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DIY A Photo Light Box

Posted by Jason Jones on

The best photo is a well lit photo! Take your Etsy photos to the next level by building an easy (and cheap) light box to give your handmade treasures just the right amount of light! 

OK, so my light box (above) ain’t much to look at, but it helps me take GREAT photos for our Etsy shop (A Good Turn Colorado).  It’s the difference between crisp/detailed photos and shadowed/hard to see ones.  Just check out some of my photos below. These were all taken with just my iPhone and the light box above.

So how do you do it?  It is a cinch.  Heck, a lot of the supplies you might have in your house right now!

Supply list: 

  • Cardboard box (I suggest one at least 18 inches square or bigger)
  • Tissue paper, 4-6 sheets
  • Tape, scotch or packing
  • Poster board (white or black)
  • Granite tile (optional, should match the color of your poster board)
  • 2 desk lights with goosenecks
  • X-ACTO knife or box cutter – be careful!

Got it?  Let’s get to it.

How to build the light box: 

  1. Using an X-ACTO knife cut out two sides of the box, leaving about a 1/2 – 1 inch around for support. Note: I left the flaps on my box, so that it blocks other forms of light from spilling in, but if you don’t like them, cut them off too. 
  2. Now that the sides are cut out, flip the box on its side so the opening is now facing you and the two cut sides are to the right and left. Next, carefully take at least 2 pieces of tissue paper and tape them to completely cover the openings on both sides of the box that you just cut.
  3. Cut poster board to securely fit inside the box (cover the back & bottom of the box), the tissue paper sides should be unobstructed so that the light can come in.  Note: you can stop here and just add lights to either side of the box and take pictures, but I do optional step 4.  
  4. Optional:  Place a granite tile at the bottom of the box pushed up to the back of the box (against the poster board).  This will be used to get great reflections on photos.  I got mine for $5 at Home Depot (here).
  5. Take two gooseneck desk lamps and place them at either side of the tissue paper sides and turn them on (something like this here) and watch your box light up!

That is it! You have just made your own light box and are ready to get snapping pix!

Lighting your DIY light box
Light box

So, is this all a bit more than you want to do and you have $50 to burn?  Amazon has you covered with everything you need here!  I can’t tell you if it is any better than the DIY since I have just stuck with my creation, but is sure does look nice 

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