Monday, January 20, 2014

How to Build A Photography Lightbox

Close-up photography of detailed objects requires good lighting. 
However, being able to light an item properly to show the true color, 
details and beauty of the object can be difficult. I think a light box is a 
great solution. It provides light diffusion and a uniform background to help 
you capture the true essence of your item. 
Unfortunately photography lightboxes 
can be expensive, so I decided to make my own.

I looked around the internet and saw a variety of examples from cardboard boxes
to huge wooden boxes.  Then my daughter had a brilliant idea, she said "mom
how about we use art canvas boards?"

Cleaver, it already had the white fabric coating, wood frame standard so
 no extra cost for any of these pieces.  So the more I thought the idea out the
 better I liked it.  Next thing I knew we were in the local craft store deciding
 what size canvas we wanted to use.

Canvas comes in a huge variety of sizes so the choice was fairly simple.  
The size should be appropriate for the the objects you will photograph.  I want
 to learn how to photograph small and medium size items so I didn't need 
anything super big but I wanted a moderate size box just in case 
inspiration hit me to work with a larger object.

You can buy fairly inexpensive canvas in a two package which is
what we purchased.  I decided on a medium size box but you can go as small
or as large as your heart desires since the variety is so big.

The 4 pieces of canvas cost me $21 with a half off coupon.  
(I don't buy anything without a coupon)

Glue - I used wood glue for its strength.  You have to smear it on 
with your finger tips so as not to get the glue on to your white fabric.

Tape - I used tape to hold the boards straight while the glue dried.
I put tape across the back and seams and it worked great. 
My box dried overnight and it's tremendously sturdy.  
My 2 year old boy tested it's durability for me, lol.

You will need to light this box and this could be the most expensive part of the 
box unless you already have the lights. Without good lighting you will not get the 
picture you desire. I already had an Ott Light that I use for everything and I love the 
soft yet bright light it produces so that is what I used.  The Ott Light also has a flexible 
stem that allows you to position it anywhere you wish to utilize the light source.

Since I decided to use a flexible light source I did not 
cut window holes in my box.  I did discover that if I position the light 
outside the box the white fabric diffuses the light, making it soft and perfect 
for taking bright photos with little shadow.

(Total cost was $21 for my light box)

Then I started learning how to use my latest creation.
Lights, camera, action!



  1. This is a fantastic idea angel!! I have seen a few DIY light boxes, but this is the best and easiest to make. I've never made or used a light box before, but will be giving this a try

    Natasha @ Serenity You

  2. Nice post. I like the idea with flexible light source a lot.

  3. As soon as I have a craft room, it's my intention to build one of these. And I LOVE the idea of using canvases! Thanks. x

  4. Absolutely brilliant!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  5. Awesome idea - fabulous - thanks for the tips :-D

    IKE xxx

  6. The box looks great. And it sounds so easy to make, it would be perfect for so many of my pics.

  7. this is awesome! I have one made of foam core but it is so flimsy. Maybe I'll try this one

    Tiffany Ima
    Style Honestly

  8. This is awesome Angel - thanks for the great tutorial too!

  9. That is an awesome tutorial, thank you so much for sharing it with us all today. Have a great week. :-)

  10. This is such a great idea! The lighting in my apartment is usually really dark and difficult to take good quality photos. This would be perfect to take pictures for my reviews.

    Thanks so much for sharing on Turn It Up Tuesday! So glad to have you co-hosting!

  11. I've made lightboxes before, but I like your construction. The end results (with the still life) looks great!

  12. WOW thanks so much for the great tip here Angel, it was just what I needed, and it´s simple enough made, so that I can also explain it to hubby, so I can get him to create some lighting for it too, when I make the box myself. Gosh sometimes things are jut best when kept as simple as possible, but we tend to think much more difficult on such things, don´t we? But this is awesome, thanks sooo much.

  13. Thank you! I definitely need one of these! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

  14. This is totally what I have been looking for, easy and inexpensive:)))



  15. This is so neat. Thanx so much for sharing this idea!

  16. Visiting from What To DO Weekends- I need, need, need one of these! Yours looks great. Have a great Saturday :)

  17. Fabulous thank you for sharing. The canvas worked really well. I am thinking if you used small hinges you could make a light box that folds up for storage. I am also looking for ways to make a light box and I was thinking small shades but the canvas works as well. Hugs, Beverly