DIY Light-Up Backdrop (Using PVC)


Do you want to soften the look of or define a specific space of your venue? A lighted backdrop (also known as pipe & drape) is a common decorative piece for any special occasion. 2-dimensional backdrops are perfect for establishing a photo booth area for you and your guest. While 3-dimensional, double backdrops, are perfect for creating depth behind a sweetheart or head table.

Unfortunately, custom backdrops could cost you $200 to $700+. However, we were able to create a simple light-up backdrop for $85, using PVC pipe, curtains, and string lights.


Here is what you will need:

  • 3 - 8' 1-inch PVC Pipes (Lowe's Cut from 10' pipe)

  • 2 - 7' 1-inch PVC Pipes (Lowe's Cut from 10' pipe)

  • 2 - 3' 1-inch PVC Pipes (Leftovers from the 7' pipes)

  • 4 - 1-inch PVC Tee's

  • 6 - 1-inch PVC Elbow's (If assembling double backdrop, you will only need 4)

  • 2 - 1-inch 3-way elbow (If assembling double backdrop)

  • 2 - 1-inch x 3/4-inch elbow's (If assembling double backdrop)

  • PVC Pipe Cutter

  • 2 - 51" (wide) x 84" (height) sheer curtains

  • 4 - Mini White String Lights (100 ft./each)

First, start by cutting the two 3' PVC pipes into four 1.5' pieces and cut the two 7' pipes into four 3.5' pieces. This is the only cutting that you will need to do, if you have your hardware store make the first cuts.


Connect two 1.5' pieces with a tee and attache an elbow on either end. This will be the base/feet of the backdrop. Repeat this with the remaining two 1.5' pieces. You can certainly go for a smaller base if you are concerned about space. However, the smaller the base, the less stable the structure. You may want to only consider this option if you are placing the backdrop against a wall.


Connect a 3.5' pieces onto each base, place another tee at the top of each 3.5' piece and then attach the remaining 3.5' pieces onto each tee.


You should now be able to combine the two bases together by connecting the 8' pole using the middle tee connector. Finally, you can connect one elbow to either side of an 8' pole and then connect the top of the two bases.


Before putting on the top pole, you should consider sliding on the curtain and then attach it to the top of the structure. You could also do all of this by removing the frame from the foot of the base, so you can lay the entire structure down, if you have enough space. Once the curtain and lights are attached you can then position the frame back on the feet of the base. (You will need two people for this.)


Now for the lights. We used clothes pins to attach them to the top of the curtain. and made sure to have the connections between light strings be placed in an area that was not noticeable on the other side. We purchased four packs of string lights but only needed three. It will depend on your desired look.

After placing a few lines of lights, we noticed that the curtain was very sheer and was not giving us the desired look.

We decided to attache a second rod to the top of the frame using the 1-inch 3-way elbow and the 1-inch x 3/4-inch elbow.

Once the second rod was on, we attached a second curtain behind the sheer curtain. You may not need to do this, if you are positioning the backdrop in front of a solid color wall. We noticed that after assembling the second row that the structure was leaning forward quite a bit. To combat this we replaced the 3-way elbow with a tee. This would distribute the weight better. You can use a string or tether from the top of the structure to the base in order to straighten the poles.


The final result came out beautiful and can be used for various other backdrop styles. This structure only cost us $85, including the sheer curtains. If you are looking for this type of decor for your next event, skip the hardware store and have us bring this to you for $50! Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or future DIY ideas!

1st Capital Events, LLC | York, PA | 717-683-8127

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