Easy DIY Chiara Backdrop for a Birthday Party

Easy DIY Chiara Backdrop for a Birthday Party

After the tough year, we’ve had, throwing my mother a 60th birthday party was probably the most excitement I’ve had in months.  It was the first time that we’ve had a family get-together since the onset of the pandemic.   Since it was just my brother and I throwing this event, I wanted to make it as cost-efficient as possible while still making it memorable and fabulous.  I knew that I wanted to have a beautiful focal point for my outdoor party, so I am sharing with you all the deets on how I made this DIY backdrop for a birthday party.


How to Make a DIY Backdrop for a Party

Drawing the Arch

The first panel only needs to be seven feet tall, so mark 12 inches from the top (and seven feet from the bottom of the board) on both sides and use a straight edge to draw a line across. 

Drawing a line across an insulation board using a yard stick

Now make two more marks (one on each side) 12 inches below the first marks.   These marks should be two feet from the top and six feet from the bottom of the insulation board.

The six-foot marks show you where to start drawing your curve, and the seven-foot marks represent the very top of the curve.  

Freehand drawing an arch on my insulation board

Now draw your curve starting and ending at the six-foot marks with the peak at the seven-foot line.  I drew my arch freehand, but if you have something that can help you sketch your arch perfectly, you should use that.  

Cutting the Insulation Board

Cutting out the arch on foamboard with a box cutter

Cut the arch with your box cutter and remove the excess.  

Using a straight edge to draw a line down the center of the board

Grab your second insulation board and flip it to the back.  Use a yardstick or tape measure to find the halfway point at the insulation board’s top and bottom.  

Placing the first insulation board on top of the second to trace the arch

Lay the first board insulation board evenly on top of the second and trace the arch.  

Measure one foot from the bottom on the left and right sides of the second insulation board.  Then use your straightedge to draw a line that connects both points.  

On the left half of the board, draw another line that starts twelve inches above the last line and ends at the line that was drawn down the center of the insulation board.

Use your box cutter to cut out the arch.  

Cut the line on the right side of the board that is one foot from the bottom.  

Cutting out a one foot by two feet piece of foam board on the right side

Cut the line on the left side of the board that is two feet from the bottom.

cut the insulation board in half by cutting a line down the center with a box cutter

Now, turn this board into two panels by using your box cutter to trace the line down the center of the board from top to bottom.  It is so essential to make this cut extra straight so use your straight edge for assistance. I didn’t use one, and my lines were a little jagged as a result.

Cutting off jagged pieces with a box cutter

Cut off any jagged pieces on the edge using your box cutter.

Unpainted DIY chiara backdrop

Here’s a look at what we have so far. 

Attaching the Wooden Boards

I purchased four Primed Finger Joint boards that stood eight feet tall.  I knew that I wanted to cut two of the boards in half, so I drew the line at four feet to mark where I wanted to cut it.

Drawing a line on the finger joint board to show where it needs to be cut

The other two wooden boards will support the seven-foot-tall panel, so I placed the two wooden boards up against the panel to determine where they needed to be cut.  I drew the cut marks at 5 1/2 feet.  

Using a circular saw to cut the finger joint board

Cut the boards on the lines that were drawn using a circular saw.  

Peel off the film on the seven foot tall panel.  

Putting wood glue on the finger joint boards

Using the wood glue, glue the 5 1/2 foot tall wooden boards to the back of the seven-foot-tall panel on the left and right sides.  I glued each one at least three inches away from the edge.  Make sure that the wooden boards are straight because you will drill the feet to the wood boards to make each panel stand up.

Placing heavy books on top of the finger joint boards to secure the wood glue

Then, use the heaviest books that you can find to lay on top of the wood boards while the glue is drying to add pressure so that the wood is secured.  I left my books balancing on the wood for a few hours.

Repeat the process on the 6′ and 5′ panels using the 4′ tall finger joint boards.  

Painting the Panels

Painting the backdrop panels on the floor of a garage with Sherwin Williams house paint Ultra White

I used house paint to paint the smaller boards white and left the taller panel as is.  You could probably use craft paint as well.  I didn’t try this because I did not have the right paint color. 

Tip: Do not use spray paint on the panels because the chemicals will eat away at the foam.  

Making the Panels Stand Up

Using a drill to place the flathead screws in the brackets on the back of the panels

Use flathead wood screws to drill the shelf brackets to the bottom of the wooden boards.  It is essential to drill them in straight and even with the bottom of the panels so that they can stand up.  You will need 18 screws for the entire project.  

Using random objects to keep the panels from falling over on a windy day

Because the party was outside on a windy day and the panels don’t weigh much, I had to use all kinds of random items to weigh it down.  Some of these items included weights, a weighted blanket, a case of water, etc. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do you attach balloons to foamboard?

I tied a 360 balloon to the end of my balloon garland.  Then, I  taped the  360 balloon to the back of the foam board using packing tape.

What are some other names for this type of backdrop design?

This backdrop style has several names.  It can be referred to as triptych backdrop, arch wall backdrop, Chiara backdrop, or panel backdrop, to name a few. 

Don't Be a Stranger...

Completed DIY chiara backdrop with balloon garland and balloon column

After I attached the balloon garland that I made, this was the final result.

There you have it, a really expensive looking backdrop for a party at a fraction of the cost.  

You can follow me on Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, or Instagram to keep up with all the latest.  My Instagram page is brand new, so I will be working to build that up soon.  

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Until the next time, thanks so much for hanging out with me and keep coming back because…

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