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How to make an inexpensive, collapsible light box.

created at: 2009-03-23

This weekend I finally decided to try my hand at making a light box. I liked a tutorial I found over at DPS where the maker used a box as his structure. It's a great, inexpensive way to make your own light box. Its downside, however, is that it's not collapsible. There was only one thing I could do: Grab a piece of paper and pencil and see if I could come up with a way to adapt the tutorial.

To make one you'll need:

  • cardboard
  • a utility knife
  • tissue paper,
  • tape or glue-stick
  • mailing/packaging/or duct tape
  • a straight-edge
  • matte poster board

First, I cut five pieces of cardboard into 18" squares and then cut 14" squares inside 3 of the squares. Then I laid them out as shown below.

created at: 2009-03-23

Next I taped tissue paper over the holes of the 3 squares.

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Then I taped the five squares together, making hinges using packing tape. I started with the lower left square, which I folded up, laying it on the square right above. I taped my hinges, and then unfolded the lower left square.

created at: 2009-03-23

I moved on to the center square, which I folded over on top of the left square. Again, I made two tape hinges.

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Next was the far right square. I folded it over on top of the middle square and made my hinges.

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Finally, I folded down the top right square and made my hinges.

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When I was done, I reinforced each hinge by tapping over them on the sticky side/side facing me.

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I then added small strips of cardboard as shown below to act as stops for my poster board. As it turned out, I only needed the one on the bottom left square.

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This is how the whole thing folds together into a cube:

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And this how it looks when folded together for storage:

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Here's a pic with the poster board in place:

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See how the stop stops the poster board from sliding down?

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And here's some pictures taken using my new collapsible light box:

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To see how I made the 'flower ball' in the picture, check out this post over on diymaven.com!

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Jamie on Jun 18, 2011:

Thanks for the tips. Since it is collapsible makes it easy to fold it away. What camera do you use? What type of lighting & how do you place the light?


Beside dish cloth you can use felt like maroon, black, navy blue or satin for dramatic effect.


DIY Maven on Oct 10, 2009:

Ha! Yeah, I suppose you could use any of those things! I did remake my light box, however, since I did this how-to. I took out the tissue paper and replaced it with some old worn dish cloths. No more punctures!


ModHomeEcTeacher on Oct 10, 2009:

Great tutorial. How can I adapt that to a mammoth size? Washing machine box, refrigerator box, one of those portable pvc street hockey nets?


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