A picture is worth a thousand words. Your wedding backdrop is going to be in your wedding photos forever, so make it your own! You can DIY your wedding backdrop to make it look exactly how you want it. All you need is your drapery, some PVC pipe, and a little bit of work.
Making a portable wedding backdrop with PVC pipe is simple. Choose a pipe that is at least five feet long for the base and top. Choose a longer pipe for the vertical sides. Smaller pipes serve as ‘feet’ to hold the frame upright. Use elbow and t-connectors to lock the pipes together. Hang fabric, a sheet, and plastic greenery from the top pipe.
Below, we’ll break down the step-by-step process of making a wedding backdrop with PVC pipe. Then, we will explain how to modify this process for larger frames.
- What You’ll Need
- Putting it All Together
- Modification for Larger Frames
- What Is PVC Pipe?
- Where Can I Buy PVC Pipe?
What You’ll Need
To make the basic foot-supported backdrop frame, you will need the following pipes:
- Two pipes for the horizontal sides (we chose 5-foot lengths)
- Two pipes for the vertical sides (we chose 6.5-foot lengths)
- Four pipes for the ‘feet’ (we choose 1.5-foot lengths)
- 2 4-inch pipes to connect the feet to the frame
- 2 elbow connectors (two ports)
- 4 T-connectors (three ports)
- 4 pipe caps (optional, to stabilize the legs)
These pipes provide the perfect backdrop for standard pictures. If you want a larger frame, you’ll need more support and longer pipes. We’ll talk about making a larger frame a bit later.
PVC pipe does not naturally come in these measurements. You will have to get your hardware store to cut the lengths for you. If you have a miter saw, you can cut the pieces yourself. This is not required, though.
Lastly, you’ll need whatever fabrics and decorations you want on your backdrop. We’ll talk through some ideas in a moment.
Putting it All Together
The cool thing about using PVC pipe for your frame is how simple it is to use. There is no need to use glue or screws to keep the pipes in the connectors. Because of the way they are made, the pipe lengths fit snugly into the ports.
This means that you can take it apart and put it together as often as you need to. It’s easy to tear down and transport if you need to.
Once you have your different pipe lengths and connectors, you can start constructing the frame.
Step One: Build the Legs
The first thing you need to do is build the legs the frame will stand on. Using a T-connector, place two of your 1.5-inch pipes into the sides. In the top port, insert the 4-inch length of pipe. You can add caps to the legs to help balance the frame if you bought them.
Make two of these feet. In the next step, we’ll connect them to make the base of the frame.
Step Two: Connect the Legs
Now you’ll need to add additional T-connectors to the top of the 4-inch pipe lengths. Make sure that the middle port is facing inwards.
Then, slide one of the 5-foot pipes into place between these new T-connectors. It might be a bit of a pain to get them lined up and you might need some help. However, once you’ve connected the legs, you’re nearly done.
Step Three: Add the Vertical Sides
The 6.5-foot pieces of pipe are our vertical sides. Slide them into place in the top port of the T-connectors. It may be a little flimsy right now, but once we add the top bar it won’t be a problem.
You can use longer pipes to make a taller frame, but you’ll have to add support at some point. Pipes larger than 6.5-feet tend to lean if there isn’t a crossbar.
TIP: To create a cross-bar, slide a T-connector down the length of the pipe until it is roughly halfway down the pipe. Put one on each side and make sure they are even. It should fit over the pipe with no issues. Using the middle ports, connect another 5-foot length between these connectors. This is optional!
Step Four: Add the Top Bar
The top bar should be easy to slide into place once the rest of the frame is complete. It may take a bit of bending to get the last side of the pipe into the connector.
If you are going to be using a curtain or need to secure the fabric around the top bar, it’s a good idea to do that before you attach it. You can always drape the fabric and secure it in other ways as well.
That’s it! Your wedding backdrop frame is complete. Now you can decorate it however you want to take stellar pictures.
Modification for Larger Frames
Sometimes, you’ll need a longer backdrop. The standard backdrop we made here is only 5 feet wide, and that may not be enough. If you want a backdrop large enough for the entire wedding party, you’ll have to make modifications.
Use Longer Pipes
PVC pipes come in lengths of up to 10 feet. You can easily modify the method above to include longer pipes, but keep in mind that you’ll need more feet spaced along the bottom of the frame to support it. You might also need vertical supports. You’ll have to hide these behind the decorations.
Connect Multiple Pipes
You can connect multiple pipes to create a longer backdrop if you need to. You’ll need more connectors and more support, but that’s the beauty of PVC pipe. It’s essentially a modular frame. You can change the design and customize at will.
Consider creating a double-layer design for larger backdrops. This provides more support and gives you more opportunities to decorate. Here is an example of a double-layer backdrop.
Thicker Pipes are Necessary
For larger frames, consider buying thicker pipes. Standard PVC pipes (1” in diameter) are great for the standard frame. Larger frames need more support and sturdier construction. Plus, you can fix most leaning problems by screwing thicker pipes together. This won’t work with the smaller diameter.
Adjust accordingly! PVC pipe is inexpensive, and you can play around with different styles until you find what you need. It will still be cheaper than a professionally-made backdrop.
Don’t Forget the Support!
Support is the most important component of your PVC backdrop frame. You have to make sure that there is adequate support in every section.
Use cross beams wherever possible. You can hide these in the decorations easily. Plus, these supports can help you tack up additional fabric between sections of PVC pipe.
Additional support can help prevent leaning and keep your frame looking great all through your reception.
Once you have the wedding backdrop frame constructed, you can begin decorating it. Since it’s a wedding backdrop, we suggest decorating it with sheer white or ivory fabric. Place fairy lights behind sheer tulle or a curtain to create a soft lighting effect.
Use flower garland and greenery across the top of the arch for a stunning floral backdrop.
You can also drape multiple layers of fabric, lights, and greenery to create different effects. Be advised that multiple fabric layers may require multiple frames or a heavier pipe to support them.
Create clever, unforgettable looks by designing a backdrop that stops the show! If the white pipes are making it difficult to decorate, you can always paint them gold. Choose a color that fits your wedding theme and make them stand out on their own!
What Is PVC Pipe?
If you’ve never encountered PVC pipe before, there’s still a chance you’ve used it. PVC pipe is a low-cost, versatile solution to metal piping. It’s strong and easy to install. The pipes are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and can be molded and shaped. The thermoplastic is easy to mold.
PVC pipe is used for plumbing. It can withstand warm and cold water, and it’s one of the most used piping types for residential homes.
But that’s not all PVC pipe can be used for. Due to the low cost and high availability, PVC pipe is also used to make frames and crafts. It’s easy to use and there are a variety of connections and fittings available.
Where Can I Buy PVC Pipe?
PVC pipe is available at most home improvement stores. Large retailers usually carry 4-foot and 10-foot pipes. These are easy to cut down to the size you need.
These retailers also have large bins of fittings and connectors to fit pipes of different diameters. Shopping for your wedding backdrop should be simple and inexpensive at one of these stores.
There are pipes of different diameters and thicknesses. A standard pipe (1” in diameter) should be okay for a standard backdrop. Larger backdrops may require larger pipes for stability.
Creating your DIY wedding backdrop can be cost-effective and cute. You’ll get to make the backdrop you want! You’ll be looking at your wedding photos for the rest of your life. Why not make them as perfect as possible with a custom backdrop?
My name is Keren Tayler. I am a work-at-home mama to three lovely girls, Sarah + Rachel + Hannah. I have been blogging for the last 5 years. I worked for other mom blogs, did hundreds of product reviews and buyers’ guides. Prior to that, I was a staff accountant at a big accounting firm. Needless to say, researching and numbers are my passion. My goal is to be an informative source for any topic that relates to mom’s life and homemaking.