DIY Painted Food Photography Background

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Food Photography | February 11, 2017 | By

Choose your favorite colors to easily paint your very own food photography background. 

After my DIY Wood Food Photography Background experiment actually turned out well, I needed a black background. But no slats, just flat and with enough interest to make my photos pop! Since Home Depot had giant or too small sizes of boards, I took all 3 home and used my leftover white & grey paints to paint upright backgrounds for photos. No more mismatching bases and backboards, and no more seams (or so I hope!) phew.

Let it be said that this project was 100x easier and faster than that dang wooden background. No drilling, no gluing, not nearly as much misery except when I thought I’d totally run out of black paint, but that’s totally avoidable for anyone else.

(PS I’ve learned a lot about how to take beautiful food photos without having to but TONS of expensive equipment. A fancy camera/lens + tripod were my major investments….. want to learn too?)

Not ready to dig in yet, pin it for later…

DIY Painted Food Photography Backgrounds | how to paint easy and quick backgrounds for food photography |

Also, just like the last post, don’t hate me for these crappy lit photos!


  • 4×4 wood particle board. (I had mine cut into a 30″ x  32″ board) then kept the extras. I ended up with 3 boards.

Easy Painted DIY Food Photography Board |

  • Paint tray
  • Paint roller
  • Foam paint brush
  • Paint-I used Carbon (black), Iron Mountain (grey), and PP100 (white) and mixed them


  • Get inspired. Search around Pinterest (here are some of my faves) and look for premade wood boards you like (like these amazing Erickson Woodworks boards-check out their Instagram account to see how they’re being used, then click on the post you like because they link directly to the same board for purchase!). Check out the Erickson Woodworks photo that inspired one board, the rest just, well……  happened

  • Find an open space to lay out your boards
  • Get cardboard boxes or paper bags to protect the carpet or table you’re working on.

Go ‘head and Paint it:

  • This is the fun & easy part. There really aren’t rules. Here are a few tips I learned
    • Paint both sides
    • Keep one side unpainted to practice your brush strokes. preferably the lightest colored bored so you’re not scuffing it along the floor when using the opposite side.
    • A wet roller or splash of water creates a fun watercolor effect. Imagine that!
    • Roll out extra paint along the ribs on your paint tray
    • Blot out & smudge your colors with a damp paper towel
    • You can always repaint over a mistake
    • Mix the colors you’ve got to create your own additional custom colors

Here’s how I painted my 4 boards:

1 Easy Painted DIY Food Photography Board |

I painted the base coat cobalt black with the roller. After it dried, I added a couple drops of black to grey and lightly rolled over it again. Then this became my trial board so there are many black + grey color combos here.

2 Easy Painted DIY Food Photography Board |

I started out with a black base here, then gently rolled over that with black + a couple drops of grey to get the turquoise textured paint, then a final light roll of white. The lines are from stopping the roller on a section of the roller that had extra paint on it.

3 Easy Painted DIY Food Photography Board |

I just used this thick & small roller with my white paint. I didn’t do as many coats to get the unfinished look. These rollers roll pretty unevenly which leads to great visual interest on these boards.

4 Easy Painted DIY Food Photography Board |

This grey board was a total wonderful fluke. It’s just the grey color + a bit of unintentional residual white from the last board I painted. I used the roller after painting the white board. The roller was damp and still had white from the previous board. These conditions lead to a cool watercolor effect and a really smooth & unbelievably quick application.

This final textured black board was the one I really wanted to create, it was to be inspired by the Erickson Woodworks board I saw. I loved the distressed cookie sheet-ness of it. It’s currently my least favorite, but it’s still good enough! I painted the background black, then added a dab of black to my white paint, and gently rolled the thick (or fuzzy) roller over it. I didn’t love the stark contrast of the dots, so I smudged it with a damp paper towel. Maybe spackle would work better, but it’s good enough for now. Maybe stay tuned in for installment #3 when I figure out how to mimic that cookie sheet effect… or get the cookie sheet effect by actually buying an Erickson Woodworks board 😉

And, last but NOT least, do you want to learn how to take way better food photos? Stephanie of Grateful Grazer and I have put together this super awesome food photography eCourse. We break it all down into a step-by-step process & have tons of great videos with helpful tutorials. Check it out:

Let’s get chatty:

  • Have you painted your own photography backboards? how’d they go?
  • What kind of board would you like to make?


  1. Marisa

    April 7, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    You make it look so very easy! I have a couple that I painted a couple years ago… definitely, time to make more. THanks for trying to make it a bit less intimidating…

    • Rebecca

      April 8, 2017 at 8:06 am

      Yay! glad to hear! it was surprisingly easy. much easier than making the slat board!

  2. Sara

    April 7, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Oh my gosh, these are GREAT! I wish I could hire you to make some for me! 🙂

    • Rebecca

      April 8, 2017 at 8:05 am

      thanks Sara! They’re really quite easy! I couldn’t believe it! I wonder how well they’d ship! haha

  3. my biggest food photography mistakes and how you can avoid them

    April 19, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    […] DIY Painted Food Photography Background […]

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    November 7, 2017 at 9:25 am

    […] are hard to get white balance right on, so if you have darker backgrounds, I recommend using those (here’s how I made mine). Here’s an example of a photo that I just couldn’t get natural enough coloring on vs […]

  5. Denise Barratt

    November 14, 2017 at 10:58 am

    I had absolutely no idea that this was being done. I love to paint so I might try this!

    • Rebecca

      November 14, 2017 at 11:49 am

      ya! I was surprised how easy it was! Let me know if you make one, I’d love to hear how it goes for you 🙂


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