Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Light Box DIY Cheap Easy Tutorial

 
I am so excited!  I finally got the parts to assemble my light tent.  I had been frustrated for some while about how to diffuse my light source.  I had the lights already that I purchased a few months ago. Then a couple of weeks ago I bought some white nylon jacket lining material that is similar to rip stop but probably not as strong.  I wasn't sure about how to hang the fabric and support it to shine my lights through.  After doing a google search, I found this link with a good tutorial that gave me some great ideas. I did alter the design to fit my own needs and what was in stock at the hardware store.



This light box is significantly larger than the other design.  I am going to be making some larger sculpture so I chose 36" lengths of pvc all around.  The hardware store only carried 10' foot lengths which would not fit in my car.  I bought a ratcheting pipe cutter, marked off the length with a yardstick in the store and then cut the pvc out in the parking lot.  The spring clamps in the photo are not necessary but I usually find some use for them. In this case, my light box was much taller than I had envisioned so I used the clamps to hold my backdrop lower down on the legs of the tent.


 The bottom four fittings shown above were only available with two slip holes and one threaded hole.  I had to get the four threaded male adapters to put on the ends of the legs in order to screw them in to the top of the frame.  The four caps are not necessary but are nice on the bottom of the legs for better stability.



Here you can see everything assembled.  I have a length of pvc pipe temporarily taped to the back of the frame so that I can clamp the one lamp up higher in order to shine down from a better angle.  You can see my backdrop is pretty small for the size of the tent.  I got this backdrop from B&H Photo. It has really made my photos look much more professional.  This is crucial as I will need the photos to submit my sculpture to juried art competitions.  I will probably need to get a larger backdrop and I am so happy with this light tent that I am thinking of making a smaller one as well.  I don't actually need to make a whole new one, though.  I did not glue the pvc pipe into the fittings on purpose.  This way I can make different length pipes and adapt this tent to just about any configuration I need.  Now I want to make a bag to carry the pipes and fittings and another one for the lights and any other accessories. This will give me a fully portable light studio!



My first test shot in my light tent studio.  I need to play around with the lighting a bit to work on reflections and such.  I might get some different lights in the future.  I would like some on tripods when my finances allow.  This setup was really inexpensive to make.  I would have loved to have purchased everything pre-made but my student budget doesn't really permit that. The backdrop I already had was about $35.  The lights were about $30. The ratcheting pipe cutter was about $12 but you could borrow one or use a hacksaw.  The pvc pipe was about $10.  With tax that makes the total around $90.  Not bad!



My final image, cropped and edited a bit for the fun of it.  I am very pleased with this whole process and can't wait to take more photos.  And I guess this would be my first tutorial.  Let me know if you decide to make a light tent of your own.  Do you have any fun ideas or suggestions you can share? 

1 comment:

The Struthers Clan said...

Wow~ I'm impressed. You are very creative and resourceful!!