Wednesday, 15 July 2009

So I built a Lightbox

After being very frustrated last night trying to get decent pics of the guardsman I decided to "take steps" and bult a lightbox. I had everyting in the house already so it took me less than an hour.

I'll try to recount what I did so that anyone who wishes can follw me in the endeavour.

this is by no means the best or only way to make one of these, I've used the materials listed because i Had them, I've seen these things made from pvc pipe, i;ve seen existing cardboard boxes with the sides cut out, all manner of things, this is just the way I choose to do it today.

What I used -
  • White Foam core - 2 a2 sheets (with tons left over for ruins)
  • a ruler to measure and cut
  • a pencil
  • a sharp blade
  • masking tape
  • pva glue
  • cocktail sticks
  • coloured paper
  • semi-transluscent paper
I'd also suggest having plenty of room, and using a mat to protect the carpet :)

First step, measure out 4 x 40cm squares from your foam

Then slice them out. if you use A2 aheets youll have a little strip between them, preserve them, we'll use one later

Take two of the tiles you now have and scribe in 5cm around each edge.

Remove the centres

into these voids you need to measure and tape in place two panels of semi-transparent material. this is to diffuse the light hitting your target. I used lighting scrim as I have acess to it, but you could use greaseproof paper or anything of that kind - be careful hoever not to place your light too close to anyting that might melt or burn!

Now to assembly, the basic method is to place cocktail stick halves in the foam, make the hole then reverse the half-stick and leave it point out. assemble the bottom and back first (the intact tiles) in an L- shape

Apply a layer of PVE then simply shove the second peice into the spikes. be very carefuly not to impale yourself with any spikes that are a bit long.

protruding spikes can just be snipped off with your sprue clippers if need be

repeat this process to add the first side

Giving you this contraption
then add the second, voila.
This should be fairly sturdy now, but to be sure, take the middle section I mentioned earlier and simply baton the top front. this has the added benefit of enabling you ro scrim the top of the box with diffuser if need be simply by laying it across the top.

Next we ned to measure up and cut our backing paper, 40cm x 70-80cm should do it.

Tape this into place, leaving a curve in the bottom back corner. you can use any colour or pattern here, experiment with white, greys, blues gradients and even marbled papers!

man it's like a craft show in here. sheesh

and theres the finished box. usually one light from each side will be enough, with the option to add one from above.

IT hasnt solved all my problems, I need some stronger lights for one, but thats easily done next time I'm near an appropriate shop.

Heres the difference, with the same camera, same procedure for taking pictures, same lights and even same colour background -

without the box

And With

As you can see I've traded too harsh for too diffuse, BUT the quality of light is much better and with some stronger bulbs I think i'm onto a winner.

Addendum - I remembered I had a big old light in the garage, and so -

Man you can see every single misplaced brush stroke, I can see I'm going to have to become a better painter.


  1. Thanks much for the how to guide - I really need to get on and make one of these.

    The picture quality is vastly improved.

    My comments regarding the mini still hold, and I will add that the camo scheme works really well.

    Awesome job all round I would say.

  2. The last one really shows alot of detail! If i had more room I would build a lightbox!


  3. Really nice light box! The picture quality at the end is great!


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