Easy and Inexpensive DIY Light Box

Photographing product shots of the journals and various items I create is one of my least favorite parts of selling my work. It is often hard to chase the natural light around my house and the “ideal time of day” to shoot outside rarely coincides with my ideal time of day for shooting.

Add to that my desire for plain backgrounds and little to no shadows and reflections and I knew it was time to get a much needed light box into my studio. I found a  simple set-up online for $99 (including lights) and was preparing to buy one when I decided just to try making one with a few inexpensive materials.

My DIY light box ended up costing me just under $3.00 to make—not including any lighting. It may not be the prettiest thing but it works just fine.

Want to make one for yourself? Here is how I did it.

Materials
Cardboard Box (any size suitable for the objects you want to photograph)
White Muslin Fabric (this was $1.99/yd at my local fabric store, measure your openings with a little margin to determine how much you need)
White Bristol board or Poster board (to create a seamless background)
Packing Tape
Utility Knife
Ruler or Straight Edge
Marking Device (pencil, marker, etc)

Directions

  1. Cut the top flaps off of your cardboard box.
  2. Cut windows out of the front and two sides of the box. I left about a 2.5 inch border around the edges to help keep the box sturdy and to provide a bit of space for securing the fabric to the box.DIY Light Box
  3. Cut the muslin slightly larger than openings for the two side windows and the top of the box.
  4. Stretch the muslin tautly over one of the side windows and secure all four sides with tape. Repeat for the other side.
  5. Cut the white poster board to fit width-wise and slide into the top of the box sloping it to the front to create a seamless background. Trim the excess board off the top. I secured the top edge of the board to the box but this really isn’t necessary.
  6. Once your backdrop is in place you can put on the top of your light box. Stretch the last piece of muslin tautly over the top of the box and secure with tape.

DIY Light Box

That’s it! Now light it from the top and/or the sides for a nice diffused light. Don’t forget to use a daylight balanced bulb and to not mix lighting types for easier control over color casts.

Results? Below are a few shots taken with the camera on my phone (except the last shot which was taken with an SLR). Box is lit from the top with a single light. Not bad for a $3 light box, eh?

DIY Light Box Sample Shot
DIY Light Box Sample Shot
DIY Light Box Sample Shot
DIY Light Box Sample Shot

 

Gypsy Boys

Nestled in my stocking this Christmas was a beautiful scarf. It’s purple and black and really soft.

I have no idea how to wear it.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. I did wear it like a wrap yesterday over the tank top I was wearing. Because face it, December in NW Ohio doesn’t really bring tank top appropriate weather. And sure, there are all sorts of tutorials on how to tie/drape/origami a scarf on Pinterest so I can probably figure out how to wear one.

I’m not quite convinced I will be able to pull it off.

My boys however, look striking in it.

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I mean seriously. Don’t they look like gorgeous gypsy children?

Wishing You…

Whatever you may celebrate this time of year, my family and I wish you the happiest moments and memories with the ones you love—today, tomorrow, and always.

2011 Christmas Card—probably my favorite yet.

2011 Christmas Card—probably my favorite yet.

The Dimple. A Yawn.

Totally in love with this kid.

The dimple.

IMG_2200A Yawn.

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23 Days old—taken on 9.27.11.

Theory of LEGOtivity?

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Einstein.
Taken at Legoland Discovery Center, Schaumburg, Illinois.

Moustache on Canvas

I was recently contacted by the fine folks over at Easy Canvas Prints to review one of their—you guessed it—canvas prints. The process was really simple and the results are too fantastic. I’m seriously considering ordering a ton more for my living room wall. The hardest part of the entire process was picking out which photo of the hundreds of thousands in my arsenal that I wanted to have printed on canvas.

Once I figured that out it was as easy as clicking on the Start Your Canvas button. I picked my canvas size—there are lots including cutom sizes—and wrap dimension, uploaded my image, and picked an edge option. I went with a black edge around the canvas and it is a perfect addition to all the black frames I have hanging up in my living room already.

Photo 951

That’s it. Easy Peasy. It took no time at all to get the print in the mail—I think a week—and I may have squeed a little when the FedEx guy delivered my package.

Easy Canvas Prints are currently offering 25% off all canvases and free standard shipping to the contiguous United States. Check them out!

*Disclosure: I was contacted by Easy Canvas Prints to receive and review one canvas print made from one of my personal photographs. All opinions are mine.

The Quilled Q

The Toledo Chapter of AIGA—my local chapter—is hosting an awesome exhibition next month at the gallery of one of my favorite design firms in the area, Madhouse. The show revolves around typography that has been strictly created by hand. No computers. Only traditional photography. Any medium as long as it was created off the computer. You get the the idea.

The call for submissions ends today and in my go to fashion I sent my submissions in last night. I submitted two pieces and I’m crossing my fingers that if not both, at least the one I’m going to share with you today gets picked. I put a ridiculous amount of hours into creating this bad boy and I’d really love for it to be hanging in the show next month.

I call it Quilled Q.

It was created from 164 hand quilled pieces of paper that each started out as a 1 inch x 8.5 inch strip. Quilling is a process in which paper is rolled around a quill (traditionally) to form a spiral. I don’t have an actual quill so I used an 8-D Casing nail. Close enough, right?
q1
Once I rolled all of the quills—or rather once I had a decent amount of pieces rolled I started assembling the Q.

q2

And then I rolled more. And more. Until it took the shape I was looking for.

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The final piece measures 18 x 24 inches and I’m super pleased with the way it turned out. It still needs to be put in its frame, but one thing at a time, you know?

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What do you think?

Head Games

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When I came across the container of heads while perusing the gift shop at the Lego Discovery Center in Schaumburg, IL about a week and a half ago, I secretly wished I was five inches tall and could jump in and roll around in them. But my super shrinking powers aren’t fully developed yet so instead I just ran my hands through them over and over again.

I think my favorite is the guy with the handle bar moustache and the eye patch.

How about you?

Nobody Tells This to Beginners

A couple of days ago my friend Steve tweeted a link with this great quote by Ira Glass.With the immediacy of social media I expanded the circle of sharing by retweeting and posting the link on Facebook.

Then I got to thinking. While many forms of social media are fantastic for being able to quickly share stuff with others, I felt like this particular piece of information needed a more permanent home. Facebook and Twitter are what I consider fleeting instantaneous forms of sharing but this blog offers something a little more—the ability to call it back without a tiresome search method.

Permanence.
Inspiration.
A shelf life.

So I’m putting it here.

It’s good stuff. Especially when you are feeling like you can’t do anything right.

Picture 5

Brought to You by the Letter E

This week’s Weekly Winners set just happens to be of two subjects both beginning with the letter E—Easter and my husband’s band the Eight Fifteens.

Enjoy.

IMG_1542Dye Job

IMG_1547Color Mixing

IMG_1562Exploring His Basket of Goodies

IMG_1565Squishy/Spiky/Fun

IMG_1574Egg Hunt Excitement

IMG_1579My Guys

IMG_1605Chas

IMG_1608JQ

IMG_1602The Eight Fifteens