Photography Light Box

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Introduction: Photography Light Box

Photography Light Box to take pictures of small to medium items.

:: Parts ::
Large cardboard box (thicker box will hold up to the abuse of cutting and working on it)
Several yards of white cloth (I got 3 yards)
Wide/Think Double stick tape (I used Shurtape carpet tape)
Thin double stick tape.
[2] thin poster boards
[3] Reflective lights (I got mine for $5 at Job Lot {Local discount store})
[3] Light Bulb (I am using standard 100 watt bulbs)

:: Tools ::
Sharp Knife (I used a heavy duty box cutter)
Writing implement
Straight Edge (I used a a large shelf)

Give me your feedback and Please don't be one of those people who says, "there are already Instructables for light boxes." I know there are and sadly I did not get inspiration from Instructables. I love what trebuchet03 said, "I personally think it's better to have each variant in separate instructables - -and link between them ;)"

:: UPDATE :: I mentioned before that I was going to make a frame for this. Here is the link to my new Light Frame

:: THANKS :: Thanks to Peter at http://www.photoequipmentstore.com.au for publishing this Instructable to his photography site http://www.photoequipmentstore.com.au/How-to-build-a-Light-Box

Step 1: Preping the Box

To allow light to enter all sides you will need to cut open three sides of the box. GO from the sides and leave the top and the bottom the way they are.

[Pic 1] :: Here is the box I used. It is a large heavy duty printer box.

[Pic 2] :: From all four corners measure in 1.5 inches and make a cross hair.

[Pic3] :: Using a straight edge line up the cross hairs on each corner and draw a line.

[Pic4] :: The completed lines on one side. Continue this on 3 sides. I cut out the sides that had the handles

[Pic5] :: Cut the box on the lines. I used the straight edge to cut. This works well when cutting against the grain of the cardboard. (warning :: as you are cutting the second and third side try not to push to hard. You do not want to crush the box.)

[Pic6] :: Completed cut box.

NOTES :: After I was almost finished with the light box I decided to cut off three of the box flaps. I only kept the bottom one. So lay the box with the uncut side down and remove the Left, Right and Top flaps. You will see what I mean in the last couple of images.

Step 2: Taping the Sides of the Box for the Cloth

As you can see in the picture, Tape inside the opening. This is where I used the Heavy Duty Carpet tape.

Step 3: Putting in the Cloth

Cut the cloth to the to the size of the inside of the box. I cut it an extra 1 to 2 inches just to be safe.

[Pic 1] :: remove the cover on the double stick tape. When you put in the cloth pull it as tight as you can. Obviously you don't want it loose or have any wrinkles. I had wrapped some of the covering from the double stick tape and rubbed it over the cloth to ensure the cloth was stuck in place. after I put in each side, I trimmed the excess cloth.

[Pic2] :: Here you see the cloth in the box and trimmed

Step 4: Preping & Inserting the Poster Board

This step is the backdrop for the light box

[pic1] :: Measure the inside width of the box and cut the 2 poster boards. Do not worry about the length of the poster board as you want it to over hang outside the box.(I used the straight edge to ensure I get a straight line.)

[Pic2] :: Place the wide double stick tape on the bottom of the box. One in the far back of the box and one at the opening of the box.

[Pic3] :: Place one of the poster boards flush with the back of the box.

[Pic4] :: Place the wide double stick tape on the upper rear edge inside the box.

[Pic5] :: Using the thin double stick tape. Place it approximately 1/4 the way from the back. this measure is up to your interpretation. It should produce a slight slope in the back. You don't want it to come out to far, you don't want to lose to much space.

[Pics6] :: Place the other poster board flush with the top tape and then the bottom.

Step 5: Finale Product

Here is the Light Box finished.

Place the 3 lights about a foot from each side that has cloth. Don't get to close, it should not touch the cloth (FIRE HAZARD YOU KNOW). Place the item in inside and take some pictures. HAVE FUN.

Give me you feedback and Please don't be one of those people who says, "there are already Instructables for light boxes." I know there are and sadly I did not get inspiration from Instructables. I love what trebuchet03 said, "I personally think it's better to have each variant in separate instructables - -and link between them ;)"

I might be making a frame for the lights. I have some spare PVC pipe laying around and all I will need to get is some connectors.

:: UPDATE :: I mentioned before that I was going to make a frame for this. Here is the link to my new Light Frame

Step 6: Light Box in Use

:: UPDATE ::

The 4 images below are of it in use. From here I would clean up the images and remove all the lines, but that is the easy part.

3 People Made This Project!

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50 Comments

Can you be more specific on the type of cloth you are using? I have seen light boxes that used drafting paper or some frosted paper? Beyond durability, doesn't it block out more light?

I had made one before, and I used vellum. I have some larger sheets of mylar around and might try using it, since I have no other use for it. It is slightly yellowish, though, so I might end up going to buy a roll of vellum.

First of all, great job on the tutorial! I have seen a lot of these posted around the internet. However, I liked this tutorial the best. I made some modifications and came across some things that may help others. On mine, instead of having the fabric on the inside, I wrapped 1 long piece on the outside. Mine was constructed for about 24 hours before a vagrant cat pounced on it and crushed the whole thing. During construction I had noticed that the edges of the box were weak in some areas, and the feline stress test validated that. Instead of making another one(carefully cutting the cardboard was a pain.) I ran to Home Depot and bought four 89 cent yard sticks they have in the paint department. I cut them down a miter saw and taped them around the affected areas to reinforce them, and now the whole thing is much stronger.

Side Note: If you have cats that will have access to your photo box maybe flipping your box over(while not in use) so that the full cardboard side is on the top may save you some heart ache!

Wow, I love how simple this is, I thought it might be a bit advanced for me but i know I can do this. I love how the cloth difusses the light from all diretions and the use of carpet tape I never would have thought of :)

I got the idea from some Web site years ago. Made some modifications myself. One thing I wish I had done differently is the back drop. I user thin white poster sized sheets. So the lines and shadows on the side would showork in some photos

Thank you, I have been looking for an affordable way to take better pictures for my DIY blog. Perhaps I'll make a bigger one so I don't get the box edges in the shot.

DIY Montreal | www.diymontreal.com

I just use the stuff that I had around the house.the fabric large white paper and if he's of the hold it all together I purchased. The Box we got it work. The light ring that is linked to in this article was made from an old store bought basketball game. But obviously could use PVC pipe to make it bigger.

IF you want to get fancy and shape your PVC it will shape easily with a cheap heat gun from a hardware store. :) By the way this tutorial is great. I need to make this before sunday for a product shoot I am doing for a friend. :)

I was looking for a similar setup for a product shoot.

I was looking for a similar setup for a product shoot.