It’s always interesting to see how those who have some kind of actual construction skill tackle photography related projects. For example, if any of us needed a lightbox for a small product shoot, we may typically venture off toward Amazon. Or we might be impatient and want to build our own, so we grab a cardboard box, and start hacking away at it with a knife.
For a woodworker, though, like Glenn Scott at DIY Creators, a cardboard box just isn’t enough. After recently requiring a lightbox to shoot some small products, Glen decided to build his own. He uses common woodworking techniques to construct it, and the result is just magnificent. A purpose-built wooden lightbox that looks like it fits right in with your furniture.
It’s fascinating to see this level of craftsmanship and attention to detail put into something so simple. Especially when it’s so inexpensive to just go and buy one ready made. But if it’s something you’re going to be using regularly, and you want something custom built for your own space and needs, you just can’t beat taking pride in one you’ve built yourself.
Glen begins by cutting up some pieces of 2×1 to length. He needs to build frames for the front, back, two sides (inside and out) and top surfaces. Don’t they all look neat laid out next to each other?
To join the pieces together, Glen used simple butt joints with pocket hole screws. You can get as fancy as you like with this, with mortise & tenons, dovetails, box joints or however you wish it to look. But, as they’re not going to be holding a heavy load, glued and screwed butt joints will work well. Just make sure your cuts are straight.
As Glen was using standard 2×1 for the whole frame, he built a simple jig to hold the pieces of wood square while he screwed them together. A spot of glue was placed along the edges where each pair of pieces meet. With everything assembled, Glen had two inside end frames, two outside end frames, top, back and front frames.
To attach the basic interior frame together, Glen uses wood glue, with brad nails to hold things together while the glue sets. As some of the pocket holes for the screws are visible after this process, Glen covers the holes with filler, which he then sands down as smooth as possible to the surface of the wood.
Translucent white material was stapled to the interior of the top, and the exterior of the two sides. The inside of the top panel received an extra piece of 2×1 to help cover the exposed edge of material at the front of the box. On the ends, the two trim frames were added to hide the edges from exterior view.
The final result is a very nice looking lightbox, with plenty of room inside for small products. There is the chance that the wood may interfere with reflections on certain items, but depending on the types of products you plan to shoot, that may not be an issue. If it turns out that it is, you can always paint the wood inside the box white to match the material.
Taking such a project to this extreme and level of detail may seem like overkill for most. Especially when you can buy one quite inexpensively.
But, if you have a passion for woodworking and a regular need for a solid lightbox, then why not?