Just like your body has a skeleton, a stunning dessert table backdrop needs some support. So today in Part 4 of The Party Teacher’s 101 series: How to Style a Dessert Table, we’re talking about adding a backdrop — and the support system and tools you need to do it right. (Backdrop crashing down on your cake mid-party? Let’s avoid that.)

Part 4: Add a Backdrop

A backdrop helps extend your party theme to your dessert table. It also disguises the wall, art or anything else in your house that steals focus from your dessert table. Plus they are fun to design, so why not add a backdrop to your party?

A backdrop is just a vertical area behind your dessert table. Use your wall, or add a backdrop system. Here are some of the easier ways to make a backdrop:

  • Plywood panel
  • Beadboard
  • Pegboard
  • Insulation panel
  • Canvas
  • Pipe and drape system
  • Portable clothing rack
  • Tension rod

If you use a backdrop system, you don’t have to worry about damaging your wall. Your backdrop can rest on your dessert table or the floor and lean against the wall.

Party Backdrops by The Party Teacher-1

With plywood, beadboard, pegboard, insulation panel, or canvas, you can stretch fabric over the front and tape it to the back with packaging tape. That’s what I did for my Trick or Treat Party. You also can paint plywood, beadboard or canvas with standard acrylic paint from the craft store or with chalk paint. The insulation panel is a nice choice because it is lightweight, which makes it easy to transport, and you can simply pin fabric in place.

A pipe and drape system is used to hang fabric like a curtain, like I did for my Wizard of Oz Party. It also is a good choice if you want to create a frame that you decorate, like for my Neon Snow Cone Stand or my Garden Party. Here’s a post that explains how to build and use a pipe and drape system.

A portable clothing rack works just like a pipe and drape system, but you buy the kit instead of assembling it yourself. The rack will be narrower than a pipe and drape system. The nice thing is that the rack comes with a base, so if you need your backdrop to be freestanding, that’s easy to accomplish. Here’s the one I’ve used.

The tension rod is a great tool in the right place. In our basement playroom, I use an area between two bookcases as a party serving spot. The tension rod hangs against the bookcases and from the rod, I hang paper (like my Wizard of Oz candy shop) or fabric (like the Night Owl Sleepover).

Party Backdrops by The Party Teacher-3

The Tools for the Job

To your backdrop, you can add a party banner, any type of garland or bunting, balloons, streamers, tissue fans, or even an illustration. I use safety pins to hang banners. Dimensional glue dots from the scrapbooking aisle of the craft store work well, also.

Party planners have been using 3M Command Strips for years, and the company has taken notice. They have now introduced a few products designed just for the party planning market. (These are all branded “command party”.) The strips work well on solid surfaces, like walls or paneling.

Big disclaimer: I’ve used Command Strips for years with no problem. But, one slip of your steady hand and you can indeed damage your wall when removing the product. You’ve been warned!

  • Decorating clips can be used to hang wrapping paper or lightweight fabric from your wall to create a backdrop or photo booth. You also can hang strings of lights with these.
  • Ceiling hooks are for hanging lightweight items like tissue poms or lanterns from the ceiling.
  • Balloon bunchers let you group three, standard-size balloons together (no helium or string needed)
  • Banner anchors help you hang paper banners. Just wrap the banner string around the anchor. I usually use the clear medium hooks for my fabric buntings, because they weigh about one pound and need the extra support.
  • Mini spring clips are good for hanging individual items.
  • Mounting strips let you hang signs or posters.

Party Backdrops by The Party Teacher-2

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