ncharshaf handmade Adventures of a self taught bookbinder


Building a lightbox

I have been working on different aspects of improving my etsy shop recently, working on tagging, descriptions, sorting, etc. It seemed that the last thing on my list was to work on my photographs. While I do not think my photographs are terrible, I think that there is room for improvement with them to make them more clear and engaging.

I had been toying with the idea of creating a lightbox, and after finding this guide today, I decided it was time to take the plunge.

I was amazed at how simple this process was, and also fairly inexpensive.

My materials:

Supplies needed to create my lightbox

  • 3 pieces of foam core - ¬†$10.60: one thick piece for $5 for the bottom, and 2 thinner pieces that were slightly banged up, and sold "as is" for $2.80 a piece
  • 3 Clip on Shop Lights - $15
  • Bright White Light Bulbs - $8
  • Painters tape
  • Straight Edge
  • X-Acto knife
  • pen

Total Cost: $33.60

Step 1: Cut the foam core
It worked out pretty well that the thick piece that I bought for the bottom was a half sheet of the thinner pieces that I bought, meaning I could cut the 2 thin pieces in half  creating my 2 sides, back, and top. After cutting these in half, I trimmed a bit extra off to get rid of the bent corners that allowed me to get them for so cheap.

Step 2: Adhere the sides
Now, here is my admission, I hate measuring. Forget measuring twice and cutting once, I prefer to not do it at all. Instead, I took the thick bottom piece, and used it to trace the proper width for the sides. I then used my tape to attach the two sides to the bottom piece.

Adhering the sides to the lightbox

Step 3: Adhere the back
Ok, so my non measuring plan worked out really well for the sides, but as far as the back goes, I had not accounted for the extra width of the two side pieces. Luckily the back piece fit between those two pieces, so it ended up being ok. The height of this back piece was also a bit tall, so I marked off where the sides hit it and did a final cut. Finally I taped the back piece to the sides.

Lightbox with the back attached

Step 4: Adhere the top
The top came together pretty nicely, but I did need to call in my boyfriend to help me hold the piece up while I taped it, and then it was done and ready to attach the clamp lights!

Fully built lightbox - view from the back

Step 5: Insert paper into center of box at a curve
I bought a few pieces of paper as well to adhere to the box and create a curve to eliminate the seam at the back of the box. I bought standard large sheets of paper in black, grey and white to give a variety of background colors that I could easily switch out.

Finished lightbox with paper insert

Step 6: Photograph!
I wanted to test it out a bit, so so I grabbed my trusty X-Acto knife. I have a little bit of playing around to do with the exposure and white balance, but so far I am pleased, and looking forward to update my product photographs. I think that this was a great project that did not take a lot of effort but I believe will create good results.