DIY Food Photography Table Board

Make your own rustic wood backdrop!Hi there everyone! Kyle here and it feels great to be back with another post on this wonderful blog! This one is about something I can actually boast some experience with: building stuff. More specifically, putting together a photography backboard (the one you’ve seen lately in Christine’s photos).


This project was really fun, and I it turned out better than I had hoped, which is always a rare (and really nice) occurrence! Just as a disclaimer, I used power tools but if you haven’t before, you should avoid using them unless you have experience working with the machines. They’re extremely dangerous and you can do all the things in this project without them with no problem. So, that being said, let’s begin!

First thing, which may seem obvious, is that you have to do is get an idea of what you want to make. Otherwise you will likely make mistakes and take way more time getting to your finished product than you would prefer. For Christine’s boards, we referenced a few boards from other sites, primarily Pinch of Yum (Christine has a girl-crush on Lindsay) and Bree Franklin. Christine showed me those boards, told me what size she wanted, and were able to work together to put together a plan for building it.

Here’s what Lindsay’s board looks like:


Once you have decided on the basics of your design, you need to get materials. Home Depot is always a great place to find anything and everything you need. It’s basically my version of going shopping at the mall. Along with that, the employees are always really helpful, so feel free to ask for their advice/help. For these types of backboards I would recommend getting thin pine planks, around 1 inch thick, since they absorb stains well and tend to have really unique abnormalities. Christine hand picked the ones she wanted, which were the most beat up and rough looking ones available. We were trying to go for a more rustic feel, so the more blemishes we could find, the more we like the piece of wood!

For the stain there will be a catalog of types and colors that you can peruse (peruse is such a great word isn’t it?). Christine and I decided on “Cordovan Brown” as  our transparent stain. Transparent stains are great for this because they do not conceal the natural knots and marking of the wood in addition to giving it a richer color.

Now that you have your materials it’s time to start building!

1. Set yourself up. When I begin a project I start by getting out all of the tools I will need and set up a sort of workstation for myself. I prefer to use two sawhorses and an old piece of plywood in our backyard. Tools you will need are a saw, a tape measure, a pencil, painting materials, sandpaper, hammer, nails, and wood glue.


2. Measure, mark, and cut. I am sure you all have heard the saying “measure twice, cut once.” (Christine: “nope”).Well, do it. It really slows you down and is just a bummer when you measure incorrectly and your parts don’t fit. We made our boards about three feet long and alternated different width sizes to give the boards more uniqueness. After measuring, feel free to cut away!

***IMPORTANT: If you don’t have the proper tools, or just don’t want to cut wood yourself, you can just ask the workers at Home Depot to cut your wood for you! I enjoy working on projects and didn’t have any other work (WOO spring break!) so I gladly did it all myself =) , but it’s always easier and faster to just have the Home Depot peeps cut the wood for you!***

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3. Paint paint paint. I found it best to paint each individual board before connecting them, to give the whole fake table a less uniform look. We used two coats of paint for the table this time. Once dried, try sanding down the wood a bit to give it a nice, roughed-up appearance. If you’re feeling particularly angry or are just in a thrashin’ sort of mood feel free to throw the boards around a bit or hit them with a hammer. They can take it! And it might just make them look better while working double-duty as cheap therapy, win-win right?

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4. Put it all together. For the next part, connecting your planks, there are two options I would suggest. First option is to just set all your planks onto another surface and glue and nail them down. We used masonite but scrap wood, plywood, or even thick cardboard will likely work just fine. The other option would be to just not connect the boards. Instead, you can just line them up on a table and put whatever you’re going to take a picture of on top. This is a bit easier, although you will have a bundle instead of a board as your final project. The choice is yours!


The lighting here makes the board not have as rich colors, but look at all that character!

Here’s a closeup ofwhat are finished product turned out like:


Also, if you’re wondering where my helpful girlfriend was this whole time, she was off playing with our family’s chickens. As in, she was taking pictures of their butts so she could come ask me, “Guess what?!? CHICKEN BUTT”. We’re very mature. 


So there you have it! A somewhat lengthy outline on how to put together a photo-board for all your photographic endeavors! Hopefully you find this post helpful and you all can soon get your own unique, nifty backgrounds!


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    • says

      Wasn’t that a great picture of chicken butt?? Also, if you want to avoid a giant bruise you can still put a board together, just ask the Home Depot people to do the cutting for you! Then you can just paint it and set it up whenever you’re going to use it =]

      Christine Skari recently posted…WIAW: A Dream Day of Eats My Profile

  1. says

    Good to know I’m not the only one with a major girl crush on Lindsay, lol! I just love this board. Maybeee someday that I’m feelin’ crafty I’ll do something similar! And Kyle – don’t you have a little brother? If he is anything like you then I would like to meet him and marry him. ;)
    Leigha @ Minougirl recently posted…Fashion Friday {4/7 – 4/11}My Profile
    • says

      I do have a little brother, he’s in high school. We are kinda similar but he’s WAY more stubborn than me. And he’s thinking he wants to do Chemical Engineering in college (which basically means he’s absolutely crazy). So yeah haha.

      Christine Skari recently posted…WIAW: A Dream Day of Eats My Profile

  2. says

    Thanks for sharing a post on how you put this together! (or rather how Kyle put it together…haha). Perhaps I can convince my boyfriend, Wade, to do that for me as well sometime. I could take some LOVELY pictures of my favorite dessert on that board….pie. Pie, pie, and more pie. Am I right? :)
    • says

      But by just working on DIY projects you get better at doing them, even when they don’t exactly turn out too great. If you apply your valiant efforts to some boards like these I’m sure you can pull off making them! And they’ll be a real help for working on your photography. You can do it! =D

      Christine Skari recently posted…WIAW: A Dream Day of Eats My Profile

  3. says

    Ahh I definitely need one of these! And I’ll join the club of girls requesting Kyle to come over and build me one ;) Hahah let’s see if I can convince my brothers to do this for me….
    Awesome post and thank you for sharing! xxx
    Yasmin recently posted…Embrace YOU!My Profile
    • says

      Glad you like it =] I should start building lots of them and sending them out to you all! Try bribing them with food of some sort. That’s generally a good approach to life struggles: bribe everyone with food (or maybe that only works on me? Need to investigate further…).

      Christine Skari recently posted…WIAW: A Dream Day of Eats My Profile

    • says

      So glad you found it useful! I’m still surprised at how much the boards up the level of my photography :).

      And YUP, planning on keeping that one in my life for a good while ;)

  4. says

    Wow! This is great Kyle and Christine!
    Christine, thanks for sharing in the Food Blogger Pro message boards! This looks like a project I am going to casually drop several hints to my boyfriend about, so that while I am back in the states visiting my parents for a month he can be working on a new board for my food photography! :)
    Andrea recently posted…May Wish ListMy Profile
  5. says

    Great tutorial! I love the details in the wood you selected. I paint both sides of my boards a different color for my food photography and just flip them over when I want to use the other color.