Last week, while Marble Man was off, sunning himself at the beach, I was at home dogsitting and spending a LOT of time online. I came across several blogs talking about light tents and light boxes. Hazaah! This is what I need. I Googled "light box" and found several nice ones, but, hey... they're really expensive! By the time I bought the tent, the lights, and a background sweep, I could expect to spend about $300. Then, I came upon a blog with a tutorial on how to make one myself out of an old box and some tissue paper. This is exciting. I have a box. And paper, and tape. OK, let's get started! There were some things about the design I didn't want, so I changed it a bit to suit my needs:
I would use a box that is at least 12" square. We're going to cut five sides out of the box, and leave one side intact as the base.
Measure 2" in from each corner and draw a line with a sharpie pen.
Then, with a box cutter, cut along the lines. PLEASE be careful - we don't want any accidental appendectomies or amputations.
Now tape white tissue paper on the outside of the box over four of the cut-out sides. One side remains open for the camera.
Finally, you will need a piece of white (or black) poster board, or bristol board for the back sweep. This creates a nice seamless picture with graduated shadows. You want it to start at the upper back corner and finish in the lower front corner. (I couldn't find a piece big enough to reach both corners, so I "made do" with a smaller piece for now. I'll replace it with a bigger one later.)
The other thing to consider is lighting. I tried using floodlights with regular incandescent bulbs. As you can see below, this was a mistake. The result was dim with a dark yellow cast. So, I broke down and ordered some special floods with tripod stands and tungsten bulbs. Wowie, zowie. Perfection!
Here's the finished setup:
Final result with camera set on "macro" and a light on each side of the box, pointing down through the tissue paper: