CrazyBooth & a DIY Chalkboard | Wedding Photographer Fredericksburg Va

I have a party coming up in a couple weeks that I’m going to setup a crazy booth at!  So what is a crazy booth you might ask, it is a place where your guests can have funny photos made similar to the photo booths you see in the mall.  I’ve seen the photographer version referred to as a faux-to booth also, I like to call it the crazy booth because I want you to get crazy and have fun!  Basically I find an area at your party or wedding reception where I can setup a backdrop or use a nice wall as a backdrop.  I will setup a camera on a tripod with additional lighting and have myself or an assistant there to take photos of your guests.  We can shoot color or go with the more traditional photo booth style of black and white.  I like having my crazy booths staffed with a photographer to interact with guests and really capture those crazy moments!  When you hire us for a crazy booth we will take photos of your guests and upload them to Facebook and on online proofing gallery for guests to purchase.  We also offer a cool album of your guests photos for you to purchase as a keepsake!  Below you can see my attempt to convince you to hire us for your next party or wedding reception!



To get ready for the party I started brainstorming a few cute props for the booth.  I think everyone loosens up a little when there are fun props to play around with.  With a quick trip to your local party store you can find an array of masks, hats, funny mustaches, boas and beads!  If your wedding has a theme I’ve seen awesome setups including a rowboat for a nautical theme.  My favorite prop for a crazy booth is a pretty chalkboard!  It is fun to write messages to your friends and have your photo taken with it.  A quick look at Etsy and you can find beautiful frames with chalkboards ready for use.  For this project I thought it would be fun to make my own but I wanted to keep the cost under $20 or so per chalkboard.  I spent a day perusing the antique stores of Downtown Fredericksburg Virginia looking for frames that had beautiful details to them but after looking in too many stores to count I couldn’t find what I was looking for in the right price range.  I found lots of beautiful frames but they were over $100 with paintings in them so that just wasn’t working.  On my way home I stopped by the Fred Goodwill to drop off some donations and thought I’d give it a shot.  Score!!!  I found a beautiful frame with lots of details and it was $4, insert happy dance here!!!! I looked for a larger frame but didn’t see anything with the detail I was looking for.  Next stop was Michaels for the rest of the supplies I would need.  You can find these things at your local craft store or hardware store.  As Pioneer Woman says check out the photo below for the cast of characters for this project!

frame, chalkboard paint, chalk

Can I just say that Michaels is probably the store I spend the most time in, I love to just walk around and get inspired! Michaels and I got pretty close when I was getting married, it was getting a little out of control the amount of time we were spending together. They kept giving me 40% off coupons to come back and well I just couldn’t turn those coupons down. So anyway back to my supply list, I knew I needed chalkboard paint, a thin small sheet of wood and chalk. While I was there I stopped by the framing aisle and found the open frames were on sale for 40% off already! Perfect I was able to pick up a larger frame for $15, not as good as my $4 deal but much better then the $100+frames I saw in the antique stores. Next it was off to the wood section in the back where I found the spray paint and the thin birch wood that would be my chalkboard for both frames. I loved that I was able to get everything at Michaels and with my $4 frame the total came out to under $40 for this project, divide that by two frames and I was in my goal range.
goodwill frame, michaels frame
Here is a closeup of the board I picked up and the paint I used, I forgot to include the white spray paint as that was something I already had and hadn’t pulled out of the cabinet yet. I used the primer on the birch wood piece as my base coat before the chalkboard paint. I wanted to eliminate multiple coats of chalkboard paint to cover the light wood. You can purchase the birch wood in several sizes I chose a larger size so that I could cut two pieces from it. I ended up using my table saw to cut my pieces but I’ve heard if you purchase your thin piece of wood from Lowes or Home Depot they will cut it to size for you.
board, chalk, chalkboard paint, primer, spray paint
So I headed outside with some newspaper, white primer spray paint and my frames. I think I’m a little heavy handed with my spray painting but I try to do the thin light coats they recommend. I watch a lot of HGTV so I tried to mimic the techniques I’ve seen on countless shows. I followed the directions on the can and put the second coat on within an hour. After that I let them sit for 24 hours before I sprayed the high gloss white onto them. Here is the before and after of my $4 frame!
spraypaint, frame
Don’t these frames corners look so pretty in white now!
spray painted frame corners
So unfortunately I don’t have photos of the wood being spray painted as it started raining and I had to run out and grab everything and let it dry in the house. With the rain came dark clouds and bad photo conditions in the house. The wood was easy though, I used the gray primer first and then after that dried I went over it with the chalkboard paint. I waited a day between the two applications but that was just because of my timing on the project. Once they dried I lightly sanded them to take away the rough bumpy finish. Make sure you go lightly or you will have to spray them again. After that I prepped them by covering them with a piece of chalk and then wiping it off with a damp sponge. After that I was able to write on them and wipe it off with a paper towel with no problems! Here is the finished product….chalkboard frame
Here is a message for my hubby!
photobooth chalkboard project
So I have a huge appreciation for Young House Love and all the step by step blog posts they put up. This took me almost an entire day after shooting the photos to edit them and then put them into a blog post and write everything up. The actual project was spread out over a couple days with all the painting but I’m betting you could do it from start to finish in a day if you wanted.

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  • lucilaOctober 4, 2010 - 7:59 pm

    hi Melissa! wow, that’s a GREAT idea on making your own chalkboard for writing messages! I love the DIY solution…we’re going to look into that. thanks for the tips!

  • melissaOctober 5, 2010 - 2:22 pm

    Thanks Lucila! I checked out your site, great photobooths!! Luv the photos 🙂

  • Ulrich RothDecember 13, 2010 - 5:40 pm

    Great idea!!


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Melissa Arlena is an award winning Richmond and Charlottesville photographer. She recently earned her Master Photographer Certification in the Maternity, Newborn & Family categories from the National Association of Professional Child Photographers. Melissa offers maternity, lifestyle newborn, and family photography in her relaxed, natural, and joyful style.


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