In my last article where I talked about How to Build a DIY Wood Background For Photography I mentioned I would do another post once I created a multi-colored background with more of a rustic look. I have created a multi-colored background now, but it actually ended up being more modern looking than rustic. I’ll explain why.

So I started out with a bunch of different paints; sky blue, turquoise, gray, and white, as well as a clear semi gloss wood stain that I had added a dark gray color to to make it look more aged. I tested out about 10 different color combinations of these colors on some pine wood. Some of the combinations were very cool looking and some were not so great, but as I went through this process I realized that what I want to create and what I really need for my photography work are two different things.

I would have loved to create a very vintage looking background with a dark gray or dark brown under-layer and a turquoise top-layer to give it a rustic, distressed, vintage looking feel. The fact is I don’t really have much use for a backdrop like that for food photography and I don’t suspect many other people would on a regular basis either. What I really need is a background with a combination of a bit arty, but modern all in one. Basically, something that I can use over and over again in various shots to give food photography a modern look.

The most practical thing to do is simply just create a white one, which is something I plan to do next. But after I tried out all sorts of combinations today I found that turquoise combined with white looked the best. Turquoise is a rustic sort of retro color, but it gets a modern look by combining it with white.

So here is how I applied the two colors. I first took a plain white colored paint and cut it down with 50% water. I then applied a thin coat of the watered down white paint and allowed it to dry for 25 minutes. I cut the white paint with 50% water because I didn’t want it to be too thick and cover up all the wood grain completely. I then took the turquoise paint and cut it down with about 20% water. I actually didn’t want to thin out this paint or lighten the turquoise color itself, but I needed to make the paint just a bit more watery so it could be easily wiped off and blended with the white paint below it using a cotton cloth while it was still wet.

So after the white paint was dry I applied an even coat of the turquoise paint covering all of the white. And since it was watered down by 20%, it didn’t start drying and getting sticky immediately as pure 100% paint would have. Great!

I then took a dry piece of cotton cloth (dry and not wet is important) and wiped the turquoise paint off from one end to the other while it was still wet. This step removed some of the turquoise color enough to reveal some of the white underneath for a nice blend. It is also worth noting (when you wipe each of the boards one by one after you paint them) that you should use a new clean and dry piece of cloth (or paper towel) each time so that you don’t spread more paint back onto the board.

Here you can see a close-up of the result:

And here is a wider shot showing more of the backdrop:

If you would like to know more about the type of wood I am using, the size of my boards, how I sand them lightly first, and the type of paints I am using, then you can read my first post here called How to Build a DIY Wood Background For Photography.

The next backdrop I am planning to make is a white one as I mentioned, which I am assuming will be my most frequently used backdrop since white is such a neutral color. And I am thinking about giving the white backdrop a thin undercoat of milk chocolate colored brown paint first so that the white color is not a pure white and perhaps has just a bit of brown shining through in certain areas to make it feel a bit rustic, old, and distressed looking.

I am also going to sand off a bit of the paint along the sides of the edges of the gray boards I made previously. They were the first set of boards I painted and I posted pictures of them on the link above. This way, when I use the gray boards in photos, they will look a bit worn and aged at the edges and not so newly painted looking. Sanding the edges will also show a bit of the raw wood in the gaps between the boards, which will be nice. Once I sand them down I will post some new images of the gray boards to show what they look like after sanding them down along the edges a bit.