DIY Wooden Photography Boards

DIY Wooden Photography Boards

I finally did it. I finally joined the “distressed, aged, wood plank boards for photography” club. Hi, guys!

I’ve always loved and appreciated how much these wooden boards really draw your eyes to the food. The rustic feel of the wood give it a more “in the moment” or “lifestyle” feel rather than studio feel. It makes the food or dish look so much more real, in my opinion. I mean, do you serve food on white poster board? Didn’t think so!

Anyway, it only took me forever and a day to finally make these boards, but I am absolutely loving the results! I was inspired by this tutorial at Table For Two because her tutorial was extremely easy to follow, and I loved the look of her boards!

I decided to only use white for my boards, because white reflects light and that would help showcase the food better. However, I do think I’m going to make some “aged” boards too since I loved how these turned out.

DIY Wooden Photography Boards

DIY Wooden Photography Boards


  • 3 – 8′ tongue and groove planks from the hardware store. You will want to ask them to cut each plank into a 2′, 3′, 2′ pattern.
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood glue
  • Paint in the color of your choice (I am only using an oil-based white paint)
  • Paint brush that is appropriate for the type of paint you are using
  • Optional: tarp to cover work area
  • Optional: safety goggles
  • Optional: bricks, or something heavy to keep boards flat


At your local home improvement store (I went to Lowe’s), ask one of the employees to direct you to the tongue and groove boards in the lumber department. Then ask them to cut 3 planks into a 2′ – 3′ – 2′ pattern. This will make three boards for you. If you connect 3 of the 2′ boards or 3 of the 3′ boards, you will have one board. Therefore, you will have 2 of the 2′ boards and 1 of the 3′ boards, if that makes sense.

Set up your workspace! Sand down any rough edges of the wood. You don’t want to get any splinters!

Once you have done this, connect the planks of the first board you’re working on to get the ideal fit. You may want to have certain imperfections showing in a certain position, if that’s your thing. This is your chance to lay it all out.

When you’re ready, use the wood glue to draw a thin line of glue across the groove of one of the boards. Then gently slip the tongue one board into the groove. Align the edges the best you can. You can wipe away any excess glue with a paper towel and water, but seriously guys, you don’t need a lot of glue.

Do that with the next board. When you’re done gluing the planks, they may not form a flat board. In a clean area, set bricks or something heavy on top of the planks while they dry. This will help them flatten out.

Let the boards dry for 24 hours.

DIY Wooden Photography Boards

After 24 hours have passed, gently paint a light stroke of white paint across the boards. Make sure to go with the grain and keep the coat light. Also, don’t feel pressured to cover the entire board, as you are going for a messy look here.

DIY Wooden Photography Boards

The paint I used dried about 30 minutes later, so I painted over the board again with another light coat of paint but I sort of dappled the paint over the board while trying to keep the board fairly smooth. Let the boards dry in a clean, cleared area. You don’t want anything falling onto the paint and ruining your board!

Wait until the next day to make sure the boards are dry for sure. Then, clean off with soap and water and use for your photography!

DIY Wooden Photography Boards

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