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July 13, 2011

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How to make a {free} light box

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Madigan made...       a light box (repost).

Thanks everyone for your support after yesterday's post about my project/writing/blog slump!

You all shared some wonderful and inspiring quotes for the chalkboard. I plan to work on filling out the chalkboard soon. And your feedback about what to paint the sunburst mirror varies, but I'm getting some great ideas!

I'm also thinking about a fun and simple theme for next week (or two) and hope to work on that soon.

In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy reading one of my very early posts: about my DIY light box. 

To this day - I still use this light box for photographing some of my food and small crafts. I try to wait for daylight... but when I can't, this is still the best solution.



I posted that I am not thrilled with many of my photos, particularly of food. I think lighting may be part of reason. I know the cardinal photography rule - avoid the use of a flash. But I often cook and craft in the evening and I was unsure how to improve my lighting dilemma. In walks the light box idea!

You can find ready-made boxes online. I was not willing to shell out money for a box. Fortunately, there are some great discussions in the Etsy forums that review how to put your own light box together.

I made mine for $0. The steps were pretty simple.

I started with an empty cardboard box.

And I cut some windows in the sides.
Remember cut away from yourself! Admittedly, I had a close call. (I'm not the most coordinated crafter).
Then, I covered each "window" with vellum paper I had from another project. Some of the tutorials I found used tissue paper to cover the opening, but I was worried that would tear quickly (I'm a bit clumsy, remember!). I tested the sheets with a flashlight to be sure that the paper overlaps did not create a shadow. They did not.
 My box was a little bigger than my poster board. So I took leftover poster board and white card stock to cover the empty spaces (you'll see what I mean in a second).

Then, I gently leaned a poster board in the interior. Just a gentle curve, I did not bend or crease it.

To use, I put a light source next to each window. I used lamps, with the lamp shapes removed. (You can use an overhead ceiling light for the top - but I had a swing-arm lamp that could get closer to the box. That worked better.)

Now, check out the differences. Before light and light box on the left (I chuckled at the shadow of my camera). With the light box and light on the right. Aha, so much better!

Before                                                                After