How to Make an Inexpensive Wedding Photo Booth

Photo booths provide reception entertainment for wedding guests, as well as a favor to take home. While many photo booth rental companies exist, brides can cut costs by creating their own, like this one made from plywood with vintage wallpaper, or a simple fabric backdrop, like this one. Here’s how the bride and I made an inexpensive photo booth last August.

You will need: 

  • Wrapping paper, $3-$5 (be sure to pick matte paper, not shiny, so camera flashes won’t reflect)
  • Elmer’s Glue
  • Two cardboard tri-fold display boards (those self-standing boards you use for school projects, you can find them at Hobby Lobby or Walmart for $4)
  • Assorted picture frames (we got them from Goodwill for $2-$5 each)
  • Chalkboard spray paint, $5
  • Short brads or nails
  • Hammer
  • Photos of the couple
  • Duct tape
  • Masking tape
  • Box cutter

 

Part 1: The Backdrop

Lay the tri-fold display boards flat on the ground, end to end. Use the duct tape to tape them securely together. Flip them over, and tape the other side. Now, when standing on end, the cardboard should be about six feet high.
Cover the front side with wrapping paper, just like you would apply wallpaper, being sure to match the pattern. Now you have this:
Built in my in-law’s basement 🙂

Next, select the largest picture frame for the center of the backdrop. Arrange it on the front side of the back drop, and carefully mark where it needs to line up. Then, flip the backdrop over, so that the wrapping paper side is on the ground. Slide the frame underneath, and to the best of your ability, line it up with the marks you made.

Take the short brads, and hammer them through the cardboard from the back into the frame. If you’re tempted to skip the nails and use hot glue to attach the frame, don’t. I tried that, but the paper isn’t strong enough to hold up the frame, and it will tear. Use nails or brads that are just long enough to go through the cardboard and into the frame, without going through the frame.

Now you have this:

 

Lay the backdrop on the ground again, this time face up. Use the box cutter to carefully cut out the inside of the frame. If your box cutter is dull, like mine was, you might have to flip it over and cut it from the back side too. That leaves you with this:

 

Now it’s time for some embellishments!

Part 2: The Chalkboard Frame

Select one of your picture frames to be the chalkboard. Make sure it has a flat piece of glass in front. Tape off the edges with masking tape. Spray it with chalkboard paint, following the instructions on the can. Make sure to cure the dry chalkboard by rubbing a piece of chalk over the entire surface, and then wiping it off. That way, you’ll be able to re-use the chalkboard in the future.
Finish it off by writing the couple’s names and wedding date. Then, attach it to the back drop with brads or short nail, just like you did the main picture frame. Instead of laying the cardboard face down though, stand the backdrop up and have someone hold the frame in place while you hammer.

Part 3: The Extra Photographs

Remove the backs and glass from all of the remaining frames. They need to be as light as possible, so that they don’t make the backdrop too top-heavy. Glue the photos of the couple into them, arrange them on the front of the backdrop, and have someone hold them in place while you secure them from the back with just one or two nails. Then you have this:

 

A few things I would do differently: As you can see in the picture above, the paper bubbled where the duct tape is. I recommend using a paste or watered-down Elmer’s glue and paint brush to apply the wrapping paper, not a glue stick, because glue sticks don’t stick well to duct tape.
I would also use a little glue to secure the picture frames on the front, because transporting the frame can knock them loose.
Assign someone the job of taking photos for the photo booth, but allow everyone to take pictures with their phones also.
Here’s some ideas for poses:
The Kissing Pose: 
The pastor and his wife
The 3D Pose: 
 
First Family Portrait:

 

 

There you have it! Happy photo taking!