Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Reusable Backdrop

The first year our school was open the Art, PE, Science Lab teacher and I worked diligently to create a beautiful backdrop using bulletin board paper.  It turned out beautiful!!!  The flowers were kid made and the overall effect was stunning but there were some definite downsides.

Pretty cute, huh?

It took the four of us all day to get the back panels hung!  Luckily and somehow magically we had a day where 5 out of 6 grade levels were on a field trip.  Don't know how that happened but it was perfect for getting this project done.  Needless to say this is one of those once in a lifetime kind of things, so taking this much time for a backdrop again wasn't going to be an option.

The other big problem for me was waste.  I tried saving the backdrop but it honestly just got in the way and I needed my closet to store other items.  So, unfortunately all that paper and hard work ended up in the trash.

After racking our brains trying to come up with a better solution, Mrs. M, my art teacher buddy came up with a brilliant and reusable idea.  You can purchase large pieces of foam board from art supply stores.  We found ours through Sam Flax.  We purchased 8 pieces of 48" X 96" white foam board.  From what I can remember the boards cost around $90.00 total.

These are from our performance of Skippyjon Jones!

Mrs. M's art club kiddos created these backdrops during their after school meetings!

These even fit on top of FlipForm's to create an extra performance area (other room) off stage.

My stage is very wide, so we found that 8 was a good number.  If I set up the risers similar to how the are in the first picture, we were able to place two sets of panels on the ends and two sets in between the risers. You may find that you can get away with just 4 panels on your stage.  In order to get them to stand up, we used a bit of velcro tape placed at the seam between the panels.

The great thing about these boards is you can paint them one year and then reuse them the next by painting a layer of primer and then your new backdrop.  Or, if you are short on time or preggo like me and Mrs. M this year, you can cover them with bulletin board paper.  Not as eco-friendly but a lot less waste than making the entire thing out of paper.

We had difficulty getting these boxes to stay standing up.  The two pieces are connected at the center with some plastic clamps from Home Depot and then we placed a couple of music stands behind to keep them from tipping over.

Another more economical solution that will get the same effect are large boxes; like refrigerator boxes.  A few years ago I went to a local appliance chain and asked them to save me a few boxes to use.  We turned some of them into a backdrop by painting them and others into large scale props by cutting out shapes and painting them.

What are some of the ways you keep backdrops simple and cheap?


  1. This is exactly what I made for our spring musical! To make them a little more sturdy, we built a wooden frame and attached the foam board. Mine have little triangle shaped legs that are also attached to the frame. I'm still waiting for a sunny day to paint...every time I try, it is snowing or raining! I love that they are reusable though. Such a great idea!

    1. I like the idea of a frame. I haven't had a problem with them staying up so far but I've always worried that they could fall over easily. I'm sure I have a handy chorus parent who could tackle that project. Thanks for sharing!


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