Tag Archives: DIY projects

DIY Light Box for Photography

That TCP… I’m telling you. We don’t call him The Complete Package for nothing. This weekend, he built me a light box so my food photographs would look better. I had mentioned to him that photos taken in our kitchen tend to have a yellow tint. This happens for two reasons:

1. We have yellow-tinted glass shades on our kitchen pendants, and
2. We have only one kitchen window, for a few hours worth of morning sun.

So TCP took it upon himself to research photography light boxes on the internet. Those available for purchase were in the $200 range. But since TCP has a love of PVC pipe and tools that come in plastic carrying cases, he found a DIY version on the web and took it upon himself to build one.

Here’s what he used:
3/4″ diameter PVC pipe in 24″ lengths (10 pieces)
end caps, elbows and connector joints for PVC
clamps for holding backdrop fabrics in place
clip-on lamps with ‘daylight’ compact fluorescents
a power strip for the lamps

In addition, I bought:
4 yards of muslin for the light box cover
various fabrics to use as backdrops

The light box comes apart so you can break it down and store it in a tote bag. For that reason, I made a slip cover with rod pockets for the front two posts, and ribbon ties to hold it into place on the other two corners. I haven’t stitched together the top panel yet, but I was able to drape some fabric over the top so I could snap these photos. Sorry. I just couldn’t wait to show it to you. But first, I’d like to thank Gumby for his part in this show and tell segment.

Excuse my drooping top panel; I didn't clamp it down taut.

Wow. I really should have folded the leftover fabric in the back right corner.

Ladies & Gentlemen... the star of our show, Gumby!

As you can tell, I haven’t hemmed the edges of this background fabric to fit the width of the box yet. I didn’t iron it yet, either. Sorry. I’ll get there. Eventually. When choosing backdrops, I went for textures and colors – basically the types of things I enjoy seeing in other food blogger’s photos.

Okay, Mr. DeMille.... Gumby is ready for his close-up.

Notice the absence of obvious shadows or glare? Nice, huh? For this photo, I used one lamp on each side of the photo box and the overhead light that was behind me. For future photos, I have an additional third lamp that can be mounted to illuminate the back or the top of the box, depending on the situation and how much light is needed. Cool, right? And, as I said, it all breaks down into a medium-size tote bag so I can store it when it’s not in use. Booyah!

Cost of the box itself (including the frame, lights, clamps & power strip) was $60. The muslin to enclose the box was $15. The ribbons to tie the corners in place came from a pile I already had in my sewing room. If you want to make one even cheaper, I’ve seen tutorials for light boxes made from cardboard boxes. But not mine. It was made with love by The Complete Package, and homeboy doesn’t slack when it comes to DIY projects. Which is why we call him The Complete Package in the first place. The end. Cue the closing credits & kill the lights!

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Filed under Craft Projects, Technical Stuff

Crafty Recycling: A DIY Toddler Dress

Our beautiful firecracker of a granddaughter turns two next month. Can you believe it? I can’t. She’s changed so much over the past few months. Her language skills have improved. Her dancing skills have improved. Her patience at meal time has not improved, but nobody’s perfect. She’s just the sweetest, funniest, spunkiest little cutie-patootie ever. Yes, I am biased.

One of my favorite hobbies is making stuff for the grandkids. I usually have one project or another going for them, which brings me great joy. This week, I was cleaning out some old clothes when I found an old men’s underwear tank. You know the kind… your grandfather probably wore them under his dress shirts. I threw it into the trash can, even though it was barely used, then pulled it right back out and thought “What a waste. There’s got to be a way to recycle that.” It was so soft, it just begged to be turned into something useful. I chose to covert it into a lightweight summer dress for little Lilly Bug. All it needed was some “taking in” and some embellishment to girly it up a little.

Here’s what I did:
1. I cut the shirt in half, horizontally, about 6″ below the front neckline.
2. I folded the back side of the top over and stitched it down (see below).
3. I pinned the shoulders and cut off 1 1/2″ to shorten, then re-stitched them.
4. I folded the top of the “skirt” down 3/4″ and stitched it to finish the edge.
5. I pinned the top back onto the bottom, with the “skirt” overlapping the top.
6. I stitched the two pieces back together with a zigzag stitch so it would stretch.
7. I pleated the sides to take them in & stitched them along the top of the skirt.
8. I ironed a cute print onto 2-sided fusing and cut out 3 flowers (freehand).
9. I did the same thing with a green print and cut out stems and leaves.
10. I peeled off the fusing paper and ironed the flowers & stems into place.
11. I used a zigzag stitch to stitch/embellish the flowers, stems & leaves.
12. I stitched a red bow to the back, just to jazz it up a little.

The details - front, back and hem. All it takes is a cute print, fusing & buttons. Click anywhere on the photo to enlarge, then hit your back arrow to return.

Cost: Zero dollars
The shirt was recycled, and the fabrics, ribbon and buttons came from my scrap piles. And now Lilly Bug as a super soft, lightweight little dress. Or a nightgown. I’ll let Lilly Bug decide if this is day or evening wear. It’s a girl thing.

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Filed under Craft Projects