How to Build a Light Box

For those of you who may have been thinking about selling some of your antiques or collectibles online, we’re going to take a look at how to build an inexpensive light box to use for taking pictures. Granted you can take a picture just about anywhere, but having a portable studio set up inside not only makes things much easier but also results in much more professional looking pictures.

When considering your ‘studio space’, look for a space that offers enough space to set up the light box including a table to use for the base.  You also want to have enough floor space for ‘studio’  lights. Believe me when I say that having good light is the key to taking a good pictures.

Before beginning, there are a couple of questions to ask yourself:

1.  What is the largest item you will want to photograph? You’ll need to know this so you can decide how large to make your light box.

2.  Is the studio space permanent or temporary? If you’ll only be taking a few pictures once a week or less, you can make the set-up  temporary. However, if you plan on taking a lot of pictures often – it is so much easier to set up the ‘studio’ and leave it.

Once you’ve answered these questions, you are ready assemble the supplies and begin building. To make the light box easy to assemble and move, we’re making it out of 3/4″ PVC which is available at any hardware or home repair store. Our instructions are for a light box that is 2′ x 2′; however, you can adjust the size to be larger or smaller by replacing the long 2′ pieces with whatever size you want. Might add, that regardless of the size the number of pieces needed for construction are the same.

Light Box Supplies
  • 2 PVC pieces (back top & bottom) – 2 foot each
  • 8 PVC pieces (sides) – 2 foot each
  • 4 PVC back extender pieces – 4 inches each
  • 8 PVC ‘L’ pieces
  • 4 PVC ‘T’ pieces
  • PCV pipe cutter
  • 1 large standard white flat sheet or equivalent piece of material.

Note: Do not use any fabric that has a shiny finish. 

Once you have everything cut, you’re ready to assemble the box.

Assembly Instructions:
  1. Connect the back top and back bottom pieces using the 2 foot center sections, 2 T’s and the 4 extender pieces.
  2. Finish the back section by placing one of the L connectors on each end and then connect the sides together using one of the 2 foot section vertically. You should now have a rectangular shape.
  3. Complete the sides by placing a 2 foot section into the open end of the T connectors for both top and bottom.
  4. On the end of each section, place one of the L connectors.
  5. Place a 2 foot section between the L connectors vertically. You now have a complete side.
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 for the other side.

Once you have the light box completed, place it on a table or stand, drape the sheet over the framework, turn on the lights and you’re ready to take pictures.

The light we prefer is the  Fancier (500A).

It has a 500 LED light panel with a dimmer switch that allows us to adjust the light to the subject. You may find that you’ll need to take a few test pictures to find the best location and height. Also, when taking pictures it is best to have all fluorescent lights turned off. We’ve found they give off enough light that results is a greenish tint to the pictures we take. Even if the fluorescent lights are in another room.

Here are a couple of other articles we’ve put up that may help you get going with your eCommerce business:

How to get pictures with white background – once you’ve taken the pictures, we show you how to get those snazzy catalog pictures with the all- white background.

eCommerce Websites and Blogs – how to sell your stuff on websites and blogs, with links to top sites for selling – or if you prefer, what you need to know to sell on your own website or blog.



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