Painting a Photography Back Drop Your Self

So.  I really (really) want an Oliphant Backdrop.  Really bad. BUT I am struggling with the price tag.  SO.  Considering myself an artistic person, I thought I would try to paint one myself.  This is my first attempt.  I do think I will try again.  I did tons of research and struggled to find gel medium in my area, which is the stuff that thickens the paint and allows it to be pliable and not flake off the fabric.  I could find it online, but then again it was expensive and I knew I would need a lot.  Like 1 for 1 for the paint. Very good friend of mine told me she used to paint theatrical back drops and they always used FABRIC SOFTENER!  REALLY?  Yep.  Well, I can find that!  Had to make sure it was unscented though.

Ok.  I found a large 9x12 piece of canvas at Home Depot, for $14.  I thought if I am going to screw this up the first time I do it, it should be with cheap materials, and not the nice muslin I already have.

I picked out 4 shades of paint, bought a little one for the dark base coat and 3 of those little "tester" sizes for the other three shades.  I was EXCITED.

Here it is in the three stages.

First I have to say I was so disappointed when I opened the canvas and saw it had a massive seam through the middle.  Darn.   Ok, moving on.  I had to throw the canvas into the dryer for a while, to get the straight line creases out.  I didn't mind wrinkles, but the creases had to go.  Done.

Tape that baby down on top of a plastic drop sheet so my husband doesn't kill me for painting on the nice floor.  Done.

Mixed half of some paint and same amount of Downy Unscented Fabric Softener.  Poured into an old sour cream container and shake the crap out of it.  The stuff thickens UP like pudding I tell you.  Hmmm.  Should I add water?  Some people say yes.  I probably should have.  I ran out of paint to cover the base coat.  Oh well, moving on.

Threw a fan on that puppy and cleaned up.

Next day, I did the rest of the shades because I only really waited about 2 hours between coats.

The end result?  It's too busy.  That seam KILLS me.  I know I can clone it out, but it still kills me.   I may try to paint a watery lighter color over the whole thing to soften it up a bit.  I'll keep you posted.  Worst case scenario it will make a GREAT Fairy Portrait Floor Drop **WINK

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____________________________________ UPDATE:  (Several Hours Later...)

Well, not really wanting to use the backdrop as a floor drop, and still having the  nagging feeling that if I just rolled a light watery color over the entire drop, it would fix it, I caved in.  So these images are after I severely diluted the final paint color (cream) especially because I had only half a can of the tester size you get from Home Depot left.  So I used up the rest of my fabric softener and tons of water to the tiny bit of paint and pretty much rolled it over the entire 9x12 drop.  Well.  I thought I had ruined it, it just looked like crap.  I set the fan on it and went away for a few hours.  When I came back dow and attached it to my backdrop stand, I thought, wow, that looks pretty good.

Here are the final images taken of it.  I am actually super happy.  Even in spite of the stupid seam through the middle.  I will use this, a lot :)  Pretty good for $47.  It's no Oliphant Backdrop, but its not bad :)

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