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DIY Party Photo Booth

August 12, 2011

We had a couple parties at the house this week.  As I mentioned we had the fifth graders birthday party and then later a Daddy Daughter swim night with all the 8-11 year old girls from church.

When I was looking for fun, simple things we could do at the birthday party to add an extra element of fun, I ran across this idea on pinterest and I have to admit a little obsession started.  When I realized I could use it at both functions, well, how could I not?!

Here’s the basic set up::

The backdrop was made using underlayment from the hardware store.  It’s roughly 1/4″ thick by 4.5′ wide and 6′ tall.  We had it cut to 6ft so it would fit in the minivan along with two kids in their carseats.   This height worked well for the girls, but for the dad’s, we pulled out a stool they could sit on to help equal out the heights.  So the height of your backdrop will depend on a couple of things … the car you have to get it home, the height of your guests (remember you can always use a stool to help equal out height), and the fabric you use for your backdrop.

I had hoped to use this outdoor deck stripe from Hancock but my local store was out and I needed to find another solution.  Another store had a patriotic tablecloth fabric sold by the yard in their home dec fabric section for $5/yd.  I purchased 3 yards, used a coupon and paid about $9.  The tablecloth design, had red and white stripes going the width of the tablecloth in the center, and then blue scalloped bunting, along the outer edge (what would drop down off the table).  To get my vertical stripe I cut the yardage in half, and then trimmed the blue off one side of one section.  The fuzzy felt underside of the tablecloth fabric did a great job of clinging to the underlayment.  Once we got it in position, we used tape to hold the extra fabric we folded around to the back of the board in place.  It wasn’t a perfect solution, but it worked out.  I don’t love the unavoidable “seam”  in the middle, but in most cases, it wasn’t noticeable or even in the picture.

The backdrop is important, but it isn’t what makes or breaks a photo booth.  People and props make a photo booth successful.  Really good props will inspire people to strike fabulous poses and pull silly faces and really good people, can take the simplest of objects and use them to transform into someone else entirely, making for great photos.

The easiest and cheapest props are disguises cut from paper.  You can purchase them from sellers on etsy, but I didn’t have the time or budget to go this route and really needed to make my own.  I collected templates for fun glasses, lips and mustaches from image searches on Google and Microsoft clipart.  I played around a bit with the sizing, and then cut them out of colored cardstock.  They are glued to a wooden skewer with hot glue, and held up beautifully considering how many uses they got.

A couple tips for making your own.  A hand held hole punch makes it easy to cut out the lenses on the glasses, and the middle of the mouths.  It’s helpful to vary the side the stick is glued to … so some are held in the right hand and some the left hand.  That way two props can be held at the same time.  As you can see the glasses got one side, and the mustache/lips got the opposite side.

Since this was a pool side photo booth we needed swimming props.  Enter the swim caps and pool toys.   The fun, over the top, retro inspired swim caps came from swimoutlet.com they were a bit of a splurge, but so worth it!  Then we just grabbed stuff from the pool … tubes, noodles, goggles, beach ball, flippers … anything bright and solid in color will work perfectly!

That’s it.  You’ll want to build in some time to do photo editing.   At the least, you’ll want to crop your images.  If you’re really adventuresome you can create your own photo strips.  You can do three or four photos in a 2×6″ strip or a 2.5×7″ strip and print two copies on a single 4×6 or 5×7 photo.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 12, 2011 5:09 pm

    Well hello! I just noticed this pingback on my blog and wanted to say thank you. I love to see your photobooth 😉

    Glad you had fun with it! Can’t wait to do it again!

    Thank much, Kelly

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