Maintaining Your Muslin Backdrop

If you’re serious about opening a photography studio, then one of the things you’re going to have to invest in is a muslin backdrop.  Yes, you could get by with just having seamless paper backgrounds for awhile, but sooner or later you’re going to need to step up what you’re offering.

What Is a Muslin Backdrop?

Muslin is a type of cloth, and when we refer to muslin background, we are talking about large pieces of muslin that have an image painted on it. It could just be a simple single color background, or it could be a hand painted work of art. Muslin backdrop range from about $50 to $500 to own.

Before Chroma key technology was invented, muslin backdrops were used to transport actors to exotic locations far away from the studio. If you watch movies and TV shows from the 1950s and 60s, you'll be able to tell that the background in some scenes was actually a painted piece of muslin upon close examination.


Muslin backdrops take up a considerable amount of space when they are stored. It’s best to roll it up for storage as opposed to folding it. However, you can’t always avoid the problem of a folded background. If the background is being shipped to you from another state, then it might have been sent folded up. If this is the case, then you should hang the background for a few days and let gravity naturally remove the unsightly creases caused from folding.

Getting Rid of Creases Quickly

Sometimes a shoot comes up at the last minute, and you need to use your muslin backdrop right away. There isn’t anytime to hang the background and let gravity do its work, so you have to improvise.

If you need to instantly flatten the background, then use a steamer. Never ever use an iron to get rid of unwanted creases and wrinkles, because the iron can and most likely will damage the background. Once the backdrop becomes damaged, it is almost impossible to fix it.


Never machine wash your muslin. You should also avoid hand washing it too because washing the muslin backdrop will hasten it’s degradation. If there is a spot that becomes stained or dirty, wash it. Use a cloth and a mild soap to clean it.

If a muslin background is properly maintained and cared for, it will last for years--which is a good thing because they are fairly expensive to buy.