Hot Topics: Floor to Ceiling Photo Backdrop

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Original Post: DIY floor to ceiling support beams for backdrop.

Evening everyone,

I'm wondering if there are any of you out there with general hardware store knowledge, perhaps timber or plumbing departments specifically that feel you can come up with a cheaper support structure than what Ikea can offer.

I'm not entirely sure this product would work for me without inspecting closer, but the pricetag is concerning as I would need two of them (possibly three).

Here's the main issue. I have carved out a small corner in my home to practice some studio photography during Covid-19 lockdown. The area is like this:

schematic for photo room backdrop

Wall A would be the main 'backdrop' wall.

Now I also own this product (or one like it) including the stands and center pole.

The issue with using the stands is the feet are sprawled too wide and placed either side of that area against Wall A is simply too inefficient, I've lost too much wall space on a wall that is already cutting it fine.

I must therefore replicate the similar structure against the wall minus the feet stands, some kind of vertical pole that can get closer to the corner wall/doorway/architrave (5-10cm or so).

Why the vertical poles at all? Well... the background fabric is 'stretchy' it is meant to be wrapped around each side of the vertical poles and clamped to stretch and hold it properly. This act pulls the creases and wrinkles out, hanging the fabric like curtains would not work.

Another side issue is actually how to keep the fabric tight along the floor. I just use tape but there possibly could be a better way?

But anyway... I digress. At this time I just want some kind of cheap vertical shaft pole that can slide and extend up from the floor to the ceiling, and I'm thinking just pressure from tightening with a knob or something would suffice, the fabric and pole its supporting would not be heavy, drilling into the floorboards or ceiling may be complete overkill but I am willing to go that far if need be.

At first I was thinking some kind of hard plastic tubing, perhaps one tube inside another, get some rubber feet for them each side and slide one pole up that's inside the other, once you get to the height and a good degree of tension, perhaps mark and drill a hole in the plastic pipe and insert a metal pin or something to hold that height... I dunno...

Any ideas?

Marq1 - Member

Cant see the wall width, what about a tension rod along the top?

BruceBanner - Thread Starter

"Cant see the wall width, what about a tension rod along the top?"

Not sure what you mean in this instance, width of the wall or space between the vertical poles is not in question here. My diagram shows wall A is 2.7m high and 1.8m wide (before it reaches the doorway).

All I really want is for you (plural you as in the DIY community) to study the ikea link/piece and think of if something similar but more basic could be assembled from common hardware store pieces, it doesn't have to be pretty, just functional.

I'd use timber and just try and cut it close to being the right height, but it would be a solid piece, and houses contract and relax (especially in Australia where we regularly shift 20 degrees centigrade in 12hrs) and thus I wanted something I could use a knob or something to relax or increase tension between the floor and ceiling.

XSleeper - Group Moderator

I would suggest you buy a pair of Zipwall poles.

BruceBanner - Thread Starter

"Zipwall poles"

I had to google what those were, and they're not cheap. TWICE the price of the Ikea things. $100AUD for one pole.

XSleeper - Group Moderator

Since I'm a carpenter, I think about using what I have. I have zipwall poles. If I was going to make something, I'd make it out of wood. A 4 sided box made out of 1x3s—maybe 48" long that a long 2x2 could fit inside. Raise the 2x2 up to the ceiling until its tight, then put a screw through the whole works.

Put something soft on each end so it fits tight, staple a sponge onto each end so it doesn't mark the walls or floor. Or a floor "slider" that's got a backing of either foam, carpet, or some sort of rubber pad.

You could do something similar with PVC pipe, like a 1 1/2" pipe inside a 2" pipe (with a cap on top of the inside pipe and a cap on the bottom of the outside pipe, and put a rubber pad on those caps so it doesn't slide) but you'd have to epoxy a nut into the outside pipe in order to use a threaded knob as your stop adjustment.

When using zipwall poles, you put plastic over the top of the poles. Since the top is spring loaded, you can then lift up on the poles and put the plastic under the bottom of the pole. Then when you let go, it springs back up tight to the ceiling keeping the plastic tight. I don't see why you couldn't do something similar with your fabric and wood or PVC poles except without the spring tension.

GregH - Super Moderator

You don't say if the room is in a house or apartment or if you own or are renting.

If your circumstance allows it the most simple solution would be to screw threaded eye hooks into a ceiling joist to hold up the support rod.

Or, fasten two wall brackets to a wall stud near the ceiling.