DIY Photo Background and Lightbox

As a bit of a novice photographer, I'm always searching the internets for new ways to improve my photo-taking abilities, especially when it comes to creating light.  While I've been staying at my parents house, it's become especially difficult, as their decorating scheme generally consists of what I like to refer to as "50 Shades of Brown."  (They're rocking a very outdoorsy log cabin style, which is beautiful, but lends to some seriously yellow photos.)  With the upcoming opening of my new shop, I've know that I wanted to create something that would both address my lighting issues as well as serve as a very generic backdrop for product and blog photos. With natural light normally being out of the question, and the DIY girl (a.k.a. tightwad,) that I am, I just knew that I could whip something up to suit my needs.  With the help of a couple of redneck men and their power tools, I've got a great looking backdrop for my photos that is functional and portable for all of my bloggy needs! Here's how I did it...

What you'll Need...
8 pieces of "craft board." Mine were 3/4" pine craft boards (found at Lowes.)
Wood Glue
3 pieces of foam board
masking or duck tape
paint (I used brown for one side and turquoise for the other. Ask for paint samples, they'll save you lots of $$!)

Step 1:
I wanted to have a sturdier double sided base (so that I could use multiple colors,) using 4 craft boards on each layer, one with all of the boards placed vertically and the other horizontally.  After gluing the boards together, place something heavy, (I just used a couple of boxes,) and allow to dry overnight.  

Step 2:
After placing my boards together, I noticed that I didn't have a perfectly even square, (each side had part of the board that hung over the edge,) so I utilized my redneck brother and father and their circular saw to even up my boards.  If you don't have access to redneck brothers or circular saws, Lowes generally will saw down your boards to the desired size when you purchase them.  Just bat your eyes and say please :)

Step 3:  
I didn't want a really "perfect" surface for my bases, but more of a weathered paint surface, so I chose to dilute each of my paint colors about 50/50 with water. Board by board apply paint mixture with a dry (ish) brush, wiping excess paint from each board individually with a rag (yup, I'm pretty sure my rag is a pair of Spongebob boxer shorts...waste not, want not,) making sure to go with the grain of the wood.  Repeat until desired texture and color is achieved.  (I like to vary the amount of time the paint sits on certain areas and is able to soak into the wood.)  On the turquoise side, I randomly wet parts of the board a tiny bit before applying the paint mix, just to give it even more texture, but didn't on the brown.  (Honestly, I still think the brown surface is a bit too perfect looking, so I may attack it with another shade of brown at a later date.)  Allow to dry for 2-4 hours (depending on amount of paint used.)  

Step 4: 
Measure poster board to fit around three sides of board, and cut excess.  (Think of it as a room with one wall missing.)  Get out your handy duck tape (seriously, I use this for everything) and tape along edges. (Don't tape it super tight so that you can fold it up when not in use.  

Voila!  It's that easy, and I'm loving playing with my little blog stage!  The white poster board "walls" really serve to bounce around the light, but I've also been playing with creating my own lighting scheme using my Lowes gift card... below you can see my little bro helping out with a possible DIY light option.  He's the best... and single ladies.... and will kill me for writing that. Oops.  

Anyhoo, I'd love to hear your photography solutions!  I can generally use all the help I can get :)  xoxo Fearsy


  1. I love this idea! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Love this project, and I love the color you chose! I need to make this :)

  3. This is such a great idea! I can't wait to try this...I like the idea of being able to mix up the background with colors and patterns. Would you just use a regular lamp to add the light or is a special light better?