While it seems like everybody and their brother has a YouTube vlog these days, all that self-promoted video media has come with some pretty shoddy backdrops. When I created my own DIY Studio, I spent a considerable amount of time looking through Pinterest and blog posts looking for ideas, but couldn’t find a solid source with all the ideas in one place. I thought I would do you a solid and pull together all the things I learned you could make into great backdrops. Hence this post.
These boring, distracting, or plain bad backdrops can be detrimental to a video’s main message and can cause people to unsubscribe or not subscribe at all. Bad backdrops are just as much of a negative impact on the quality of a video as a poor audio track is.
In this post, I put together 50 ideas you can use for your DIY YouTube video backdrop spread across these categories:
- Plain Backdrops (1-7)
- Blinged Out Backdrops (8-13)
- Niche Backdrops (14-24)
- Crafty Backdrops (25-32)
- Colorful Backdrops (33-39)
- Artsy Backdrops (40-50)
There are many different ways you can tweak your YouTube video backdrop for increased likes and subscribers. Read on to learn more about different kinds of DIY YouTube backdrops you can use to make your videos more professional and fun to watch.
If you’re wanting to avoid a lot of distraction in the background of your YouTube video so that the viewer focuses only on the person speaking in the video, you’ll want to go with a plain or solid-colored backdrop.
1. Hanging Bed Sheets Backdrop
Hanging bed sheets are a great choice for an impromptu backdrop because they are cheap, usually come in many different shades (including an array of neutral colors) and can be acquired from household supplies in a pinch as long as they are unstained and clean.
Be sure to inspect any bed sheets you use to hang as a backdrop for damage or anything that might draw the eye. If in doubt, just buy a new set of sheets for your backdrop.
Most bed sheets also have the advantage of being somewhat sheer, so they can be backlit via a window or other light source.
2. Curtain Stretch Backdrop
If you film your video near a window with curtains, you can always stretch those curtains sideways across the wall and tack them up to form a quick backdrop for YouTube videos. Curtains are usually made of aesthetically pleasing fabrics but tend to also be neutral.
Just be sure you have the curtains secured tightly before filming, as it will ruin your take if the curtain falls down halfway through.
3. Paper Backdrop
You can always use a paper backdrop for your video if you want a backdrop that is both economical and can be easily traded out and replaced as you want to change things up. Rolls of kraft paper can be found in most art supply stores.
Choosing a paper backdrop in a gray or dark blue background is most flattering to most people, but you can also choose different colors according to the mood you’re trying to achieve.
4. Add a Gradient Effect with a Scoop Light
When using a plain backdrop, you have a little bit more flexibility with influencing lighting and the way it affects the person in the video. To achieve a backlit haloed lighting effect, install a small scoop light behind the person in the video.
This can make your entire backdrop look more dynamic without changing anything else about the background.
5. Muslin Backdrop
Muslin is a non-reflective cotton that makes an appropriate background for photography and video filming. This fabric is available in many different colors and can be accentuated through other background objects to create a minimalist yet stylish look.
6. Tapestry or Quilt Backdrop
Quilts and tapestries make good impromptu YouTube backdrops, as they incorporate eye-catching color and design without drowning out the foreground of the video.
Wall tapestries are particularly good for this purpose and come in many different colors and designs to suit anyone’s particular style of video. Wall tapestries have the added bonus of being able to be left up as a decorative element even when not filming.
7. Brick Wall Backdrop
Brick walls are a popular choice for YouTube backdrops because they are visually interesting and give a bit of color while still being neutral.
If you can’t find a brick wall nearby to film as your backdrop, there are plenty of cheap photography backdrop clothes that feature different shades of brick wall textures.
While plain backdrops are a good choice for people who want to direct all attention to the person of interest in the video, fancy backdrops make a video seem more professional and can still be neutral and not draw too much attention off of the YouTuber if done properly.
8. Fairy Lights
Fairy lights have become a popular YouTube backdrop for a reason, especially among female YouTubers. These lights are popular for their bokeh film effect and their mystical, slightly feminine aesthetic.
To soften the look of fairy lights used in a YouTube backdrop, add a thin layer of sheer fabric over them to diffuse them and make them less prominent.
9. Creased Tin Foil
While tin foil is a bit expensive as far as DIY materials go, the effect caused by neon lights reflected off of creased tin foil is futuristic and cool. Plus, even though tin foil is initially a bit pricey, a tin foil backdrop can last for months if taken care of.
Be sure to test the effect before filming an entire video, as creasing tin foil makes its reflectivity unpredictable, and you don’t want points of light flashing at the camera.
Bokeh is the film effect where objects in the background are blurred, and the object in the foreground is sharp. Fairy lights are often utilized in bokeh photography setups to lend a soft ethereal feel.
You can mimic this effect by using bokeh pre-photographed bokeh backdrops edited into the background of your YouTube video for maximum effects with little fuss.
11. Tinsel Backdrop
Tinsel, like party streamers, balloons, and other holiday decorations, are cheapest to obtain either during or right after the holidays. Metallic tinsel is a good choice for adding some pizzazz to your YouTube backdrop while maintaining a neutral color scheme.
Gold, silver, and iridescent white are good choices for background tinsel, but it also comes in many other colors and styles, so if you’re feeling particularly colorful or flashy, you do you.
12. Photoshop Textures
Along with bokeh, you can use Photoshop to edit a variety of interesting textures into the backdrop of your YouTube video to create some stunning visual effects.
This is only cost-effective if you already own Photoshop, however, as this computer program is quite expensive.
13. Glitter Tulle Backdrop
If you want a little more sparkle in your YouTube videos, try stapling some glitter tulle to a set of taped-together, plain-colored poster board (black or dark blue is a good choice) and place it behind you in your video for some added gleam.
Many YouTubers start a YouTube channel or video blog in order to share their knowledge on a niche subject or industry. If this is the kind of video series you are interested in making (or if you’re making one already) you should consider some backgrounds that speak to your niche.
14. Office Backdrop
If your YouTube videos are based on business, IT, management, or any other subject related to business, you might consider using an office as the backdrop of your YouTube videos.
This can be either your home office, if it is aesthetically pleasing and uncluttered enough, or you can film from a working co-op, which will provide an active stock film of real office workers in the background behind you.
You can also shoot in your work office as long as your boss doesn’t care, and it is after hours.
15. Whiteboard Backdrop
If your YouTube videos involve long, complicated explanations, or coursework, you might want to consider using a whiteboard as the background of your YouTube video.
The only downside to a whiteboard is that they can be highly reflective, so you need to be conscious of your lighting setup for your videos if you decide to use one. You can either write on the whiteboard during the video or have ideas illustrated on it ahead of time for visual reference.
16. Bedroom Backdrop
Bedroom YouTube videos are good choices for personal video blogs about a person’s life, and they can also be suitable for intimate tutorials such as makeup or fashion.
However, using your bedroom as a backdrop means that your bedroom needs to be spic and span, and you need to diminish all clutter so that nothing is drawing the viewer’s attention away from you.
17. Blackboard Backdrop
Like the whiteboard backdrop, a blackboard backdrop is a good choice if you want to drop some knowledge, either through outlines or diagrams. Blackboards don’t have the issue with reflections that whiteboards do, but they can look dingy if not cleaned regularly.
Rather than buy a whole blackboard, it can often be easier to get blackboard paint and paint a wall with it. This wall can then be used as an accent wall and a functional chalkboard when not being used in video production.
18. Lab or Workshop Backdrop
In videos where you are talking about something technical or scientific, it can often lend a lot of credibility to the YouTuber talking if they give their lectures from a location that reinforces their technical or scientific background.
Therefore, if you are doing YouTube videos about chemistry, it will make your videos look better to shoot them in a lab, or if you are a cosplay designer, your sewing workshop.
19. Aquarium Backdrop
Aquariums often make good choices for backdrops, especially if you’re doing a YouTube video at all related to keeping fish. Aquariums are attractive (at least when clean) and provide a visual point of interest.
Since audio clarity is just as important as backdrop design, however, be sure that the mechanisms powering your aquarium, such as the air pump and filter, don’t create too much ambient noise that muddles your vocals and audio.
20. Record Wall Backdrop
For YouTube videos about music, it’s kind of hard to pick an appropriate backdrop that doesn’t involve a bad power-jamming behind your head while you talk. One option is to line up vintage records on a wall and use them as a backdrop.
Not only do you get major hipster points by using this backdrop, but it can also give you the chance to actually show off your record collection for a change.
21. Song Lyrics Backdrop
One way to look both intellectual and stylish in your YouTube video is to incorporate blown-up song lyrics, poetry, or other written text into your backdrop. This can be especially effective as a minimalist look when discussing music or literature.
22. Stacked Books or Bookshelf Backdrop
Intellectual or literature-oriented YouTube channels look great with a backdrop of books, either on a shelf (neatly!) or stacked in piles directly on the floor. Either setup gives a bit of a different vibe. Shelf books say college library, floor books say library at Hogwarts.
You can choose either way depending on whether you want a more formal, academic feel to your video, or whether you want to just have a book club type jam session in which case filming yourself sitting in front of a giant stack of books is more fun.
23. Lightbox and X-rays
If you have a medically themed YouTube channel, one interesting backdrop might be an array of human X-rays, which can be procured online. These can then be displayed on a lightbox so that they show prominently in the video’s background.
24. Other Niche Backdrops
There are more categories of YouTube videos and vloggers in the world than you could possibly name, so if you have a niche YouTube category, get creative and tie your backdrop directly into your niche.
For example, if you are doing a cooking vlog on YouTube, you can set your backdrop as the kitchen. If you do YouTube lectures about wildlife, you can green screen wildlife videos to loop in the background. The sky is the limit when it comes to developing a niche backdrop.
Summon your inner arts and crafts kid to create these thrifty, DIY backdrops for many different visual effects and styles.
25. Taped Dried Flower Backdrop
One way to spark up an undecorated paper or sheet backdrop is to tape dried flowers to the backdrop intermittently for visual interest. If you don’t want to use dried flowers (though they are arguably the best option because of their realistic look) fake flowers can be used.
26. Balloon Backdrop
Balloons make a good backdrop because, like tissue paper, they are economical, easy to find, and can be changed at a whim without too much financial investment. Balloons come in every color you can think of and are often available in metallic tints as well.
Depending on how whimsical of a backdrop you want, you can either secure balloons in rows against the wall of the video shoot, or you can weight them to the floor at differing heights throughout the background for a floating effect.
27. Paint Your Own Backdrop
If you’re feeling particularly creative, you can always take a canvas or poster board and paint your own backdrop for your YouTube videos. Not only does this allow you to choose whatever colors, designs, and effects you want, you can also paint a variety to switch out.
If you don’t want to paint multiple poster boards or rolls of craft paper, you can always just paint over your original backdrop whenever you get tired of it or even change it subtly each time to give your viewers an interesting Easter egg to look for.
28. Party Streamers Backdrop
Party streamers come in bunches of different colors and are available year-round in most party supply stores. These rolls of tissue paper are cheap and can be streamed from the ceiling’s edge to form a fluttering, colorful backdrop in a YouTube video.
If you want to minimize the movement of the party streamers, you can always opt to secure them at the bottom of the floor as well as at the ceiling, so they form a more solid backdrop.
29. Paper Chains Backdrop
Paper chains can be either made out of construction or tissue paper and are a colorful addition to your backdrop. To make paper chains, cut construction paper (in any colors you like) into strips, and then cut the strips to the length you want and glue them into a chain with a glue stick.
Make sure paper chains are completely dry before attempting to hang them, as they might come apart otherwise. Once dry, paper chains can either hang down perpendicular to the floor, or they can be draped artistically across the backdrop in various designs.
30. Seasonal Backdrops
One way to change up your usual YouTube backdrop is to make up seasonal backdrops that you can incorporate during different times of the year. Easter eggs for Easter, paper snowflakes for Christmas–seasonal backdrops can be as diverse as your imagination allows.
One way you can echo season backdrops in your YouTube videos is to film holiday specials that somehow incorporate the theme of the holidays into your normal video content.
31. Letter Balloon Wall Backdrop
Letter balloons aren’t as easy to come by as regular round balloons, but they can make a definite impression in your video. You can use balloon letters to spell your name, title the video, or title the video series.
Either way, if you put something in balloon letters in your YouTube video, you’re going to get the viewer’s attention. So make sure your balloon letter message is a charming one.
32. Scalloped Doily Backdrop
The scalloped, round doilies that you find at weddings and other fancy venues are a good choice for crafting a DIY backdrop. They come in neutral shades, can add some design elements, and are also available in metallic colors.
Mix metallic and neutral doilies for extra visual depth.
There are two schools of thought on YouTube video production—one group thinks that YouTube backdrops should be neutral and non-obtrusive, and the other group thinks they should be colorful and stand-out.
There are pros and cons to each approach, but these are backdrops for the colorful folks.
33. Colorful Cut-Out Tissue Paper Backdrop
Colored tissue paper is perfect for constructing custom DIY backdrops for YouTube videos because it’s cheap, readily available, and comes in a dazzling array of colors. Tissue paper can even come embedded with glitter and other effects, especially during the holiday season.
To really save money with a DIY backdrop like this, stock up on tissue paper during the holidays when it is cheap, and you’ll have it available to use the rest of the year.
34. Paint Chip Mosaic Backdrop
You can achieve a really cool look in your backdrop by picking up a bunch of free paint chips from your local home improvement store and then taping to your wall or gluing them to a poster board to create mosaic designs.
By using paint chips, you can incorporate any colors you like, and if you want to make different backdrops, you can always go get more free paint chips (just space out your paint chip runs so no nosy manager feels the urge to give you “the talk” about free samples).
35. Shower Curtain Backdrop
Like regular curtains and bedsheets, shower curtains come in many different varieties and can be used as a DIY backdrop for YouTube videos.
Like bedsheets, you can use a set of backup shower curtains as your video backdrop, and then later use them to replace your real shower curtains whenever they actually need replacing. This way, the curtains can serve both purposes for ultimate thriftiness.
36. Tissue Paper Flower Backdrop
Tissue paper flowers have become a Pinterest sensation over the past several years, and with good reason–they look good. Using cheap tissue paper and a little craft ingenuity, you can create a lovely backdrop of colorful paper flowers to serve in your YouTube videos.
These tissue paper flowers can be as simple or elaborate as you want them to be. And the beautiful thing about them is that when you get tired of them, you can tear them all down and put up some different ones without wasting any real money.
37. Ombre Tissue Paper Backdrop
Why does tissue paper keep showing up on this idea list? Because it’s that useful. To create a tissue paper ombre effect, you start the top of your backdrop in one color (typically a darker color, such as purple) and slowly change colors until you end up at a lighter one, such as green.
This creates a cool rainbow effect and can add a unique pop of color to your YouTube backdrop. This backdrop also has the benefits of being cheap as well as easy to install and take down at a moment’s notice.
38. Fabric Remnants Backdrop
Buying fabric remnants can be a way to get intriguing backdrops for your YouTube videos on the cheap. These are remnants of fabric from a fabric shop that is too short to be sold as anything but scraps.
These inexpensive pieces of fabric can be color-coordinated and sewn, stapled, or otherwise joined together to form an interesting patchwork effect for your YouTube backdrop.
39. Torn Scrapbook or Wall Paper Backdrop
Like fabric remnants or tissue paper, different designed pages of scrapbooking paper or cardstock can be layered and collaged to form a unique backdrop.
Similar to crafty backdrops, artsy backdrops lend an intellectual or artistic bend to your YouTube video. Whether you’re doing a digital book club or reviewing current events, these backdrops will help you look solemnly professional and stand out.
40. Newspaper Backdrop
For an editorial look or YouTube videos related to current events, consider using stacked newspapers as a background. This provides visual interest but also a plain, monochromatic backdrop that won’t distract the viewer.
Another option is to collage sheets of newspaper onto a section of the wall to serve as a video backdrop. Be aware that newspapers will yellow as they age, and this might affect the result of your final video with regards to color.
41. Photo Collage Backdrop
Photo collages, especially those created with retro photographic means, such as Polaroids, can make for a unique and interesting backdrop for your YouTube videos.
You can either use photographs of things that are special to you, or you can take more neutral photographs that form an eye-pleasing background that provides interest but is not prominent enough to distract.
42. Wallpaper Backdrop
Another fairly cheap but infinitely customizable option is to use different kinds of wallpapers as your video backdrop. Wallpaper can be found in all kinds of different designs and colors to fit your video needs and is easily replaced if it gets torn or stained.
For a variation on this, you can also use decals meant to decorate interior walls to add some visual interest to the wall serving as your backdrop.
43. Wrapping Paper Backdrop
Holiday wrapping paper makes a nice cheap backdrop for Christmas, but you can also use birthday wrapping paper year-round, as long as it doesn’t actually say anything about birthdays on it.
Many rolls of wrapping paper for adult birthdays and anniversaries come in stunning metallic shades and other eye-pleasing designs, so consider some of these the next time you go on the hunt for materials to make your next DIY backdrop.
44. Use Found Objects in Your Backdrop
Sometimes one or two unique objects, like a taxidermied animal, a globe, or some other focal point, can be used as a simple background in your video. These found objects will ideally be something related to the content of your videos.
If you do makeup tutorials, you can put up something like a vanity mirror. If you make baking videos, you might pose with an antique mixer.
45. Macro Photography Backdrop
Macro photography is the practice of blowing up photographs of small objects to a very large size, resulting in interesting visual designs. The subjects of macro photography tend to be insects, plants, and animals.
For biology or science-centric YouTube videos, macro photography can give viewers something cool to look at in the background, but not something distracting. Macro photography can also be used for other subjects, such as a close-up view of handwriting, or office supplies.
46. Use Photographic Studio Backdrops
If making a backdrop by hand is a little too crafty for your tastes, you can always source inexpensive photography backdrops online in a bunch of different designs and effects.
Most of these backdrops are under fifty dollars and are a good choice if you are not artistically inclined, but have a specific background effect in mind, nonetheless.
47. Green Screen Backdrop
Green screen backdrops are a good option for YouTube videos that critique movies, games, and other visual media. Using a green screen, you can show moving video behind yourself as the video’s backdrop.
This is especially useful during review videos, as a video game reviewer (for example) can use clips of the game that illustrate his or her talking points, and the viewer can see them at the same time that the YouTuber is discussing them, rather than having to link out.
48. Graffiti Backdrop
For a more urban or gritty look, try spraying some graffiti on your backdrop. This will add visual interest in a background that is otherwise blank, and if you are an artist yourself, this gives you the opportunity to show off some of your skills (or maybe paint in an inside joke).
49. Reclaimed Wood Backdrop
Using reclaimed wood has become all the rage now, so it’s no surprise that it has made it into YouTube DIY backdrops. Salvage old pallets or other sources of reclaimed wood to create a distressed backdrop with rustic style.
You can also hang things from the wood with nails for added visual interest or include framed photos and artwork.
50. Plant Wall Backdrop
Succulent plants are increasingly being used in photography and video shoots to add natural color and vivid organic forms. These hardy little plants have the advantage of being able to be grown sideways, which means they can be used to carpet a wall.
These plant walls have found decorative ground everywhere from office buildings to shopping malls, but you can take advantage of this look too by making a plant wall out of succulents and air plants as your YouTube backdrop.