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 » Cheap 1$ Light tent / Light box : SoDoItYourself.com

Cheap 1$ Light tent / Light box
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Cheap light box in action

Ever wanted to do product shots but don’t have the bucks to spend on a proper light tent? Why not build one yourself.

This lightbox will cost you less than 1 $ as it only uses 5 sheets of paper. After 15 minutes of folding and cutting you are set!

 Also, check out The IKEA hamper light tent if you need more space.

How to make it

You will need:

  • 5 Sheets of A4 paper
  • Transparent tape
  • Some kind of Light

Glue will do instead of tape, but there is a risk it will wrinkle the paper.

Fold 3 papers according to the image below to the left and 2 like the image to the right. The right image below will be the lightbox sides, and the left will be on the top, bottom and back.

Folding instructions for light tent
When all the papers have been folded it’s time to assemble it. This can be a bit tricky as the different sides are a bit unstable. Start by placing the bottom, and then place the sides as these are a bit more stable than the rest. Tape the sides on the bottom before installing the top, as it can be difficult to reach when the top is in place.

Putting it together is rather straight forward nevertheless here is a picture to show you how:

Light tent assembly
Using Backdrops

Backdrops can be used to make the inner back corner dissapear in photographs. This

Backdrop placement in lighttent

makes the pictures look very focused on on the object.

Any A4 sized paper will do, just cut off a couple of centimeters on the side.

In this tutorial i have used a plain white sheet of A4 and one slightly blueish. Backdrops with reflective surface’s can make quite impresive images.

Light source

There is a upstream of ‘Daylight’ type bulbs. Any bulb with a color temperature of 5000K or higher will produce light perceived by most people as similar to daylight. The blue bulb in the middle gives a fair color temperature for its price. Its a Philips daylight 60W with a color temperature of 3000 K. Price is about 5 $.

bulbs with different temperature

 

 

The lamp to the right is a tungsten halogen lamp used typically in halogens used in construction. 

This halogen has a temperature of 2800 K. The light makes pictures yellowish and unless you have a corrective program in your camera to adjust this, i would not recommend this type.

To the left in the picture we have a standard cheap energy saver light bought from IKEA for about 5 - 10 $. There are better types of energy saver lamps with warmer color temperature. But i have decided not to include these as we are going for the cheapest choices.

You can also put lights on the sides of the box to further eliminate shadows cast by the object. When photographing reflective surfaces, it’s a good idea to darken the room where you are shooting, or just put a bed sheet over the box and stick the camera lens through.

Sample Photographs

Here are some sample shots made in the light tent. Top images are shot in the lightbox and bottom ones with the built in flash. All images are shot with a Nikon D70s DSLR.

LED Flashlight - In light tent energy saver lamp

Flashlight in Lightbox

LED Flashlight - Shot with built in flash

Flashlight shot with camera Built in Flash

Nokia Cell phone - Shot in light box energy saver lamp

Nokia mobile phone in lighttent

Nokia Cell phone - Shot with built in flash

Nokia - shot with Flash

Glass candle stand - Shot in lightbox energy saver lamp

Glass candlestick shot in lighttent

Glass candle stand - Shot with standard flash
Candlestick made of glass shot with built in camera flash.

Electric Junk - Shot in lighttent with Philips daylight

Resistors and serial port

Drinks - Shot in lighttent with Philips daylight

Glasses

Strawberry - In light tent with tungsten halogen and light correction program

Strawberries

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21 comments to “Cheap 1$ Light tent / Light box”

  1. Comment by Catherine Kent:

    Good tutorial, i’d like to see more of those cheap lamps. Where i live they do not sell those Philips.

  2. Comment by arturogoga » Construye una caja de Luz por $5:

    [...] link These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

  3. Comment by okto:

    “Where i live they do not sell those Philips.”
    GE also makes some daylight bulbs that are nice. Can’t remember the exact name.

  4. Comment by eduardo:

    If you do a lil bigger version (depth an hight) you can use a flashgun, you bounce the light of the flashgun into the ceiling of the box (with the 2 lamps in both sides as you have elaborated your design) and you will have better lightining, you can find cheap lightguns :)

    Great lightbox thanks for sharing!

  5. Comment by The $1 lightbox - The Red Ferret Journal:

    [...] The $1 Lightbox. This cheapo DIY lightbox could be useful if you do a lot of eBay photography, or even if you just want to get into doing some still life hobby stuff. Five sheets of paper, some tape and a daylight bulb. Which actually probably makes it more than $1.00, but we won’t quibble with a good idea. [...]

  6. Comment by Mike:

    Thanks for all the feedback!

    Catherine Kent, As okto says, any daylight bulb will do.

    ” If you do a lil bigger version (depth an hight) you can use a flashgun, you bounce the light of the flashgun into the ceiling of the box (with the 2 lamps in both sides as you have elaborated your design) and you will have better lightining, you can find cheap lightguns ”

    Sure, the light from flashes is better than ordinary daylight bulbs. But i think it’s great with contignuous lightning that you can see how your image will be.

    You have any good places to get surplus lightguns?

  7. Comment by Mediafreaks.org » Blog Archive » This and that:

    [...] Cheap 1$ Light tent / Light box Now I know what to do, if I get any free time this weekend. No Tags [...]

  8. Comment by botheredByBees » links for 2006-09-29:

    [...] 1$ Light tent / Light box This lightbox will cost you less than 1 $ as it only uses 5 sheets of paper. After 15 minutes of folding and cutting you are set! (tags: howto lightbox photo photography tutorial DIY todo) [...]

  9. Comment by Catherine Kent:

    Iv’e found some daylight lamps, and folded my tent.
    Its real nice lightning, but do you have any good places to find backdrops?

  10. Comment by Enlaces de la semana [2006-40] :: Amedias:

    [...] » Cheap 1$ Light tent / Light box : SoDoItYourself.com [...]

  11. Comment by David Hobby:

    Cool beans!

    I have a sort of “high end” (uh, cardboard) version of this on my site at

    http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/07/how-to-diy-10-macro-photo-studio.html

    But the construction method is not nearly as important as how you *use* it. You can do so much with these things. I got a letter two days ago from a guy who used one to do 50 catalog shots of bottles using one!

    There’s a walk-through of a two-light, high-tech-looking shot of a digital camera here

    http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/08/on-assignment-shoot-your-shiny-new.html

    for those interested in using a second light to light the background with no spill onto the subject.

    Also, IKEA sells a folding hamper that makes a cool light tent, too. But I do not have a link on me.

    Whatever you do, don’t waste $100 on the commercial version of these things.

    Light on!

    David Hobby
    Strobist.com

  12. Comment by » The Ikea hamper light tent : SoDoItYourself.com:

    [...] So, after making this cheapo paper light tent i wanted something bigger. This lightbox has lots of space and folds neatly after use. [...]

  13. Comment by Receptboken:

    Hello, tried it and it worked out really nice. Thanks for the tip!

  14. Comment by ft lauderdale photographer:

    I am still shaking from having to make my own tent in school. We had to make it out of seamless paper. What a pain! I do wish I had your handy instructions then. The ikea instructions are definitely worth trying if you want something bigger.

  15. Comment by Genci Ristani:

    we are intristed for this nokia and the ather types,we want the price for 300-600pc,all the Nokia types that you have.

    thankyou

  16. Comment by Christine:

    do you know any links for crafts?

  17. Comment by kickstock:

    almost any type of lamp will do, fluorescent or regular tungsten if you have a camera that allows you to set a manual white balance (most do) before you start taking pictures.

  18. Comment by Canada flower shops:

    Hey great stuff, thank you for sharing this useful information and i will let know my friends as well.

  19. Comment by C&C: $1 Lightbox - The Photo Forum - Photography Discussion Forum:

    [...] Wes I made this out of 5 sheets of A4 paper and some clear tape, then lit it with an LED torch. Cheap 1$ Light tent / Light box : SoDoItYourself.com Not bad for nearly no money. Next time I might use thinner paper, or try the cardboard box and [...]

  20. Comment by custom thesis:

    Great informative post thanks for sharing…..

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