DIY: How to Make a Light-Box for Photography Using PVC Pipe

Cat has inspired me to work on my photos for my food blog.  Having good lighting is essential and in my house, there is zero.none.zilch.  I was havin’ to open the front door, lug a table over, place white board down and pray nobody opened the door to let the Texas wind blow it all down.  I decided to search for a diy light-box.  I found one that I really liked a lot and if you like, you can just surf yourself over there and watch her video. While she doesn’t give specific instructions, it’s enough to get it.  I did mine quickly and wasn’t planning on blogging it so the photos aren’t great but then figured, it might help someone!   I made mine slightly different than hers but that’s what makes the whole DIY thing cool; you can add your own flavor to the mix and make it how you want it to be.

If you’re lucky like me, you’ll be able to walk in the hardware store, hand your list over to an employee, and shop while you wait for them to gather your materials!  Thank you Ray!!  Our Higganbotham (Ace Hardware) here in Sweetwater, has one of the best fellas working for them.  He knows his stuff and will make it happen!   If you aren’t this lucky, then you’ll have to measure and cut your own pvc pipe.

Tutorial: DIY: How to Make a Light-Box Using PVC Pipe

Materials

  • 4 T’s for 1/2 inch PVC pipe
  • 4 elbows for 1/2 inch PVC pipe
  • 4 caps for 1/2 inch PVC pipe
  • 4 one inch pieces of pipe to connect the elbows to the T’s
  • 4, 15 in pieces of the 1/2 in. PVC pipe for the legs
  • 4, 12 in pieces of the 1/2 in. PVC pipe for the top
  • 4 short pieces (an inch or so) for connecting the elbows to the T’s
  • Some type of fabric to act as a diffuser, cut to fit over the pipe set up
  • 2 clamp on light fixtures (Bought mine at Walmart)
  • 2 light bulbs (mine are GE 6500K Daylight 26w)
  • Sticky Velcro

Instructions

  1. Your long pieces of pvc pipe are the legs.  You take a leg (long piece) and connect it to an elbow.
  2. Take your  1″ piece and connect to the elbow. (second picture)
  3. Add a T to that 1″ piece.
  4. Add a 12″ pvc pipe to the T.   This will be done to both sides.
  5. You’ll then basically repeat the steps to make the other side of the ‘box’.
  6. Once complete, you’ll connect the two sides you’ve made with the 12″ pieces of pipe you have left.
  7. Place caps on feet of ‘box’.
  8. For tent part, you’ll need to cut your fabric.  I measured from one side, over the top, down to the bottom of the other side.  It was 54″.  I doubled my fabric and cut at 27″.
  9. Measure the depth from front to back, which was 15″ and cut.
  10. Cut 12 piece of sticky velcro.  This part is strictly up to you. I didn’t like the “flow” of the fabric and wanted it secured down but it may be something that doesn’t bother you, allowing you to use less velcro.
  11. Place 3 velcro pieces on each leg. One at the top of the elbow, middle of leg, bottom of leg.
  12. Once I had the bottom pieces of velcro on legs, I laid the fabric down to where I wanted it.  I took the top pieces of velcro and placed strategically to match the bottom pieces of velcro, pulling it somewhat firm.
  13. I cut some of the white board I had (or you can use fabric) and velcroed it to the back.  I also used fabric to have a smooth backdrop. I just measured from the top front, over the top, down the back and allowed extra to flow out. I velcroed that to the front of the light-box. All of this is optional. you can add or eliminate your own ideas here.
  14. You simply set up your lights; one on each side, facing directly into the side, shining through the fabric.  The fabric works as a great diffuser!
  15. Put something in and take your photo!!

Cool thing about this is that you can fold the legs up to place out of sight and even detach the velcro, it’s up to you.  I have a spot I plan to keep mine up at!  I hope you found this somewhat helpful. It’s a little confusing but the frame takes less than 5 minutes to put together.  Cutting the fabric and tacking on the velcro took the longest but wasn’t bad at all.

 

You simply place the lights on the side, up close to the fabric so that it shines through the “box”. I forgot to take a photo but they look like this…

And here’s the photo I took immediately after I made it!  Not bad, especially considering that my room was completely dark and my camera was on P, using no flash!  There’s still some tweaks to make with my camera settings, and position of lights but this allows me to use various backdrops and not have to rely on the front door being open! OH, and iron your fabric if you plan to use it as the backdrop. lol  I sure hope this helps someone out and wasn’t too confusing!

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Comments

  1. 1


    Cat Davis says

    Oh you’re gonna love taking pictures in that! I made a lightbox last year (out of a cardboard box which the kids promptly squashed a week or so later) but the lighting in there is awesome. I used those tin can lights like you have and put one directly on top, one to the left and right, it was almost perfect lighting

    Can’t wait to see some of your upcoming pics!

    • 2


      A Cowboy's Wife says

      I thought about putting one on top too!!!!! I may need to do that. I did take the photo in a pitch black room so I was amazed to see it come out like this! WOOHOO! I’m having fun with this!

  2. 3

    Love this! I want to get more serious about picture taking, too, and hated to spend a lot of money on one. This is perfect! Thanks you!!