Faux-to Booth: PVC Style

Oh, I wanted one.

I wanted one like Aladdin wants Jasmine, like a marathoner wants a gallon of Gatorade and like Hugh Grant wants to make another romantic comedy.

Pre-wedding, I knew, in my heart of hearts, that I wanted a photobooth. But my heart of hearts was also telling me we couldn’t spend a grand on a photo-strip spitting, old fashioned booth. And my heart of hearts wasn’t crazy enough to spend $464 from an online store ($97 for the backdrop, $367 for the support system [yikes!]) to build my own.

So, my (cheap, rational) heart of hearts led me to Home Depot to create a stand for our DIY faux-to booth backdrop. I had searched online for tutorials, but could only find extremely complicated versions involving power tools (and I preferred to keep all of my phalanges attached). Thus, we developed our own method which 1) ended up working out quite well 2) was cheap and 3) was easy to build.

For those wishing to build there own cheap, easy, fun photobooth, here is what we used:

(A) 2 of these (PVC pipe “elbows”)

(from Home Depot)

(B) 4 of these (PVC pipe caps)

(from Home Depot)

(C) 4 of these (PVC pipe “T pieces”)

(from Home Depot)

(D) 4 of these (really long PVC pipes)

(from Home Depot)

(E) Some fabric (we bought 2 yards of fabric from IKEA [IKEA’s fabric is great because it’s extra wide; 59″ instead of a typical bolt of fabric which is 44″]).

(from IKEA)

Once we had all of components together, we put it together in less than an hour in our backyard. We used a PVC pipe cutter that my dad already owned, like the one below (but you could probably just use gardening shears, or a butter knife [though the latter might take a bit longer . . .]).

(from here)

To help explain how we put it together, Mr. Pin Cushion whipped some files up in Illustrator.

On the left, you can see the backdrop stand all put together.

And on the right, is the “exploded” version, to see all of the individual components (the PVC elbows, the caps on the bottom, etc).

You can cut the PVC pipe however long you want, to make the stand as wide and as tall as you need (do remember when cutting it, that the t-pieces and elbow pieces will each add a few inches, so take that into account).

Then just snap the pieces into place, attach your fabric (we used clear packing tape) and stand back and admire your handy work.

Up next, I’ll show you a some fab shots we got with our photo booth. Here’s one gem for you:

Chip chip cheerio! What dignified guests we have at our wedding!

Are you planning to have a photo booth at your shindig? Are you renting, buying or building?


Mrs. Pin Cushion

Oakland, CA
Wedding Date:
July 2010
Philly Bee Meet Up 8/28!
Introducing Miss Zebra!
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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    PVC Pipe Photo Backdrop | SewsNBows, Guest @ 6:58 am

    […] Wedding Bee PVC Pipe Photo Backdrop […]

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    Wondering Dad, Guest @ 5:02 am

    Trying to help my daughter build one of these. What diameter pvc pipe did you use? I’m want to make sure this will stay standing! Thanks.

  3. Pincushion Member
    Pincushion 1074 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:36 pm

    @Wondering Dad: What a nice dad you are! I used 3/4 inch PVC pipe (and have made a ton since my wedding and still use that width). But I never advice people put the photobooth in high wind areas, because even with thicker PVC pipe, the backdrop will act like a sail and knock over.
    Good luck!!

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    Mitz, Guest @ 3:48 pm

    I love it! Gonna try this out @ our church Stawberry Festival.

  5. Member
    jennifermm 627 posts, Busy bee @ 11:06 am

    @Mrs. Pin Cushion: Three years later and this is still the best tutorial on the internet for this. You are the best!

  6. Member
    Tallulah_ 274 posts, Helper bee @ 10:04 am

    Thank you! This was exactly what I was searching for. Yours turned out fantastic :)

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    christina r, Guest @ 1:00 am

    so fun and easy to make. i made mine 7ft tall 6ft wide. fabric is so expensive so i found a fun inexpensive shower curtain that measures 72inx72in perfect size!

  8. Guest Icon Guest
    annissa Montoya, Guest @ 1:54 am

    My husband has made me a photo booth backdrop according to your instructions on the wedding bee website but the top is not sturdy. It’s sways. Please provide a picture of hire you supported your backdrop. Our event is in a week and I can’t get this to be sturdy. Please help!!!!! Thanks!!

  9. Pincushion Member
    Pincushion 1074 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:33 am

    @annissa Montoya: Annissa — in what way does the top sway?? Like, it bows? Or the whole backdrop moves back and forth?
    We didn’t support our backdrop with anything beyond the PVC pipe stand. Make sure you have really pushed the pipes into the corner pieces, if they are loose, it can move around. And I don’t recommend using the backdrop in windy areas.
    Hope that helps!

  10. Guest Icon Guest
    Marlene, Guest @ 7:31 pm

    I made a very similar version except I used 1″ pipe. The one problem I’m having is taking it apart for storage. Once put together the pipes are stuck but good! Any hints or tips for taking it apart?

  11. Guest Icon Guest
    Michele, Guest @ 8:09 am

    Hello. This is a great tutorial. I am trying to build one for a baby shower. One question, do I need the middle pipe?

  12. Pincushion Member
    Pincushion 1074 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:04 pm

    @Michele: I have never made one without out. I think the stability of the structure would be severely hindered without the middle pipe. But if you do make it, PVC is cheap, so it wouldn’t cost much more to use that pipe, and you’d gain a lot of stability. I’d be afraid it would fall down without it, truthfully. Good luck!!

  13. Guest Icon Guest
    Tulsi, Guest @ 7:21 pm

    Just wondering, did you have any bowing along the top rail? My hubby is buildings backdrop but he is worried PVC will not hold weight well.

  14. Pincushion Member
    Pincushion 1074 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:28 am

    @Tulsi: The middle of the top probably bows about 1 inch lower than the edges. Not enough to notice or to matter, I would say. And I’ve been making them since my wedding 5 years ago and that is pretty consistent. Just use the 3/4 inch pipe and you should be fine. Good luck!

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