Tutorial: Building Backdrop Scaffolding

I’m helping a client now with a custom cowgirl party plan for her twin girls. We’re having so much fun shopping and deciding on all the details! One of her questions was about how to create a backdrop, and I thought I’d share the answer with you as well.

This party will be at a charming stable, and one of the backdrops will actually be a barn wall — I can’t wait to see those photos. But another area is trickier. The one indoor room has a built-in bar — perfect for setting up a buffet. But behind the bar is the stable’s unattractive little kitchen. We’re going to try to hide as much of the kitchen as we can. Here’s how: PVC pipe.

Pipe and drape system by Double the Fun Parties

If you are just trying to dress up a wall behind a dessert table, you can lean the scaffolding against the wall and secure it with your table, like we did for this sleepover party.

If your scaffolding needs to be free standing, just add more T connectors and pipe “feet.” The feet should be perpendicular to the scaffolding. You would have four “feet” pipe: two on each side, one extending in front of the scaffolding and one extending behind it.

For an outside party, you may want to stake the feet in the ground with two garden stakes (the kind you use to secure weed fabric). (Chris from Celebrations at Home uses a similar scaffolding and has planted her bottom pipes in little buckets of cement.)

So, your first step is deciding on the scale of your PVC pipe scaffolding. We used 1-inch pipe. The pipe comes in 4-foot sections and 10-foot sections. My standard set-up is 3.5 feet wide, which means Don  had to cut the pipe with a miter saw. That’s actually pretty easy. The miter saw helps you cut a straight line.

Honestly, it would be easier to make it 4 feet wide and avoid some pipe cutting. (If you need a backdrop that’s wider than four feet, you may want to insert vertical supports in the center to give the backdrop more stability.)

All you do is use T connectors to plug together your vertical and horizontal PVC. The pipes just slip into the connectors. We used four 4-foot sections, eight 1.5-foot sections, six T connectors, and two elbow connectors.

At the top of the scaffolding, use an elbow bracket to attach the top pipe. You’ll hang your display from this top pipe.

In the photo with the purple polka dot backdrop, I selected a curtain at WalMart and hung it upside down from the bottom hem. (The top hem is meant for a standard curtain rod and is too narrow for the 1 inch pipe.) You also could use 45 or 54 inch fabric, drape it over the top pipe, and safety pin it to itself by wrapping it up and around the second pipe from the top.

If you try this, I’d love to see your photos!

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