DIY: How to make a photography wood board background

I love the use of woodboards as backgrounds in food photography. They give a nice texture to your photos, add character and create a mood. And possibilities are endless!  I remember trying to buy a ready-made one and check it out for myself but could’t find them anywhere. So I asked the good old Google about it and I came across a tutorial showing how to make one yourself. So it’s my turn to show how I made my own photography woodboard I often use as a background in my photos.

I got all I needed in my local DIY store – B&Q, but beware – it’s bloody expensive! I am sure you can find all these things much cheaper or perhaps you’ve got them in your garage already, just have a good look around!)

- wood boards ( I used 7 pieces 80cm x 9cm) you can have them cut in a store to fit the dimension you want or you can cut them yourself if you are feeling particularly DIY-ish)  + two smaller boards to use a support
- all purpose glue (or wood specific) – NOT the instant dry type
- tape
- some nails + hammer
- wood stain
- paint (I just bought a regular tester size one to use on walls, worked fine! lots of colours to choose and cheap as chips!)
- dry brush
- old t-shirt
- fine sandpaper

how to make photography woodboard

Arrange your boards on two pieces of wood placed vertically. You can use glue or tape to hold them in place. Make sure your gaps are the size you want. I wanted mine to be quite small, but visible. You can mix different widths of wood – just have a play.

Continue arranging them until you are happy with the size of your wood board.

Now it’s time to make the wood boards stay together. Make sure you have the nails going right through the vertically arranged boards. Glue or tape you used earlier should keep the boards in place but watch our for any unwanted movement to keep the gaps nice and even.

I used two nails each side of the wood panel to make sure it stays together and survives if  dropped off a table (yes, that happens).

Now it’s time for the wood stain. Take an old t-shirt and run it under the tap to dampen it a bit. Dip it in the wood stain and cover your boards evenly. You don’t need to worry too much about being perfect – wood stain won’t show that much when your wood board is ready.

When wood stain has dried (or you helped it with a hair dryer if patience is not your strongest side) you can start paining. This is the time to get creative and … sloppy! If you are going for this ‘old rustic’ look, you don’t want the paint to be perfect at all. Rough is good! You want the wood stain layer to show in places. You want to see the brush strokes and the spots you missed.

Make sure you use a dry brush and get rid of excess paint every time you are about to paint a stroke. Don’t over think it. I painted a few straight strokes across the length of the board and then fill in the gaps between them randomly.

Let the paint dry and if you think the paint coat is too think in some places, you can remove it with a fine grain sandpaper. Get creative – sanding it is a great way to age your wood board. Or you can now use another colour to brush gentle strokes to add even more character to your photography woodboard background. Possibilities are endless!

And this is how the board looks in my photos. I must say making your own woodboards to use as  photo backgrounds is quite addictive (and rewarding!) and I have made them in few more colours since and still want more!

3 thoughts on “DIY: How to make a photography wood board background

  1. Wow this is EXACTLY what I have been looking forward to..I love the blue background in the pic…So you would have a white wooden base and then have different coloured backgrounds on the back? Which store did you buy them?
    I love the rustic undertones…


    • Thanks Shoba! yes exactly – for this image I used a white board lying on a flat surface (table) and the blue board as the ‘backdrop’ – supporting it with something heavy from the back. Hope this helps! I will make sure to take a few images ‘backstage’ next time I am shooting and upload them here to better explain what I mean!

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