bea

    Thanks, Amy!! You’re the reason why I’m getting into creating dessert and snack tables. 🙂

  • Great info. Thanks for sharing! I’ve always wondered how your backdrops were made.

  • Awesome info! Now we can all have an “Amy Moment!”

  • Love2Create

    Wow!!! Thank you Amy for sharing your inside scoop!!!! How detailed you were, I feel like I can go make a back drop now!!!! ThANK YOU THANK YOU!!! I’m going to pre-order your book NOW!!

  • Thnk you for sharing!!!
    I print custom walpaper.

  • Jessica

    I’ve also pre-ordered the book and can’t wait! Great time to release, at the beginning of springtime:)

    I have a question about the backdrops – they look great in photos but how are they in real life? I’ve always hesitated using one because I find that the backdrop looks awkward against a normal wall or open space. How do you blend them into the surrounding wall, scenery etc, so that it doesn’t look like a trick but looks like it belongs?

    Thanks Amy!

  • I am obsessed with fabric…drawn in by the colors and patterns and always wanted to create a backdrop using one of my fabrics but was unsure how to get the board to seamlessly blend & stay attach to the table with no worries. I’m always so determined to figure things out myself, and doing things my way, but this time I’m glad I found your blog! Thank ya much for shining the light lol…nailing it into the table…go figure!

  • Jennifer Gruen

    This is incredibly helpful Amy- thanks so much for sharing. Would you mind telling us what thickness Gator board you use, and do you get it in one 8 foot sheet or put together smaller sheets? Also, any suggestions on suppliers for creating the pennant style hangings you often use on the backdrop?

  • Iraida

    Thank you Amy! I use a canvas and fabrics or patter paper for the last year and work good, what do you think about that? I want preorder my book now! I know you have a lot of work and proyect but this is an idea you can give a course on line and we can be certified by YOU!!! This will be a honor for all of us that admire your style and creativity! Can we have this chance? (sorry for my english) Amazing Parties,PR

  • Nairoby

    Thank you very much Amy. I’m in love with your designs and book! 🙂