I found the idea for a cheap, reliable backdrop stand at http://www.dandelionsonthewall.com/2012/04/diy-photography-backdrop-stand-pvc-pipe.html?m=1 by Christina Weedon.
Step 1: Raw Materials
I made a 7' tall, 5' wide backdrop stand by modifying the length of PVC I used for the sides. What you'll need for my build:
Two 10' lengths of 1" PVC (each cut to a 6' section and a 4' section)
Three 5' lengths of 1" PVC
Eight 1" T-connectors without threads
Two 1" 90 degree connectors w/o threads
Eight 1" end caps without threads
Hacksaw or PVC cutting tool
Optional: Bessel spring clamps
A couple things to keep in mind while at the hardware store. You COULD get three lengths of 10' PVC, however they should have 5' sections precut. Since I needed two 5' sections I spent two bucks more and saved myself 5 minutes of cutting. Have them cut your two 10' lengths into 6' and 4' sections. It's easier for transport and you'll have to make less cuts yourself. Also, they might ask whether you want thin walled or thick walled. It doesn't really matter. Thin walled is slightly cheaper but is also slightly more flimsy. I went with thin walled for my 10' lengths and thick walled for my 5' lengths. Lastly, ensure all of your connectors are without threads. You want them to just slip on. If you make sure you purchase all 1" PVC and fittings you'll be fine. The picture shows what you should have at the start of your project (except I forgot the 90 degree connectors).
Step 2: Cut 6' Lengths
Take both of your 6' lengths of PVC and cut them down to 3' sections. You'll end up with four 3' sections as shown in the picture
Step 3: Add Connectors to Start Frame
Take two of the 3' sections of PVC and add 90 degree connectors to one end and T-connectors to the other. Ensure the openings of both connectors are facing the same way
Step 4: Add the 5' Lengths
Using one 5' length at the top and one 5' length at the bottom, connect the two 3' sections.
Step 5: Add the 4' Lengths
At the bottom of each side of your newborn frame add a 4' length of PVC. Ensure you put the T-connectors on the bottom of the 4' lengths so the legs can be attached later.
Step 6: Cut Materials for the Legs
The two remaining 3' lengths should be cut into 18" sections. These sections will be the base for the stand's legs. Cut the last 5' length into eight 6" sections. These will stabilize the base of the stand.
Step 7: Assemble Materials for Your Base
You'll need two 18" sections, four 6" sections, two T-connectors, and four end caps as shown.
Step 8: Create Base Legs
This step will need to be performed four times. Attach a T-connector to one side of the 18" section as shown. Insert 6" sections into each of the remaining sides of the T-connector. Add end caps to the exposed end of the 6" sections.
Step 9: Create Base
Insert two of the base legs into the T-connectors at the bottom of both 4' sections as shown.
Step 10: Ensure Fit and Function
Stand your backdrop frame up and see how it looks. If some of the connectors aren't parallel it will look wobbly. You can twist the connectors slightly until the frame is square and steady.
Step 11: Finish
The total stand height should be around 7'5" as I stated before due to the connectors. The lower bar is around 4'3". These heights will give you more than enough playing room with 3 yard and 2 yard (respectively) backdrops or sections of fabric. The picture is of the clamps I bought at the hardware store. They fit the 1" PVC very well and they seem to be high quality plastic. They were about a dollar cheaper than the comparable size metal ones. Every dollar counts! Again I found the original idea for this at http://www.dandelionsonthewall.com/2012/04/diy-photography-backdrop-stand-pvc-pipe.html?m=1 by Christina Weedon. Thanks for checking out my Instructable! Now go to my photography page at: