Adjustable Width Light Box

I make things things and then I write about it. Sometimes I even sell the things that I make. I feel that I'm pretty good at what I do. Design and crafting come easy to me because it is my passion. My struggle, with both my blog and listing items on Etsy, is taking quality photos of my work. I have never taken any photography classes and I don't own a fancy camera. Honestly, I don't even enjoy taking pictures. To me it's about as much fun as doing my taxes.

Since I know that great pictures enhance my tutorials and spark interest in my products, I am always on the lookout for easy ways I can improve my shots. That's why I was so excited to stumble across a wonderful post on This Creative Journey about making a light box. It inspired me to build my own.


  • 2 - 30" pieces of 1/2 inch PVC
  • 4 - 24" pieces of 1/2 inch PVC
  • 6 - 18" pieces of 1/2 inch PVC
  • 4 - 1/2 inch pressure caps
  • 4 - 1/2 inch PVC side outlet elbows
  • 2 yds heavy white nylon
  • white curtain
  • 6 small hobby clips
  • cord


When I set out to create my light box I intended on cutting my own lengths of PVC pipe.  However, when I got to the hardware store I discovered it would only cost a few additional dollars to purchase pre-cut lengths. Usually I am all about saving money, but this time I decided to pay a couple bucks for convenience.

The items and projects I photograph can vary in size, so I bought enough PVC to build a light box that is 18 inches high x 24 inches deep. The width of my design can be 18, 24, or 30 inches wide depending on my needs.

I used a heavy white nylon for the background of my light box. I found it on the remnants table at the fabric store on super sale. I cut the nylon into three pieces. One was 18 inches wide, one 24 inches wide and the last was 30 inches wide.

I folded over one edge of each piece 2 1/2 inches and stitched it down to form a pocket big enough for a piece of PVC to slide into.

Next, I put the appropriate length of PVC into each pocket.

I don't have a lot of storage in my studio, so I decided my three background pieces could be hung behind a door. When my light box is not in use, I simply thread a length of cord through the PVC, knot it, and hang it on a hook.

I put caps on one end of four 18 inch PVC pipes and the side outlet elbows on the other end. I'll show you how to make the 18"H x 24"D x 18"W box. Like I said before, I can change the width from 18" to 24" to 30" based on my needs.

I put together the frame.

Then I added the last pipe with the background fabric.

I used a 1/2 inch hobby clip to hold the background in place.

Finally, I draped a white curtain over the top of the frame and used more 1/2 inch hobby clips to secure the curtain.

I am quite fortunate to have a couple places in my home that get a lot of natural light throughout the day. At this point, I am going to take advantage of the natural light for my pictures instead of buying any lamps.

After building my light box, I did some experimenting. Here's a picture without the light box and with.

I also updated a couple of my Etsy pictures.


Not to bad for a photography novice. I can hardly wait to take pictures for a tutorial with my new light box!



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The Chilly Dog: Adjustable Width Light Box
Adjustable Width Light Box
How to build an adjustable size light box for photography with PVC.
The Chilly Dog
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