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For anyone who doesn’t know what’s going on here, if you haven’t checked out the IggleBugs lately, you should swing by and have a look at our Photo 365 Challenge thread in the IggleBugs Forum! Join us if you’re looking for a fun photographic challenge for 2014! You don’t need a fancy camera or anything, just a passion for taking pictures! Upload and share however you want, if you want. It’s entirely up to you! The best part about it is you can make your day one whenever you want! So feel free to jump in late, we won’t bite!

I will post seven themes and ideas a week as we go through the year. They won’t be strict assignments, just helpful ideas to get you through the week if you get stuck or feel like you need some inspiration.

Here is the list of helpful ideas for week thirty-three! Next week, since we’re doing camp, check out the scavenger hunt for ideas if you need some!


The DIY Lightbox tutorial is here! I’ve been promising it for a while and I’m happy to finally deliver. I employed my husband to help while I took pics so he’s in most of these.

First, let’s start with materials. You’ll need:

  • Three Lamps. These lamps can be from anywhere, but if you want to use the ones I got, I picked them up for pretty cheap ($5 I think?) at the hardware store. They’re good basic lamps and they’re nice because they’re cheap and clamp onto anything, but they also kinda bad because they don’t stand on their own. I’m working on building stands for them.
  • Bulbs for the lamps. Go with Daylight compact fluorescent bulbs. They’re nice and bright and give a good color.
  • Foam board. I ended up buying three pieces of white foam board, but it’ll depend a bit on what sizes you can get from your local hobby shop. The size of your light box is up to you, and you don’t have to use the dimensions I used. So select your foam board based on the size you want to make your lightbox. You’ll need enough in the end for five pieces of roughly the same size.
  • Muslin cloth (don’t pick a cloth that’s too thick. That was my mistake. But also don’t pick a cloth that’s too thin. You want something that’ll diffuse light well and evenly.)
  • Duct Tape (if you can find white, it would be great but any color works)
  • Velcro
  • Poster Board (white and maybe black if you want other background colors)
  • Scissors
  • Ruler or yardstick
  • Pencil
  • Large craft knife or pocket knife.
  • Hot glue gun and hot glue.


Let’s get started! We designed this lightbox to be collapsable so you can store it away for later use and it’s not taking up a ton of space.

Cut up your foam board to size. This will greatly depend on the size of foam board you were able to acquire. When researching this box, people used a variety of different sizes, so it’s really up to you. Don’t be upset if you can’t find the sizes I used. You just want four pieces to be the same size and shape. Save the last one for the end and don’t cut it yet.


I made my box rectangular, but I would probably make it more square if I had to do it again. I thought it would be nice to have a deeper box, but I haven’t found much benefit to it yet.

Once you have your pieces, draw the inner border. Make this border about one inch thick. Take your knife and CAREFULLY cut this border out, leaving the outer border a solid piece. It’ll resemble a picture frame. Do this with three of the pieces, leaving one solid. This will be your bottom.

Next, we’re gonna attach the sides. These are going to be collapsable, so we’re using duct tape as “hinges.” This is where it gets a tad complicated, but I’ll do my best to explain.


Lay your side piece down on top of the bottom piece and tape along the edge so half the tape is stuck to the side piece and half the tape is stuck to the bottom. Once you tape along that whole edge, cut or tear the tape and open that hinge up all the way so that the side piece is lying flat next to the bottom piece. There should be a little gap in the tape. That’s what we want. Take another piece of tape and stick it along the whole length of the board on this inside part, covering up that sticky gap of tape. When you’re done, you should be able to fold that piece of board up to be perpendicular to the bottom and also fold it up and over so it stacks.


Now, stack another piece of your cut board on top of this and apply a long strip of tape to the opposite edge, taping the two pieces with middles cut out to each other. This is going to be the top of your box, and you want it to be able to fold up and over, but again be collapsable. Once you apply the tape, unfold it and there should be a gap of tape like before, where you can put another strip on top, covering that sticky part. You should be able to pull this up and over, creating the side and top of the box when it’s unfolded.

For the last side, set the third piece with a cut-out middle on top of the stack and tape this side to the bottom of the lightbox (the side that hasn’t had anything taped to it yet. Try not to tape it to any of the other two pieces stacked under it. Open it to lay flat next to the bottom and you should notice that it’s got a much larger gap than the other two did. That’s okay, just tape along it to cover the sticky part.

Now you should have all four sides attached to the bottom or another side, but we’re missing one attachment point! Take your velcro and add about four pieces of the rough side to the edge of the piece that forms the top, spacing them out along the edge, then put the soft velcro on the top of the side of the box.


This is where it might be good to have another person. Depending on the size and shape of your lightbox, the rear of your lightbox might be a different shape than your sides. Measure the rear while the box has all four sides standing (you’ll probably have to hold it) and then collapse it. Flip it over so the bottom is up. Cut out your rear and lay  it flat on the bottom of the foam board, lining up the rear edges. Put a strip of duct tape along that edge, then fold it over and cover up the sticky gap of tape as you did before. Leave it unfolded and flip your box over again, opening it up and attaching the velcro to make it square. Now, add pieces of velcro to the back of the box, attaching it with velcro to the other three sides of the box. This way, when your box is open, it’s held on by the velcro, but it’s nice and easy to pull apart and collapse.


Next, we need to add the muslin. For one panel, I chose to attach it with velcro in case I decided I wanted to photograph something from the side or whatever. You can do this if you wish, just by cutting the muslin to fit the side and velcroing it in. You can also hot glue the muslin to the foam board, which is what I did with the other two panels.


Once your muslin is in how you want it to be, make sure it’s not covering up any of the velcro attachment points. Then, cut your poster board to size and turn on your lights and you’re ready!

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Here are some shots of how the lightbox looks folded up:

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Here’s an example photo using the lightbox:


Now I know I may not be the best at explaining this, but I hope it kinda made sense. If you have any questions or need clarification or something doesn’t make sense, PLEASE let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to clarify or make corrections!

Have a good week and don’t forget to follow @IggleBugs for updates and encouragement! If you use the hashtag #IggleBugs365, I will try to retweet a few photos every day!

Also, if you want to nominate someone for IggleBug of the Week, tweet @IggleBugs with your nomination!