The How Zone

Homemade Lighting Softbox

Making the box

If you've read the photographing the sun article you've seen the telescope shade box made out of foam board. Foam board is great for these types of projects. The board is easy to cut, rigid, and has a clean, white surface. Even better, it only costs a buck or two for a 20 by 30 inch sheet.

Foam Board Sheets

To save on cutting and to make it long enough that the back wall stays out of focus I constructed the soft box as a long rectangle. This required five sheets of foam board. Three of the sheets had holes cut in them, like so:

Three sheets with holes

To ensure that there is enough foam board for support I cut the holes about seven inches from the front edge. The holes are 14 inches wide by 9 inches deep. The size was pretty much picked at random. They could be circular instead, matching the size of the lamps, for example.

Glue Gun & Foam Board

I used a hot glue gun for attaching the foam panels together. Since the inside of the box is where all of the photography will be taking place I choose to do most of the messy gluing towards the outside edges. Use plenty of glue so the final box is rigid.

Four sides assembled

Here's roughly what it looks like assembled. The fifth piece of foam board was cut to size and glued to the back of the box (the end furthest from the light holes).

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