Monday, January 10, 2011

Tutorial: How to make your own inexpensive light box

If you follow my blog you'd know that it's been raining here in Brisbane for almost 8 weeks straight. If you're like me and make things to sell as a hobby but do it from home, trying to take decent photo is near impossible.

But fear not my friends, using things most of us have lying around the house, you can make a cheap yet functioning light box to take those beautiful photos for your etsy, made it, facebook or website.


  • 1 cardboard box (it doesn't matter what size as long as it's big enough to hold inside the objects you want to photograph)
  • 1 ruler
  • 1 pen
  • scissors
  • stanley knife / box cutter
  • white fabric (or tissue paper)
  • tape
  • white spray paint or extra sheets of white cardboard
  • sheet of cardboard or paper in whatever colours you want your backgrounds to be
  • lamps or lights with daylight bulbs (desk lamps are fine - just make sure they have a daylight bulb)
1. Take your ruler and measure in about 2-3 cm from the edge towards the inside panel of the box until you have created a border. Do this to all sides except the back and the bottom.

2. Cut out the inside of these borders.

3. I didn't have time for this part but now you can paint or cut white paper frames for the inside of the box. My border is quite narrow and I ran out of time to let it dry so I omitted this step.

4. Wrap the fabric around the outside of the box. When choosing fabric make sure it's not too dense. Muslin or lightweight cotton are the best. If your using tissue paper tape it to the outside of the sides, and top.

5. Cut a piece of cardboard or paper the width of the box and the length of the back and bottom of the box. Make sure you don't crease it. You want the back to be curved slightly so there is a seamless background in your photographs.

6. Place your lamp(s) on either side, both sides and/or the top of the box. I'm only using one today but at night I would recommend one each side and on top.

  • Make sure your lamp has daylight bulbs or the colour may not be right
  • You might need to adjust your white balance on your camera
  • Make any further adjustments to brightness etc using a photo editing tool/suite
  • If you don't have white fabric you can use paper
  • Be careful using the box cutter
  • Never leave your lights unattended and be wary of fire
Here's a pic of before and after using the light box

So much better. It loses that blue tinge that overcast days are inclined to give. There is still some shadow there but that is because I am using only one light.

So there you go ... I hope this helps you get some of your stuff photographed.

1 comment:

Teneale said...

That's really cool. Thanks for the tip Katie! Teneale x