How To Make A Light Box On The Cheap

If you’re a blogger by night, like me, and have a limited budget, again like me, then you may be all too familiar with the DIY approach. You know, the figure it out yourself before forking over an arm and a leg mindset. That’s me. I’m cheap.

There are many a blogger and many a hobbyist armed with DSLR cameras and gear. That’s just not in the budget for me. Not now. But I’m still blogging away and trying to share good decent photos of our travels and my projects. Armed with an iPhone 6 Plus. Now

Now some days, my photos look pretty gosh darn good. Like that time we went to a Hindu temple. I think mostly because we were outside on a gorgeous day. Then other days, my photos look great on the iPhone screen but on other screens it looks like crap. Like that time we went to Phipps Conservatory. Gosh, I wish I’d been able to capture better photos!


For close ups, like photos for recipes and crafts, I found a solution for taking better photos. A light box! And here’s the cool thing, it was frugal! I’d actually made one beforeย and forgotten how great a tool it was.

One Cheap Trick Fo

How To Make A Light Box On The Cheap

You’ll need a few things:

  • Box (I got mine at Lowe’s, but you can find them for free elsewhere)
  • Cutting utensils (I used a rotary cutter. You can use a box cutter, scissors, xacto etc)
  • Tape (duct or packing)
  • White tissue paper
  • Posterboard (I have black at the moment, but will do white!)
  • 2 light sources w/ bulbs (I used clamp lights w/ GE Reveal)

How to do:

Step 1 – Gather your materials

make a light box on the cheap


Step 2 – Cut 3 sides of the box. Make sure to leave about a 2 inch frame. This will keep things stable.




Hope this shows a little bit better for you, I cut out just the front and sides. The lines don’t have to be perfect. No one will know ๐Ÿ˜‰




Step 3 – Line each side with one sheet of tissue paper and tape in place. I put mine on the inside, so there’s less risk of tearing it open.




Step 4 – Angle your light sources on each side of the box, aimed at the tissue paper. The bulb wattage doesn’t matter too much, so long as the lighting is the same on both sides. Most cell phones will compensate and adjust. Make sure the lamp isn’t touching the tissue paper or close enough to transfer heat, and you’re good.




Step 5 – Place posterboard or fabric inside. Don’t crease it, just let it slope gently.




Step 6 – Turn on the lights and start snapping away!


You’ll notice that my photos of the actual light box aren’t that great. Sorry ๐Ÿ™

BUT here are some photos taken with the same iPhone using the light box. What do you think?




Previous Story
Next Story

You Might Also Like

  • Lindsey
    January 29, 2016 at 10:30 am

    I tried making a light box a few months ago, and it was kind of a fail. But I definitely want to try again! Saving this…

  • Stephanie
    January 27, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    I so need to make this someday. There are days when I need to photograph items and it’s just a deary day and can’t get enough natural light.

    Thanks for sharing at Manic Monday Linky Party! Hope to see you next week!!

  • Leanne@crestingthehill
    January 26, 2016 at 12:34 am

    this is a really simple solution to a dilemma all serious photographers face – and a cheap one too! thanks so much for sharing at our #OverTheMoon linky ~ Leanne ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Cathy Lawdanski
    January 25, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    Very helpful. I am a new blogger and great photos are the name of the game. Thanks for a cheap way to improve them!

  • Amber
    January 25, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Thank you! I’ll have to try this.

  • Lady Lilith
    January 24, 2016 at 12:52 am

    This is such a great idea. I love how your shots came out.

  • Melanie
    January 22, 2016 at 11:42 am

    I made a light box just like that as well. The only problem with mine was that in my photos the sides of the box kept showing up in the photos and I would have to spend so much time trying to photo shop them out. Then my kid poked holes in the tissue paper. Great. Now I just use a foam core poster board base and a white cardboard diorama thingy that I found at Walmart for $2. It’s not perfect, but it is bigger and now I don’t have to worry about figuring out how I’m going to crop out the sides. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jenn
      January 22, 2016 at 10:52 pm

      That’s a really great idea too! Doing this has definitely got me thinking about trying different techniques. Can’t wait to start sharing more photo heavy food posts ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kathryn
    January 20, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    Thank you for the tutorial. It’s frustrating to me when I make something awesome for dinner and there is no light to capture it with. I saw this on Facebook first. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Margo
    January 20, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    Very nice results. It’s amazing some of the smartphones have such good cameras. You got top quality pictures. I just use a table against the wall and tape poster board up on the wall, ( I just don’t have the storage for a big box!) Great job!