DIY: Light Tent

Currently, if I want to take a half decent picture with my dinky point and shoot camera from 1895 I have to go outside. This is terribly inconvenient on days like today when its 98 degrees outside.  I am looking to upgrade to a new camera, but not for a few months. So, I needed a quick fix because I don't have time to fool around with Photoshop (nor do I really know how!). 

Enter my attempt at making a light tent. I did some research online and discovered this is in fact relatively quick and cost effective. Here are the two main sites I referenced: Strobist and Digital Photography School

So here is how it went down.

Materials
- Cardboard box 
- Box cutter
- White tissue paper or white muslin fabric (I used muslin)
- Tape (I used the only thing I had, clear packaging tape)
- White posterboard
- Lights (I used a desk lamp I had, and bought two 8.5" reflector dishes from Home Depot)
- Daylight light bulbs (I am using 60 watts, but would probably rather have something brighter)
- Scissors

Process
1. Cut windows in box (see pictures). Easy enough right?  I'm not too handy with the box cutter, so this was risky business.  I managed to make it through without stabbing myself. See captions under picture.

This is where I threatened husband with the box cutter because he didn't think I could handle cutting it and kept asking, "Are you sure you don't just want me to do it?" For none regular blog readers, I'm pregnant, not hiding a basketball. Also, we are repainting the kitchen, they yellow is a bit much.

Success! I cut 2 'side windows' and 1 'top window'.  I only left about a 1" margin around each window, and should have probably left 2" to make it a little more stable. My windows are a bit flimsy. I also eventually cut off the flaps. See those big bottles of ketchup? Need plenty of it since G insists on dipping everything in it at most meals.


2. Now it's time to cut your fabric or tissue paper to cover the windows. Again, I used muslin fabric from Joann's. I got 1 yard and it cost me something like $7.
That's the fabric sitting on the corner of the box. No, you don't need kids books or puzzles to complete this step.

3. Attach fabric to windows using tape.

4. Attach posterboard to inside of box (this will act as your backdrop)
Your box should look something like this, perhaps a bit better if you can find someone over the age of 2 to help you assemble (unlike myself). 

5. Set up your lights. The arrangement you see in the picture below was temporary. I was impatient and wanted to test out the tent without having a permanent home for it.
Fool around with the light set-up until you find something that looks good. I'm using 60 watt bulbs right now, but would recommend something higher, maybe 90 watts?

So far, so good. The quality of my pictures is much better. I have found that I can go straight from my camera to blog without making adjustments which is a time saver.  It has also been nice because I don't have to rely on the weather gods to give me nice days to shoot pictures, and I can do it at night (which is when I have the most free time).

All in all, I probably spent about $25 since I splurged on the reflector dish lights.  

Well, it's the weekend again. Yay! Hope you all enjoy it.  We don't have any real plans, which is nice because I feel like we're always on the go and I could use a few days to just relax.

9 comments

  1. HUMMM might have to try that out :) But more importantly ......... great maternity shirt ....... like a breath of fresh air!!! You look beautiful!!!

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  2. What a neat idea for a light box! Turned out great!! And congrats on your pregnancy!! You look so pretty! Are you finding out the gender?

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  3. Woo hoo - great job! Ain't you cute preggers, too! :)

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  4. Great DIY and tutorial. I always find picture taking and editing the hardest part of the whole blogger process.
    When my boys were little, one always dunked EVERYTHING in ketchup and the other one had to have apple sauce beside all meat products!! We should have had stocks in the ketchup and apple sauce companies!!

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  5. Oh my goodness, you are simply adorable!!

    Thank you so much for my card. I just loved it! (As you already know because I told you how much I loved it when you posted it!!)

    Great job on the light box...May have to consider something like that!

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  6. Wow, that is so cool! I may have to keep this in mind. I also struggle with finding enough daylight hours to take photos of my cards. If I do it, I'm coming back here for the play by play!

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  7. I am highly impressed at your ingenuity, Danielle! Way to go!

    P.S. You're adorable. :-D

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  8. Great,so enjoyable weekend with a good hobby you got.You should enjoy all these during camping .

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