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Ultimate Magic Backdrop Resource - Plans, Tips, and Ideas

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I was researching magic backdrops for my own use and I thought some of the information I compiled would be useful in a single location. There are various routes you can go and this article should give you a pretty thorough listing of resources and ideas to pick from.  It will also cover some of the benefits and drawbacks of using a backdrop.

Please Note: A special thanks goes out to Donald Dunphy for his contributions to this article.

 

Why Use a Backdrop

  • Professional look which translates into more bookings and/or better fees
  • Great for photos after the show
  • Hide your stuff behind it for cleaner look
  • Hides Distracting Mirrors and Other Objects

Disadvantages of Using a Backdrop

  • Not Usable Outside in Windy Conditions
  • Cost
  • One extra thing to lug around
  • Extra set-up time and pack-up time

 

Ready to Go Backdrops

Jeff Jones - Magic Back Drops

These are specifically designed for magicians and a complete ready to-go systems with fabric. Prices range from $500 to $800 depending on size and fabric choices, Sets up in 30 seconds and take down in 1 minute. Comes with carrying bag as well.

 

Online EEI - Multi-Purpose Backdrop

A very economical no-frills backdrop.

 

Trade Show Banners and Backdrops

Designed for the trade show industry but can use a magic back drop. Various options available with custom printing available.

 

Spider Back Drop

 

Themed Backdrops

 

B Screens

These can be used as backdrop but is really an illusion which can produce a person in virtually any setting.

 

DJ Skirts

Various supplies and backdrops suitable for DJs and other performers

 

Brick Wall in a Bag

 

Klamm Magic - Instant Up Portable Backdrop

 

Assemble or Build Your Own

Speaker Stands

Use 2 speaker stands at the support for your backdrop. These are the ones that are designed to hold speakers high in the air and are used at concerts and by DJs. These stands are designed to hold heavy speakers so will be plenty sturdy for a backdrop. You will need to figure the best way to attached the crosspiece but a trip to the hardware store should yeild many possibilities. A PVC 1" T connecttor may work for this.  Next, you need a crosspiece or pole. Try a expandable curtain rod or even an adjustable painters pole.  3/4" metal electrical conduit can also be used and coupled together so that it can taken apart for transport.

 

PVC

Construct your own frame out of PVC. Not as easy to assemble as other types but has the advantage of being low cost and lightweight. Be sure to use the thicker pipe (Schedule 40) and big enough diameter pipe 1" to 1.5" inch so it is strong enough. Glue as many fittings as possible and secure the rest by drilling a hole through the pipe and fitting and putting in a pin or thin bolt with wingnut for more stability.

 

Do-It-Your-Self Spider Frame

Wal-Mart sells a portable air-mattress bed which includes a metal spider-like frame. You would need to attach a cloth yourself preferably one that doesn't wrinkle too much.  This method is outlined in a book, The Magic of Thinking Creatively, by Barry Mitchell which is available on his website.  The bed is available here online at Walmart.com.

 

Tate the Great Backdrop Free Plans

Check out this simple to construct backdrop plans document on how to build a backdrop for under $100.

 

MacGyvermagic - Build Your Own Backdrop DVD

I haven't seen the DVD but here's another option for the do-it-your-selfer.

 

Stan Kramien Article with Backdrop Tips

This article gives some ideas with illustrations for a portable backdrop.

 

PVC Backdrop and Room Divider

Here's an instructables article which shows how to build a PVC pipe based backdrop.

 

Backdrop Fabric

Fabric can been quite expensive so look for close-out or other deals wherever possible. Here are some fabric types and resources that may work for you:

Duvetyne

Is a theater curtain type material which is designed to block out all light. Try a web search to find it. You may also try this alternate spelling "Duvateen."

 

Crushed Velvet

Many people use this as a backdrop material and has the added advantage of not showing wrinkles well.

 

Lame Fabric

These fabrics have a metallic sheen to them and make a suitable backdrop material.

 

Other Resources

 

Backdrop Frames

Instant Pano

This is a spider web type frame that opens in less than 10 seconds, you can just buy the frame or complete with fabric.

 

Photography Backdrop Frames

There are a number of available frames which are used for backdrops for taking pictures. Some have successfully used these for magic back drops although you may need to consider how to cover the tripod end supports for a finished look since for photography this really isn't a concern.  These supports are available from a number of place, try an internet search on Photo Backdrop as a starter. Here's are some but there are many more:

 

Abbott's Jet Set

 

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Our valuable member Matt Ruetz has been with us since Thursday, 08 May 2008.

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Comments  

 
0 #8 Greg McMahan 2011-10-02 15:31
I have lecture notes available about a lecture I did at KIDabra a few years ago. This lecture described many easy techniques for making your own backdrop for very little cost.
Greg McMahan's Backdrop Designs Lecture Notes
 
 
0 #7 Salvador Calderon 2011-06-22 17:37
Thiese systems are pricey, but for the sake of completness check intellistage.com
 
 
0 #6 Arthur Martello 2010-03-03 12:33
One of the best sources of backdrops that I have not seen mentioned is backdrops.us.
There is a tremendous variety of muslin backdrops which are airbrushed and very inexpensive. I have a number of them for various themes.
 
 
0 #5 Jose Ruiz 2010-01-31 13:24
Matt, thanks for all the links. This was very informative. Good stuff.
 
 
0 #4 Jose Ruiz 2010-01-31 13:23
Thanks for the link to the instructables. This seems the way for me to go with a backdrop.
 
 
0 #3 Salvador Calderon 2009-07-10 10:14
I made my backdrops from a mixture of Stan Kramien's recommendations (from his book "The Illusion Show Business"www.lybrary.com/illusion-show-business-p-610.html) and these instructions

www.instructables.com/id/PVC-stage-backdrop-or-room-divider/
 
 
0 #2 Administrator 2009-07-10 10:12
Thanks Condermagnum-

Your URL has a problem...I think this is the correct URL

www.instructables.com/id/PVC-stage-backdrop-or-room-divider/
 
 
+1 #1 Rudy Sanchez 2009-05-14 17:53
Please add Infinity Nu-Lash" to the list. This is woven exclusively by Brownbeauty Magic. Magic Auction is the sole distributor at the moment and we have just been awarded the entire theater backdrop for the Kirby Van Burch Theater in Branson Mo. Here is a link to see the product.... Just scroll down 2 or 3 items and you will see it. This is woven 54" wide, this can be fire retarded to pass NFPA 701 (necessary for commercial applications). Nobody in the industry weaves this product 54" all competitors weave it approx 42-45" wide. I will also weave custom colors but royal blue and silver seem to be the most popular colors. Perfect for magicians that use thread work in their routines.

"Infinity Nu-Lash" has also been endorsed by Sean Bogunia!
http://www.magicauction.com/Mag_auc/IllusionStageAccessories.htm
 
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