Step 1: Gather Your Materials
2 Expandable Window Screen units (4 Screens)
Industrial Strength Adhesive Velcro
Roll of Velcro One-Wrap (Not shown - Must stick tightly to the Velcro above)
Diffuser fabric - I used 200 thread count twin bed sheet
Spline roller tool
A pair of scissors
Note: The velcro I ended up using isn't pictured. I bought white industrial adhesive with four large pieces per package (two mating pairs).
Note: Make sure the one-wrap grips the industrial adhesive Velcro well. I found some that doesn't.
Step 2: Disassemble The Sliding Screens
Pick a corner and gently push the screen out until you can get a grip on the rubber spline. Pull it out of the track. Remove the screen.
Step 3: Install The Velcro
Note: I forgot to get these pictures before the diffuser was installed. Don't get confused, you do that in the next step.
Cut six pieces of One-Wrap 4 inches long and two 3 inches long. (Not Shown)
Step 4: Install The Diffuser
Stretch the other sides by hand and roll in the spline. If you press your fingers on each side of the frame as you roll the spline in you will create a little slack. If the fabric it too tight the frames will warp upward causing the frame not to lie flat. You want the fabric smooth but not tight enough to warp the frame. It might take a couple of tries, but keep at it. When you are done your fabric should be pretty wrinkle free. You can always touch it up with an iron.
Now you are ready to trim the excess fabric. Take your time and be careful not to cut the spline. I pulled the fabric taught and worked down the seam with an Exacto knife. Trim hanging threads with a pair of scissors.
Step 5: Assembly
Step 6: Use it!
The picture below was taken after a 5 minute setup which included borrowing the model car. The lights are desk lamps with 100 watt reveal color corrected bulbs.
Now I am no photographer but I thought it looked pretty good!
Step 7: Enhancements!
I will probably experiment with the diffuser fabric. The twin bed sheet was used to lower cost. I found a thin silk-like fabric for $9 a yard but the frames are just large enough to require two yards of fabric. Smaller frames could be done with one yard, and you could use a cheaper fabric on the back frame. It is hidden by the backdrop in the pictures.
You can scale it up or down as needed. I found two sizes of expandable screen frames but for a little more money you can make a light box of any size. Most home improvement stores sell all of the parts to make these frames up to 6 foot by 6 foot. For a really large frame you could use full sized window screens or even screen doors.
If you make enhancements or larger light boxes using this design let me know! I will link them here for others to learn from. Happy shooting!