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DIY Cake Smash Backdrop: Quick, Easy, & Cheap

cake smash backdrop party decor

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Little miss just turned one and I had to throw her an EPIC party. I choose a unicorn theme and it was fabulous. All my mommy friends out there told me that the thing to do on my little’s first birthday is a cake smash. I loved that idea. It’s messy…….it’s crafty……it sounds perfect for me! Immediately I set to work to figure out the perfect cake smash backdrop to coordinate with my theme. In no time flat I came up with a stellar idea and I just LOVE LOVE LOVE how it turned out!

It’s too bad that the actual cake smashing was a flop.  It was hard on this type-A momma, but I am learning to roll with the punches and unpredictability of kids more and more each day. 🙂 My little lady was overtired, had just woke up from a nap (yes she slept in the middle of her party) and wanted nothing to do with her cake! And definitely was not eating it! So instead she planted one knee in the cake momma had so painstakingly crafted for her to eat and destroy, as she climbed into my arms for cuddles, milk, and another nap. I guess technically she smashed it…just not exactly how I had envisioned the execution of it.

Ahhh, kids. I love my little miss and her HUGE personality. She wanted nothing to do with any of those cake festivities…but she sure did enjoy a unicorn cookie on a stick later! 🙂 All and all, she had a fabulous birthday and tons of fun, with or without a successful cake smash. 🙂 Now, let’s get you info on how to setup an easy cake smash backdrop for your little one’s birthday or next party!

Instructions for an Easy Cake Smash Backdrop:

Embracing my unicorn theme, I decorated the party using gold glitter and rainbow colors. I happened to be perusing Amazon when I came across this awesome gold fringe. Once I saw that, I knew exactly what I was going to do. I ordered two that instant and started crafting the rest of the cake smash backdrop while waiting for delivery.  P.S. I love prime shipping!

When the gold fringe arrived I taped it to the wall where we will cake smash. Previously, I made tissue paper tassel garland, perhaps another tutorial coming soon, in rainbow colors. I strung one up high (in case adults used the background for their own pictures prior to the cake smash) and another about one foot off the ground. I wanted it to be in the background of the photos when little miss was smashing away at her cake! Ahh… I had dreams….

cake smash backdrop party decor

Next, and this part is sheer genius, I took one  rainbow table cloth (Spritz for Target) and folded it in half twice and taped it to the floor. It made a festive little party cake smashing area and cleanup will be a breeze. See what I mean, sheer genius! ( I hate cleaning, so anything to simplify that is always a plus in my book!) This will be great for you momma’s who have kids that do smash up their cake 🙂 Here is a great close up of the floor with the table cloth taped down.

cake smash backdrop party decor

Those three simple elements, the gold fringe, tissue paper garland, and plastic tablecloth made for a beautiful festive scene to photograph little miss. I hope that you are able to use this tutorial for an easy to pull together  DIY cake smash backdrop. I would love to see how yours turns out.

I will leave you with this real life moment:  the epic shots of our cake smash fail….now had there actually been cake smashing, the tablecloth would have made cleanup a breeze. Oh well, my princess looked cute even though she was mad! If you love that unicorn horn party hat she is sporting, check out the tutorial here! They made awesome party favors and added so much fun to our party environment!

cake smash backdrop party decor

Yes, that is mommy trying to coerce cake smashing…I was not successful…had she smashed the cake I would have shot photos from another angle, so just the background would have been in the photo….but at this point and time this was the furthest momma could get away from lil miss! The full on tantrum and screaming ensued immediately after this photo was snapped.:)

I am linking up to these parties!

Make sure to let me know how your backdrops turn out. I would love to see other backdrop ideas too! I am always looking for great ways to capture the memories we are making! Can’t wait to see what everyone shares!

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Why (and How) You Should DIY Backdrops for Party Decor

 

DIY backdrop scene setter photo booth for dessert table

Anyone knows that throwing a party gets expensive quick, Right?! I am sure I am preaching to the choir here. The decorations, the food, invitations, favor bags, and the list just goes on. I love to throw parties, but I also like to be cost effective when I do it, but I sure will not let style or the finished product suffer. This is why I am sharing my entire DIY Unicorn Theme Party Series. Many of these tips and tutorials can be applied to any party theme too! Sweet! Double bonus!

OK, so today, we are going to chat about backdrops. If you haven’t noticed, the new ‘it’ thing at parties are fancy dessert tables and photo booth stations. Both of these look amazing and honestly, really deserve a beautiful backdrop to set the scene perfectly and pull your party together.

It is important to think about the theme of the party and the mood that you want to convey. A few thoughts to keep in mind as you design your background:

  • What is my color scheme?
  • What scene is this backdrop setting?
  • How big is the area that you are covering with your scene setter?
  • How will I display the backdrop?

Once you have answered these questions it is time to set out on creating the scene setter. For my party, I had a few criteria that I just would not compromise on after I thought about the above questions.

  • I wanted my scene setter to be once continuous piece. This meant using fabric was not an option as I was covering an area that was 6ft x 8ft and would result in having to seam the fabric.
  • I wanted my scene to represent a nice inviting soft sky. I looked at options of tasseled party backdrops, but that wasn’t going to convey the image I desired for my dessert table. Although, I did decide to use them for the smash cake session (DIY Tutorial on that Coming Soon!)

Well, that really limited my options. So as Winnie the Pooh would say ” I sat down and I THUNK, THUNK, THUNK!” And then it came to me…well actually it came to me on one of the many wonderful family trips where my daughter and I are gleefully drug through Home Depot for what seems like no apparent reason for an eternity (did you sense a little sarcasm there?!) Yes, the mister loves to go to Home Depot.

Anyways, I totally digressed, as I was ‘joyfully’ walking around the store I found myself in the paint section staring at canvas tarps. Did you know that canvas tarps come in HUGE sizes? And are relatively inexpensive for the amount of fabric you get? And are essentially a blank canvas? Oh yeah, and are designed for paint? Yes, it was an epiphany. The angels sang, and I grabbed up a 6ft x 9ft tarp for 15.00 dollars and a can of sky blue spray paint for 3.99.

DIY back drop scene setter photo booth for dessert table

I was able to make my backdrop for under 20 bucks and it was going to be EXACTLY what I wanted. SCORE!

I was so excited, as soon as we got home, I set to work. Let me share how you would go about making a backdrop.

Easy Steps to DIY a Background or Scene Setter

The first step, which I skipped (and highly recommend NOT skipping) is to throw your new tarp in the dryer to get all the fold wrinkles out. If you are not doing a basic solid color backdrop then this is even more important!

Next, set up a painting area. Dry, dust free, well ventilated, and something on the floor under your tarp to catch the over spray.  It doesn’t have to be pretty. As you can see in my photo below, I have some ugly black foam that has paint on it. Talk about silliness, that is usually what the tarp is for 🙂

Spread the tarp out so that it lies flat. No matter what you are putting on your backdrop, you want to start with the overall prominent background color(s). For me, it was super simple, as I was just using sky blue.

DIY back drop scene setter photo booth for dessert table

 

Start at the top of the canvas and spray small areas about 2ft x 3ft. I worked across the top in this size section and once I completed a row I moved down to work on the next row.

DIY back drop scene setter photo booth for dessert table

I did not want even coverage because I was going for a soft whimsical sky for unicorns to flutter through. If you want full solid coverage you will need to do a few additional passes over each area.

Once the entire tarp is covered, allow it to dry for at least 2 hours. This was my stopping point because I was going to use it just like this, with some white puffy 3-D clouds hanging in front of it.

DIY back drop scene setter photo booth for dessert table

If you want a more elaborate scene setter this is the time where you can go in with additional spray paint and add details or use acrylic paint and brushes. An example would be to spray the entire tarp, with 2/3 blue and 1/3 green (for step 1). Then go back and paint little flowers and cute woodland creatures in the green area and a sun and some fluttering butterflies and a few clouds in the blue area. This would be perfect for a spring photo booth backdrop or an Easter brunch table background. Really, the possibilities are endless… let your artistic skills and imagination lead the way!

Make sure once you have completed your design you allow the tarp to dry for at least 24 hours prior to mounting it. I mounted mine using rainbow glitter Duck Tape. I had planned to use it from the beginning. It does two things. It acts as a frame, helping to pull my whole dessert table area together, and it also holds my backdrop in place securely to the wall.

The key word is securely. You need to make sure you attach or hang your backdrop so it won’t fall down. The last thing you want to happen is for it to fall on your desserts and crush them. That would be sad after all your hard work. I am delighted with how mine turned out!

DIY back drop scene setter photo booth for dessert table

OK, so remember, making a backdrop is easy and not expensive. You need a tarp, some spray paint, acrylic paint (optional), and your creativity! The sky is the limit!

Now, its your turn. In the comments show me your DIY scene setters, backdrops, and photo booth stations. I can’t wait to see what everyone creates.

 

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