When I decided to go into photography professionally, I knew I could not afford to buy all new equipment and that I would likely have to cut corners somewhere. I looked for, among other things, a backdrop stand. I found lots of high prices and even looked on sites such as eBay to see if I could get one used, only to find that they were not much cheaper.
That’s when I decided to build my own. I got out a pencil and a piece of paper, did some quick sketching and angle measurements and then went to the hardware store for supplies. All you need to build something like this is some PVC pipe, joints and PVC cement. I used three 1" pipes and one ¾". They are available at any hardware store in ten-foot lengths. In addition, I needed a handful of connectors to make it just like I needed.
See the overall picture below to get a sense of what the whole thing looks like, completely assembled:
[See Image 1]
The bases for the uprights were the trickiest parts to figure out, despite not being overwhelmingly complicated. I have seen other designs but I like mine. Shown below with the legs removed. I did not cement the four legs so it would be easy to store and transport. The long section is cemented. Each of these sections of pipe is one foot long.
[See Image 2]
After building the bases, I attached the uprights, which are eight feet long. I built this in my last home, which had nine-foot ceilings, but when I moved I was happy that I made them short, as my basement ceiling is exactly eight feet.
[See Image 3]
After building my uprights, I put the ¾" hanger bar across the top, feeding it through the top T-connectors. From this I can hang my backdrops.
[See Image 4]
In addition, I can use cheap clamps to hold a backdrop to the top bar if needed.
[See Image 5]
This set-up may not look like the top-of-the-line supports that you see in catalogs, but in the end it does what I need it to do; it holds the backdrops. The last thing I did was I cut all the pipes to the right length to fit in a large duffel bag for easy storage and transport, for when I need to carry it to a client’s location.