After coming up with various ways to do a backdrop for my dessert tables, I finally rented a Pipe & Drape system from a local rental company last year for an event.  I didn’t do measurements of the ceiling before and when we got it to the house guess what, it was too tall by about one inch.  I couldn’t even use it, so had to get clever and pull together something on the fly.   Since then I have been wanting to try Chris’ from  Celebrations at Home Pipe & Drape system tutorial.  Well I finally did!  It worked like a charm and only cost me $16 bucks to make.  This makes a great portable pipe and drape system.  I asked Chris if I could share her tutorial here, along with my commentary (in RED) because I didn’t follow instructions all the way, I had to start over once (not the tutorial’s fault, mine because I didn’t pay full attention)! Here we go!

 Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Three lengths of 1″ pvc pipe – I used two 7 foot pipes(for height) and one 5 foot pipe(for width).  They will cut it to size for you at the hardware store.
  • Two “T” attachments, and 2 elbow attachments to fit your pipes. (These are very important, especially those “T” attachments) 
  • Two medium sized buckets or planters
  • Quickrete


#2 is an important picture!  I just glanced at it and did not put the “T” attachment on when I put the piping in the pot.  Therefore, when everything was dry, I went to pick up the pipe and it came right out!  The “T” attachment provides the opposite angle that will keep the pipe from sliding out of the pot.  This seems like common sense but I completely missed it! 
  • For each 7 foot pipe attach 1 “T” and 1 elbow at either end, using super glue if you like. Insert the “T” end into a planter/bucket (make sure if there’s a hole in the bottom of the planter, you cover it).
  • Fill the planter/bucket near the top with Quikrete. Do this for both 7 foot poles and attach the 5 foot pole between the 2 using the elbow attachments.
  • Begin watering down the Quikrete in the bucket until it puddles on the top, but doesn’t overflow. The water will eventually sink down and you’ll continue to add water every 5-10 minutes until the puddle on top of the Quikrete no longer sinks down (you could also pre-mix the quickrete in a large vessel instead, if you like).
  • Let your frame set up overnight and then you are ready to hang your backdrop.
Chris’s Pipe and Drape in action.
  • Notes:  Be mindful of your bucket/planter size – too big and it will be too heavy to move around; too small and it will not be stable enough.  Mine are about 5 pounds each. { I believe I used one size bigger than Chris, so mine are a good 10 lbs each}
  • This system is easily transported or stored, and you can adjust the sizes of your pipes according to your needs.  I wanted this to be tall enough to accommodate an adult male in the case of a photo backdrop situation.
  • I also created a “sleeve” to cover up the pipes for a more polished presentation.  Long strips of fabric cut from a sheet and hot glued together was a quick and easy way to do this. {You can also use witchery stitch as well.  I cut up an old sheet and it does make it look very polished.}
  • The planters I used are stable enough for indoor use, but outdoors on uneven ground, they are a little rocky.  I’d suggest going a little bigger and/or using a wider based bucket/planter.  Also, beware of windy days! ; D
Here is a link to Chris’s tutorial on Celebrations At Home

Here is mine from The Love Boat
  1. Sandra Hill says:

    Love it!! very creative.

  2. Talia says:

    Thanks for sharing! So trying this…and I know I better heed your advice…I am so not good with reading directions all the way through! #guilty!

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