It has been more than a year since our meetings left the office and ventured into our own four walls via virtual conference platforms, mainly Zoom.
It was fun to play around with various effects and greenscreens at first, but even that little thrill passed. Digital backgrounds can make your hair look weird, and sudden movements with your arms can distort the picture or make it disappear entirely. In the end, it’s just easier and more professional to stick with your real background. People take note.
This was already proven at the beginning of the pandemic, the Twitter account Room rater went viral because the Zoom backgrounds were rated by politicians and commentators. For example, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, received a 10/10 for his plants and display of signed baseball balls, while New Jersey Sen. Cory BookerThe sparse white wall scored a 3/10 for “gives real hostage video vibes”.
All of this means that our backdrops serve exactly how we need to present ourselves in our meetings in a certain way in order to spread professionalism and personality.
4 ways to create real zoom backgrounds
Not all of us have access to the kind of money that Room Rater’s themes have to work with. Regardless, there are still plenty of ways you can make a statement on a budget – and have fun doing it. Here are four ways to do just that:
1. Wrapping paper as a background image
There are two types of people in this world: those who hire a professional to hang beautiful wallpaper and those who rent. Like so many others, I fall into the latter category. But tenants can also be decorators by choosing stylish wrapping paper to turn it into a zoom backdrop.
Of course, to do this you will need a wall, cabinet or even a refrigerator that is pretty close behind where you normally work to use it as a canvas.
Yes, there is the removable wallpaper option, but it’s difficult to use and can cost hundreds of dollars depending on the brand. Plus, I’d be nervous that it might not come off my rented wall as easily as it claims.
A stable but temporary substitute is wrapping paper. You may even have a roll or two left over by December if those aren’t too holiday-oriented. Regardless, even the most beautiful wrapping paper rolls cost a lot less than real wallpaper or removable wallpaper and look just as good.
- Wrapping paper with enough space to cover the area your webcam sees
- Double-sided tape
- Tacks (possibly) – I bought these and only used two.
- Unroll your first roll of paper and fold it over for a sharp line. Tape the crease down and put small strips of duct tape on the top two feet of the roll.
- Position the first panel on top of the intended wall section and press it down. You may need a sturdy chair or stepladder to do this.
- Under that plate, add tape to the paper for the next foot, then press it down the wall from the top, making sure it stays smooth. Repeat this process along the wall until you hit the baseboard or the floor.
- Turn the crease over and tuck in the extra paper with tape. Duct tape on the wall.
- Repeat the process until your area is filled.
2. Faux Flower or Ivy Vine Wall
Showing DIY greens and flowers behind you in zoom calls gives your supervisors an aura of creativity and freshness that they expect from their employers. You can choose the flowers carefully to complement the colors of walls or other furniture. Maybe they say something about you: sunflowers for your sunny mood or wisteria for your ethereal nature.
There are many sources online to buy fake greens. Look for “artificial flower strands”. Measure the area you plan to decorate to make sure everything you buy is long enough.
There are two paths you can take with this trick: flowers or vines. I chose green ivy. I bought a pack of 9 that was $ 12 fake ivy tendrilsthat I layered under a funky needlepoint I found at a thrift store.
So it turned out:
I added the cheesy art to add a touch of color to the green, but if you go down the flower path you really don’t need anything else.
3. Framed album art
Music has been a proven conversation starter for centuries. Take advantage of this by displaying your favorite albums artistically. Many of us (or our parents) have old LPs around, which often collect dust.
Pick your favorites (or, if you want to be a sucker, your bosses favorites) and frame them. If you don’t have albums on hand already, it’s worth a visit to your local thrift store, where they typically cost no more than $ 10 each, depending on their rarity. If you can’t find exactly what you want, try eBay. I had fun looking for covers that would express my sensitivity.
For a more cohesive look, choose a theme – albums from the same band, albums in the same genre, or albums from the same decade. I have a thing for film music, so I was looking for film music albums from that decade. The lighter and more colorful the cover, the better.
It didn’t take me long to find three perfect albums – it was only about $ 15 together. Alfred Hitchcocks Torn curtain, The graduate (with Mrs. Robinson’s infamous stocking leg) and Valley of the Dolls, with doomed asterisk Sharon Tate on the cover. In case you don’t remember, Tate was murdered in 1969 by a member of the Charles Manson cult =
12.5 “by 12.50” frames made specifically for LPs are available online and at craft stores, but the cheapest I found were at Michaels for only $ 6.49.
Since I had to fill a large room, I hung my frames horizontally. For a zoom background, you’ll want to display them vertically.
4. Bring in Mother Nature
I don’t think I am alone when I say that at the beginning of the pandemic there was a time when I tried to have my meetings outside. The weather was fine, I hoped the fresh air would wake me up, and the natural light was flattering.
For those perks there were also the incessant sirens, supernaturally loud birds and bugs just waiting to bite. Fortunately, there is a way to compromise. I brought my favorite part inside out. The air conditioning was also a tie.
An easy way to demonstrate both your harmony with nature and your decorating skills is to decorate with classic pressed flower art behind you. You can find some on Hobby lobby for relatively little, but frankly the pickings are pretty sparse and look simple.
You can create your own pressed flower art and make the design exactly the way you want. After all, getting your hands a little dirty is a big part of it Cottage core After all, aesthetically. You will need a few supplies that you can easily find at the drug store for a few dollars, but you probably already have them near the house (and yard).
- Previously pressed flowers / petals *
- Wax paper
- Elmer’s Craft Bond Stick
- Clear liquid glue
- Thick poster board or watercolor paper
- Picture Frame
* You don’t need a whole flower press kit to get the same effect. Pick the flowers you like and cut the stem at an angle, cutting off any excess leaves. Place the flowers between two pieces of waxed paper and place them on the pages of the heaviest book you can find. The flowers are dry after two to three weeks. Use tweezers to remove them from the waxed paper and transfer them to a billboard, or whatever you are going to put on the frame.
- If necessary, cut your paper / billboard to fit the frame.
- For smaller flowers / petals, a layer of standard glue stick should be fine. For the bigger ones, gluing or tinkering is safer.
- Arrange and layer the flowers however you like and let them dry overnight.
- Design, hang and impress your employees.
Olivia Smith is a Washington, DC-based writer with experience in public and political advocacy. She is an employee of The Penny Hoarder.
This article originally appeared on www.thepennyhoarder.com