Build a custom DIY Oversized Polaroid Photo Booth perfect for weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, and birthday parties.
It’s bee a while since I’ve posted a DIY tutorial. It’s not that I haven’t been making anything. It is SO much effort to both plan everything I’m making and then also be able to photograph it, edit pictures, and subsequently blog about it. EXCUSES, right 😉
But, with my sister’s bridal shower, I did so, so, SO many DIY projects and I knew I had to blog about them. I couldn’t quite find exactly what I was looking for for her shower. And I’m wondering if other people wanted to do the same type of thing but just can’t find a tutorial!
I knew I wanted to have a photo booth. Something that could work for both the bridal shower and the wedding. I looked all over Etsy and even Pinterest and just couldn’t get exactly what I had in mind.
Etsy has some fabulous options for anyone not into DIYing. I get it. It’s not for everyone. Even a few that are similar to what I did. Like this copper wedding arch. SO cute. Or this one I like even better. I definitely used those as inspiration. But I just couldn’t justify spending the money on something I could 100% make myself for wayyyyy less.
But, with those arches you don’t get the photo booth effect. It’s just a pretty arch.
And I needed the photo booth. I’m really acting like this was my bridal shower, huh? Pinterest was not even a thing when I had my bridal shower so there was no DIYing. My shower would be a lot different today – lots more DIYs and a whole lot less people.
I really love the whole polaroid photo booth idea. I saw on Pinterest people making polaroid frames from wood that you can hold up and take a picture behind. Like this:
So, basically I wanted to combine the cool copper arch backdrop with a larger wooden polaroid. The polaroid would attach to the frame and people could stand behind for pictures. No one has to lift up the frame, it’s not getting tossed on the floor and damaged. AND, I’d make a fun floral garland bling to go with it.
Problem solved. Now to tell TJ my vision and ask him how the heck we’re going to make it 😉
I’m going to break it down into 3 different steps. 1 – the polaroid itself. 2 – the lettering on the polaroid. 3 – the copper frame and attachment. I’m going to share a separate post on how I most the garland.
Oversized Polaroid Photo Booth Instructions
How to Make an Oversized Polaroid
- Underlayment Plywood
- Table Saw
- Circular Saw
- Measuring Tape
- Minwax Jacobean Stain (I use this to stain and LOVE it)
First, we used the table saw to cut the underlayment plywood to roughly the dimensions of a polaroid picture. TJ actually researched and found exact dimensions but rounded it off for this project.
The plywood measured – 48″ high by 42″ wide.
Then, he kept a 3″ frame on the top and sides and a 10″ frame on the bottom. He cut the inside out with a circular saw.
Then, I stained both sides of the polaroid. I’m planning on using one side for the bridal shower and one side for the wedding.
How to Add Pretty, Customized Lettering to the Polaroid Photo Booth(no fancy equipment required!)
- Computer and Printer (just needs to be a black and white printer)
- White Chalk (I just used some of my kids’ white chalk)
- Pencil or Pen (I prefer a pencil because it’s easier to push and trace but a pen works, too!)
- White Paint Marker. ***I SWEAR by this paint pen. It’s my absolute favorite and would never use anything else***
I love using this technique to transfer pretty fonts onto just about anything. I’ve used it on so many projects and it always looks so professional. Warning – it can be time consuming. But, unless you’re an expert calligrapher, this is really a great alternative that produces great results every time.
First, I design my words in Picmonkey. Picmonkey is free to use and has a great selection of fonts to choose from. You can also use a Google Doc or even Microsoft Word.
For this project, I used a script font for the wording (found here) I rotate an 8.5 x 11″ paper to landscape in Picmonkey and add the text. Then I printed it out and set everything up on my polaroid.
It can take a couple tries to get the size down. Don’t get discouraged! This is an important step!
Once I have my words printed out, I color the BACK of each paper with white chalk. Heavily. Don’t be shy.
I do this to each paper then put them back on the polaroid. I used tape to secure them to the polaroid so they wouldn’t move for the next step. Make sure everything is level and equally spaced.
At this point, I use my pen to trace the outside of the letters. You want to press pretty firmly on the pen to make sure the letter outline transfers to the polaroid.
This is what you’re left with!
Don’t worry about the extra chalk smeared everywhere. It can be wiped off later.
That’s the hard part, really. Now, grab your sharpie paint marker and trace over the chalk lines. Depending on how big the font is and what type of font you used, you’ll need to color in the letters, too.
I generally go over the letters twice. Make sure you let it dry completely in between coats. Once it’s COMPLETELY dried, you can just use a cloth to wipe off the extra chalk.
How to Make the Copper Frame for Polaroid Photo Booth
- 1/2 in. x 10ft pipe(3)
- 3/4in. x 2 ft pipe (2)
- 1/2in. 90 degree elbow (2)
- 3/4in. x 3/4in. x 1/2in. tee (2)
- 3/4 in. end caps (4)
- 3/4in Pipe Cutter
- Read below for more info but if we make this again we would use all 3/4in pipe so would only need a 3/4in pipe cutter. If you follow instructions exactly as printed here, you’ll also need a 1/2in pipe cutter
- ***TJ likes the Husky brand pipe cutter better***
- HDX 3/4in Heavy Duty Fitting Brush
- Propane Solder Torch
- Lead-Free Solder
- Wire to Attach Polaroid to Copper Frame
Copper Pipe Cuts:
- Cut the 10ft pieces down to two 7ft pieces and 1 5ft piece.
- Cut each of the 2ft 3/4in pipe in half (these are used for the base of the photo booth)
**Note in the picture we did something different in the top two corners but this didn’t end up working and we would do it the way listed here**
If we were to do this again, we would use all 3/4″ pipe. It is a little more expensive but we think it would have provided more stability to the overall structure and *maybe* we wouldn’t have had to solder.
Please don’t attempt to solder if you aren’t comfortable with the process. Copper gets hot very quickly and it would be very easy to get burned.
To solder, TJ watched this video on YouTube. We ended up soldering the sides together and the bottom 3/4″ pieces to the tee piece. It was stable enough to stand without the soldering but if it got bumped a lot it maybe could have fallen over. Also, we knew we wanted to use this outside at the wedding and it definitely wasn’t stable enough to handle a wedding crowd. We think used the diagram above and 3/4″ pipe would make it significantly more stable. If, however, it’s still a little wobbly, you can always solder.
We couldn’t solder every joint because it had to be transported from our house to the venue and it wouldn’t have fit in our car together.
Last, TJ stripped the wire and used just the copper wire inside to attach the polaroid to the frame. I didn’t measure exactly but we dropped it down a few inches from the top of the copper frame. We wrapped the copper wire around the top of the polaroid and then the other end around the top copper pipe in the frame. It held perfectly!
The end result!!
There was the most obnoxious light right about the frame in the venue so just try to ignore that!
It was a big hit at the party! I set up my DSLR camera on my tripod so we could get all the pictures. Most people just used their cell phone and that’s fine, too!
It’ll be so much fun at the wedding with props, too 🙂
I’ll be sharing how I made the flower garland soon!!
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