DIY: How to make wood boards for food photograhy

Wood Boards for Food Photography ~ This is a quick do-it-yourself post for all my food blogging friends or anyone who has ever wanted to know how to make aged and weathered looking wood boards for food photography or any other project you may need them for.

How to make wood boards for food photography

DIY: How to make antiqued and weathered looking boards for food photography

I’ve been blogging for a little over a year now and for half that time I have been in search of antiqued, aged and weathered looking wood boards like the ones I’ve used in my last four post. To my surprise there wasn’t anyone selling anything like this out there.  At one point I thought about buying old barn side wood, but the shipping was outrageous and the colors limited to red, blue and white.

So I finally decided I was going to make my own. I have to tell you I’m not a crafter by any means and I’m not handy-but I am resourceful. Less than 30 minutes later I was I had a car full of wood and paint supplies.

A few notes:

  • My boards are approximately 3×3 sq. ft., but make your boards to the size you need. Home Depot has great customer service and they will saw to specification (within reason of course).
  • When selecting planks, make sure to lay each piece on the ground to check for oddly shaped or bowed pieces. For a more rustic look, search for the roughest pieces.
  • The key to a more weathered look is thinning the paint with water. Darker shades of paint may require more water for a thinner consistency.

Here’s how to make aged and antiqued wood boards for food photography:

  • Materials: Six foot boards sawed in half, test size containers of paint, roller brush, paint pan,
  • Method: Pour half of paint container in the paint pan and add approximately ½ cup of water (or more to thin to preferred consistency) and mix. Dip roller brush in paint, and then roll it a few times in the pan to get rid of excess paint on the brush. Roll dipped roller paint brush over wood once and let dry.
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35 Responses to “DIY: How to make wood boards for food photograhy”

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    Ellie @ Kitchen Wench — April 10, 2011 @ 7:43 am

    Oh my god! Fantastic! Thank you so much for this – I’m hitting the hardware store next weekend!

    Reply

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    Kaitlin — April 10, 2011 @ 11:49 am

    Love it! I made the same trip to Home Depot for the very same project, but mine turned out nothing like yours. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply

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    Nancy @SensitivePantry — April 10, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

    So easy! I’ve been admiring your latest photos. Thanks for sharing your technique for creating these backgrounds!

    Reply

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    Paula (Salad in a Jar) — April 10, 2011 @ 12:55 pm

    That’s all?? Just add water? I bought an old cutting board for a dollar-fifty yesterday and plan to paint it. I guess it will be easier than I imagined. Thanks for the lesson.

    Reply

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    Brooke (Baking with Basil) — April 10, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

    How easy is that! Maybe now that I can make the boards my pictures will start turning out as good as yours. :) Thanks for sharing!!

    Reply

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    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — April 10, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

    Oooh fun! I’ve always wondered how so many people had the wood look in pictures. I can’t imagine everyone has a picnic table or deck to work with! Do you secure them together or just lay them next to eachother for the photos? Just curious.

    Reply

    • Naomi replied: — April 11th, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

      Rachel,

      I did not nail them together. Yes, I just lay them right next to one another when I use them.

      Reply

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    Nate @ House of Annie — April 10, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

    10 backgrounds = 5 boards? Where do you store them all?

    Reply

    • Naomi replied: — April 11th, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

      Nate,

      It’s a lot of boards and fairly large, so I keep them outside leaned up against a wall.

      Reply

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    Betty @ scrambled hen fruit — April 10, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

    Thanks! Now I just need to figure out where to store them! :) How many boards did it take for each of the backgrounds?

    Reply

    • Naomi replied: — April 11th, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

      Hi Betty,

      It takes about 2 six foot planks sawed in half and one half of another, so i have five 3 foot boards placed side by side.

      Reply

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    Diane {createdbydiane.blogspot.com} — April 10, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

    Great post Naomi!!!
    Reminds me of a project I did in my bathroom years ago when the shabby look was not yet so popular, my father said I was crazy buying wood and then making it look old. I had it up in our bathroom for ten years and it was the most complimented item in our house.
    I love the look of it for a photography backdrop and I still have some in the garage, I’ll have to start brining them into the kitchen :)
    Your photos look amazing!!!

    Reply

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    DessertForTwo — April 10, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

    I love this post! Just sent it to my honey as a sly note that he could do this for me and I would love it :)

    Reply

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    Julie @ Willow Bird Baking — April 10, 2011 @ 7:08 pm

    This was a sorely needed post! Thanks so much for this.

    Reply

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    Shirley@kokken69 — April 10, 2011 @ 11:39 pm

    You’ve just addressed a sorely unmet needs for food bloggers! Thank you for sharing so generously. I do wish they have home depot or something similar in Singapore… :( I remember going to HD in Conneticut when I was visiting some friends last December to pick out a Christmas tree. While they were looking for their tree, I was wondering down their wood panel lanes, imaging how I could lug back the boards to Singapore!

    Reply

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    paddle attachment — April 11, 2011 @ 4:03 am

    This is a totally awesome tip, thank you! I’ve noticed your antiqued boards (with envy). It’s nice to know how to replicate them for that comfort food feel, particularly because my decorating style is generally more modern and not as appetizing. (:

    Reply

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    Chelsea — April 11, 2011 @ 5:53 am

    Wow, thank you! Such a good tutorial! I’ve been trying to work on my photography a lot lately, so this is very helpful.

    Reply

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    Brian @ A Thought For Food — April 11, 2011 @ 11:44 am

    I’ve been toying the idea of buying boards… one of these days i’ll actually do it and i’ll have a great guide to show me what to do with them! Thanks!

    Reply

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    Lauren @ Crave. Indulge. Satisfy. — April 11, 2011 @ 9:31 pm

    Love this tutorial, thanks for sharing your secrets b/c these boards really add a nice touch to your photos! I have noticed a lot of wood boards across other food blogs too and having been dying to find out where they come from. I even went to Lowe’s this weekend just looking around. Wish I would have seen your tutorial before I went…but now that I know what I need I think I’ll be making another trip back to get some wood and paint! I’m thinking this will be a great project for my husband to help me to cut all the wood!

    Reply

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    Lana — April 12, 2011 @ 7:20 am

    I don’t know how I missed this on Twitter, as I was eagerly awaiting for you to post it:)
    Now I don’t have any reason not to jump over to HD and get me some wood. My old wooden cutting board has served its purpose – it had been photographed too many times:)
    Thanks for the tutorial!

    Reply

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    Diana@Spain-In-Iowa — April 12, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

    Thank you!!! I have been wanting to do this for some time and didn’t know where to start! This is perfect :D

    Reply

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    sweetsugarbelle — April 13, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

    Shaking my head and smiling ar this post :-) I’ve been bugging my hubby about this for weeks! Words cannot express my appreciation that you shared this!

    Reply

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    bakingbitsandbobs — April 13, 2011 @ 1:31 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. I’ve seen many tutorials out there that require wood aging paint etc but yours is by far the easiest. Now I’ve just gotta think of a place to store all this first, before venturing out to buy planks of wood.

    Reply

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    kellypea — April 13, 2011 @ 10:36 pm

    I had a similar post in construction a few days ago and did a search for others who may have written about something similar. I like to include other resources to include in my notes. I was so glad to find your post! Love those gorgeous colors!

    Reply

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    Sprinkled With Flour — April 13, 2011 @ 11:54 pm

    What a great tutorial! I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, and each time I go to Home Depot for something else, I forget to pick up the supplies I would need:)

    Reply

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    Su-yin — April 14, 2011 @ 8:07 pm

    This is a wonderful post! If only I had the space to keep large boards… I just use boring old coloured paper.

    Reply

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    Russell van Kraayenburg — February 10, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

    You’re just filled with all sorts of helpful information! I think I’m going to do my first ever crafts project and make a couple table top props!

    Reply

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    Lauren — August 22, 2013 @ 11:58 am

    Love! And, you make it sound so simple!

    Reply

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    Christina — August 26, 2013 @ 10:43 am

    Hello Naomi!
    Wonderful Tutorial. What are paint colors you prefer to use? Thanks! -Christina

    Reply

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    Jess — December 6, 2013 @ 10:49 am

    An easy way to get raw wood is to buy the snap-together plain wainscot paneling. You can go the extra mile to “age” the wood by adding your own chips and treating it with water before painting. :)

    Reply

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