Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Make Your Own Light Box On A Budget

The photo of this art pendant necklace ($15.00 CAD) was taken using a hand made light box that cost the artist less than $10.00!

As a struggling artist it can be very hard to afford a professional quality camera, lens, lights, and light boxes.  After taking weeks to make my new pendant necklaces I finally went to take a picture and was shocked and appalled at the quality of the photos.  Here is how I was able to take beautiful photos of small jewelry using a cheap old digital camera.


1) A Box - Any size as long as it is large enough to fit the item you want to photograph.  Also, the box must have four sides and be made of tough cardboard.  I walked to my neighbourhood dollar store and asked for one which I received free of charge. - $0.00
2) Fabric - Any type of white fabric will do as long as all of the fabric you use is the same white.  I used my others half's used undershirts.  The stretch in the cotton shirts helped when building.  I used 2 t-shirts. - $5.00
3) White Bristol Board - This will be used to line the inside of the box and will also be used as the background.  You will need at least 3 sheets (buy 4 to be safe).  I bought mine at the local dollar store. - $2.00
4) Light - You will need a free standing light.  I used, and I believe it would work best, a desk lamp with movable head.  You will also need to use "Daylight" bulbs.  I bought one at my local dollar store. - $2.00
5) Miscellaneous Tools - Glue, Glue gun, Tape Ruler, Ruler, Scissors, Exacto Knife, Clamps.


A) In all four sides of the box, measure out a square that is two inches from the outside.  Cut out all of the boxes that you have drawn using an exacto knife.  When you have finished cut off the flaps in the top of the box leaving it open.  LEAVE THE BOTTOM OF THE BOX INTACT!

B) Using your Bristol board cut two inch thick strips until you have 16 of them.  Glue the Bristol board strips into the box covering the brown colour on the inside.  Make sure no markings or pieces of box can be seen.

C) Take another piece of Bristol board and cut it so that it is the same width as the inside of the box.  Make sure that the length of the Bristol board is much longer than the box. Place the long piece of Bristol board into the box.  Allow it to form a curve and then trim the excess paper.  Once in the right place glue the curved piece of Bristol board into place.

D) Cut the fabric to a size that will fit the holes in the sides of the box.  Here I used glue gun to secure the fabric but you may choose other options (tape, other glue).  If you use glue gun, begin in one corner and pull the fabric tight as you glue around the hole.  Do this process on three of the four holes.

E) Cut a larger piece of fabric and use the same technique to cover the top of the box.

F)  Take your light box and your "Daylight" lamp into a dark room containing no light.  Place your lamp so that the light is flashing through the top of the box.  The fabric will defuse the light giving the shadows a more even look.  The white interior will reflect the light giving your pictures a crisper look.


- When taking pictures of small items use the "Macro" setting on your camera.
- Place your object well inside the box
- Do not bend or crease your background as this will show up in your image
- If your images aren't coming out as you hoped try putting your camera further into the light box.



  1. wow! Cool light box! Awesome photos of some awesome art pieces! :)

  2. You're so creative! You must be related to me!
    PS: You're doing a great job!
    PPSS: Don't mind my previous posts.

  3. How fun! Thanks for sharing this, Malinda!