16 hardware store items you need to create clever DIY photography props

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Chrizelle Monique Sta. Cruz
16 hardware store items you need to create clever DIY photography props

Got a great concept in mind for your next photoshoot but can’t find the ideal prop? It’s time to put on your creative hat and head over to your favourite hardware store!

You can custom make a wide range of photography props using everyday items from the hardware store. All you need is some basic equipment and your imagination to create the perfect prop for your project.

If you want some ideas of what is possible then you’ll love these clever ideas that we’ve collected from our community of content creators.

1. Spray paint

Have an unused object or box at home? You can turn them into colourful platforms and risers with a coat of spray paint. Check out these amazing examples from our community who have spray painted everything from foam rollers to spice racks.

Amanda Campeanu (@amandacampeanu) spray painted this alcohol bottle stand to repurpose as a swing for her product shoot

Megs from @megzie.makes created DIY risers using a $7.50 foam roller and spray paint

Kate from @aestheticsocialsmedia grabbed a wood spice rack and spray painted them to turn them into product risers

2. Ceramic Pots

If you don’t have product risers to use for your shoot, you’d definitely love this sturdy solution from Melissa from @melissa_jade_photographer. Melissa got creative with pots she found at a hardware store and gave them a colourful textured finish by mixing acrylic paint with a teaspoon of baking powder.

3. Bricks

Now here’s a cracking way to make good use of leftover bricks found in your backyard. Jemma from @styledbyjemma showed us this clever technique of smashing a brick to repurpose as risers. Be sure to do this with proper safety gear though!

4. Tiles and Pavers

Stone and bricks can create beautiful backdrops as well as risers. You can source large stone pavers or tiles from the hardware store - or even salvage leftover items from a construction site!

@styledbyjemma shared with us another smashing idea in using these stone tiles as a riser and backdrop for her product photoshoot

Kate from @insideoutimagesaus used ceramic tiles as her backdrop to show a poolside vibe in her product image

5. Textured panels

You might have extra pieces of corrugated metal, plywood, or half round dowel lying around somewhere around your house or have found one in your local hardware store. If you do, don’t throw them away just yet. They can be customised and repurposed into textured backdrops for your product shoot.

@karenbakercreative has shown us that this handy material can make a good textured backdrop. Just finish it off with a spray paint and it’ll look extra amazing!

Nikki from @revisededitionstyle shared this smart hack of gluing half round dowel onto an MDF sheet to turn it into a backdrop with a natural wood look

@aroshaliny got creative with a piece of plywood by using joint compound to create texture on its surface

6. Pipes

Now you don’t need to be a skilled plumber for this trick. With a few pipes and paint, you’ll be able to create a bespoke prop that’ll add a unique concept to your image. Take this pretty image by Nat Felvus from @picsy_snap for example.

7. Timber Shapes

A popular trend we are seeing in product photography right now is a cut out panel or shape. These are simple to make if you have access to a jigsaw or someone that can help you cut it out. Simply use any cheap timber board and paint into any colour you like!

Karen Baker @karenbakercreative made use of timber wood to build a prop that creates an interesting frame in her product

Ruth Robinson from @r2productpixels created unique props using timber wood cut into different shapes

8. Clay

Want some geometric or organically shaped risers for products? You can create your own customised shapes using an air drying clay. Take inspiration from this mini wiggle dish made by Melissa from @the_healthyish_housewife_life.


9. Acrylic sheets

This hardware material has gotta be one of the most versatile props out there. An acrylic sheet can be used in many ways in product photography - whether to create a levitation trick or serve as an interesting prop.

@noraspantry used an acrylic sheet to serve as a ‘shower door’ in her bathroom setup

Maki Studio from @makidotvn got creative with coloured acrylic sheet for an abstract looking prop

10. Wire

Ever wondered how photographers pull off a floating effect? This trick is often done with wire - a simple item you can buy at the hardware section or even find in your basement. Katya from @katyzaozler cleverly used a hidden wire to make her spaghetti float in this example!

11. Dowel

Premium looking serving ware doesn’t have to come at a premium price.  Nora from @noraspantry created this luxe looking standing platter with materials sourced from a local hardware store. She used some half round dowel pieces and glued them to a PVC pipe affixed to a polywood circle and finished with a little paint.

12. Mirrors

Thinking of a creative way to add a sense of depth and a new dimension to your product image? Start playing with a piece of mirror or mirrored tile - you’ll be amazed by the results! For more ideas check out these 5 creative mirror styling techniques

13. Wooden plank

If you’re looking for a unique concept for your shoot, you’ll feel inspired by Nora’s (@noraspantry) imagination in bringing this unusual prop to life. Using a wooden plank, she styled her setup to make it look like her subject is floating. It’s so creative, isn’t it?

14. Adhesive Tape

Shadows from a window can look so beautiful - and if you don’t have a window with interesting shapes, you can fake your own using masking tape. Just like this amazing hack by Christall Lowe (@christall.lowe)

Want to create a floating effect on one of your side props? Don’t worry, open up your drawers and grab some tape to attach them to your nearest piece of furniture.

Sophie from @sfp_creative where she used tape to hold flowers.

15. Clamps

A clamp is another useful hardware item that has many practical uses on a photoshoot. Clamps are a perfect tool to hold up any of your props in your setup or even attach them to your backdrop.

16. Paint swatches

Who would’ve thought that those beautiful paint swatches available in your local hardware store can be used as photography props? It’s a perfect prop to add some colour to your flatlay or vignette mood boards. And oh, let’s not forget that they’re oftentimes free.

Sometimes you only need simple tools to make your creative vision happen. Most of the items in this blog are cheaply and readily available at your local hardware store! You may be surprised at how many of these items you can source from your own home or even in discarded construction materials (if you are lucky!)

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