DIY Food Photo Backgrounds

I got a little bit of my DIY on this weekend and made up some pretty food backgrounds for my photography.

Well,  I should say I got a little DIYH on because my “H” (husband), had to help me glue the wood together.   But still…I did a lot of it myself and it was pretty easy!  I think I could have glued the wood myself, but he saw me doing it and took over.  I figured it was best to let him so I could save my energy for the fun part, and that was the painting!

Anybody who’s ever spoken with me about this blog always says, “how do you think up all those recipes?”  I know they are complimenting me because they think that’s the hard part of doing this.  The fact is the thinking up recipes and other blog topics, the cooking, the writing…it is all easy peasy for me.  That’s why I do this, it’s my hobby and it comes rather naturally.  BUT….THE PHOTOGRAPHY IS REALLY HARD!

I still have a long way go in the photography realm.  I’m still at the stage in which sometimes I get a great shot and sometimes I don’t.  But, I have improved greatly since I started and the key is to keep taking pictures because you really do get better over time.  If you think food photography is NOT hard, just look at some of the shots of food people post on Facebook and think again.  Better yet. try snapping a pic of your dinner tonight and see how it looks.  I think you will be surprised.

One of the trends these days in food photography is the distressed wood background.  You see it all over the place.  I am really good at utilizing regular household items for backgrounds, but I really wanted that trendy look to my photos, so I did a little bit of research and found out that indeed, nobody just has these beautiful pieces of wood furniture all over the place that they use to place their food on.  They are just props.  Easy props that anyone can make.

So, with that being said, I did not invent this idea I’m about to show you.  There are other blogs out there that have demonstrated similar things, but I thought it would be helpful to my readers so I took some shots of me putting these together today.

Here’s what the finished products look like:


So this will provide four distinct backgrounds that I can use behind food, or to set food on top of.

All you need is:


A few plastic containers to mix paint, cheap paint brushes, $3 paint samples in dark brown, gray, white (you can use spray paint for the white), and sea foam blue, some old rags, wood glue (or liquid nails is even better).

And the for the wood:


This is just Wainscoting or bead board that you can buy in any big box home improvement store.  I used the kind that was primed white for the white background, and pine for the others.  My store had two varieties of pine, one beaded, and one with just wide slats, so I bought one of each for variety.  The pieces are tongue and grove, but they don’t snap into place, so they do need to be glued.  These pieces were 36 inches long.  One package made one board and was about $10.

First, glue the slats together using wood glue or liquid nails.  Press the pieces together and then glue one or two planks going the opposite way on the back to help keep the wood in place.  Allow to dry for 24 hours before painting.

For the white board, I just spray painted it with a good quality semi-gloss spray paint so that it would be really white and I could wipe it off if I spilled on it.  (When I spill on it is the more correct thing to say)!

For the brown, gray, and blue boards you will do the following easy process:

First, mix the brown paint with water so you have a 1:1 ratio of water to paint.  I only needed about half of the paint sample to do all three boards.  You need to work quickly, so I highly recommend doing one board at a time.

Paint the entire board with the diluted brown paint.  Make your strokes large and even, quickly covering the entire board, like so:


As soon as you cover the board, start with the side you painted first, and wipe in even, long strokes with the rag, removing the outer layer of the paint.  This will leave you with a weathered looking surface, and for your brown board, you’re all done.


Now, to make your grey and sea foam blue boards, start out the same way you did with your brown board.  Once you have wiped off the top layer of brown paint, just like you did above, you are ready to add the color.  Take a small amount of each of those colors of paint, and make them into a 1:1 solution of paint and water.  Stir them thoroughly.

Then, right over the brown paint, brush on the diluted colored paint like so, but until the entire surface is covered:


Then repeat the process you did with the brown, and wipe off the surface:


It’s the same for the blue board as the others:


Once you wipe the paint off the board will be dry and ready to use within a few minutes.


I can’t wait to see all the things I can do with my new boards!

I hope all of you budding food photographers out there find this helpful!  Happy picture taking!



  1. You are so talented.

  2. Love this! Also another idea I saw was to buy peel and stick tiles – neutral colors that can be stuck to foam core – some of them look as if you have a marble countertop – and at my store the peel and stick tiles were only .89 cents each!

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