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Topic: Magic Backdrops - Ultimate Resource
Message: Posted by: m.ruetz (Feb 25, 2009 01:04PM)
There have been a number of ideas and resources out there in cyber space and I pulled together a resource article which should be helpful to anyone deciding to buy or build a backdrop:

Message: Posted by: Levity (Feb 25, 2009 04:45PM)
That is a great article, m.ruetz. Thanks for doing it and posting the link--very helpful and informative.

Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Feb 25, 2009 05:50PM)
Hi Matt -

Great article.

Here are some more possibilites for additions to your article...

For the category of "Backdrop Fabric", you can also order fire-retardant backdrop fabric panels from: http://www.onlineeei.com/drapecomponents.cfm (I just got some from there within the past couple of weeks). You had a link to the Online Eeei site (but to a different page) earlier on your backdrops page, when referring to their backdrops (or backdrop kits) themselves. But you didn't have a link, to show that people can buy the fabric panels from them, too.

Also, another inclusion for "Assemble Or Build Your Own". On Page 167 of [url=http://www.barrymitchell.com/products/index.php?app=ccp0&ns=prodshow&ref=2007030120]Barry Mitchell's Book, "The Magic of Thinking Creatively"[/url], Barry outlined an idea for making a backdrop (Spider-type), very inexpensively out of a folding mattress framework from stores like WalMart. I can't remember if it's also on the DVD set. Read [url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/search_post.php?topic=52153&forum=11&post=3517283]this post[/url] and [url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/search_post.php?topic=52153&forum=11&post=3761595]this post[/url], by Dennis Michael.

Also, if you're providing links, don't forget the [url=http://www.impactpopupdisplays.com/brickwall.html]Brick Wall in a Bag[/url] (also available from [url=http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/?product=10667]Hocus Pocus[/url], and don't forget [url=http://www.smmagic.com/accessories/index.htm]Dan Wolfe's Banner Boxes[/url], and don't forget Abbotts Magic's Jet Sets ([url=http://www.magicgettogether.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=AM&Product_Code=JS8D&Category_Code=]Abbott's 8' Jet Set[/url], [url=http://www.magicgettogether.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=AM&Product_Code=JS&Category_Code=]Abbott's 6' Jet Set[/url]).

Also, I think that [url=http://www.backdropsource.com/products.asp?mcid=19&mcdesc=support-systems]this page[/url] at the "Backdrop Source" website has better info about backdrop support systems. As opposed to the link you provided. Some backdrop support system brands that seem popular include [url=http://home.amvona.com/]amvona[/url] and [url=http://www.adorama.com/]adorama[/url], which you can order from online at their respective websites, or at their eBay stores.

- Donald

P.S. Whew!
Message: Posted by: Levity (Feb 25, 2009 07:06PM)
Hey, Donald, thanks for the extra links...there are some great ideas at those last couple of sites.

Message: Posted by: m.ruetz (Feb 25, 2009 07:53PM)
Hi Donald- I'll update the article when I get a free minute to keep it current, since the idea was to have all the resources in one place, thanks!
Message: Posted by: m.ruetz (Feb 25, 2009 09:00PM)
Hi Donald- I have updated the article to include your suggestions, some great new resources added, thanks!
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Feb 25, 2009 10:10PM)
Happy to be of help.

- Donald
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Feb 26, 2009 06:13PM)
P.S. Do I get a mention on your page, as a contributor? :)
Message: Posted by: m.ruetz (Feb 27, 2009 09:41AM)
Donald- Yes you do and thanks again!
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Feb 27, 2009 10:01AM)
Thanks, Matt.

BTW, Dan Wolfe's last name has an "e" on the end of "Wolfe". For the link to Banner Boxes.

- Donald
Message: Posted by: Professor DoDad (Mar 30, 2009 04:51PM)
I know this is an older post. I use 4 backdrops in my show...The outter two have video projection screen made in the graphics.I use http://www.aaadisplaygroup.com. They seem to really good on prices that I have not found any less.
They have amazing customer service too.
Message: Posted by: Magic4u1 (Apr 11, 2009 03:36AM)
Great . Thanks for all links .
Message: Posted by: m.ruetz (Apr 15, 2009 06:30PM)
This URL has changed, sorry for the changes:

Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (May 10, 2009 10:58AM)
This might make a handy pinned thread.
Message: Posted by: ksentell (May 10, 2009 11:03AM)
I have never posted here before, but I would like to add my 2 cents, as I had been using a heavy duty foam board backdrop for the past few years.
It was a pro model built for trade shows that was given to me. It was bulky & big,but Free. On a windy day it fell over during the show...a Big distraction, So I looked for an alternative and found something for around $100 or less.
Here's what I use now:

a) A photographer's back drop set up with 2 tripod stands & an expandable curtain rod between. It offers light weight, expandable: both side to side & height, quick set-up/take down, plus on windy days the breeze thus far has blown thru the curtain material.[FYI-you can easily anchor the tripods down outdoors and the fabric if desired] And I can change my backdrop colors or patterns. eBay has em all day for around $50-$70.

b) I bought a used 10'x 20' Chroma Key blue back drop fabric with a curtain pocket all ready sewn in via e-Bay for around $22.(I cut it in half & now have a back-up plus the Chroma key color makes GREAT photo's)

c) I attach my cut out foam letters with magnets & velcro bought at Wal Mart or a local craft store for $12.
Message: Posted by: Rudy Sanchez (May 11, 2009 11:39AM)
Please add "Infinity Nu-Lash" to the list. This is woven exclusively by Brownbeauty Magic. Magic Auction is the sole distributor at the moment and we have just been awarded the entire theater backdrop for the Kirby Van Burch Theater in Branson Mo. Here is a link to see the product.... Just scroll down 2 or 3 items and you will see it. This is woven 54" wide, this can be fire retarded to pass NFPA 701 (necessary for commercial applications). Nobody in the industry weaves this product 54" all competitors weave it approx 42-45" wide. I will also weave custom colors but royal blue and silver seem to be the most popular colors. Perfect for magicians that use thread work in their routines.

"Infinity Nu-Lash" has also been endorsed by Sean Bogunia!
Message: Posted by: John Breeds (May 25, 2009 09:05AM)

Here's a very simple backdrop, yet looks very effective. It takes less than four mins to erect and cost only a few Dollars. Note the use of the side cheek banners to carry off the effect.

I have included constructional details in my new book:-


Message: Posted by: scintnl (Jul 10, 2009 09:45AM)
I made my backdrops from a mixture of Stan Kramiens recommendations (from his book "The Illusion Show Business", http://www.lybrary.com/illusion-show-business-p-610.html) and these instructions

Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Aug 26, 2009 09:39AM)
Hi Matt -

Here are a couple more links you might wish to add to your site:

[url=http://www.klamm-magic.com/cgi-bin/web_store.cgi?cart_id=1492_4636&keywords=BK001&exact_match=on]Instant-Up Portable Backdrop Frame[/url] that Klamm Magic sells.

I don't think we mentioned it earlier, but it should be included if we want the list to be exhaustive.

[url=http://www.ahbanner.com/]www.AhBanner.com[/url] falls under the category of "Trade Show Banners and Backdrops."

I know that you already have a list of some websites in that category, but I think several magicians have purchased from Ah Banner after Ken Scott's recommendation (at lectures and on [url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=174887&forum=44]this Café thread[/url]). The price is fairly low.

- Donald

P.S. Also, Stan Kramien provided a bit of backdrop frame opinion / information on this webpage: [url=http://www.stevensmagic.com/gemini/Stan%20Kramien/TheNittyGrittyPart1.htm]Stan Kramien's column at Steven's Magic.[/url] I don't think you linked to it, either.
Message: Posted by: m.ruetz (Aug 26, 2009 10:40AM)
Thanks Again Donald. I have updated the article.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Aug 26, 2009 02:06PM)
BTW, another one I don't think mentioned was a "Trimble Backdrop."

For a long time I used a Trimble Backdrop, made from coroplast. It was originally designed to be made from large corrugated cardboard sheets.

The plans for the Trimble Backdrop are in one of the "Success Books", by Frances Marshall (published by [url=http://shop.magicinc.net/]Magic Inc.[/url] in Chicago). There are 4 Volumes, but I don't remember off of the top of my head which volume has the plans in it. My books are in storage elsewhere just now, so I can't check.

Here's [url=http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=7958217&l=1c1e6b4a75&id=635075392]a photo[/url] of one in use, in my show.

- Donald
Message: Posted by: Michael Messing (Aug 26, 2009 11:37PM)
Wasn't the Trimble Backdrop cool? I had one when I was younger but it wouldn't fit into my mom's car easily so I gave it to my magic club. I'm not sure which of the "Success Books" it is in but it's also in "The Super Show", also produced by Magic Inc. (That's where I found it.)

Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Aug 27, 2009 12:33AM)
Because I had a van or station wagon, it wasn't a problem. It folds down to about 48"x42"x1".

I even made a Trimble Backdrop at one time out of sintra at one time, with piano hinges and rivets (instead of masking tape or duct tape). It was pretty for a while, because I had some signage on it. It was very heavy, warped easily from the summer heat, brittle / cracked, and I had to use 1x4s to give it some structual support after it started warping. I learned lots of lessons the hard way, and I don't recommend trying it at all out of that sort of material.

That's why my next one was made out of coroplast. Way less hassles and way less expense.

A sheet of coroplast is about $15 CAN. So, for about $50, I bought three 4'x8' sheets and some coloured duct tape, and made my own.

Still, even the coroplast model tended to warp after a bit. One side kind of bent in at the top, and the other side kind of bent back at the top.

- Donald
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Aug 27, 2009 03:30PM)
P.S. I've always thought that an [url=http://www.theportables.com/portable_displays/products/original_8_plus.htm]"Original 8"[/url] tradeshow display - solid colour fabric, might make a neat backdrop. They are a bit like a Trimble Backdrop, but with an extra set of panels. 8 total, not 6. 12 panels if you add on the headers. But about the same size as a Trimble Backdrop. The framework of them is quite solid, but having panels makes it lighter. I didn't see any warping in the models I looked at.
Message: Posted by: Christopher Starr (Oct 13, 2009 10:26AM)
Any idea how expensive it might be?
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Oct 14, 2009 10:15AM)
Christopher -

Are you asking about the cost of an Original 8? It was about $1500-$2000 many years ago. It could be higher or lower now. It's best to ask them directly -- also, if you get the opportunity, see one of the Original 8s in person. They are pretty nifty.

- Donald
Message: Posted by: The Great Smartini (Nov 23, 2009 01:50PM)
I just received my new Brick Wall in a Bag backdrop and it rocks!! It comes with a hard plastic shell case which is on wheels as well as heavy canvas style bag. The frame goes up very easily and clips in place in a matter of seconds and the fabric is already on the frame and it's just a matter of attaching it to the end/side to give the 3d effect. Both the frame and the fabric are made of extremely durable material and should last a long long time with proper care particularly if you use the plastic hard shell case. The brick wall size is 7 1/2 foot by 10 foot wide and perhaps the only drawback might be that the size isn't adjustable. As an added bonus it comes with two clip on lights!! Needless to say I'm very happy with this investment and would highly recommend it to anyone else considering picking one of these up.

Message: Posted by: Alex Palombo (Dec 29, 2009 08:39AM)
Get mcgyver magic how to make a backdrop
Message: Posted by: Martello (Mar 3, 2010 06:38AM)
You should check out backdrops.us. they have an incredible variety of muslin backdrops that are much less expensive than those I see quoted here. I have a number of their backdrops and change them to suit each show. Prices start at $49 and you can get a beautiful 8x10 foot backdrop for $100
Message: Posted by: Jeffrey Korst (Mar 14, 2010 01:10PM)
I haven't looked at what's currently out there, but years ago when I was looking for a backdrop, they were all too small. I'm 6'2" and most of the backdrops I was seeing promoted were 6" tall. That put the top of the backdrop cutting through or off my head depending on the height of the platform. They were also not very wide.

I bought a stand made for photographers to hold a roll of seamless background paper. It can go up to 8' high and 9' wide. Better yet, it is completely flexible in height and width.

I made a very simple 3 panel curtain that threads through the top rod. Only downside I ever found is that it doesn't work at all in wind. (the legs can be weighted, but the way I made the curtain has no way to hold it down--and 8x9 makes a better sail than backdrop)
Message: Posted by: andini1 (Apr 1, 2010 02:32PM)
I am very grateful to the forum contributors, for providing a wealth of information about Backdrops.
Several members have kindly replied to my PM's and I would like to thank everyone by sharing my solution to the problem.
With a limited budget, I wanted to tick as many boxes as possible.
My final cost (excluding the curtain) was just £50
I've started out with an existing curtain that has a length of 3" wide curtain tape sewn into the top. This tape creates a convenient tube into which the top-bar can be slid through.
The goal-post frame uprights consist of a pair of speaker-stands. These have a 35mm diameter vertical pole.
To get additional height, I've used two pieces of PVC 40mm outside diameter pipe approx. 500mm long. These have a "U" slot cut into the top to take the horizontal top-bar.
The top-bar is a three-piece 2.6m (max) aluminum telescopic shower curtain rail.
The set-up time is less than 5 minutes.
I'm really pleased with the result.
If anyone wants anymore details – please PM me.

Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (May 30, 2010 03:02PM)
I have a Jetset 6' and in getting a new show together for this summer I ordered a custom backdrop from backdrops.us. All hand painted and very nice. Only $86. Except I just recieved my first one and it is 6x4 rather than 6x6! ;-) Fortunately they paint a new one and send it to you without having to return the mis-cut one.
Thus I turn that one and repaint it myself and have a 4x6 for a scene change. :)
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Jul 27, 2010 05:52AM)
I'm surprised [url=http://www.magicbackdrops.com/]Jeff Jones Backdrops[/url] are not listed here.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Jul 27, 2010 08:02AM)
Many of the backdrops that people mentioned in posts were mentioned in the original article. Simply take time to read the article.

- Donald
Message: Posted by: m.ruetz (Sep 13, 2010 06:57PM)
Just a quick note that the article has been updated a bit. Many of the links had gone bad and new ones were replaced etc.
Message: Posted by: Pat Perry (Oct 8, 2010 03:59AM)
I'm very happy with my spiderflex backdrop. Yes, it's expensive but mine is in my show for more then 10 years. So it's a good investment. Because the construction is in aluminium it won't break but bend. So you can bring it in shape again.

Message: Posted by: MichaelDouglas (Oct 18, 2010 06:16PM)
Thanks everyone. This is a wealth of info. I've been using a PVC backdrop and based on some of the info here, will enhance it a bit. I hate having to fit a bunch of pieces together. I'd love to go with Jeff Jones's backdrop or the Spider for the 60 second setup, but need to save my pennies for that purchase.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Nov 1, 2010 11:45AM)
I just heard that "Brick Wall in a Bag" (sold by Sean-Paul from Branson) has released a new product.

It's called "The Pop-Up Star Drop." It's a spider-style folding backdrop, combined with a star curtain (coloured lights that can blink in pattern built into the cloth).

Here's a link to the video on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJBa9bt0db8

I should mention that I've only seen the video. I don't see it listed on his website yet. Perhaps because it's so new.

- Donald
Message: Posted by: jonathandupree (Dec 25, 2010 10:02PM)
The brick wall in a bag along with the marque header looks really nice. I have s couple spider backdrops but they got demolished in a car wreck. I loved them and am borrowing a set right now from a friend. But I really like the brick wall for my comedy magic dinner show.
Message: Posted by: Sean-Paul (Feb 4, 2011 01:33AM)
Hey I just saw the post regarding my Pop up star drop.

I am currently using it for my shows personally and getting a great response from them - but I also like the clean non distracting look of the Brickwall too. If you have any questions please PM me!
Message: Posted by: The Great Heathini (Mar 28, 2011 02:07PM)
I watched the video for the Pop up star drop, Very impressive!
I am seriously considering buying one. It is kind of expensive, but less than I thought it would be.
The Brickwall is nice as well, but prefer the star drop for my taste.
Thanks for the link.
Message: Posted by: trickychaz (Mar 29, 2011 10:39AM)
I just built the tate backdrop. It's not as sturdy as I would like, and not sure it would hold up to road abuse. I was able to build everything for 80$. It will work for now, but would rathr buy a sturdy frame like abbotts jetset.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Mar 29, 2011 12:21PM)
Charles -

A person could buy a photography backdrop frame (various sources, links in the original article), and then buy ready-made, flame-proof curtains (from online eeei, link in the original article), all for about $150-$300.

- Donald
Message: Posted by: scottsheltonmagic (Apr 15, 2011 11:16PM)
Jeff Jones just came out with a new LED backdrop as well: http://www.magicbackdrops.com/
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Apr 29, 2011 10:29PM)
I researched backdrops when I first decided I needed one for my act. Taking all the information into concentration including the recommendations received in the Magic Café, I decided on the Jeff Jones Magic Backdrop, after I received and used it I was so impressed I called Jeff and after a discussion, I signed up as his new West Coast Rep.

It really does set up in 30 seconds and when set up the layers make it looks like a stage
Message: Posted by: arandomname (Aug 12, 2011 10:46PM)
I rarely post on here but I just wanted to chime in with an endorsement for Jeff Jone's backdrops. Not only do they look great and set up fast but he was very responsive to an issue I had with mine and provided outstanding customer service. Well worth the investment.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Aug 15, 2011 11:34AM)

I see your in Los Angeles, next time you in San Francisco, give me a call, I can show you samples of material and can show you how easy it is to set up and tear down
Message: Posted by: mikedobias (Jan 4, 2012 01:52AM)
I've used a Jeff Jones backdrop for 4 years. He did one for me with some fabric that I provided. I often get a chuckle out of the oohs and ahhs from the kids when I set it up at a birthday party--no magic has happened yet, but they're impressed (as is the birthday Mom, as the backdrop looks very classy). I had to replace one nut/bolt that holds the support pole up after about 2 years, but it was easy to do. Jeff did a great job with the whole design.
Message: Posted by: HighClass (Jan 6, 2012 03:42PM)
Wow, what a grat resource of information on this forum!
Message: Posted by: disneywld (Jun 17, 2012 04:07PM)
I have the first generation Jeff Jones backdrop with the curtain option and I love it. A simple two minute setup makes my show stand out from the others. After several years of constant use, it is time to get a replacement bar as I understand Jeff made some amazing improvements on his new folding bar support. Things I like about the system is great looks, easy setup, compact and lightweight. This travels easily on an airplane.

In most cases this cannot be used outdoors safely as there is only a single support pole. Also you need to protect this from little kids playing around your stage. On the frist day of use, a little toddler slipped past me while setting up the magic portion and pulled on the curtain breaking off the pole support. It was an easy fix though. I have the 15 foot model and it is a bit too big in many homes.

A far as customer support, Jeff is always there. A++ product.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Jul 21, 2012 05:51AM)
I use two tripods and a cross bar for mine. The backdrops I use are airbrushed. They make good publicity. You will notice some on the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHEz2bqrp9Q
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Sep 18, 2012 08:32PM)
Don't overlook regular trade show pop up frameworks. They are very similar to the "Spider" type frame work. You do not use the magnetic strip holder on them. You simply hook or pin your fabric on the frame. Like most backdrops, they are primarily designed for inside or no wind venues.

But if you look on ebay and such you can find the frameworks for $250 or less.

Message: Posted by: magicom (Oct 4, 2012 07:25PM)
I too purchased Jeff Jones' backdrop. A big expense, but I too get a great response from clients (before anything has yet happened), and feel that it has added value to my shows.
Message: Posted by: RSteele (Jan 6, 2013 07:06PM)
I vote for the Jeff Jones backdrops. I have several and use them all the time. They're great!
Message: Posted by: Lou Hilario (Jul 7, 2015 10:18AM)
I just placed an order from Tim Sonefelt of Wonder Imagery for this backdrop with this design. But I got the 8x10feet.
Message: Posted by: ProfessorMagicJMG (May 11, 2016 06:46PM)
I do not recommend using large photographic backdrop stands because they take too long and too much space to erect, especially in a home. The Abbott's Jet Set in the 8' size, carried inside a video tripod bag, is just about the best solution for a sturdy, inexpensive magic backdrop I have found. I buy Crushed Panne' stretchy velvet at the fabric store, and I do not even make "curtains" with it: I buy it on sale, and I purchase two, 15- or 16-foot lengths (5 or 5.3 yards) and just drape the fabric over the top of the stand, and fold the cut edges underneath at the ends and overlap in the middle. No seams, no edges, and it always looks great. Easy to gather up at the top and roll up and throw in a bag. Never needs ironing. These fabrics come in a variety of great colors; for kid shows, I like the lime or day-glo green, whatever they call it. Very bright but calming and not distracting, and good for kids.

I also highly recommend B Screens if you can find them, but ONLY for assemblies or big venue shows like a church or school or library WHEN you have the time to assemble them before crowds arrive. You need at least 16 open feet on a carpet to lay out the screens and the frame. They are 8-feet high and look great and pack very small, but keep in mind you need space and time to set them up.
Message: Posted by: 4merryhearts (Aug 24, 2017 02:55PM)
Just received my backdrop from Jamstone Magic and love it. I put it up on two tripods and poles (ordered off of ebay for photography backdrops) that fit in a bag the size of a folding sports chair. The material is of good weight and quality, the printing wonderful, and it photographs as if it were 3 dimensional curtains. It gives a good look and any photos will have my web page on it! Up in 2 or 3 minutes!
Message: Posted by: olivertwist (Apr 15, 2018 12:41PM)
I've been using a photography setup with 2 tripods and a curtain and have decided to upgrade. I've read through this thread but I'm still trying to decide whether to buy a Jeff Jones backdrop or the spider-style one by Tim Sonefelt. The prices are similar. They are both quick and easy to setup. Lou Hilario, you ordered a Sonefelt back drop in 2015, how do you like it?
Message: Posted by: cat26 (Aug 9, 2018 12:54PM)
You can get great backdrops from this site- https://www.dresslily.com/wall-tapestries-c-310.html
The largest ones are 91 inches wide by 79 inches in height. I have got two of them. They are made of polyester.
Message: Posted by: teoswand (Jan 11, 2019 02:28PM)
Ive tried contacting Jeff multiple times over the website but no response...hopefully he will see my emails soon :)
Message: Posted by: Noah (Feb 2, 2021 05:33AM)
Here I suggest photography backdrops - https://www.backdropsource.com.au/collections/photography-backdrops