Ruffled Fabric Calligraphy Wedding Backdrop
While I love the grounds of our venue, I always pictured it a little dressed up for the occasion. A wedding backdrop is an easy way to achieve that, but there was no way I would be able to transport a triptych of distressed barn doors, 1,000 origami cranes, tangle-prone strips of crepe paper, or strung up coffee filters—no matter what Pinterest would have me believe.
In my browsing I had seen some simple but beautiful ceremony backdrops. Some pretty writing on a sheet of fabric would pack very easily into a suitcase and be relatively simple to set up as well. So I set out to emulate these backdrop inspirations, but with our own wedding aesthetic in mind.
- Fabric in the color of your choosing (100% cotton)
- Brushes (I chose a thin square-edged taklon brush.)
- Jacquard Lumiere Acrylic Fabric Paint
- Sewing thread and needles
- Chalk for drafting
Step 1: First, I wanted to make a smaller mock-up of the full calligraphy to be painted. I used an OpenType font that had alternate characters with all kinds of different swashes and flourishes. This way I could customize everything using the Glyphs palette in Illustrator.
Above is the initial design. At first I thought I might want some poetry or our vows on the wedding backdrop, but then Mr. B-Cat suggested the text “Hasta que la muerte nos separe,” just like on our wedding invitations.
Step 2: Using some ordinary school chalk, I copied the design onto the fabric.
Step 3: I filled in the outlines with paint. Painting in from the bottom up keeps from smudging and losing the chalk outlines while working over the large surface on my elbows and knees.
A helpful thing when painting is to use a brush that is about two times bigger than what you think you need. Rather than using a thin liner brush, the wide square tip on this brush let me draw a nice fluid line.
As for paint, I prefer the Lumiere metallic paints because they are very vibrant and opaque. But it was quite thick and needed to be thinned with some water at a about a ration of 2:1 acrylic to water.
Step 4: Once the paint was dry, I used the other length of fabric to create three tiers of ruffles at the bottom. The ruffles add a little flair but, more importantly, some weight to the bottom to anchor the thing properly. You could also add some drapery weights if you’re hanging it outdoors like we are.
Step 5: I used the “cheating” method of gathering ruffles for our wedding backdrop, which is just to stitch one straight line at the top of your fabric then pulling at the loose thread ends to create soft gathers.
(There’s a proper way to do this that involves sewing several parallel stitches, but this was simpler.)
Here’s the finished backdrop, though it needs to be steamed and pressed, o’ course.
Can you see my fiancé’s arms holding up the wedding backdrop? What a doll.
Overall, this was super simple to create, and the materials were just over $20 total—a far cry from the $200 canvas paintings you’d see on Etsy.
Anyone else traveling far with their decor? What were your portable solutions? Did you create your own wedding backdrop?