Picture of Light Studio for Photographers (Tabletop)
This instructable shows you the easy, inexpensive, and quick way to create a light box that can get you the same photographic results as a 150 dollar light box. The only difference is that this one can ultimately be built for under 10 dollars. For those of you out there that don't mind spending a few extra bucks or for some reason hate recycling, you can spend up to 30, but hey, its still cheap and way less than those "official" light box rip offs.

Step 1: Get Materials

Picture of Get Materials
Refer to the image for materials.

Keep in mind what you may plan to shoot pictures of, for it will be a good factor in deciding how big you want your box to be. Since were laying poster board in the box, I would recommend that you keep the boxes' dimensions within the width of the poster board. The two colors of poster board I would recommend getting are white and black, but of course its also good to experiment and I find that blue and red also make good backgrounds. But, use any colors you wish. The color of the poster board sets the "mood" for the picture i.e. black background would be for like sleek watches or high dollar items, where as white may be for something like a vase with flowers, or something "light" and "airy"
lrieger8 months ago

Haven't made it yet, but the instructions seem very straight forward. Thanks!

tperlow made it!1 year ago

Aaaaand I made it! On the right is the outcome without much editing.

1st Pic in DIY Studio.png
tperlow1 year ago

So awesome! Thx!!! :D

ktripp1 year ago

Thank you for your assistance! Came out great! Now I need a bigger lightbox to take a pictrue of the lightbox ;)

glara21 year ago

Excellent instructable. I like the idea of re purposing a box, as some of them can be folded without being damaged, so this is lightweight and portable. I would suggest to stick the diffusing material from the inside, or paint it white. This is to avoid weird lines on shiny round objects.

suayres4 years ago
I would think wax paper would be way too fragile. I think baking parchment ( sold in same area as wax paper) would work better, as it's sturdier, but still pretty economical.
AXracer5 years ago
I am a jewelry designer/craftsman of custom made high end fine jewelry. I photograph each piece as soon as I complete it. I use a homemade light box consisting of 4 white painted dowels placed in drilled holes in a wooden base with a section of white ceiling tile on top the base. A white pillowcase is slipped over the dowels like a tent. A slit is cut in one side for the camera lens to be poked inside. I use colored construction paper or wallpaper scraps as a seamless background and a bent straight pin stuck through it into the ceiling tile to support the piece upright in the photo.
ammar1035 years ago
wdiosa6 years ago
Awesome! I've been looking for instructions for one of these forever! Yours are the easiest and most effective!! Thanks!
grandma36 years ago
Great instructions, I made one with stuff I had on hand, an old white plastic tablecloth works great too. I'm so glad I found this site, you saved me alot of money. Thanks!
walrus137 years ago
Would wax paper work? Like the kind used for cooking, and if it's not big enough would you want to overlap or have seams?
rmgb7 years ago
This is fricking awesome. I already have pure white CFL lights made specifically for artists. They run cooler and use less energy. I'm going to make one of these light boxes later today. However, I'm not going to cut the bottom hole. I'm going to add a piece of cheap wood to give it some weight. I feel that if I cut the hole, the bottom might warp a bit and not give me a sturdy surface. If I use the double-thickness cardboard box, I could fasten the vinyl with pop rivets. Either way, thanks so much for the instructable.
djsc7 years ago
loving this, I am an architecture student and need to photograph my models. I've never had even halfway decent results yet but this will help a lot. Now I just need a mmuch bigger version, which easily folds up and stores away..hmm
gedden7 years ago
White Vinyl shower curtain was such a great tip! 1.90 at walmart! Thank you!
jobel6027 years ago
This looks ideal for me to create; certainly more affordable than the simple set-up on ebay that someone was selling for £122.00. Silly question time: I am red and green colour-blind and I bought what I thought was a white shower curtain but it is in fact light green. If I used this on my box would it give the item I am photographing a green tint? I wouldn't notice it but others would. I will post some of my pics when I try it out later. Thanks for such a nicely explained article
Yeah I made one of these with five small canvases that were £1 each from a cheapo shop, put a daylight bulb up top and this was great because there was light ccoming from the top but with soft shadows or none meaning all the stuff came out great.
michaelbak7 years ago
Great Instructable I made Your design but with Foam instead of Poster Board and it works out great!
dmlandrum7 years ago
Here's a link to a photo set on Flickr where I used your light box design on three of the four shots:


I'm very pleased with the results. Getting the exposures right took some trial and error, but it was well worth it. Now I want to build a stouter version using Masonite.
ryzellon8 years ago
Very well put together Instructable! There are a few commas that might make reading easier, but there's nothing unclear or confusing here. Ironically, the only real error is your final sentence: "needs revised" needs revision.<br/>Also, <a rel="nofollow" href="http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/07/how-to-diy-10-macro-photo-studio.html">Strobist's macro box</a> has a different set of photos and even a YouTube clip of a light box, if anyone wanted to look at variations & c.<br/>
millertime07MS (author)  ryzellon8 years ago
lol figures right?
Brennn108 years ago
This is really cool! Very, Very, Very well-made all-around! I hope you continue to make Inst. of such high quality to the table. -Brennn10
mikesty8 years ago
Awesome instructable. Great in just about every aspect!