Photography · Tutorials

Make your own Light Tent…

What you’ll need to make this at home right on your living room floor!

  • 1/2 inch PVC pipe approx. $4 (cut with a pipe cutter for NO mess)
  • 4 T’s for 1/2 inch PVC pipe 50¢ to 60¢ each
  • 4 elbows for 1/2 inch PVC pipe 50¢ to 60¢ each
  • 4 caps for 1/2 inch PVC pipe  45¢ each
  • 4 one inch pieces of pipe to connect the elbows to the T’s
  • piece of shower curtain or some type of fabric to act as a diffuser, cut to fit over the pipe set up
  • 2 clamp on light fixtures (mine are Bayco Super Tite Grip from Walmart in the hardware dept) approx. $8 each
  • 2 light bulbs (mine are GE 6500K Daylight 26w from Walmart) approx. $5

For the large size tent cut the following

  • 4, 15 in pieces of the 1/2 in. PVC pipe for the legs
  • 4, 12 in pieces of the 1/2 in. PVC pipe for the top
  • 4 short pieces (an inch or so) for connecting the elbows to the T’s

I LOVE that it folds up for sticking out of sight!  yea!

Move your lights around until you’re happy with your photo.  I still load my pictures into iPhoto and adjust the white balance, sharpen, etc.  I take the photos of my cards with a Canon DSLR camera.
edited Nov. 22, 2012
Here’s a photo of how I have my lights now…
Holler if you have any questions…Hope this helps you avoid some of the frustrations I’ve had learning to take pictures of cards!

Camera I use for videos…

25 thoughts on “Make your own Light Tent…

  1. What a neat idea. Gonna have my husband sit and watch your tutorial tonight. I love your idea. Thanks for all of the information.


  2. This is so fantastic Pam! I tried making mine out of a cardboard box but it didn’t work out well! I ended up buying a cheap one which is fine but might try making my very own!

  3. Hmmm, this is fantastic. I’m going to forward this to my husbands computer and see if he gets the hint. No, he’ll probably delete it wondering why I was sending it to him! Great idea Pam.

  4. Thank you Pam!~Great idea will forward to my honey of 44 years and I know he will get right on it. He has been after me to post my cards so watch for my e-mail saying I am posting. :0

  5. Hi Pam!

    What a wonderful tutorial! 🙂 It’s nice to see how other photograph and how they do it. Quick question, or maybe question{S}. Do you photograph in the day or night or both? Do you have a light for the top portion of your light tent as well? I’m too afraid to show anyone how I photograph, it’s so “ghetto”! 🙂 TFS again!

  6. Oh, this looks easy enough that i could do it myself! I’m betting my dad has a pipe cutter somewhere in the basement. What a clever idea! You are awesome, lady!

  7. I made mine out of foam core, isn’t transparent, lighting’s horrible, doesn’t store well. Let’s just say I’m looking for a new version. 🙂 Going to have to give yours a try. 🙂 Heading up to Walmart/Home Depot this weekend… WHEE! I’m so excited! Thanks, hun!

  8. Pam, it’s brilliant!!! You’re a genius. I don’t have a light tent yet and have been thinking of making one for quite a while now. This looks like something I can make on my own easily. Thanks for sharing.


    PS. Isn’t it funny that a vid camera is also on my wish list…LOL

  9. This is great Pam. I brought myself a light box but I think this one looks better and lets in more light.
    Super video.
    Hugs Maz

  10. Finally made it up today to buy my stuff for this. Spent $9 on the PVC. They actually had precut 24″ pieces, which made it easier to fit in the car. 🙂 Since I refuse to go to any Walmart out here, I had to spend a little more and buy my clamp lights and light bulbs at Lowe’s. My clamp lights were $10 each and the light bulbs were 2 for $9. 🙂 I’m going to use 3 lights rather than two, just cause I think it’ll light it up better. Plus, I have old white sheer curtains that I’ve been hoarding, so I’m going to use them on this too. 🙂 Thank you SO MUCH for the tutorial! Now to get better photos of all my cards. 🙂 Thanks again!

  11. I found your tutorial online…thank you SO much!!! My husband made this for me tonight! I spent around $30 for everything…cheaper than buying a light box online! I used a thin piece of white fabric. It took some playing around to get the photos right. I actually realized that my basic point-and-shoot did better with this than my DSLR. Crazy! Anyway, thanks again! Appreciate your tutorial!! 🙂

  12. Great idea Pam, I was going to buy one, but now after seeing your video, I shall make my own, the ones I have seen on-line are not very big in size and using your method I can make my light box/tent as big as I want.
    Just one thing to add really, if you cut the pieces of pipe that are between the elbow joints and T joints to slightly different sizes, say 1 inch for the front ones and one and a half inch for the back ones, when you fold it away for storage the legs will fit neatly side by side.

    Thanks again for a great tutorial.

    Malta, Europe.

  13. It was very easy to assemble and saved a ton of money. Great post! btw…what camera are you shooting the video with? is very clear.

  14. Browsing YouTube and then suddenly there was a film about a lightbox and then I read Expressionswithheart That has to be Pam was my first thought……and yes, it’s you and I love your tutorial and most of all what I like about it, that your tent can be folded down. Thanks for sharing this great tutorial Pam.

  15. Hi Pam, Thank you for your post. I have had a dickens of a time trying to figure out a light tent and after reading many tutorials your instructions were perfect. I recently blogged about photographing my pottery and referenced your blog. Thank you for sharing your tutorial. This has helped my so much. Chris Rosso of MudFire Pottery

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