Make a Playful Tablecloth Photo Backdrop

Make a Playful Tablecloth Photo Backdrop

It’s super fun and easy to make a photo backdrop that will get those giggles coming and those cameras snapping. The secret? Festive, colorful streamers.

If you don’t have any streamers on hand, don’t worry. All you need are inexpensive plastic tablecloths from the party store (or even better, the dollar store, woot woot). Savin’ money!

A gaggle of party-goers stand amid a playful streamer photo backdrop, made from plastic tablecloths.


There’s not much you’ll need:

  • Plastic tablecloths
  • Sharp scissors
  • Thin rope to hang backdrop

You’ll need about one table cloth per foot of backdrop, so measure out your space in advance to figure out how many tablecloths to get.

A blonde little girl stands amid a playful streamer photo backdrop, made from plastic tablecloths.

How to make the backdrop

Plastic tablecloth streamers aren’t hard to make, and unlike paper streamer backdrops, they can be used outside without fear that water will damage them—a total bonus! Here’s how to make this cheap and long-lasting backdrop.

To make a photo backdrop, all you need is plastic tablecloths, scissors, and string.

1. The first step will save you tons of time. Instead of unwrapping your tablecloths all the way, unfold them partially so you know which way is the long end.

Close-up on plastic tablecloths for making a colorful photo backdrop.

2. Cut two-inch strips all the way along the long end of the plastic tablecloth. Double-check to make sure you’ve cut the long way, as you’ll have a stubby backdrop if you mess up this step!

Make your photo backdrop in a flash by cutting through multiple layers of tablecloth at once.

Pro tip: With a pair of sharp, sturdy scissors, cut multiple layers at once, saving oodles of time.

A beautiful pile of pastel streamers, ready and rarin' to get turned into a festive photo backdrop.

3. At this point, you should be looking at a delicious pile of fun streamers. Pull them out one by one, alternating colors to get a good-looking combo. Don’t think about this step too hard: streamers look best when they’re playfully random and loosey-goosey.

A shot of a finished photo backdrop, made from multicolored pastel tablecloths.

4. Now here’s the important part: figure out how much height you need to cover. If you fold your streamers exactly in half, they may not be quite long enough. If you go all the way to the very end, they may be too long. Try a low-maintenance shaggy look, with streamers ending at various points. When in doubt, go long: you can always trim the stragglers.

Loop your "streamers" around a rope and pull the ends through.

5. Once you’ve figured out the ideal length for each streamer, fold it lengthwise and lay your rope across it, leaving a small loop. Pull the ends through.

Add tablecloth streamers to your string to create a streamer-laden photo backdrop.

This is how lots of folks make the super cute no-tie tutus you may have seen on Pinterest. It’s super fast and easy-peasy to adjust, so even if you get the wrong height the first time, you can fix it no problem. Adjustable rocks!

A person's hand tying pastel tablecloth streamers around a rope to create their photo backdrop.

6. Rinse and repeat. Lots of times. Like lots. Maybe 200 times. But it goes pretty fast, and you may find that the process is so entertaining you wind up with a gaggle of helpers. Add some jiggly-jams or tenacious tunes (also known as party music), and the whole thing can be finished in less than 20 minutes.

Pastel streamers tied in a row.

Pro tip: If you’re making a really wide photo backdrop, try splitting it up between multiple ropes to keep the weight down. Not only does this prevent drooping, it gives your photo shoots greater flexibility; from wide spaces to narrow doorways, the world is your oyster.

Party-goers laughing and playing under a completed photo backdrop. Victory!

The results are in

You did it! Enjoy your cheap, durable, colorful tablecloth backdrops. Hang these super streamers at your next party, but tread with caution: your guests may not want to leave.

Erika Thornes
Erika Thornes is a San Diego photographer who captures life as it unfolds, especially near the water, above or below. She has been recognized as a leader in silhouette photography, teaching others how to convey emotion and a story through their images.