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Crafts

10 Great Backgrounds for Beautiful Craft Photography

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Taking great photos of your craft for selling and marketing purposes can sometimes feel like a challenge. The good news is that it's easy to improve and make the process more enjoyable when you take it one step at a time. A good place to start is to choose a background that suits your craft.

Here, we're going to talk about ten different options for backgrounds that are aesthetically pleasing, versatile and simple to create at home. For inspiration, take a look at the two photos for each option: the first shows the final look, and the second demonstrates the simple set-up that you can use to achieve it. Pick your favourite, and give it a try!


1. White Paper

White Paper

The classic white seamless background suits almost all crafts. This is largely because it is neutral and soft, and doesn’t draw any attention away from the subject. One of the most popular ways to achieve it is by taping white paper to a wall. Let the paper fall down to meet the floor, and then out from the wall and along the floor to create the base or runway.

If you’d prefer not to work so low to the ground, push a table against the wall and drape the paper over the table instead of the floor. The key is to ensure that there is a gentle curve in the paper where it moves from wall to floor/table, as this is what makes the background seamless.

Used here is a length of white paper tablecloth from a party supplies store. If the roll is quite wide and the paper isn't opaque, fold the paper in half for extra thickness. You'll often have creases near the top of the paper where you have handled it and taped it to the wall; that's OK, just avoid creases and folds behind your craft and along the curve.

How to Get the Look

White Paper Setup

2. Wood

Wood

Earthy and warming, wood is a beautiful choice for backgrounds. The variety of colours, textures and sizes in which it is available, and its portability, makes wood a versatile option. Old wood, with its charming aged finish, is great for a homely and rustic feel.

For a more clean and modern look, choose a thin sheet of plywood from the hardware store. If you have a piece of wood at home that you'd like to use as a background but you're not too keen on the finish, change the look with a coat or two of white paint.

If you’re struggling to find a piece of wood large enough to fit your craft, make your own by nailing together a few planks, rather like you would a fence panel.

How to Get the Look

Wood Setup

3. Book Covers

Book Cover

Remove the dust jacket from a hardcover book and you might be pleasantly surprised. Vintage hardcover books are usually lovely, and cookbooks are always worth a look. The texture and colours can be rich and interesting, and they form a great background for shooting from directly above.

Large books are easier to use as they offer more space for your craft. (Used here is Mastering the Art of Embroidery by Sophie Long.)

How to Get the Look

Book Cover Setup

4. Fabric

Fabric

The gentle texture of fabric backgrounds can look soft and delicate. The contrast between fabric and high-shine crafts, such as metal jewellery, can also look very nice. Cotton and linen in neutral solid colours can offer a sophisticated touch.

When working with fabric, it's important to iron it beforehand to remove any creases, as they can be distracting and messy. When choosing fabric with a pattern, ensure that the pattern doesn’t overwhelm your craft; you want your craft to stand out, not the fabric.

Keep the fabric taught by securing it to a table or base with bulldog clips. (Just keep the clips out of sight in the final photos.)

How to Get the Look

Fabric

5. Kraft Paper

Kraft Paper

Cheap and easy to use, kraft paper is another attractive background to have on hand. Often available at the supermarket, regular-size rolls are useful for small-to-medium size crafts. Larger rolls are usually available from stationery and party supplies stores.

Here, the paper is laid flat and the crafts photographed from above, but you can use kraft paper to make a seamless background (see White Paper) if you’d like to shoot your craft from front-on.

How to Get the Look

Kraft Pape Setup

6. Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic Tiles

The textures of ceramic tiles make interesting backgrounds. Choose matt or low-sheen tiles, as the reflection of glossy tiles may cause frustration when shooting and the look isn’t as flattering. They're also another versatile option, with colours ranging from neutrals to bolds, and textures from smooth to rough.

Avoid pure black, as the look can be very harsh. Best suited to small size crafts, you may have one around the house, or, if not, pick up one or two today from your local tile or hardware store.

How to Get the Look

Ceramic Tiles Setup

7. Coloured Card or Poster Board

Coloured Card

If you're looking for a pop of colour, try coloured card, also known as poster board. Available at all stationery and art/craft stores, it's another background that's cheap and easy to use. For small crafts, you can also use coloured and plain folded cards or smaller sheets of card.

The card shown here is made from recycled paper, which adds subtle texture to the background and suits nicely the simple and delicate tags. The setup here is a single flat base; you could also tape another sheet of card to the wall behind the base to create depth and shoot from front-on.

Alternatively, setup the card in the seamless style (see White Paper) and avoid bends or creases, which can look unprofessional.

How to Get the Look

Coloured Card Setup

8. Boxes and Cubes

Boxes and Cubes

Usually made of wood or metal, and either unfinished and natural, or with a laminated or painted finish, boxes and cubes offer a ready-made background. The depth and extra shadows creates a scene that's cosy and sometimes moody. Against the background of concrete or metal, boxes and cubes can look industrial and modern.

Make photographing them more comfortable by stacking boxes and cubes together, or otherwise raising them off the floor or table to create height. Available at variety, craft, and hardware stores, you can also take a look at vintage furniture stores or garage sales, or you could make your own.

How to Get the Look

Boxes and Cubes

9. Masonite / Tile Board

Masonite or Tile Board

The smooth, matt or low sheen finish of white-coated Masonite, tile board, or other similar products, creates a lovely background for just about any craft. It's another versatile background that can be moved around the house, garden and studio, depending on the light.

For larger crafts, buy two sheets and use one at the back against a wall, and the other on the floor or a table to act as the base. If you've had trouble with paper or fabric backgrounds creasing, these hard, laminated white boards are an excellent alternative.

How to Get the Look

Masonite or Tile Board Setup

10. Chalkboard

Chalkboard

Chalkboard backgrounds are loads of fun to use but they're not just for kids' crafts. They can offer a rich contrast between your craft and the almost-black background. Pure black is very harsh, so the dusty, chalky finish of the chalkboard, which you can tailor to your preference, is ideal.

Find ready-made chalkboards in the kids' room, at your local hardware store, or make one yourself by painting a sheet of plywood with chalkboard paint. The example here, and also above for Masonite, show small crafts on large boards setup on concrete.

Large boards aren't essential - select the right size board for your space and craft - but they do offer flexibility, should your crafts range in size.

How to Get the Look

Chalkboard Setup

Start Shooting

Now you're ready to start shooting your own handmade creations. Choose the right background, style it beautifully, and make your craft shine! Good luck and let us know which background is your favourite.

Craft supplies (small gift boxes, heart doilies, circle stickers, glitter adhesive tape, cotton muslin bag, small heart tags, polka dot stickers, neon tag, large heart stickers) courtesy of BLANK.

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