Building a Light Box/Light Tent #1: Building a Light Box

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Blog entry by Tim Dorcas posted 11-10-2008 07:12 AM 10047 reads 14 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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In another life, photography was my hobby. (You can check out some of my photographs here.) While I have created lots of projects that I wanted to upload, everytime I tried to take pictures of them, they would come out like crap. You can still see examples of this in my earlier projects.

I initially was going to buy a light tent just to improve the quality of my projects to upload. I went to a couple of local photo shops but the least expensive kit started at $149. Walmart had a kit for$70 but the lights in them were suspect. I started to ask myself, “Why can’t I make one of these?” My initial thought was to buy some 1×1 and use Miter Saw and Kreg Jig to put the frame together. Cut out and staple a bed sheet and I would largely be done. As simple as this sounds it was still more work than I wanted to put into it so I didn’t do it. Later I came upon this website which used PVC pipe to build a Light Tent. This was something I could fairly quickly so I was in.

Printing out the dimensions, I went to my local Totem to look for 1/2” PVC. They didn’t have any. Home Depot was down the street but they didn’t really have anything either. The service person mentioned a plumbing store in Calgary that absolutely would have it. Of course I only had 1/2 hour before they closed. Sure enough…when I got there they were not open. I was starting to get frustrated. I decided to try Lowes as a last resort. Strangely enough they had everything I was looking for. Woohoo! I was in business.

I then took all of the parts and started cutting everything to size. I could have used my bandsaw or crosscut the pipe on my tablesaw but the plastic melts and it’s a pain to clean up. I just used my hacksaw to cut everything down and then a quick sanding of the ends.

Lightbox - Cut and Sanding

All of the pieces cut.

Lightbox Pieces

The frame put together…

Lightbox Frame

Once this is all done, I went to Walmart to get some lights ($20.00 for two lights and bulbs) and a twin white bedsheet ($25.00 – kind of expensive but I didn’t feel like running around). I also picked up 3 sheets of thick construction paper/poster board for $2 each.

Here’s the final result.

Light Box Final

This has made a HUGE difference in the quality of my displays. Let me know if you build one!


-- - A Woodworking & Renovation Blog & - I make. You buy.

4 comments so far

View oldskoolmodder's profile


801 posts in 3677 days

#1 posted 11-10-2008 08:22 AM

I’ll be building one of these soon.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3872 days

#2 posted 11-10-2008 10:47 AM

I am planning to make one today or tomorrow.

View psquared's profile


46 posts in 3503 days

#3 posted 11-10-2008 01:34 PM

Thanks for sharing such useful info. I’ll be making one this week too.

-- When the tide goes out you see who's been skinny dipping.

View dbhost's profile


5710 posts in 3229 days

#4 posted 01-18-2011 06:27 PM

I built one out of a cardboard box this weekend. They really do improve the quality of your photographs!

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