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Building a Better Dessert Table Backdrop

I get questions about my backdrops often enough that I’ve finally (finally!) taken a few minutes to spill all my secrets. When you create a dessert table display, choose a background with interesting architecture, natural beauty or create some of your own visual interest. The Midsummer’s Night Dream and Beach Baby parties took advantage of some lovely gardens and the ocean, but most of my photoshoots happen in the front room of my house where I have boring white walls. This forces a little creativity on my party to make my party displays a tad more eye-appealing.

There are three things that I use (and reuse) for my backdrops:

  • Extra large foam-core boards
  • Beadboard
  • Extra large canvas


I have foam-core boards (usually 2 taped together) I wrap in fabric (as in the photo from the Birdie shower above) or wrapping paper, depending on what I find to match the rest of what I’m doing. The trick is starch when you iron and pull tight when you use fabric, and just pulling tight when you use wrapping paper! I purchased my set of foam-core boards at Hobby Lobby, and bought the largest size they carry.

In the bear party and the grad party, I painted bead board for the backdrop and tacked it to the wall with 2 finishing nails at the top. One side is smooth, the other has the bead board grooves, so there is more than one option for use once you have it. In the image above, I used the smooth side — fabulous effect without painting the walls!

The yellow in the picture was a really big canvas with paint. It was blue at the bear party, yellow at graduation, and right now it is pink and silver from my daughter’s Make-a-Wish party. Most of these items cost a little at the outset, but I never make investments into pieces like that without knowing they will be repeatedly reused.

On paint–buying a billion of the acrylic tubes at the craft store is costly, and no one really needs a quart or gallon to paint up 32 square feet of board (or canvas). Home Depot has a handy sample size now that you can actually do color matches with. (You should have seen my happy dance when I found THAT out!!)


If your party is outside with no wall to prop a backboard against, and you’ve got something you need to hide or just want to create a little more interest, building something free-standing is a good option. Celebrations at Home (thanks for the picture, Chris!) has a great tutorial on putting together this pipe and drape system.



If the thought of building a big backdrop for your table doesn’t thrill you, there are other options to adding visual interest behind your dessert table.

This table was put together by my friend, Courtney. She used some carefully placed streamers to add a background–simple and inexpensive as that! Poms and rosettes like those at Pom Flair and banners are also great ways to build backdrops without covering a full wall.

Hope these tips help you build the perfect backdrop for the perfect dessert table at your next party!

Paula Biggs

Owner at Frog Prince Paperie
Paula Biggs is a party planner, DIY crafter, and owner of Frog Prince Paperie, where you can find hundreds of party, craft and lifestyle ideas.

Marie Schoenfelder

Sunday 19th of May 2019

I need a suggestion for a table backdrop. It is for a tablescape competition and it has to sit on the table and be sturdy enough to stand on its own. I will be using a heavy paper. Or cloth banner and it will be about 3 feet wide by 3 1/2 feet high. Thanks,,

Paula Biggs

Monday 20th of May 2019

I'd probably invest in a small photography backdrop stand. They are fairly inexpensive and you can adjust the height on them.


Tuesday 27th of March 2012

How do you secure the backdrop to the table to keep it from falling over if the table is bumped by someone?

Kellie Hollister

Wednesday 2nd of May 2012

I would love to know the tips for this as well. I throw several parties for a friend of mine and her husband hates holes in the walls, so it's been a little tricky. Any suggestions would be great. :-)

Qing @ Coolest-Party-Ideas

Thursday 21st of July 2011

So cute! I've decorated my baby shower party with your desin--that pink angel one... Amazing! I get so many compliments!!! Thank you so much for sharing! You are really one of the top creative people!

Iris {Sweet Metel Moments}

Sunday 17th of July 2011

Thank you so much for posting these dessert table backdrop tips and ideas! You are a party rock star to me and a true inspiration!

Rebecca @This Nest is Best

Thursday 30th of June 2011

Great tips! Thanks so much for posting! What size canvas do you have?