How To: Make Your Own Surreal DIY Cloud Wedding Backdrop

Who said it's better to get your head out of the clouds?

Last week we started our large scale wedding backdrop series, and we showed you the best ever no-sew photo booth style backdrop. Today? We’re doing clouds. Amazing magical clouds. Is this my favorite thing we’ve ever made for APW in the whole six-plus years we’ve published the site? UM. Yes. It is. If you are allowed to hang things at your wedding venue, you should pretty much do this and stop worrying about all the little stuff for decoration. You want bonkers-amazing go big or go home? This is IT. And with the help of our very own wedding designer Michelle Edgemont, who we flew out from Brooklyn, we have a straightforward magical cloud-making tutorial for you.

LGBTQ couple standing together in front of DIY cloud wedding backdrop

PROS:

  • This takes pretty much no artistic skill to construct, just time and hot glue. Anyone can do it.
  • The prettiest things I’ve ever made.
  • Easy to transport. These clouds look big, but they’re pretty squishy, and you’ll do most of the final fluffing on-site, so you don’t have to worry about ruining them in transit.

CONS:

  • You need beams, or something to hang these clouds from, and permission to hang things at your venue. Sadly, there isn’t a good way around this fact.
  • A little boring and time consuming to construct, if really easy. Also I got a pretty bad hot glue burn making these, because I’m sort of a klutz.
  • This takes a reasonable amount of space to transport (the clouds are not small). But they’re less delicate than you’d think, since most of the real fluffing happens after you hang them.
  • To really make these clouds look magical, and not like giant cotton ball craft projects, you need to get up on a ladder at your venue and tease and puff the balls to look like real clouds. This requires a ladder, someone who’s not scared to climb on it, and about an hour. (If you’re making significantly more clouds, please allow for more people on ladders, or more time.)
  • Did I mention you might need a really tall ladder and someone who’s not scared to be up on it? We ended up hiring a TaskRabbit to come help us out for about $40, because our beams were very high up.

SUPPLIES:

COST ESTIMATE: $240

TIME ESTIMATE: Creating the clouds will take an afternoon (with a friend or two), or a series of evenings on your own. Allow an hour to hang the clouds and an hour to fluff them. If you’re using more clouds, allow more time.

(Magical) Hack:

If you’re getting married or having your reception at night, you can put LED lights inside the lanterns for an extra dreamy set up like this. I know.

STEPS

1. Set up your paper lanterns the same way you would if you were hanging them up normally. Put the small ones aside. You’ll be using a variety of large and medium lanterns to create the base for your clouds.

2. Take a small amount of stuffing and hot glue it to a paper lantern. You want to do a little bit at a time to keep it looking natural. You’ll get a feel for how much to use as you go, but we generally used a cotton candy sized wad of stuffing for each section.

3. Fluff and shape a little as you go, but don’t spend too much time doing this just yet. Most of the fluffing happens after you hang up the clouds. Continue gluing and fluffing until all of your lanterns are covered.

4. If you want to create a more oblong or oval-shaped cloud, add two small lanterns to opposite sides of each of the big lanterns you just covered with cotton. Cover with more cotton and fluff.

5. Hang finished clouds from a support structure in your venue using a really tall ladder, a brave helper, and some fishing wire. Don’t forget a spotter! If you don’t have beams, you can use command hooks (with a little putty on the ends so the fishing wire doesn’t slip off), just test them out first.

6. Fluff until they look like clouds!

7. Add LEDs (optional) for a luminescent cloud.

8. Marvel. Freak out a little. Tell everyone how awesome your clouds look. Wait for enthusiastic agreement.

Credits

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