Introduction: Ikea Hack: Wedding Photo Booth From Canvas Wardrobes

About: I studied Maths and Computing, worked in an Operation Research department, retrained as a civil engineer, worked on site for some major projects. I'm learning to be a structural engineer at the moment! I've al…

I got married in May 2013, and the thing to have at a wedding nowadays seems to be a photo booth.

I didn't want to pay loads of money to rent one, and I wanted it to look fairly proffesional.

I have an Ipad, and there are plenty of apps out there, so that was going to be my camera set up, so a booth was what I needed to make.

I wanted it to have a fairly professional finish to it so wanted to use wood for the frame and not anything like pvc pipe. Again, I wanted the outside to look fairly professional, but also be fairly lightweight (not heavy sheets of wood), so thought fabric was probably the best way to go for the outside.

I have a lazy side to me (as well as not wanting to spend money), so was thinking of what I could adapt and recycle instead of buying material and starting from scratch. First I thought of buying some wooden bookshelves and just using the materials, then I moved on to thinking about adapting a wooden wardrobe. Then I remembered the canvas wardrobes you can get...

Date Made: May 2013
Approx Cost: £35
Approx Time: 3.5 hours
Difficulty: Medium

Step 1: Acquire and Dismantle Wardrobes

The dimensions of these wardrobes vary depending on whether you get a single, double or triple. I believe this was a double. The dimensions were 500mm deep x 1100mm wide x 1750mm tall.

The height was about right, and so was the width, but it wasn't deep enough for more than one person to sit. So you need 2no wardrobes.

Make sure you get 2 wardrobes the same!

These wardrobes are about £40-60 each new from ikea, asda, tesco or any shop that sells flat pack furniture. I wasn't going to pay that much money. I managed to find someone on ebay selling 2 identical second hand wardrobes. It cost me £25 for both.

These wardrobes are put together as a flat pack with allen keys, so take them apart and seperate in to all their different pieces. Lay them out and group in to identical pieces so that you can work out how you are going to make it!

Step 2: Rebuild

At this point, all I did was put it back together, but in a different configuration!

Before putting it together, I did a rough plan on google sketchup to try and work out what I was going to do. After that I made it up as I went along!

All the different makes and models of wardrobe will be different, so I am not going to specifically show exactly what I did, but give general tips you can apply to your set up. (The photos and google sketch should help show you how I configured it too.)

I tried to use all the pieces, and re-used the same allen bolts.

I tried to use the holes provided where I could, but where I couldnt I drilled new holes. These holes need to be countersunk so that there is no gap when you join the two units together.

I split the materials evenly in two and got one unit built right first, then copied it for the second.

I moved the base shelf to the top as a lid, and moved the top frame to the bottom (right to them bottom, without a step) to try and avoid any trip hazards.

I used the shelves as panel bracing on the walls to give some stiffness.

I made the seat out of two shelves to give added support. The top shelf out of these two was turned upside down so as to trap the pinned 'slats' between the two fixed side 'rail' supports to give more strength so that they couldnt peel off.

The two units were made identical. Once these are joined together though, there is a 'column' support right in the middle of the seat. I cut this out, from the seat up. I used these cut out 'columns' to create a couple more support 'columns' at mid points below the seat.

At the end I had two pieces left over, so I used them as diaganol bracing, one on either side.

Step 3: Cover

I used the covers that they came with. I put them in the wash and they came out good as new.

The cover has 3 'fixed' side and one 'flap' door.

On the 'back' unit I just cut off the flap door. simple.

On the 'front' unit I put the cover on, and then stapled the back cover to the wood all the way around the frame (where it would be sandwiched between the wood when the units were joined together). I did this to keep the canvas in place until they were screwed together.

Once stapled I cut the canvas back so that the edge would be hidden between the two joined frames, leaving 2 fixed sides and a flap door.

The covers came with velcro removable pockets on the side. I left them on so that I could put fancy dress items in there for people to use.

Step 4: Join Together and Fix Down

I placed the two units together and used screws to screw together all the way round the frame.

I used screws at approx 300mm centers to keep it nice and strong. I did this from alternating sides.

Try to make sure the screws go through the material as well - this will help hold the fabric in place.

I was a little worried that the wind on the day might be strong, so I used camping tent pegs to fix it to the ground all the way round.

Step 5: Ipad Fixing & App

First I bought a cheap Ipad case from ebay (£1.25). I screwed this to the center of the two units. The iPad is then just placed in the holder.

I later upgraded this by getting a car swivel mount from ebay (£4) so that people could adjust it if they wanted.

There are plenty of apps for this sort of thing on the app store, but the two I found are:

Guestbook for weddings - £0.69 - a bit more basic (no countdown timer), but cheap.

Wedding Booth - £6.99 - much more proffesional, but expensive.

I bought both to try but in the end I used the Wedding Booth app due to the countdown timer.

You can set up the ipad with 'Guided Access' to lock the iPad to the booth app to stop people messing around or making a mistake. If you dont know how to set that up, just google it and there are plenty of instructions on the internet.

Step 6: Dress Unit and Enjoy

Make the unit look nice; put some cushions for people to sit on, make a nice backdrop, put bunting round the outside, make a sign, put fancy dress in the pockets, or whatever you think!

I also put some LED lights inside that people could use when it got dark! 4 for £3 on ebay!!! They are just 3 LEDs in each unit, and you just push the face to turn it on.

People will have fun taking photos, leaving you messages, getting dressed up.

Its a nice thing to have at a wedding!

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