DIY Tutorial: How to Make An Album Cover Photobooth Backdrop

  • 1
  • October 10, 2012

Amanda & Brad & their music-themed DC wedding are back again, this time sharing all the details on their simply fabulous album cover photobooth backdrop! Brad graciously took the time to write out all the steps and back story to making this fabulous DIY wedding project ~ I know you will love this!

DIY How To Make A Decoupage Vinyl Album Cover Photobooth Backdrop

From Brad:

I wanted to have a cool photo booth backdrop at my wedding and was inspired by an online photo of a table someone had decorated with the 45 LP labels using decoupage. I had never heard of decoupage before, so I started reading up on it and watching youtube tutorials and thought it would be cool to make a collapsible screen out of vinyl record covers.

I love how Amanda & Brad particularly chose so many of the albums – their first dance, ceremony music, etc …

I first had to gather all the records I wanted, some were from my personal collection, others I bought at used record stores and a few I sought out on Ebay. My wife and I both selected albums that meant something to us, some were favorite artists, others were songs we liked when we were younger or memories from childhood.  My wife Amanda is from Boston so we added Aerosmith and the Boston album that had the song Amanda. I found a copy of Lou Rawls “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” which was our first dance.  I put on Back to the Future Soundtrack cover since we used The Power of Love by Huey Lewis as our recessional song at the end of the ceremony. We both have Scottish backgrounds so I added a bag pipe players record. Other albums were selected just for fun and interesting album artwork or there is a story behind it.

One Lionel Richie album was a gatefold and the inside of the album spread it looks like he autographed it to us, his signature just so happened to be printed on all of the albums as part of the artwork so I added our names with a sharpie, it was funny, some of our guests at the wedding really thought he signed it for us. My first job out of college was at WASH-FM and Lionel Richie came to the station for a morning show interview, he stopped by my desk and said hello. Then many years later I went to Jazz Fest in New Orleans and I happened to be with one of my groomsmen at the time and we randomly ran into someone on the streets he knew from the DC area and she just so happened to have some connection with Lionel Richie and invited us to his trailer to meet him and then Lionel Richie gave us seats on the side of the stage to watch him perform.

How Brad made the photobooth backdrop:

I bought four 4×8 panels of ply wood and cut them down to about 7 feet since vinyl records are not quite 12×12 inch squares, but about 12.5×12.5 inches. You can fit 12 covers to a panel this way and have about a half inch border on the bottom. You need to cut about .25 inches on both sides to have the covers line up side by side without overlapping. If left alone you should be able to put 14 covers on one 4×8 panel and have some space for a border on the bottom, just keep in mind you need to transport it.

 

Click inside for the rest of the DIY vinyl cover backdrop tutorial!

The next step was cutting out the cover of the vinyl records. I used an exacto knife and cut out the squares so I could fit 2 side by side in the 4 foot space, I choose a couple gatefold covers and had to cut down either side to make them fit. You have to make sure the surface is perfectly flat and cut away any of the interior cardboard folds, you’ll understand what I’m talking about if you do this.  This was one of the most tedious and time consuming portions of the project.

Next I bought some acrylic fast drying black paint and painted the plywood on both sides and all edges.  Once the paint had dried, I laid out how I wanted the record covers on the plywood and put them in order for later.

I had never done decoupage before and many of the projects I saw were people cutting out images from magazines and pasting them onto finished surfaces.  I could not find any examples of what I was trying to do, vinyl record covers typically have the thickness of cardstock or thick poster board, but some older ones I used had almost a thicker cardboard material, like a cardboard box. From what I saw it looked like I was going to need a lot of glue.  I purchased some high gloss Mod Podge at Michaels and bought paint rollers and big paint brushes. One of my groomsmen helped me put this together, he happened to have a work space with saw horses, which came in very handy in the gluing stage. We took each vinyl record cover and applied a layer of glue to the back of the cover and another onto the surface of the plywood and laid the pieces down, we had to use a roller to apply pressure to make sure the covers were sticking and bubbles were not forming underneath.

Once all the covers dried to the surface we started painting a layer of the Mod Podge glue right over the album covers. At first it looks strange because the glue is cloudy and looks like you are ruining the covers, but within an hour it starts drying and creates a high gloss clear seal. It is recommended to let it dry for a few hours and then apply a second coat and then it needs to fully dry for at least 24 hours.

The next phase was hinging everything together, which in hindsight was something we should have done last.  We lined up the panels on the floor and placed hinges on alternating sides of each one so the whole wall could be folded on top of each other with all 4 panels lying flat on top of each other.  You need to make sure everything is perfectly lined up so it will fold properly in addition the bottom really needs to line up so when standing up all four panels are touching the ground evenly for stability.  When I had the ply wood cut at home depot, it was not 100% precise for each board. The other thing is you want to make sure the screws are just long enough to hold the hinge but not poke through the covers, so be sure to measure the thickness.

After the whole project was hinged together we took it outside and sprayed a special waterproof sealant. Since Mod Podge is a water soluble substance, humidity and water can damage the look. Two of the sealant spray coats is recommended and allowing to dry for 24 hours before handling again.

Some advice if you try and make this yourself:

A few things I learned in the process: to be done properly everything needs to be done in stages over the course of several days or even weeks, allow for proper drying times and don’t rush the pasting and gluing decoupage portion. When initially gluing down the pieces taking the time to go over everything with a roller will make a big difference in the look, edges can curl up and bubbles can form underneath.  To save on costs I went with impacted particle board plywood which was very heavy and rough on the surface, but I would recommend a finely sanded lighter plywood sheet.  Last would be to fully seal each board before hinging together.  Once fully put together it was very difficult to transport, but since I used heavier plywood I could install small wheels on the bottom.  Last when folded up for storage it is recommended to place a towel in between each board so the surface is not ruined. There is a chance if stored flat the pressure over time could cause the surfaces to stick together.

And now for some seriously sweet shots of the vinyl cover backdrop!

 

 

A very special thanks again to Brad for taking the time to type up these directions and for sharing the images!! I loved this tutorial!

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6 Comments

  • Suzanne says:

    Brad and Amanda were two of the coolest people we’ve ever worked with, and this further proves it! Love this idea.

  • Brad says:

    If anyone has any questions on what it might cost to build something like this feel free to contact me, I have also come up with a couple different alternatives to the foldable plywood screen since building this.

    • Sharron Stevens says:

      Not sure if Brad still monitors this page—-but I gotta say this is a fabulous idea! I’m planning a 60th birthday party for a pal who is a huge music fan and would like to make one of these. Wondering what the alternatives are you have come up with and an approx. cost. I’m not sure I can make this on my own…Thanks for your time.

    • Butterflyy says:

      HI Brad what was your cost and what other options do you have for plywood? Great concept!!!!

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