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DIY Photography: How to Make a Light Box with Paper

Updated on July 17, 2014
Make your own DIY light box
Make your own DIY light box

There are several ways to make a simple light box at home using a few materials that are both cheap and easy to put together yourself. Professional home studio kits can be expensive. Why spend hundreds of dollars when you can get quality results by using some simple DIY photography techniques? This hub will explain how to make a light box with paper (and a few optional materials).

Materials: light and paper
Materials: light and paper

Materials to make your mini DIY light box:

  • 3 sheets paper
  • 1 light
  • 1 photo object
  • Tape (optional)
  • Extra lights (optional)

Fold both sheets of paper in half
Fold both sheets of paper in half
Attach the two sheets
Attach the two sheets

Step 1: Paper

Knowing how to make a light box with paper is relatively easy and straightforward. To start, you will need three sheets of white A4 paper. White works best since it reflects the light better than other colors and it will flood your photo area with the most light. As a result, your photos will appear more professional.

Step 2: Folding

Take two sheets of paper and fold them both in half. Assemble them together by attaching one folded half to the folded half of the other sheet. This can be done with or without tape. In my setup, I didn’t use any tape and the paper provided enough support on its own. Stand the folded sheets up together on a table or desk -- upright so that there are three sides. You could also set in on the floor if that angle is more convenient when you add the light.

Step 3: Backdrop

Your mini DIY photography studio is almost ready. Next, take your third piece of paper and attach it to where the folded areas meet on the other two sheets. Again, tape application is optional here as well. Curve the piece of paper slightly so that it forms a seamless backdrop for your light box. It may take some adjusting, but the end result should look like the picture below.

How it should look when assembled
How it should look when assembled
Position your light and set white balance
Position your light and set white balance

Step 4: Light

With your mini studio assembled, now all you need is to setup your light in the appropriate area. It works best if the light is closer to the light box so that it floods the entire area; however, feel free to experiment. The proximity depends on the intensity of the bulb. You can use a fluorescent or incandescent light bulb -- just remember to set the proper white balance in your camera before photographing anything.

Place your object inside and take some photos
Place your object inside and take some photos

Step 5: Photograph object

Finally, the last step is to take some pictures! Since the surface area is small, you will need to find smaller objects that will fit in the space. It’s an ideal size for things like fruit, coins, stationary, tiny plants or other small objects for product photography. The mini DIY light box is quite useful for both hobbyists and photo enthusiasts alike.

Optional Materials

Using tape for assembling your mini DIY light box will help keep the paper together, though it isn’t absolutely necessary. Some people prefer the simplicity and ease of using just the paper to hold it together.

Adding another light or two will add to the intensity of the light. Try experimenting with a few more lights and discover what works best for you. By directing a second light along the backdrop it can significantly reduce shadows and improve the overall results of your shots. Just make sure the lights are all the same type and luminosity or else it the color will look unnatural.

You can fold it up when you're finished!
You can fold it up when you're finished!

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    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Wow, that sounds like fun. Lighting is always an issue in my house. This would be great for all the small, neat stuff that I try to photograph on my counter. Thanks for sharing!

    • wiserworld profile image
      Author

      wiserworld 3 years ago

      Thanks for the comment. It's probably the cheapest way to make a light box for sure. In the shots, I just used one light and the results turned out alright. Though by adding a second light directed along the backdrop it should make the background completely white -- which should improve the quality a lot I think. Glad you like the idea!

    • TeaPartyCrasher profile image

      TeaPartyCrasher 3 years ago from Camp Hill, PA

      I will have to try this!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Wow that is cool! I had never thought to do this before, and I take a lot of photos. I'm always looking to find the right backdrop. Thank you for this clever idea!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks!

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      this is way so cool, I always having problem with perfect backdrop

    • profile image

      Light Box 2 years ago from NY

      very good article for sharing, thank you

      ledlightboxes.org

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