I just replaced my fly tying background from white poster board to white foam board and I have buyers remorse. Foam board cost me $4 and poster board is .49 cents. What do you use for a background when tying?
An artistic composition of tools, spools of thread, feathers, hook boxes, plastic bags containing various materials, empty plastic bags, patches of elk, deer, moose and ??? hair, boxes of dubbing, tubes and bottles of adhesives, spools of wire, loose hooks, books, coffee cups with entire societies unidentifiable organisms evolving in them, fly boxes, a reel or two and additional quantities of ?????. My neighbor swears he's seen a small pony and two republicans scurrying around in there also.
Light colored laminate counter top on my tying bench. I too like a light background so I can see the fly with these old eyes.
Man that's frustrating. I used to make fun of my family because they couldn't see without glass lenses.
My wife bought a package of thin cutting mats, like cutting boards and gave one to me. It's olive in color and that doesn't really matter. It keeps epoxy and other junk off the desk top and can be wiped clean now and then.
Wyofly's background is really his bench surface, too. I discovered long ago that I need to have a soft surface to prevent hooks, beads, and anything else that is light and bouncy from bouncing away and ending up in the carpet. I used to use a terry cloth towel, but recently replaced that with a piece of thin foam yoga mat.
My angle of vision while tying doesn't put that in the background, however. I tie with a magnifier light, so the focus is set for the fly in the vice, which puts the background out of focus.
I made one of these back stops out of my my bobbin cradle, because I never used it. I use it most of the time and I think it really helps when tying very small flies and when detail is important, and my desk is not often clean and can be a distraction.