Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tutorial: DIY light box

Hi everyone!

Ok so this is going to be quite a long post and I still haven't figured out how to do the skip to pages thing... so I'm sorry guys :) Alright tonight I decided that I wanted to make myself a light box to get even better pictures. I wasn't sure if it would actually work to make my pictures better but I thought what the heck I might as well try. To start off I gathered all of my materials as you see below...

Cardboard Box

Poster Boards


Xacto Knife

Tissue Paper
The supplies you will need are: a cardboard box (preferably in better shape then mine), white tissue paper, some scissors, an xacto knife, a pencil and ruler (not pictured), and some poster board. Most likely you will want to use either white or black poster board, I grabbed both to see the different effects, but whatever you buy make sure you buy in matte because the shiny will reflect the light too much. Oh and I also use a cutting board so I don't ruin the table. 

So first you need to tape the bottom of the box to reinforce it sorry I didn't get this pictured :( Then you are going to start marking off the edges of the box on two sides and whichever side you choose as the top. I used a ruler to make the lines because about an inch wide is what you want. 

Just imagine the lines are all around the sides :) After you do this you are going to start cutting around the edges with your xacto knife. Make sure you are really careful at this part! Always cut away from yourself. When you are done cutting around a side carefully pop out the inside square. It should look something like this...

Don't worry about cutting really straight lines it's ok if they're kind of crooked. After you've cut all of your sides it should look like the picture below. Also the more sides you cut the weaker the box will get so use caution. After you cut all of the squares out your going to cut the flaps on the box off.

Alright you are done using the xacto knife! Horray :) I don't know about you guys but those things make me so nervous. Maybe its because I accidentally stabbed myself in my palm with a similar tool in art class back in high school O.O oops! Anyways, now you're going to start putting on the tissue paper. Cut them to around the size of the open sides of your box, again these don't have to be perfect. With tape you are going to tape them to the sides and make sure you pull the tissue paper really tight. It should look like the pictures below.

One side done!

When this is done you need to cut your poster board to the width of your box, make sure you don't cut it too small though you want it to fit snugly inside the box so you don't need to use too much tape. This is especially useful if you plan on switching out different colors of poster board. But don't trim the bottom yet it needs to be longer then the width.

See how it fits tight?

This part is kind of hard to explain, after you size your poster board turn the box on its back and push the poster board to the top. When its at the top, carefully you are going to start pushing the poster board into the box but don't let it crease. Making sure that the poster board doesn't crease means you'll get that infinite line look meaning there's no corners in your pictures. I'm not sure I explained that really well but take a look at the picture to see if you understand what I'm saying :) 

Aaaaaand now your all done! Woohoo you've made a light box :) The next pictures I have are me experimenting with the light box to see if it really does make my pictures better. As far as lighting goes I put a lamp that I have and shined it above the top of the box.

Without the light box

In light box with white poster board

In light box with black poster board
Tip for any of you who plan on switching poster boards for different colors be veryyyyy careful! The first time I switched them I stuck a corner right through the tissue paper so I had to take it off and put it on again :(

So my opinion? The light box does wonders for my nails! It takes the shine off and makes the colors more color-accurate. I absolutely love my light box! But I'm not sure if I like the white poster board or the black poster board better. What do you guys think?

Do you guys like this tutorial? I'm sorry it's so long I didn't know how to condense the information better :( But did you find it helpful? Do you like seeing things like this on my blog? Let me know!
Thanks for reading :)


  1. This is great. I am making one too, exactly like this so it really reassures that I did it right. I am wondering though, how you are lighting it. I have seen sites that say to shine it through the tissue paper, but it seems to make my fingers look yellow. What are you doing? Any tricks? Certain bulb?

    1. Hi! I'm sorry I should have taken a picture of the lamp I use. I use an ott-lite and I shine it over the top of my box. I don't know much about ott-lites, my mom had one and gave it to me but it produces a whiter light so my pictures don't come out very yellow. You can see what it looks like by clicking on this link.. I think these are actually kind of pricey :( As far as other light bulbs you should use anything that is specified as "cool white" which equals 4000k or "daylight" which will be 6000k or higher. "Cool white" produces the white light we see like in stores and what we use for reading lights. "Daylight" is used in more specific situations where a "cooler" effect is desired. Either of these lights should prduce a whiter look if you are trying to get rid of that yellow hue. The numbers should be marked on the boxes that the bulbs come in. Also, when I had more yellow lighting I would edit it a lot in photoshop, it's more work but it can produce the same kind of look. Sorry for the long explination! I hope this helps :) Thanks for taking the time to read and comment :)

    2. Aww my link didn't hyper-link :( well anyways if you want to copy and paste it into your url bar you can see it that way, I think I'll edit this post nd post a picture of it though!

  2. Brilliant idea to make your own light box. Definately saves $.

    1. Most definitely, I didn't price them out but I literally spent 2 dollars on the poster board and I'm pretty sure you can't get a light box for under 2 dollars :)

  3. This was a great post! I can't wait to try and make one for myself!!!

    1. Thanks so much! It's definitely worth making, my pictures are so much better because of it :)