Fabric Photography Sweep




Introduction: Fabric Photography Sweep

About: Former Instructables employee CHECK OUT MY WORK www.carleyjacobson.com

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We have a paper photo sweep in the office, but since I make a lot of my projects at home I wanted a space where I could take nice pictures.  This photography sweep is easy to set up and very affordable.  Unlike our photo sweep in the office (frenzy made a great instructable on it - see here), mine uses fabric instead of paper.  I figured this would be more affordable because when the sweep gets dirty I can just throw it in the wash.

Step 1: Materials

Fabric - 2 yards, I used cotton duct fabric, the best fabric to use are ones that don't wrinkle that much and are mat so there wont be too much reflection from a flash.  I bought black and white fabric so I can switch them out.  Buy any fabric that you want - solids and patters!
2 Cup Hooks
Dowel Rod - 4 feet

Step 2: Prepare Fabric

We need to make a casing in the fabric for the dowel. Fold one of the shorter edges of the fabric over about 1.5" (or a little larger than the thickness of the dowel).  Sew that edge down.

Step 3: Set Up

Measure the length of the edge you sewed down.   Add 4 inches to that - this is the distance the cup hooks will be spaced.  

Put markings on the wall where the hooks will be installed.  Make pilot holes at these markings.  Twist cup hooks into wall.  Put the dowel in the hooks to make sure its level.

Put dowel in fabric casing and mount on the wall.  Let the fabric drape over a flat surface (table) and place objects you want to photograph on the fabric.


When you are done using photo sweep, roll the fabric back up.

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    6 years ago

    Nice idea I was thinking for small sets like this you might consider a tension rod. It would eliminate the need to put holes in the wall. Bad thing might be that you would have to find a rod long enough to span the area you are going to use for your sweep area. But then I was thinking maybe you could put the rod on the window so the light comes though the fabric and is difused by the fabric.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    This is a great idea. Could you please tell me where I should look for "cotton duct" fabric? Does it go by any other names?



    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Spuma, I think the OP means Cotton "Duck" instead of "duct". (Another pet peeve of mine is when people refer to "duct tape" as "duck tape" to the point that the company decided to brand "duck tape", but that's another story.

    Cotton Duck is a bleached muslin or twill fabric that is similar to denim or canvas. Canvas is the heaviest weight of these fabrics, followed by denim, followed by duck, followed by broadcloth. Quilters use a lighter weight broadcloth called "batiste".

    I also think the OP means "matte" instead of "mat", but what they really mean is "unpolished". Fabric has some unusual terminology.

    TMI, but I hope this helps.


    Reply 6 years ago

    I totally agreed with your rant about "duck" vs. "duct"- that is, until my rant reached the ears of my very knowledgeable, and kind neighbor, who had been in the Navy.

    His version - Duck Tape got its name in the Navy - they needed a tape that would hold up in a wet environment.

    wikipedia appears to have the full version here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duct_tape


    9 years ago on Introduction

    A) That's cotton duck fabric.

    B) If you've got a few extra bucks, go to Home Depot and buy a 2' x 4' sheet of white Formica (kitchen counter laminate). Before it is glued to your counter it is very flexible. It is also clean and kind of shiny. When you bend it, it never has a wringle and is very easily cleaned of the natural kinds of stuff like dust that will accumulate on any white horizontal surface.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    My paper sweeps are always getting messy. This is a great idea. I would probably need to make them twice as long, as I often get them messy in the middle of shooting something and need to unroll more paper!