Sunday, August 28, 2011

{DIY} A Good Sunday Project: How to Build a Light Box

    Having built a few different light boxes we've gotten a good rhythm down and wanted to share our process. To build your own light box you will need a few simple tools that shouldn't cost too much:

• 1 Large Cardboard Box, at least 18x18x18 (but maybe larger depending on your needs)
1 Roll of Packing Tape (optional)
1 Roll of Duct Tape
1 Semi-transparent cloth (we use t-shirt cloth from the local sewing shop)
1 Ruler at least 12 inches in length
1 Pencil
1 Pair of Scissors
3 Medium size Shop lights (can be found at any home improvement store)
1 Very sharp cutting blade
1 Large piece of non-transparent paper or poster board.

Typically,  you should be able to get all of these materials for under $35 total. 

Step 1:

Tape up one end of the box and leave the top of the box open. The taped up side will be the back of the box.

Step 1.

Choose one side of the box to be the bottom depending on if you want your box to be tall or long. Once you have decided, mark all three other sides with a pencil so you don't get confused later on.

Step 2:

Using the ruler, draw lines on each of the sides at least 2 inches from the edge. You need at least 2 inches for support, anything less and your box will sag and not perform its job. When you are done you should have a 'window' that you will be cutting out later. See below:

Step. 2
If you look closely you can see our light pencil outline, we will be cutting out the window later.

Step 3:

For added support, fold the flaps of the box back and mark them with the pencil as well: 2 inches from the edge of the box. Make sure your marks line up with the original marks on each side of the box. Do this for all three sides you will be cutting.

Step. 3
For the side of the box that will become the bottom, fold that flap back and tape it down with box or duct tape. This will help support the bottom later.

Step 4:

Now cut out the windows on the box, and cut along your lines on the flaps as well. When you are done you should end up with a box that looks similar to the one below:

Step. 4
Now use the box or duct tape to tape the flap down to the window, further reinforcing the edges of the box:

Step. 4

If you do this on all three sides, your box should still be very stable as you move on to the next step.

Step. 4

Step 5:

Take your transparent cloth and drape it over the box, cutting a sheet about the width of the box but long enough to wrap around all three windows. You can also cut individual pieces but we find it much more time consuming and frustrating. This will work just as well:

Step. 5
Using your duct tape, tape down each of the sides, stretching the cloth across the 'windows' so that it is tight and has no wrinkles. Make sure to tape all of the edges so the cloth won't move. At this time you may also want to tape down the inside flaps on the 'back' of the box.

Step. 5

Step 6:

Measure the width of your box and cut your non-transparent paper or poster board to match. Then make an incision in the top of the box behind the window where the top of the box meets the back. This will allow you to slip the paper or poster board down through the incision and tape it down:

Step. 6
Make sure you secure what is now your backdrop with tape on both the top and the underside of the box.

Step. 6

Step 7:

Voila! You are finished! All you need to do is set up your shop lights, plug them up and you are ready to go. Depending on the type of shop light you get, you may need to use some creative thinking in order to keep them stable. We built a top light holder out of the extra cardboard and used pvc pipe to support the side lights.

Step. 7

Step 8: Take some pictures!

Step. 8

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