DIY Light Tent

This last weekend, I had the opportunity to create a light tent. A light tent is a box with lots of white paper inside of it to help reflect light and make for nice product advertisement pictures.

I used this tutorial as a guideline to build it.

For this project, you need:

  • 1 cardboard box
  • some sort of white fabric or paper
  • duct tape/masking tape
  • marker
  • scissors
  • 2-3 sheets of bristol paper
  • some form of glue

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Here, I have my materials.

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This is the cardboard box I used. It is fairly large.

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This step took place on all sides of the box, except for the flap sides. Taking a ruler and some sort of marker (I used a pencil, just in case I messed up), make several marks two inches from the edge.

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After making a 2-inch border, connect the marks (I did this to the best of my abilities…it wasn’t very straight).

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Here is what it looked like after connecting all lines.

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Remove the the flaps from just ONE side, not both. You can do this with just plain kitchen scissors.

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Next, tape the remaining flaps together with some duct tape and cut out the squares that you made. I had my dad cut out the marked squares with a box cutter.

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After that, you can set your box aside and grab your bristol paper. I found some for a pretty good price at Michael’s, and 3 sheets seemed to be a good amount. Using a ruler and a pencil, trace pieces of paper that are two inches wide. You’ll need 16 of these.

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With scissors, cut them out and mark them more clearly on the side with pencil tracings.  I did this so I could put that side down when gluing, but you don’t really have to.

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If you have a cat, chances are they’re going to think they own this box and jump in it to take over, killing your productivity for a couple minutes.

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On a more serious note, glue down the strips of bristol paper to the insides of the box. For me, I probably should have made the strips a little wider. It ended up being okay, though.

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Then, place the long, uncut piece of bristol board inside until it curves to the bottom. Personally, I felt like I needed to place some of the extra bristol behind the curved piece just to make sure it would be completely white on the inside.

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After all the paper is placed inside, cut out squares of your white paper/fabric that is slightly bigger than the openings on your box. I just placed the box on top of the fabric and traced with a sharpie, then cut it down a little bit. After you have three pieces, tape them to the outside.

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And there you have it! DIY Light Tent.

Now, on to trying it out…

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I didn’t take any “before” pictures of the pumpkins.

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Next, I tried a bottle of nail polish. Here is what it looks like, just sitting on the kitchen table. I took the exposure up in Lightroom, but that’s all I did for editing.

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Here is what it looks like in the light tent. If the first picture is from one seller and the second is from another, who would you be more likely to buy from?

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Along the way, this happened. I think that I had the flash too high and too close and my settings were not right.

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I went back to the pumpkins. Here you can see where my flash is at.

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This is the result that it produced. Personally, I think that it is a little over-exposed and would move the flash back a bit.

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Next, I tried some glitter. Here is the set up. You can kind of see the desk lamp the the left, not extremely close to the box. The flash isn’t very close either, and is actually pointed at the background more than the subject.

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Here is the result.

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With light editing (You probably don’t notice much of a difference, but there are some things that changed).

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Here is another one of the pumpkins again, with some editing. I don’t have a picture of the set up.

The light tent was fairly simple to make, it probably took about 2.5 – 3 hours. I didn’t do it all in one sitting, either. Probably the hardest part was getting the bristol paper curved to the bottom and glued down.

When using the light tent, I noticed that it was best to have the lights about a foot back from the box/fabric. I had the flash on the lowest setting, 1/128. The lamp just has one setting. If the lights were too close, it would be too bright or there would be too many harsh shadows.

Overall, I liked this project.



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