Pipe And Drape System DIY

I’m often asked about creating backdrops for parties, and recently realized I had never shared this tutorial with you here.  This is my DIY pipe and drape system that is perfect for a photo area, or for when you don’t have a wall behind a table but you want to create some interest behind itBest part is it costs less than $20!
Here’s what you’ll need:
  • Three lengths of 1″ pvc pipe – I used two 7 foot pipes(for height) and one 5 foot pipe(for width).  They will cut it to size for you at the hardware store.
  • Two “T” attachments, and 2 elbow attachments to fit your pipes.
  • Two medium sized buckets or planters
  • Quickrete
•For each 7 foot pipe attach 1 “T” and 1 elbow at either end, using super glue if you like. Insert the “T” end into a planter/bucket (make sure if there’s a hole in the bottom of the planter, you cover it).
•Fill the planter/bucket near the top with Quikrete. Do this for both 7 foot poles and attach the 5 foot pole between the 2 using the elbow attachments.
•Begin watering down the Quikrete in the bucket until it puddles on the top, but doesn’t overflow. The water will eventually sink down and you’ll continue to add water every 5-10 minutes until the puddle on top of the Quikrete no longer sinks down (you could also pre-mix the quickrete in a large vessel instead, if you like).

•Let your frame set up overnight and then you are ready to hang your backdrop.

  • Notes:  Be mindful of your bucket/planter size – too big and it will be too heavy to move around; too small and it will not be stable enoughMine are about 5 pounds each.
  • This system is easily transported or stored, and you can adjust the sizes of your pipes according to your needs.  I wanted this to be tall enough to accommodate an adult male in the case of a photo backdrop situation.
  • I also created a “sleeve” to cover up the pipes for a more polished presentation.  Long strips of fabric cut from a sheet and hot glued together was a quick and easy way to do this.
  • The planters I used are stable enough for indoor use, but outdoors on uneven ground, they are a little rocky.  I’d suggest going a little bigger and/or using a wider based bucket/planter.  Also, beware of windy days!

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  1. Where did you get the fabric used on your pipe system? I’m interested purchasing/finding the scrunchy material that’s on the legs of your system so that I don’t have to spray paint it.


  2. The pipes are very useful, isn't it? There's a lot of use in this pipe. It can be a pipe cage or a pipe drape.

  3. I love this soooo much! I've actually gotten quite a few emails from people looking for a backdrop how-to. Now I have a tutorial to point them towards! Thanks so much, I'll be spreading the word.

  4. Hi Buttercream!
    Since this can be disassembled into 3 pieces (top and 2 sides) I can fit it into my car trunk with the seat backs pulled down (so it's half in the trunk, half in the car.

    I don't use this for all my photos. You may notice I use the 3' x 4' canvas board a LOT, and cover it with fabric (as seen in the Little Birdies baby shower or Sweet 16 birthday party).

    I've used this pipe frame system for the French themed birthday party, the Autumn Engagement shoot, for a photo backdrop in the Pirate party, and to hold the "hanging buffet" basket in my Thanksgiving post. Check out the "CAH Styling" Label in the right margin to see any of these parties.

  5. great info. How do you transport this for a party you are throwing for someone else? Also, is this what you use for all of your photos?

  6. Brilliant! My friend just forwarded a link to your site because she knew I'd love this idea. I am making one of these (maybe two) FOR SURE. I never would have thought to cover the pipes with fabric. That really dresses it up. Thank you so much for sharing this idea.

  7. I am one of those people that have wondered! Thanks so much, this one is going in the bookmarks! 🙂

  8. Chris, your timing couldn't have been more prefect! I needed to look into making some pipe and drape for a party I'm hosting in April. I thought I might have to rent some from a local exhibit company.

  9. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    I was planning on making one of these this weekend for a backdrop at an upcoming shower. I planned on using the pvc pipes, but was trying to figure out how to cover up the side pieces to make it look nice. Never thought of making sleeves or using planters. So excited to make my own now!

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