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I recently got a Foldio2 light box. I’m so happy with it as well as with the customer service of the company, Orangemonkie. Now that I have good light, I want good backgrounds! I’ve had the best luck over the years with nice papers. I’ve had some good art papers, but during the pandemic, I didn’t want to go to the store to rifle through them (and haven’t found any good ones the last few times) so I turned to online choices.

Several handmade papers in various neutral colors - whites, greys, and browns.

These handmade papers are from White Dragon Paper, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

I got two sheets of white – one because it was 11 x 17 and one because it had some flower petals in it, and I love that. White tends to be problematic, though, so we’ll see how it worked out. The next two are grey which tends to be the best background in my experience (and from what others say). I think of the left one as dark grey and the one on its right as light grey, which I thought would be the better one. I got a brown just to try something else. I figured it would be too dark (it is recycled cardboard) but the shop didn’t have a ton of single sheets.) The last is aged, and I just love it. I wasn’t sure if it would be too busy. On to the experiments!

Colorful striped resin beads, round and square, separated by seed beads (primary color: turquoise) with birght yellow bicone beads.
Resin on light grey
The same striped resin necklace as in the photo above.
resin on 11 x 17 white

As imagined, this necklace looks better on the grey. The colors are richer, the clarity is better, and the shadows are fewer. There are other factors at play (my editing, how I placed the necklace in the light box.) But I’m never one to spend a lot of time, so anything that makes a photo better without extra fussing is a plus.

Raku two holed heart pendant - dark ceramic with reddish metallic detailing on bottom. Mixed gemstone slice and small tube beads with two more metallic raku barrel beads and two black raku textured squares on necklace. Finished at back with green metallic glass rice twist shaped beads.
Duane Collins of Elements Pottery raku pendant and beads on aged
The same raku and gemstone necklace as in the last picture.
raku on light grey

I went back to my original blog post about this necklace because I couldn’t immediately recall the raku artist’s name. Oh, these pictures are so much better! Both due to the light box and the background. I chose this necklace for experiments to have something with darker/brown colors. The aged paper is wonderful here! I like the deckled edge, so I left that showing in the upper right on the aged paper. I’ll have to be cognizant of placement in future to make that easier. This necklace pops on the grey too. Both wins.

Red, yellow and blue primary color leaf shaped pendant with lipstick red glass beads knotted on linen with a red box clasp.
Mary Harding pendant on brown
Same primary color leaf and red bead necklace as in the previous picture.
on white floral

Both of these pictures are decent. Probably better than many already on my blog. However, I wouldn’t use either of these backgrounds. My experiments were so random. I didn’t get one on grey of this necklace, but I suspect that would have been the winner.

Bronze unicorn pendant with white Czech glass beads and long bicone clear AB crystals knotted, spaced out, on waxed linen.
Green Girl Studios unicorn on brown
Same unicorn and crystal necklace as above.
unicorn on grey

Again, neither of these photos is bad, but I think the crystals and unicorn pop best on the grey. The light grey is good all purpose. I’d like the other white beads to look better. I think they are Czech glass? But adjusting the light could probably improve that. I cared most about getting the AB coating on the crystals. So lovely.

Purple and light orange lampwork starfish pendant with alternating citrine and amethyst beads and a silver and amethyst clasp.
unknown artist starfish on brown
Same starfish, citrine and amethyst necklace as above.
starfish on grey

I do think the brown is a bit dark for many things. I thought that might work for some lighter pieces (like the unicorn) but it doesn’t seem to work for many of them. But I like having it on hand, and it was worth a try. Here the grey is a the clear winner.

Steampunk glass heart pendant in metallic grey with rivet detail, grey and pink rivet detail round beads, red and black donut connectors and red and metallic grey bumpy lampwork with sawtooth edge connector chain.
Joan Miller and Nikki Thornburg on dark grey
Same steampunk necklace as in previous photo.
on light grey

Here we have the battles of the greys, and I think the light grey has it. The bead details just stand out better. That could be due, again, to my editing and how I did the lighting, but the darker grey seems to drag the photo down.

White, light green and red striped swirly lampwork glass drop with grungy metal cap on bright red chain.
Swirl by Heather Behrendt on aged
Same red, green, white siwrly lampwork necklace as above.
on light grey…
A third photo of the swirly lampwork glass drop necklace on different paper.
on brown

I think the brown makes the colors look off. I think the aged has it. I’m loving that aged sheet!

I think I’m out of comparisons, but here are some singles.

Steampunk gear pendant (polymer) suspended from old key with a variety of wire wrapped beads made into a necklace.
Andrew Thornton pendant on aged
Aged black patina on diamond shaped metal chain with jack-o-lantern, ghoul, candy corn and jet back drop beads. Larger grungy skull pendant in front.
Joan Miller (three charms), Earthenwood (large skull) and Shannon German (pantina chain) on white floral
Another shot of the Halloween charm necklace.
The same necklace on the same white floral paper!

Here you can see that it’s not just the background that makes a difference – it’s the editing. I’ve clearly done a better job editing the bottom photo. Taking that extra time makes a difference. I do take a little time when editing multiple photos to get one good one for a post. Editing so many at once made me sloppier!

I wanted to try another necklace with browns on the aged. I’m loving the aged! I didn’t do a great job lighting or editing this; the clarity is not there. But it’s a lovely background for this necklace.

Earrings with red tin disks, and red and white stamped ceramic diamonds with stamped metal at the top on sterling ear wires.
Sasha Crow on light grey

I grabbed these earrings that were sitting on the table just to try something else. The light grey is a nice neutral background. I like the drama of the aged paper. The others, especially the white with floral, will come in handy once in a while. But I’m pleased with what I got. I’ll be looking for some more with interest, like the aged. Feel free to share your tricks and tips in the comments.