Saturday, June 18, 2011

Photo Booth Wall - Tutorial

There is already an amazing tutorial and DIY project on the Ruffled Blog which has been inspiring many people to build their own photo walls for parties, weddings and other functions... but at the risk of looking like I'm reinventing the wheel - I thought I'd post an alternative option for how to put one together!

We wanted a photo wall for our special event, but due to the constraints of not having a car, not having a very big flat, and needing something lightweight, portable and collapsable (we walked this to our venue)... we had to come up with an alternative solution.

Our main criteria for the redesign were

a. all pieces we needed to build the frame had fit in a taxi/car from the DIY shop
b. the finished product needed to be lightweight portable enough that we could walk it to the venue, get it up the stairs, and assemble it easily there.

Rather than use plywood, we decided to build a frame out of 1x2 lumber (for those not in the know what is called 1" by 2" lumber, actually measures 3/4" by 1 1/2") and then use hardboard as as lighter, easier to work with and more flexible option, as the main surface of the wall.

We used;

For the walls
- 10 x "1 by 2" pieces measuring 72 inches (182cm) in length
- 4 x 3mm hardboard pieces measuring 60cm x 180 cm

For the stand
- 1 x 240cm long plank for bookshelves (white covered MDF)
- 1 x 240cm long piece of moulding/trim (any will do)
- 1 x "2 by 4" piece of lumber (length 240 cm)

Other things...
- Wall Paper, Frames, Clocks, Photos
- Wall Paper Paste
- Screws, Finishing Nails

- Hand Saw
- Jigsaw
- Craft Knife

Taking stock of our materials

Step 1. We drew out how we wanted our photo wall to look and actually used a large blank wall to layout the design and make all our measurements. Using our measurements we sketched out a basic frame so that the vertical 1 by 2's measured to the inner edges of the frames, and cut horizontal 1 by 2's to connect the pieces. Each of the two frames was built to fit the hardboard pieces we bought - 120 cm (two widths of the 60 cm hardboard panels)by 180 cm (the length of the hardboard panels)

Step 2.. Double checking all our measurements before cutting, we quickly assembled the frame - starting with the outer frame first, and then fitting all the inner pieces within the frame.

(above) One of the two panels which make up the wall.
(below) Connect the joints with two wood screws.

We assembled all the joints of the frame using short wood screws. The wood of the 1 by 2's is very soft, so we didn't need to drill... we simply used a screwdriver and a careful eye to assemble them closely.

Step 3. For each of the two frames, we laid down two hardboard panels side by side, and then laid the frames on top - marking where the frame holes would be cut.

Step 4. Using a jigsaw, we cut the holes for the frame (this could be done with a craft knife, if you don't have a jigsaw, but this will take some time and require much patience).

Step 5. Using a few screws for security, and then finishing nails every few 15 to 20 cm, we attached the hardboard panels to the tops of each frame.

(below) Without wallpaper the two frames look like this

After building the frames, it was just a matter of using some strong moulding and a 2 by 4 to make a stand. We attached the moulding to the front of a board measuring the length of the wall, and after measuring and marking the thickness of the wall screwed in a 2 by 4 to hold it behind.

This made a portable frame that we could slot the two wall panels in.

From there we just wallpapered and decorated away!

I don't think this method is any easier than the other methods I've seen out there. But it certainly made transportation and setting up and take down easier for us, because everything could lie flat and be carried through the doorways of our venue.

The photowall was a great success and we had a great time with it at the party... now its just a question of what we do with it now...


  1. What was your final cost to make the wall?

  2. I think we spent about £70 on materials (spent more than we needed as we went for the more expensive but more portable option)... but it was well worth it!

  3. Great job! Looks great. Thanks so much for posting this tutorial. I am going to attempt one for my wedding can you please tell me the dimensions of your finished wall? I want to order some wallpaper and am wondering how much I need?

  4. going across the wall was made up for four panels 60 cm across and 180 cm tall... so the wall itself was 240 cm long.

    We wanted a big wall with multiple posing frames so we made it HUGE!

    I think we had to buy two rolls of paper, because we had quite a large pattern and we were trying to be careful about lining it up right, so we had a bit of wastage! better safe than sorry.

    let me know how it goes, would love to see the final project!

  5. How many square feet was your wallpaper rolls?