Rustic Mantle Backdrops

Inspiration is rarely a problem for me.  In fact, my problem is usually having too much inspiration and not knowing when to quit.  That wasn’t the case last week.  I started out with what I thought was a great idea.  I have these wonderful antique tongue and groove boards that I always turn into coat racks, but I felt like doing something different with some of them.  I thought I’d connect several together and turn them into barn door style signs, in a few different colors.  I ended up making 3 of them, thinking I’d really be cranking out some great signs.I cut the boards, connected them together, painted and distressed them, and then looked, and looked, and looked at the darn things for 2 days, but could not decide what kind of image or words to put on them for the life of me.   The longer I thought about it, the less inspired I became.I was getting seriously annoyed, because the boards looked so darn pretty all connected together.

Then it occurred to me…maybe I shouldn’t do anything with them.  I realized, that as much as I love making signs, these connected planks might make a really pretty backdrop for vignettes on a fireplace mantel or shelf.

I grabbed some of my favorite things to see if the idea was a good one.

I tried ironstone with an old book page bow bunting…and loved it.  That gorgeous mint green on the old wood really provided the perfect backdrop for the neutral tones in the ironstone and paper.

Ironstone platter and book page bow banner on rustic wood mantle backdrop by Knick of Time |

Admittedly, old apothecary bottles look pretty anywhere, but I think the distressed white backdrop makes them an eye-catching focal point.

Apothecary bottles and ree printable dictionary book page banners from Knick of Time |

I tried old clay pots…and again, loved the way the pots looked in front of it.

Old clay pots with rustic wodd backdrop and book page bows by Knick of Time |

Bird nests and pretty little eggs looked right at home in front of it.

Bird nests Mantle decor backdrops and free printable dictionary book page banners by Knick of Time |

Then I used it as a backdrop for an old clock and a tattered book stack…and of course, I loved it even more.  So my lack of inspiration ended up being very inspirational after all!

Dictionary page banner by Knick of Time |

These make beautiful mantle backdrops, and you can switch out the props in front to suit your mood or the season.

You can create your own dictionary page banner, like those shown in theses photos with the free printables here.

Dictionary page pennant banner by Knick of Time

All 3 sold really quickly, so I decided to create more of them from some leftover knotty pine wall paneling that we used in our laundry room.  I love them too!
{PIN now & MAKE later!}



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  1. I love the tattered books with the banner. Such a great idea! I will have to come up with a way to work that design into my house somewhere.

    xoxo Michelle.

  2. I love the idea of using boards as a backdrop. It looks great! I have been wanting to do that but haven’t been lucky enough to find such awesome boards!

  3. This looks so pretty. Love it.

  4. Well, ya did it again. They all look great!
    Farmhouse hugs,

  5. uninspired?



    sometimes things just need time to percolate.

  6. I love your boards as a back drop. It’s perfect even without any graphics or words. Sometimes we over think things.

  7. My two favorite … the clay pots and the ironstone … maybe the clay pots are #ONE because of the color of the boards with the pots. I should try that on my Spring mantel as I am not too happy with what I have up there … adding bird nests would be a good mix too. Thanks for the inspiration.
    So excited … ordered a Silhouette today. I hope to make some signs on glass windows to sell in our garage sale.
    Audrey Z.

  8. Those backdrops are drop-dead gorgeous….!!

    hugs x

    Crystelle Boutique

  9. Book page bow bunting tutorial please!!!

  10. Wow Angie what a fabulous uninspired (ha ha) idea!
    They look absolutely terrific! I love the first 4 vignettes best, especially the one with the clay pots, they really pop against the wooden backdrop! And oh the nests and together with your pretty garlands just perfection to me!
    Gotta pin them now!
    Have you ever did a tutorial for the bookpage bow bunting btw?
    Thank you for the inspiration!

  11. Love them. Simple as that.

  12. Love them all!


  13. Hi Angie, I always love your signs but I’m totally in love with your fabulous uninspired backdrops too. All your vignettes look fantastic. The bow bunting is very pretty as well.

  14. You are a genius Angie! I am so in love with everything I see in this post…Wow!

  15. Just SO pretty Angie! Sometimes a bend in the road ends up being JUST where we belong!

  16. Angie, your backdrops are all beautiful and all beautifully staged. Thanks for the uninspired inspiration! Enjoy your day, Gail

  17. Love all the vignettes:)

  18. wonderful!!!!

  19. I just adore these vignettes, beautiful!


  20. Gorgeous backdrops Angie, I guess those uninspired moments happen but in this case they paid off!

    xo, Tanya

  21. These are beautiful Angie! They would make awesome backdrops for photographing items for my shop. You’be inspired me!! Thanks for sharing.


  22. LOve the vintage dictionary page banners and the one with bows as well. Beautiful vignettes

  23. Wow, You remind me of a little kid playing in a sand box. What wonderful looks you created. Great job…Connie

  24. your bow banner is the cutest thing ever! Your background boards are fabulous. Had I seen them I would have bought one in a heartbeat. With all the photos I take for my website, I am always looking for interesting but plain backgrounds. Went to an auction yesterday for that very purpose. All your vignettes are charming!

  25. You’re so right! What a beautiful backdrop for all of the items. I really love the clay pots with it. 🙂

  26. Simply Delightful ~ I love the bow banner from the book pages, So creative…

  27. LOVE the bow banner,angi! i’m making some window shutters right now, and you’ve inspired me to make some backgrounds, too! tfs!

  28. LOVE them ALL!!

    Did you just dry brush them???

    Be blessed, and thanks for always sharing such fun stuff.


  29. Hi Angie,

    I found you through Shabby Chic’s highlight of this project. Can you tell me what paint colors you use? I’m thinking of painting my cabinets a similar color.

    Thanks. I’m a new follower.

  30. I have backdrops on the mind today … getting bored with my same old same old. I love this idea! Thanks for the amazing inspiration!

    🙂 Linda

  31. Just beautiful ~ love the idea for up on a mantel to showcase special pieces! Pinning! Thank you for sharing at the Get Schooled party =) Marcy @ day2daySuperMom

  32. I love this idea of just having a great backdrop!! Every vignette you made was just cuter that the next!! Love it. It would be nice to just have something like this to take some beautiful pictures – thanks so much for the inspiration.

  33. I loved them all but the one with clay pots is my fav! Thanks for linking up to ITS PARTY TIME. Shared your post via G+ today. xoxo

  34. Wow, absolutely stunning vignettes and backdrops!
    Krista @thehappyhousie

  35. You always have the most beautiful photos! thank you for the inspiration!! 😉

  36. Wow..I love it so much with aged terra cotta pots. Beautiful vignettes..

  37. Great idea! I am always needing good backdrops for photos, etc. Thanks for sharing your inspiration with us. I saw your post over at “No Minimalsit Here” blog party.

  38. I love all the images,can’t pick a favourite!!!
    You must be a master of vignettes:)
    Happy weekend!

  39. Whenever I’m looking at something, just can’t get any idea what to do I walk away for awhile or even sometimes a whole day or so. There’s a reason but we have to ponder on it to “get it”. Love the boards with props in front, perfect, and so versatile. You are so good at what you do, I’m quite envious.

  40. Angie I love this, and am so glad I found your blog! Could you tell me how you attached your boards together? Thank you!


  1. […] This is the variety of decorative backdrop I want to produce! So, my plan of action re the photography backdrops &#8211 use the tongue and groove board that I presently have, sand it and then paint in the dark bits with Annie Sloan&#8217s dark wax. Fingers crossed that performs but I will let you know! These photograph backdrops are from Knick Of Time. […]

  2. […] This is the type of decorative backdrop I want to create! So, my plan of action re the photography backdrops – use the tongue and groove board that I already have, sand it and then paint in the dark bits with Annie Sloan’s dark wax. Fingers crossed that works but I will let you know! These photo backdrops are from Knick Of Time. […]

  3. […] This is the type of decorative backdrop I want to create! So, my strategy of action re the photography backdrops &#8211 use the tongue and groove board that I currently have, sand it and then paint in the dark bits with Annie Sloan&#8217s dark wax. Fingers crossed that performs but I will allow you know! These photo backdrops are from Knick Of Time. […]

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