My $20 Photo Studio

by Diane Henkler on 04/04/2012

I have been hard at work on the Creative Wall and now have all 3 frames completed.  The only thing I need to add is the crowning touch to the wall.  I will show you that next week.

This 3rd frame on the Creative Wall is my mini photo studio. As a DIY blogger I need to take lots of photos and needed a handy place to quickly take the step-by-step project shots that has a plain background and lots of light.  When my worktable was in the middle of the room and I took photos of projects I made – there was always a distracting background.  Having the worktable against the wall solves this.

DIY Photo Studio Set ups


The magic of this mini photo studio is the addition of a white roller shade to the top of frame.When I want to take a project shot, all I have to do is roll down the shade – voila a mini photo studio.

Photography Tips and Tricks

When the area is not being used to take photos, I can roll up the shade and use the frame as a pretty place to pin inspiration and memos


How To Make a Mini Photo Studio


Supplies Needed:

Roller Shade
Outside Mount Roller Shade Brackets
White gloss spray paint
Foam block
Staple gun
1/2-inch heavy duty staples
Damage Free Picture or Frame Velcro  Hanging Strips

Craft Room Organizing Ideas

1. To find out how to make the frame and fabric covered insert you can find the steps in this post – Putting The Creative Wall Together.

Craft Room Organzing Ideas


1.  Spray paint the shade brackets with gloss white paint.

When spray painting small items like brackets, nail heads, etc.  Attach them to a piece of Styrofoam for easy spray painting.  I used the nails the brackets came with to attach them to the foam.  They stay in place making it easy to paint all sides without anything falling over and making a mess.

Spray-Painting-Tips and Tricks

2.  Measure the width of your frame to determine what length roller shade you will need.  I figured out that I needed to place the shade brackets on the flat part of the frame – and then measured side to side.  Make sure when you go to get the shade cut that you tell the person cutting  it that it will be an “outside mount” as well as how wide you want the actual shade to be.  They will figure out the rest.

My helper – Trax is sick and is at the Vet for two nights.  Urinary tract infection.   Even though he is always in my way – I miss him.


3. Two small nails come with each bracket.  I used them to attach the brackets to each side of the frame.  One side of the shade has a pointed end that goes into the bracket with the hole. The other end has a flat protrusion (see below) that goes into the slot bracket.


4.  I added a saw tooth hanger to the back of the frame to hang and four picture hanging strips. These are needed so that when you roll the shade down, the frame stays in place.  If you have read the other posts about this wall, you know that I designed the wall so that it could be portable, so I can easily take it down if we have to move and I can use it in another house.  If I knew we were staying in this house, I would have drilled holes into each corner and used mounting screws to hold each frame on the wall.


5.  Once the frame was hung on the wall, I removed the label that kept the roller shade rolled up.  I kept it on so the shade would not flap around while I worked on it.


The main reason I placed the photo-taking frame last on the wall is because it is closest to the window and gets plenty of light, especially in the late afternoon.

Photography Tips for Bloggers

If I need more light or want to bounce a shadow away, I place a dollar store foam board parallel to the window.  My IKEA light on the worktable holds it up.

Photography Tips for Bloggers

Here is one of the photos I took.


Without the light bouncing board.

Craft Room Decorating Ideas


With the light bouncing foam board.

Craft Room organizing Ideas

I don’t have a photo of this yet,  but I can clip a yard of colorful fabric or paper to the shade to create interesting backdrops when needed.

Craft Room Organizing Ideas

Over the next few days, I will add the crown molding along the top of the frames and then the Creative Wall will be complete.

It has been less than a week since the wall has been up and I am happy to say that it is doing everything I designed it to do.

1. Functional: a place to  – wrap gifts,  make and create things, take photos where there is lots of light.

2. Pretty

3. Place for everything

4. No clutter

I am a happy blogger Smile



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{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions April 4, 2012 at 11:20 am

Wow, I am very impressed with this portion, Diane! What a great idea and how very creative!


2 Amanda @ House Revivals April 4, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Diane, your creative wall is amazing! I LOVE your mini photo studio — brilliant!


3 Shauna@ Satori Design for Living April 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm

The blind idea is genius! I have something similar, but I’m constantly having to move stuff and I usually put a white sheet up that ends up having wrinkles. Thanks for sharing!


4 Julie @ Inspired by You April 4, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Thanks for sharing. What a great idea!


5 Andrea @ Love is... April 4, 2012 at 4:17 pm

I love this! Such a great idea! = )


6 Susan April 4, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Diane…you are a genius. What a great use of the space! :)


7 designchic April 4, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Love your new creative, and the pink is so fun!!


8 Merri Jo April 4, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Fabulous!! Clever & amazing–this looks great & I hope to adapt it to my little craft room! So many of your projects end up added to my To Do list! :-)


9 Lori April 4, 2012 at 10:31 pm

What a clever idea to use a roller shade as a photo backdrop. Love it!


10 Darlene Nudy April 4, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Great idea for a photo area. My photos on my blog are so bad, so maybe this will help in the future… :)
Thanks for sharing this tip


11 Mandy April 4, 2012 at 11:40 pm

Oh you are SO SMART!!!! Love it!!!!


12 Yoli April 4, 2012 at 11:48 pm

It is so simple its brilliant! Awesome idea. :-)


13 Juli April 5, 2012 at 12:02 am

Awwww … prayers and hugs for Trax. I hope he’ll feel better soon!


14 Katharine April 5, 2012 at 12:11 am

Awww!!! I hope Trax feels better. The roll down shade is such a great idea for photos. I’ll have to show my husband that idea cause he takes photos all the time for stuff since he’s a graphic designer and I could use it to sell stuff on eBAY and Etsy. Thanks for sharing!


15 Tami @ Curb Alert! April 5, 2012 at 12:22 am

That is a fabulous idea – very clever!


16 Rita@thissortaoldlife April 5, 2012 at 12:50 am

I wanted to tell you what a genius I think you are, but clearly I’m not alone in my opinion! This is so smart. Thanks so much for sharing it.


17 Diane April 6, 2012 at 9:24 am

Hi Rita – Thanks so much for the nice comment.I am trying to learn everything I can about photography so I can take good photos all the time, not just some of the time. I found this area gets very nice light, so I decided to improve upon it and make it into the mini photo studio. It is working out extremely well. The best part is that it is permanent and easy to set up, before I had to move everything around and that took time and always made a mess.
I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend.


18 Suzy @ Worthing Court April 5, 2012 at 5:02 am

Diane – You are so clever! What a great solution. You’ve so inspired me to come up with something similar for myself!


19 Diane April 6, 2012 at 9:27 am

Hi Suzy – It makes me so happy to hear that you were inspired to make something similar in your own style! Thanks for taking the time to tell me. XO


20 Sheryll & Critters. April 5, 2012 at 8:27 am

You have the most beautiful office and house. I love everything you do
to fix it your way. I decided a while back at first reading your blogs, that your way was exactly like what I want my tiny house to be in a mini me sort of way.

I am so sad to hear of Trax being sick. My Sugar (Maine Coon Boy) almost died from a Urinary Blockage back the first of June 2005. Vet was afraid even with the laser surgery he would not live… cost me back then over a $1000 to get him well again. That was over the course of a few months though. The initial cost was somewhere around $300. He was a sick boy. Now I feed him the dry food that says for urinary health care and give him a dose of vaseline every so often. That long fur and all gets clogged. Well, I sure hope Trax is good again soon.


21 Sheryll & Critters. April 5, 2012 at 8:31 am

Please do a quick, short blog to let us know more about Trax as soon as you have more to tell us?


22 Diane April 6, 2012 at 9:13 am

Hi Sheryll -

Trax is doing better and is coming home this afternoon.I am sure he will be a bit lethargic, but will be happy to be home. He has to eat a special diet from now on. I hope he likes it.


23 Laura @ Laura's Crafty Life April 5, 2012 at 10:40 am

The roller shade is so clever. I am not sure where I can put one in my house, but I really could use this for taking pictures for my blog! It is really windy where I live and I can’t always get outside to take pictures, so this is perfect!


24 Diane April 6, 2012 at 9:34 am

Thanks Laura-

I like to take my photos outside, too. Now that the summer months are upon us I can start doing that again. My outdoor shots always come out nice. Before I set this up I would use two foam boards.I would place the item being photographed on one and used the other on the back or side depending on the light. It worked well. I would always try to find the area with the best light to set it up. It took time and effort, but it helped me get better shots, especially the step by step photos.


25 Angie S April 5, 2012 at 11:00 am

This is SERIOUSLY impressive, and very inspiring!!! Well done!

I hope your helper makes it home soon!


26 Diane April 6, 2012 at 9:11 am

Hi Angie-

Thanks – Trax is doing better and is coming home this afternoon. He will have to eat a special diet from now on. We miss him – the house is quite – no cute shenanigans going on to smile about.


27 Ginger April 5, 2012 at 12:34 pm

WOW! I am absolutely in LOVE with this idea. Your whole set up is amazing and I can’t wait to incorporate this into my current craft space. Thank you so much for putting this together.



28 Amy @ All In A Day April 5, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Stop it!!! Diane…..this is sheer genius!!!! OMG…..I am totally stealing this. NO idea where I’ll put it, but I’m doing it! LOL. I just love how your craft space is coming along!!! xoxo


29 Diane April 6, 2012 at 8:48 am

Hi Amy – thanks XO. You are so cute!!! Next week I am going to try to get a post up with the finishing touches and a few more tips on taking photos that I haven’t implemented myself yet. I am trying to learn and do as much as I can so I can get great photos all the time, not just sometimes.


30 Judy April 5, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Your wall is genius! I don’t know which of the three boards I like best. Great space. Great room!


31 Leah April 6, 2012 at 8:58 am

This is brilliant!!!


32 Lynne April 8, 2012 at 11:02 am

I went looking for you this morning to wish you a Happy Easter! I have missed you and think your creative mind has unbelievable vision. You amaze me making things happen for not a ton of money with beauty and function to boot!

I think I need Linky or something to know when you post!

Happy Day Dear Person . . .
Love, Lynne


33 Diane April 10, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Hi Lynne –
Thanks for the nice note XO I hope you had a wonderful Easter. It was a beautiful day her in Pa. I even got a sunburn :)

How do you read your favorite blogs? Through GFC? Since you have a g-mail account you can add all the blogs you read to Google Reader. It is free and easy to set up right in your Google profile. Once you add all of the blogs you like to read, you will get the newest posts sent right to it. This is how I keep up with all the blogs I enjoy. You could also subscribe by e-mail – although this isn’t the perfect way though as sometimes your email will think a post is junk if it has a link or two in it and will send it to your spam folder.

I am not sure why some WP blogs still have working GFC widgets. On March 1st just like Google stated my widget went away. I kept the empty box and code in my sidebar for a few days to see if it would magically reappear, but it didn’t. I added the G+ widget in it place, but it is not the same thing :(


34 Lauren@ Inside My Present April 8, 2012 at 8:56 pm

What a fabulous idea! I will have to look into doing this!


35 Diane April 10, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Hi Lauren – The best part is that the frame can be customized to whatever size you need or can fit in your available space.


36 Designed Decor April 10, 2012 at 7:35 am

What a great and helpful idea. My workshop does not have any natural lighting, so to find the perfect spot in my home to do this! Great ideas in your blogs!


37 Diane April 10, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Hi Designed Decor – Having natural light does make a huge difference and I wish I had more of it streaming into my house. I wish I could always take the photos I need when the light is perfect – (early morning/late afternoon in my house). At other times, it can be too much and I put a clear shower curtain over the window to cut down on shadows. Do you use any type of photo lighting tricks and white boards to bounce the light? That helps quite a bit.


38 Carla April 11, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Cool Room. Love the blind idea.


39 Simone April 18, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Wow… I really love this… I don’t usually comment on diy post because they all seem the same. However, I LOVE this because it’s a brilliant idea… kudos to u


40 Diane April 18, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Hi Simone – Thanks so much for the comment :) I truly appreciate it. I try to keep things fresh and truly in my own style on my blog. Since the wall has been up I am working so efficiently :) This week I made a top for the 3 frames and will post about it soon.


41 JuliaW April 19, 2012 at 11:12 am

Genius! I love this idea!


42 Simone April 24, 2012 at 11:37 am

GREAT!!! can’t wait to see it :-)


43 Diane@LongabergerLifestyle April 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Love. Love. Love this!!! Just the inspiration I needed.
Here’s virtual big hug! {smack}


44 Diane April 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Thanks for the hug, Diane XO


45 debi April 26, 2012 at 11:16 am

what a great idea!!! i have black sheets spread haphazardly out over a table and lamp! that’s where i take my pictures! but your idea is wonderful! going to share it! thank you!


46 Michaela April 29, 2012 at 7:06 pm

What a great idea! Thanks for sharing. I’ve pinned this so I can use it when I set up my craft space.


47 JewSunStar May 29, 2012 at 4:14 am

Very good idea for a small space I have. Thank you very much


48 Lisa June 13, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Diane, this is so brilliant. Now I am racking my brain to see where I can install a message board/photo studio near a window in my own house! Such a creative use of space and I love how pretty AND functional this entire craft room turned out!


49 Carolina December 21, 2012 at 7:15 am

I´m learning to improve my photos and this is so smart.
Thank you very much for sharing!


50 Carrie August 14, 2013 at 1:47 pm

I saw your crafting space over at IHeart Organizing. Your whole Creative Wall set up is perfect and incorporates all the little details I’ve been mentally compiling for my ‘ideal workspace’. And I’m excited to see that the storage is two reclaimed dressers … I have two ugly dressers! I can do that! :D The best part is the Mini Photo Studio. I had been thinking of making a Roman Shade of fabric to do something similar, but the fabric gets wrinkly. Using a regular roller shade is such a clean, functional solution!
PS: checked out some other posts and have added your blog to my reader!


51 Suzanne August 14, 2013 at 9:57 pm

This is ingenious! I use a white poster board as a backdrop but your idea is even better. Thank you for sharing!


52 Chaney August 21, 2013 at 3:16 pm

This is SERIOUSLY AWESOME. I would never have thought of this! I may or may not be stealing this idea in the future :). Thanks for sharing such a detailed tutorial!


53 Chaney August 23, 2013 at 9:57 am

I loved this so much I included it in my blog post round up of “Lovely Links” today! Hope that’s ok!


54 Karen October 27, 2013 at 12:09 am

This is such a great idea! I could do this on a big scale. I need blank backgrounds for furniture and I am always searching for the best spot. Thank for the awesome idea! Visiting from Eclectically Vintage.


55 zifa November 11, 2013 at 9:41 pm was so simple yet it works!

I’m using A4 paper for small object.. I think I should try this.


56 Marty Walden March 6, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Hi, Diane. I’m new to your blog and found you via the post on Organize and Inspire. I’m a fellow DIY/craft blogger and I have to tell you your blog is just beautiful! Great photos and terrific projects. I love this mini studio and it is the EXACT thing I have been planning for my craft room makeover (for the 2nd time). Sadly, I don’t have the natural light you do but I’m using natural light bulbs so that will hopefully help. I’ve subscribed via email and look forward to perusing your site!


57 Diane Henkler March 10, 2014 at 6:14 pm

Hi Marty -

Thanks for taking the time to comment and subscribing. I follow you on G+. I have been to your blog and see you come up in social media all the time. Happy to connect with you. I use my mini photo studio on a daily basis. Now that we moved the clocks ahead one hour, I get one extra hour of great light in the room to take photos. I have found the best time is between 4 – 6 PM. Looking forward to staying in contact with you.


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