I very recently came into a bit of a situation. You see I had a very firm deadline and the weather decided not to cooperate. I had two posts that HAD to be turned in within 24 hours but the sun was nowhere to be found. Even with my windows open all of the way, I still had to have a lamp on to be able to see and not stub my toe. This was NOT good.
Since I was also in the process of packing up my office for a quickie remodel I grabbed one of my moving boxes and an unworn white undershirt and got after it. The good news is, I was able to work up to midnight to get my projects done with no natural light whatsoever! And the cost was absolutely nothing since I used things already on hand.
For this project you will need:
- Large cardboard box
- White fabric or tissue paper
- Tape or staples
- X-acto knife or box cutter
- Lamps with natural light bulbs
My box is 18 x 18 x 24. I’d really recommend going a bit bigger but this is what I had so it is what I used. You can purchase new moving boxes for around buck or two at big box stores like Walmart and hardware stores like Home Depot.
On one side cut out a large rectangular or square hole, depending on the size and shape of your box. You’ll need enough around the hole so that the box is still stable and able to stand alone so don’t go too thin.
Flip over and cut a similar sized and shaped hole on the other side. If you have cats, now is a good time to make sure they haven’t made their way in.
Cut your white tissue paper or fabric (again I used a new undershirt) to fit over your holes. Use tape or staples to affix to the box. I used staples and folded the prongs inward with a butter knife from the inside.
Set up your box and place a piece of poster board inside to act as your background. If you curve the paper in the corner you’ll have no visible seams or edges in your photos. My 18×18 box meant that I had to trim my poster board to fit but I would have been happier to just toss a piece inside with no awkward trimming necessary.
You can use any kind of directional lamps you have available. Desk lamps work really well and so do these metal lamps you can buy for about $6 at hardware stores. I used one on each side with 60 watt natural light bulb. I plan on swapping the bulbs for higher wattage ones for better lighting inside of the box next trip to the store.
Set up your photos and snap away!
And work on projects when weather isn’t exactly ideal for great natural light or well into the dark, evening hours!
My light box isn’t fancy but it gets the job done. I can change out different colors of poster board for different backgrounds but I’m such a big fan of isolated white photos that I doubt that will happen too often. It is nice to have the option, though!
When not in use you can take the box and fold it back up to store easily. I must say, if you have cats I’d recommend going fabric over tissue paper as Max (my cat craft assistant seen in the images above) thought he was in Varsity Blues or something and kept ripping through the paper and totally messing up my little photo shoots :)