Sunday, March 26, 2017

I Made a Photo Light Box ~ Cheap! (or so I thought)

Hello all! I don't know about you but I have long envied those bloggers whose pictures are always perfect - the styling, the lighting, everything! So, turning to trusty Pinterest, I looked up DIY Photo Light Box (truthfully, I didn't even know what they were called).  As you can imagine, there are tons of tutorials! I had originally wanted something fold-able, mostly because I didn't want the cats to think it was something for them to sleep in (if you have cats then you know everything is something to lie down on, or in, or to eat, destroy, play in and eventually shred to bits) but also I didn't want to have to keep it "open" or "up" all the time.  The tutorial which I read and gave me my ideas is from Pretty Handy Girl and a multitude of others.  I never make something off of Pinterest without reading about it from at least a few different posts.  So, off to the Dollar Tree I went.
Ignore my Snowflake card on the floor 😁

What I Used to Make my Photo Light Box:
These Items Came from the Dollar Tree:
1 Trifold Project Board (mine is made from corrugated cardboard, 27 1/2" x 39 1/2")
1 Piece of Poster Board  (I bought 2, 22" x 28")
White Tissue Paper
1 Plastic Table Cloth (54" x 108")

2 Metal Gooseneck Clip Lamps

Stash Items:
Craft Knife (make sure it is SHARP!)
Scotch Tape

My Dollar Tree only had one piece of the white foamcore board (which I bought,
The Trifold Board
along with 2 pieces of black foamcore cause you never know when you might need it) so I picked up a trifold project board since I couldn't get the foam board - I had no idea if I could even make anything out of the items I bought, but I knew they wouldn't go to waste and I'd use them eventually.  I couldn't find the type of clip-on lights I needed so I went to Walmart and bought 2 cheap ($8 each - the most I spent on any part of the light box.)  When I got home and spread out my goodies, I decided to use the trifold project board to begin my box.  I first cut the board up the folds on the side, about halfway up the board. I folded the cut portion under to make a floor.
Board and windows cut.  The ragged cut
on the right side is the part that got folded
under so you can't see them at all.
 I just used a small metal binder clip to hold that together for the time being.  On the part that was standing up I measured (that within itself is spectacular - I stink at math and numbers are not my favorite, but I persevered because I wasn't going to spend any more money on this!) 2 inches from each side to mark where I was going to cut to make my windows.  

After I cut the windows and I figured that this was actually going to work. I glued the bottom flaps (the ones that were being held with the metal binder clip) and left it overnight to really dry.  I actually put my Big Shot die cutter on the area for weight to ensure it would dry and be a strong bond.  The next step was putting the tissue paper
onto the windows.  I just used one of the cardboard cut outs and placed that on the 2 ply tissue and cut out the 2 pieces.  I taped them (on the outside) and my windows were done. So at this point I had the box with the 2 windows in it.  I thought I might have to paint the box because everything I read on Pinterest stressed how important it was to keep the box as clean and white as possible, but, remembering I had the table cloth ended the need to paint.  I literally cut the table cloth in half and just draped it over the inside, making sure I didn't obscure the windows. Ta da! I used one of the poster papers I had bought and just laid it over the box to cover it,  figuring that way I could take it off if I wanted.  I also liked how I could use different papers as a backdrop if I wanted (in the first picture you can see the light blue paper I used as a background for the white snowflake card) and add props.  
The lights I bought
My photo box doesn't collapse, so it has a spot in the other room for when I need to take photos; since it is SO light I can move it if needed.  One thing that I never thought of was outlets for the lamps.  Luckily, where I have my box there are 2 outlets right there. I clipped one light on each side, flicked the switch and I am set to take the best photographs of my life. Thank you for reading this tutorial and I hope this inspires you to tackle something you think you can't make

Disclaimer - after I made this I found a small nylon (under 12") photo light cube at Walmart for $19.  So for about $3 more I could have bought that one BUT mine is bigger and I made it, so there! If you already have lights which don't need to clip on, you can make one for about $3.  Which ever way you decide to go, I can feel good that I at least gave you some cheap options. Besides, I have a healthy sense of accomplishment now and that alone makes it all worthwhile. Thanks so much! Christi


  1. WOW! Looks great, let us know how you get on with it. I bought a light cube from Amazon but it was such a monster that it's now in the attic!


    1. It's been working well for me Kathy - thanks SO much for your comment and reading through the whole thing :)

  2. I think your instructions are great, Christi! I love "cheap" solutions to otherwise expensive options. :-D

    1. Me, too! Thanks for supporting me my sweet friend :)

  3. This is seriously impressive- well done you & thank you for the "how to".... I'm lazy - & lol bing in Australia means 99% of the time I photograph outside.... but I LOVE what you've created:):)

    1. Thank YOU Lizzy!! It's lovely outside here in Colorado as well, but I do most of my crafting at night, so outside is out of the question! Thanks for popping by :) xoxo

  4. Replies
    1. Very sweet if you, Carol. It is actually working out fairly well :)


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