Friday, October 5, 2012


Written by Mariiyn Rush

If you have ever wished you had a light box but thought you couldn't afford one,  this how-to article will be an end to ideas like that.

Let's talk about what will be needed. 
Tools: Scissors, Tape Measure, Ruler, Cutting Board, Sharp Knife
Supplies: Foam Board (20x30 (2), Duct Tape White, Elmers Glue, Small Plate Size of Saucer

We will begin by cutting the Foam Board to the desired size. Take one sheet, using the tape measure, and measure in from the long end 20", and mark. Do several marks all the way across the board so that you can lay ruler against marks. (The ruler I use is for quilting and is made to be used with a rotary cutter, which would be a good tool to use for cutting these foam boards).When you have it positioned, use a sharp knife and score the foam board along the ruler, when you have the board deeply scored, you can lift up the board and bend it,

 it will probably break neatly along the scored line. If the scoring didn't go as deeply as it might have, it may not break when you bend it. If it doesn't then just use your knife and slice through the rest of the board. After cutting you 

 You will have 2 pieces that are 15"x20".

With your 2nd piece of Foam Board, You will want to cut it into three equal pieces. Remember that the Foam Board is 20" x 30" so to get pieces that will fit you will want them to be the same widths, but for the heights I just divide the 30" three ways, so my side pieces are 15" x 20" 

Before we put the box together we need to make one more cut. We have to have an opening on the top for the light to shine through.
. I used a small plate about 8" across. I used my pen and drew a line around the plate. Then I cut the hole out by making pizza like cuts through the circle that intersect at the center. Make quite a few cuts and then start your cuts around the line of the circle. With all the pizza cuts you will just take small cuts and take small triangles out one at a time.It's easier to get a nice clean cut.

 Now we are ready to put 
 them together. 
At this point we will get out the Elmers Glue and the Duct Tape. The Duct Tape I purchased for this job was white and matched the white of the Foam Board quite well.
To start putting the pieces together I used the one without the top hole and one of the side pieces. I put some of the Elmer's  glue along the border of one of the pieces for added strength.Getting the first couple sides together is kind of tricky. The real adhesive that hold all of this together is the Duct Tape. You can cut a strip of it that is the correct length or just pull from the roll. Tape the corners together, both on the inside and on the outside, this will give added strength Keep putting your pieces together until you have a box that has a bottom, top, and three sides. 
When you have your light box put together, taped with the duct tape at each corner of the box. Just to make it look better I put the white Duct tape over the the edge of the open side of the box.

You can use any small lamp to set in front of the light box to throw light from the front. For the top light, you will need a lamp that extends and can reach over the top of the box to the center where the hole is. You don't necessarily need a lamp in the front but it will help to take out any shadows.

Always edit your photos. They are not finished until they have been cropped and brightened. Even items photographed in a light box need to be edited and nearly all pictures need some brightening. My favorite program for editing pictures for Etsy is Microsoft Office Picture Manager. You probably have it on your computer all ready.

This is the first picture taken in my new light box. It was a little dark to begin with, but I just lightened it a little and came up with a great pic ready to go to Etsy.


  1. Looks very do-able, Marilyn! Thanks so much for this tutorial :)

  2. Thanks for the very informative instruction's. Such a wonderful idea for someone who lives in a very low natural lite area.