Friday, 5 April 2013

How to make your own shabby chic, beach weathered, vintage backdrop for your props!

The shabby chic, beach weathered, vintage look is very much in fashion these days but sadly finding authentic inexpensive items has become a bit of a task, especially as the big stores have jumped on the band-wagon and are now selling shabby chic items at rediculous prices, kinda ironic I always thought.

So, if like me, you don't want to fork out a small fortune but still want that shabby chic backdrop for your craft items to be photographed against then maybe my tutorial on how to make your own will be useful! It is easier than you think and doesn't require any DIY skills. Believe me, I can't even put a shelf up! And the best thing is, it can all be done for under £10, less than $15, maybe even less if you already have the paint, sandpaper and brushes!

You will need;
  • Tongue and groove slats in your desired length, something cheap and cheerful will do
  • Olive oil
  • Coffee
  • Matt emulsion tester pots in white and slate blue
  • Sandpaper
  • Something to damage the wood with, such as a screwdriver
  • Paint brushes

So the first thing to do is to head down to your local hardware store and pick yourself up a cheap packet of tongue and groove wooden slats. These are wooden slats that slot together, which are used for flooring or walls. I managed to find a cheap slat pack for less than £5 in HomeBase. Quality really isn't a concern as we want that knackered look remember, so don't spend a fortune, find the cheapest pack in the lengths you require.

I also picked up some small tester paints pots of matt emulsion paint, in white and a slate blue colour, which were about £1.50 each.

You don't need very much paint so tester pots are perfect. I also picked up some sandpaper and some cheap paint brushes. The sandpaper needs to be fairly gritty so get something fairly harsh.

At home I slotted my slats together and the first job I did was to damage the wood, that's right, scratch the wood and add some dents, as many as you like. It may feel a bit weird damaging such perfectly good wood but we need to give our final piece that nice, well used finish.

Next you want to sand down your slats, especially the edges and corners so they are nicely rounded. This will make the wood look like it has been weathered by the sea and give a softer feel.

Then I painted over the wood with olive oil which brings out the wood's natural colour, like a varnish but without all the chemicals and mess. This will also enable the paint to not stick as well. Let that dry overnight.

Next morning sandpaper your slats again quickly, not too harshly, just a once over and then you want to paint on some of your white emulsion paint but don't paint the slats completely, just brush it on here and there, as lazy as you like and as messy as you like, don't be afraid to do a bad job! Now let that dry.

Once your white coat of paint has dried, sand the wood down again to take off some of the paint and blend it into the wood. You can also scratch the paint off with the sandpaper as well.

Now get your slate blue paint and paint that onto your slats haphazardly as well, like you did with your white paint.

Make sure to leave gaps and allow the brush to do a bad job, allowing for an uneven coat. Let that dry.

When your blue paint is dry, get your sandpaper again and this time work hard to sandpaper off some of the paint. Scratch it off too with the edges of the sandpaper.

Suck up any paint/wood dust as you go with your vacumn cleaner.

Now take some black coffee and paint that on as hapharzardly as you did your paint. Before it dries, wipe it down with some kitchen roll.

This will give your wood a deeper brown colour but in a more weathered look than a strong varnish would give.

Let that dry and then bring back your white paint. Paint on some white paint again, just as hapharzardly as you did before and let that dry.

This is just to build up a few layers of paint as if the wood had been painted a few times.

Sandpaper it all down again gently and then you're finished!

Now you have the perfect shabby chic, beach weathered, wooden backdrop for your projects to be photographed against and for less than £10.

I hope you enjoyed my tutorial!
Don't forget to join me on Facebook: 
and YouTube:


  1. Lovely idea! Next on my to-do list!

    1. Thank you Carmen, I hope you find it useful! It will never be as good as the real thing but it is a quick and easy option :D