Few high school experiences are as charming or inspiring as performing in the school play. These productions may seem quaint, but they grant students a valuable opportunity to explore intriguing plots and characters, all while putting on a great show for loved ones.

The best high school productions bring the community together and instill a sense of pride in a special way that few other extracurricular events can match. These events may not produce as much adrenaline as football games, but they’re exciting in their own right.

Talented high school actors could easily impress in any environment, but quality backdrops up the ante by placing both the cast and the audience in the right mindset. Planning these backdrops can be a treasured part of the production process, but it’s often stressful for theater departments dealing with time constraints and budgetary limitations. Hence, the need for a solution that addresses these common problems while also providing an atmosphere that lives up to students’ hard work and talent.

Typically, efforts to obtain high school theater backdrops fall into one of two main methods: DIY or purchasing ready-made backdrops online. Both approaches are accompanied by significant opportunities and challenges; it’s up to each theater department to determine which option is preferable based on their unique situation.

Not sure which solution is better? Keep reading to discover all that goes into developing the best high school theatrical backdrops:


DIY Your Backdrops

If you’re short on cash but have enough time and people to create a backdrop from scratch, the DIY approach may be preferable. This requires a lot more planning and creativity, but the results can be impressive.

When determining whether the DIY approach is preferred, keep in mind that the costs of these projects can vary dramatically depending on the size of the stage and which materials are required. Cardboard boxes and styrofoam, for example, are far more affordable than canvas or muslin. Still, there’s a wide range for what you can use or accomplish, as indicated in the pros and cons listed below:


  • Greater opportunities for personalization. No matter how your vision of the perfect backdrop takes shape, the DIY approach allows you or your theatrical team to pursue your vision as you see fit. You have the power to select the exact materials, designs, and patterns you desire.


  • Give students the chance to take ownership over their backdrops. If your cast or production crew includes design-oriented students who like the idea of developing backdrops, they will be eager to take on this important project. With a little oversight, they could produce impressive backdrops that go far beyond your expectations.


  • Inspiration abounds. From student ideas to social media platforms (Pinterest being a key example), numerous resources provide valuable inspiration when you’re short on ideas. Under the DIY approach, it’s easier to take creative liberties that might not be available with backdrops that are ordered online.


  • Major time commitment. Even simple backdrops take a lot of time to plan and create. Students may be willing to help, but this isn’t always a guarantee — and this effort could take valuable time away from rehearsals.


  • Higher costs. As mentioned previously, costs have a way of creeping up quickly with DIY backdrops. These seem like they should be more affordable. In some cases, this is certainly possible. More often, however, the most impactful DIY backdrops call for expensive materials.


  • Potential for errors. DIY projects are always risky, but this is especially true when a theatrical backdrop is at stake. If the final product doesn’t match your original vision, there may simply not be enough time or money available to start from scratch. With online orders, there’s a higher level of quality assurance that can provide much-needed peace of mind.


Order Backdrops Online

Is your crew short on time? Or are students simply unwilling to get involved in set design? Not a problem — easy-to-implement backdrops can be ordered online and delivered quickly. This solution might not seem appealing to crafty types, but it’s a worthy consideration for those who already have too many moving parts to juggle. From cardboard standups to stickers or decals, numerous backdrop solutions are available online.

Custom play props from Cardboard Cutout Standees.


  • Simple and straightforward. The online ordering process is often incredibly easy, especially as compared to complicated DIY projects. This frees up mental capacity to focus on other, equally important endeavors.


  • High-quality backdrops. As explained above, DIY backdrops are inherently risky. With purchased backdrops, however, you can opt for providers with quality guarantees. This ensures that, if you’re not completely satisfied with the backdrops you receive, you can get a refund or replacement. When in doubt, do your research; ask for recommendations or check out online reviews.


  • Fewer customization opportunities. The ability to customize your backdrop largely depends on where you order it and how much time you’re able to set aside before it’s delivered. Often, however, backdrops ordered online are more difficult to customize. This problem can be bypassed by finding a solution that allows you to upload and print your own images, rather than sticking exclusively with premade designs.


  • More expensive. Again, your mileage may vary — but in most cases, ordering online will cost more than creating backdrops on your own. Proponents of this approach argue that you get what you pay for, however — and as we’ve already discussed, it’s not uncommon for DIY projects to ultimately exceed the intended budget.


Order Fulfillment Guarantee

Cardboard cutouts and wall murals can both serve as excellent solutions for high school play backdrops. At Cardboard Cutout Standees, we feel extremely confident in our ability to produce backdrops that your cast and audience will adore. If you aren’t satisfied, we will make every effort to replace your backdrop at no cost to you. Should we prove unable to provide the replacement you require, we will offer a full refund instead.


Level Up Your School Play Backdrop With Cardboard Cutout Standees

If you’re on the hunt for an affordable, easy-to-implement backdrop solution that can be fully customized for your upcoming high school play, look no further than Cardboard Cutout Standees. No matter how many backdrops you need, you can count on our team to support your theater department as you plan for an amazing production.

Ready to get started? Contact the team at Cardboard Cutout Standees today to learn how we can help you plan and create visually impressive cutouts for backdrops while remaining within budget.


  • Jason Frank

    Jason Frank is the Co-Founder and Vice President at Cardboard Cutout Standees. After 25 years of selling factory automation he started the company with one of his college roommates. The company has grown to one of the largest providers of large format custom printed products in the United States. Along with the namesake cardboard cutout standees, they also provide BigHeads, Point of Purchase Displays, Wall Murals, and Wall Decals to a diverse client base across the US and Canada. When not focused on the business, you usually find Jason either on the road biking or our in the woods and fields of western Wisconsin.

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