DIY Wood Photography Board

5 DIY Wood Photography Board | www.nourishnutritionblog.com

Food Photography | January 26, 2017 | By

Do you want a beautiful wooden photography board, but don’t want to spend $$$$$$$$ on the amazing Erickson Woodworks boards? I’m right there with you. That’s why I took a weekend (and subsequent week) to build my very own custom double sided photography board.

I somehow got it stuck in my head that I can make a wooden photography board that looked good enough, and was 1/4 the price of the good ones you can buy. I’d say I went forward with totally blind optimism. I had decided to work on it while my dad was in town, and while I could use my grandpa’s worktable and tools, you know since I only own a skimpy IKEA toolbox. That wasn’t going to cut it. I’d also delusionally thought that my high school woodshop class, (that was 10+ years ago) Clyde genes, and help from my dad could all come together to create a pretty cool project. Haha! I joke, but that’s where my blind optimism came from. Turns out, my dad was too busy to help out, but continued to remind me that drilling holes is hard, that projects like this take dayzzzzzz, and my grandmother offered to pay someone to fasten the slats together for me. But that wouldn’t be a good story. I was going to create a ‘How To” or a “How Not To” post if my life depended on it. And nowhere in that plan included outsourcing (unless after every attempt was made and that’s the only reasonable decision), so I headed down to my grandpa’s workroom, hoping the endless projects he’d completed in there & his spirit would guide me. That must be what happened, because after the whole process and my delusion, I can’t believe this guy turned out.

Before we get into the hows and the dos, I’d like your feedback on creating an easy how to guide to improve your food photography so click here to fill out a survey to help me know what would help you improve your food photography! Thanks!

Before I get into it, do you want to pin this for later?

Step by step guide + pictures to your very own DIY Wood Photography Board | www.nourishnutritionblog.com

Ok, now we’re good to go on… (and please excuse my crappily lit photos)

Depending on how ambitious you are and if you can find reasonably priced interconnecting wooden slats in your area/Amazon,  you’ve got 1 of 2 choices. I hope you find my methods & amateur tips helpful. I learned a few lessons the hard way and want to help you NOT make those mistakes that I made!

Ambitious Choice:

Materials: (cost ~$35)

  • 3 12ft slats of common (pine) wood. I got mine at Home Depot, the associate helped me measure what I’d need to make around a 27″x 32″ board. He cut each board to 32″ giving me 7 usable slats.
  • Wooden dowels. 15+ 5/16″ diameter wooden dowels (1/4″ also works well)
  • Wood glue (Elmers Carpenters wood glue is cheap and worked great)
  • Coarse or medium sandpaper
  • 2 sample sizes FLAT house paint

Tools:

  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Electric drill, use the same bit size as wooden dowel diameter that you’re using
  • Vice grip that attaches to a table or something sturdy (not pictured)
  • 2-3 wide clamps. Mine were wide enough to hold together 4 slats
  • Wide paint roller or a foam brush depending on the texture you’d like (I used a foam brush) (not pictured)

DIY Wood Photography Board 2 | www.nourishnutritionblog.com

Preparation:

  • 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 photos that inspired my boards:

this Erickson Woodworks board

 

these Two Loves boards OMG

 

this Erickson Woodworks board

  • Decide on the measurements you’d like your board to be. I originally wanted mine to be 27″ wide x 32″ long. It ended up being a bit wider than I’d planned due to the width of each slat (I wasn’t going to go and slice one down the middle 😉 )
  • Pick colors Decide on using cool or warm tones. Do you like reds, yellows, pinks; or blues, greens? Choose 2 if you’d like it to be double sided (you might as well after putting this much work in!). Amateur tip: colors are organized by tone, if you’re looking for a blue hued grey for example (like I was) go to the blue section of paint chips and choose from the greys within that section. Also, make sure to hold up the colors you’re deciding between, when they’re right next to each other- you can see which is more grey, more blue, etc and choose the perfect tone.
    • I used Behr Premium Plus flat, matte paint. Colors: iron mountain (grey), PP-100 (white) because they couldn’t make the color I wanted which was called frost.

DIY Wood Photography Board 3 | www.nourishnutritionblog.com

  • Choose non-warped slats. ENSURE your slats are not super warped! Amateur tip: ask for help. The guy who helped me laid the slats on the floor to see if there were any gaps to show warping. Long story short, all slats are warped, choose the lesser of the warped evils to get a more even board. I’m pretty sure you won’t want large gaps between slats.

Go ‘head & Build It:

How to Build the Board-

  • Line boards up as you’d like your finished board to look. (set them next to each other) this will allow you to see if there would be gaps between the slats in your finished product.
  • Draw 4 lines across the long side of each board. These will be your guide to drilling holes to insert the dowels into. You’ll want to drill at least 3 equally spaced holes down the sides of each board to hold the whole board together when it’s finished. Pro tip: as my engineer grandfather always said- “Measure twice, drill once”
  • Mark the center or each line to indicate where you’ll be drilling your holes. (again: measure this out!)

    DIY Wood Food Photography Board 1 | www.nourishnutritionblog.com

    See how the lines & holes line up? (ps these are my practice boards so there are a few extra marks & holes)

  • Line up the sides of each board to ensure the holes line up. If they’re not straight, the slats won’t lie flat. Remeasure & fix marks to ensure they line up to the corresponding slat (of which it’ll be attached to).
  •  ***if you don’t have lots of experience drilling straight holes (that was me!!!!) grab an extra slat and practice practice practice! I’d even recommend you ask someone to check to see if you’re holding your drill straight-it’s hard to tell without a leveling bubble & at the angle you’re drilling from! Also, make sure you’re standing high enough to get good leverage on your drill. I grabbed a stepping stool so I could use my body weight as I drilled the holes.
  • Drill holes 1/2 the depth of each dowel
  • After each hole is drilled, and before you apply the wood glue, insert the dowels into each hole and see how they lie. If the slats don’t line up either by being uneven, take a dowel out and see if it lines up better. My corresponding holes were not symmetrical, but after taking out the dowel that altered the straightness (if that even makes sense), I found that they lined up better. Most of my planks only had 1-2 dowels between them. Since this board is likely not weight bearing, it’s probably not critical to reinforce them with tons of dowels. You can also drill more holes to line up better.
  • After it’s all symmetrical enough, apply wood glue to the whole side of one plank that will connect to another. Add glue into each dowel hole as well. Press the two wooden slats together and hold with clamps (preferably 2-3 evenly spaced to ensure they’re straight and tightly clamped down the whole plank). Wipe off glue that seeps out of the sides with paper towel, let sit for at least 30 minutes. You can place a book on top of the planks if you need additional weight to line the slats up.

6 DIY Wood Photography Board | www.nourishnutritionblog.com

  • Once the glue between these slats is dry, add next slat-following ^ instructions. Continue to glue then wait on each slat until the whole board is finished

How to Make it Pretty-

  • Practice painting the slat that you practiced drilling on. You can see how think you want to slather the paint on, and if it’s even a color you like.
  • Use sandpaper to sand down any glue that’s on the front or back of the board. Sand down any additional rough edges.
  • Paint one side of the board with chosen color #1. Let stand to dry. About 30 minutes
  • Flip board over and paint other side
  • Use coarse or medium grain sandpaper to sand down paint to add some interest to your board. Sand until desired look is reached.

5 DIY Wood Photography Board | www.nourishnutritionblog.com

Quicker Building Choice:

or so I’d guess.

Materials:

  • Slats of interconnecting wood. (but make sure that each wood slat has a 90 degree angle. If it’s curved at all on the corners, it’ll create shadows in your photos. That’s no good! I actually didn’t find these in any local store, so I haven’t tried it. hence the -or so I’d guess-
  • 2 sample sizes FLAT house paint
  • 3 wide clamps.
  • Wood glue (Elmers Carpenters wood glue is cheap and worked great) if you’d like it extra secure
  • Coarse or medium sandpaper
  • 2 sample sizes FLAT house paint
  • Wide paint roller or foam brush depending on the texture you’d like (I used a foam brush)

Preparation:

  • Decide on the measurements you’d like your board to be. I originally wanted mine to be 27″ wide x 32″ long. It ended up being a bit wider than I’d planned due to the width of each slat (I wasn’t going to go and slice one down the middle 😉 )
  • Pick colors Decide on using cool or warm tones. Do you like reds, yellows, pinks; or blues, greens? Choose 2 if you’d like it to be double sided (you might as well after putting this much work in!). Amateur tip: colors are organized by tone, if you’re looking for a blue hued grey for example (like I was) go to the blue section of paint chips and choose from the greys within that section. Also, make sure to hold up the colors you’re deciding between, when they’re right next to each other- you can see which is more grey, more blue, etc and choose the perfect tone.
    • I used Behr Premium Plus flat, matte paint. Colors: iron mountain (grey), PP-100 (white) because they couldn’t make the color I wanted which was frost

Go ‘head & Build It:

  • Fit together each slat of interconnecting wood to make your board. If you’d like extra stability, follow gluing instructions from the ambitious method.

How to Make it Pretty-

  • Practice painting the slat that you practiced drilling on. You can see how think you want to slather the paint on, and if it’s even a color you like.
  • Use sandpaper to sand down any glue that’s on the front or back of the board. Sand down any additional rough edges.
  • Paint one side of the board with chosen color #1. Let stand to dry. About 30 minutes
  • Flip board over and paint other side
  • Use coarse or medium grain sandpaper to sand down paint to add some interest to your board. Sand until desired look is reached.

You’ve got this! If I could do it, you can too! Also, if you’re interested in improving your food photography click here. Thanks!

Let’s get chatty

  • Have you made a photography board before? What worked well, and what would you recommend to others?

30 Comments

  1. Raia

    January 26, 2017 at 8:18 am

    I love it! I definitely need to give it a try. My kitchen table has been my background for … well, ever since I started blogging. And I’m ready to move on. 😉

    Reply
    • Rebecca

      January 26, 2017 at 1:07 pm

      yay! that’s what happened to me too! I was using a large cupboard panel, but it was a weird warm tone that I always tried to change in post processing… then it messed up the white balance each time argh! let me know how it goes!

      Reply
  2. Amanda at Literary Weaponry

    January 26, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Love love love this. Your finished product looks amazing and your directions are very precise and clear. I’m tempted to give it a try!

    Reply
    • Rebecca

      January 26, 2017 at 1:05 pm

      thanks so much! let me know how it goes

      Reply
  3. The Food Hunter

    January 26, 2017 at 8:40 am

    We’ve made a bunch of these…so easy

    Reply
    • Rebecca

      January 26, 2017 at 1:05 pm

      Especially after having made a bunch! I’d love to see yours!

      Reply
  4. Monica Stevens Le

    January 26, 2017 at 9:47 am

    You have made being crafty look so easy. I always purchase my boards, but I need to try and start making them. Thanks for this awesome tutorial!

    Reply
    • Rebecca

      January 26, 2017 at 1:05 pm

      oh! haha awesome! thanks, just try it, they’re not too expensive to make on your own

      Reply
  5. Emily @ Recipes to Nourish

    January 26, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    I love this! I’ve only made one of my backdrops so far, but you’ve inspired me to do more. I love the colors you chose. Thanks for breaking this down into something that seems doable for those of us that aren’t super handy with DIY stuff.

    Reply
    • Rebecca

      January 26, 2017 at 1:04 pm

      thanks Emily! I’d love to see what you come up with!

      Reply
  6. linda spiker

    January 26, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Nice! Love the step by step because I am not a DIY’er!

    Reply
    • Rebecca

      January 28, 2017 at 1:19 pm

      same here, that’s why I did step by step. thanks

      Reply
  7. Jessica @ The Balanced Kitchen

    January 26, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    This is so, so awesome! I haven’t made any backdrops yet and am totally going to now. Thanks for the awesome instructions! I feel so inspired!

    Reply
    • Rebecca

      January 26, 2017 at 10:55 pm

      thanks Jessica! Go for it! it was a lot of work and time, but not too difficult. Plus it feels great being able to say you made something like this 😉

      Reply
  8. Kelsey

    January 26, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    I love this! My kitchen table just isn’t doing the trick these days!

    Reply
    • Rebecca

      January 26, 2017 at 10:54 pm

      thanks Kelsey! hope you get a chance & let me know how it goes 🙂

      Reply
  9. Lauren Grant | Zestful Kitchen

    January 27, 2017 at 7:24 am

    Love this! I am pinning now so I can make one of my own soon! Thanks for the tutorial!

    Reply
    • Rebecca

      January 28, 2017 at 1:16 pm

      fantastic! let me know how it goes 🙂

      Reply
  10. Melissa @ My Darla Clementine

    January 27, 2017 at 11:26 am

    These look so good! I made some of my own using panels that clip into each other. Your paint job looks stellar!

    Reply
    • Rebecca

      January 28, 2017 at 1:16 pm

      that’s a great idea! I couldn’t find any interlocking panels. and thanks!

      Reply
  11. Bracha

    January 28, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Great post! How did you decide on the size for your board?

    Reply
    • Rebecca

      January 29, 2017 at 9:11 am

      Thanks! I have an old board that I based the size off of. I also compared it to Erickson Woodworks’ board sizes.

      Reply
  12. Danielle Omar

    February 1, 2017 at 6:45 am

    Thanks for the tutorial! Love the look of this board and so versatile!

    Reply
    • Rebecca

      February 1, 2017 at 12:14 pm

      thanks Danielle! so versatile 😉

      Reply
  13. Lauren Harris-Pincus

    February 2, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    This is so cool! The background makes such a difference!

    Reply
    • Rebecca

      February 2, 2017 at 6:38 pm

      thanks Lauren! agreed 🙂

      Reply
  14. Easy and Quick DIY Painted Food Photography Background

    March 22, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    […] my DIY Wood Food Photography Background experiment actually turned out well, I needed a black background. But no slats, just flat and with […]

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

    July 31, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    […] DIY Wood Photography Board […]

    Reply
  16. Danielle

    August 1, 2017 at 10:29 am

    I love this. Right now I actually use photo backdrop paper glued to a board, which has worked ok so far. However, when I do closeups, you can see the pixels in the paper. Might be time to upgrade!

    Reply
    • Rebecca

      August 1, 2017 at 3:57 pm

      ya, these are quite easy to make! if you make one, share your final pics on the FB group 🙂

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Food Blog Theme from Nimbus
Powered by WordPress