Collapsible Light Box For Those Short On Space And Cash

Picture of Collapsible Light Box For Those Short On Space And Cash
New Lights.jpg
I decided to take on the challenge of creating an affordable, collapsible light box for people who may be short on space as well as cash. The problem I found with many of the affordable foam core light boxes is that every time you want to take it down you risk having the tape rip the walls apart. That in combination with the potentially frustrating assembly as one fumbles with the foam core like a house of cards lead me to the idea of a dove-tail like joint for the box.
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Step 1:

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This light box design cost about $4 for the foam core and another $1 for the poster board that I use to create a seamless background. It's quick and easy to assemble, tear down, and store away. I still need to find brighter lighting, I used two dim desk lamps to test, but it definitely has potential!

Step 2: Cut into 20"X20" panels

Picture of Cut into 20"X20" panels
First I cut the foam core into 20"X20" panels. I then labeled each panel according to it's location on the box to keep myself from getting confused.

After I labeled my 4 sides I measured a 1" thick margin where each joint connected. Then I laid out the panels according to where they connected to the 'back' panel. Imagine the sides and top folding up at each joint and you can visualize how the box will connect.

Step 3: Label panels and draw tabs

Picture of Label panels and draw tabs
With the joints touching I measured out 3" notches and drew my line across both panels to ensure that everything would fit together nicely. For someone who is less than precise when it comes to measuring, this is a great technique to ensure a good fit. I then shaded in the notches that I wanted to cut out with my exacto knife. I did this to keep from cutting out the wrong notch accidentally.

Step 4: Check to make sure shaded tabs line up with non shaded

Picture of Check to make sure shaded tabs line up with non shaded
By tilting your panel up you can see where the notches fit into each other. The white ones, or tabs will fit into the shaded ones, the ones I cut out.

Great project!! Thanks!!!!!

mkanoap3 years ago
Surprisingly strong, my cat likes to sit on top and supervise photo shoots.
trker4 years ago
I love how u said attempts :P and yeh i will definetly try this at soe point
CrawJac5 years ago
 Building one of these today to help with my #project365. I will let you all know how it turns out. Thanks for the cool idea.
Nice job there! I hope to build something similar, but I'm not sure about the availability of "foam core" in Aus... not really sure what it is actually. :-/ Very thin polystyrene sheets? Hoping to try it using the stuff they make real estate signs out of; a sort of plasticy corrugated cardboard. Thanks for sharing, you've inspired me :-)
ah, i was just about to buy one of these! great idea! thanks! :).
berserk6 years ago
Gotta like those tabbed joints...
Me and my brother got my dad these professional lights for his camera, they aren't cheap. Pretty good deal though.
lowercase6 years ago
Really cool I'll try to make one from some sort of reflective (white) and translucent material so that way I can use reflected lighting (as you did) and difuse lighting allowing a high intensity light to pass through the walls and then reflected and bounced on the inside.
aimabo (author)  lowercase6 years ago
Double the fun! Link back so we can see how it turns out! :)
aimabo (author) 6 years ago
Thanks everyone! I'd love to see your light boxes, definitely share if you end up making one. :)
marcelor6 years ago
Whre can one get foam core for $4?
aimabo (author)  marcelor6 years ago
I got the foam core used in this project at the dollar store. The paper on the outside of the foam core isn't as much like card stock as what you might get from a craft store, but it works just fine for our purposes
Art and Craft-stores?
wow, i need to make one of those.
richms6 years ago
I have a collapsable softbox that I paid quite a bit for, this looks to be almost as usable and only cost a couple of sheets of foamcore. Very nice.
This is amazing! Thank you so much. I think I'll probably be building one of these soon. :D
this is great! 5 stars & faved
LinuxH4x0r6 years ago
Great job! I might finally get around to building one
codester6 years ago
Wow. I never thought of that. Nice job!