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Sales Tool: How to Make a Slapdash Slum Light Box

October 26, 2009
Slapdash Slum Light Box-- a.k.a. The ANTI-Leibovitz

Slapdash Slum Light Box: a.k.a. the ANTI-Leibovitz

Dear Bloomin’ Readers, there are literally thousands of sites online with fabulous instructions on building a slick, luminous light box, touched by the hands of Annie Leibovitz, that ensures you primo photographs fit for the cover of a National Geographic.  We, Fruits of the Bloom folks, bring you instructions on building a light box guaranteed to produce dreadful pictures, certain to turn your stomach, and absolutely never oversell your products!  Are customers leaving you negative feedback because your artistic photos produce a higher caliber effect than the actual item they receive from your Etsy store?  The Slapdash Slum Light Box is for YOU!

Hoboville--Harvesting Spot for Cardboard Box Goodness.

Hoboville: Cardboard Box Collection Haven

First, drive down to Hoboville and grab a cardboard box.  Trust me, they multiply like bunnies there–the boxes, that is!  Next, bring it home and con someone into cutting big holes out of each of the four sides of the box, ripping the top off the box, all while attempting to maintain some stability and structure.  Raid your big dude friend/boyfriend/hubby/daddy/baby daddy’s closet!  Pillage two XL size white t-shirts.  (Bonus:  Use the ones with paint stains.  Adds a superfluous layer of scum to each photo!)

You know that magic trick where Marvelous Magician Mordar the Magnificent sticks the pretty lady in the box and cuts off her head and legs?  Pretend the lady is lying in your box, instead of cutting off her head and legs, put a t-shirt over the box in the general direction of where her head would be, but cover the exterior of the box (don’t try to find a lady in your box…stop looking!).  Repeat this step for what should be the lady’s leg side of the box, but don’t slide the shirt onto the box as far as you extended the first side.  Voila!  You have a t-shirt covered box, the bottoms of the tee’s will meet shabbily, seam jogging off to one side of the box.

Now attempt to use an upholstery staple gun to staple the t-shirt fabric to the cardboard box skeleton.  Fail miserably.  Staple your thumb to the cardboard skeleton and stain the t-shirt with your blood.  Wail…scream!!!…stomp on one foot…feel lightheaded from loss of blood…remove staple with pliers.  Wipe your tears, man up, slap a band-aid on, continue with the project.

Slapdash Slum Light Box shows staples.

Slapdash Slum Light Box showing staples.

Get out the dullest pair of scissors you own.  Hatchet into the fabric like a shark biting into surfer candy during “Shark Week. Cut away the fabric from the front of the cardboard box.  Leave jagged gaping hole (reminiscent of shark bite).  Become dismayed that the fabric is already ripping away from cardboard box skeleton.  Snag grey duct tape.  Tape fabric to cardboard skeleton like an EMT tourniqueting a shark bite wound to an artery.  Repeat process for removing fabric from the top of the box.

Become anxious, wring hands, pace the floor a few minutes because of the impending shadow that will be cast on your product photos by the seam of the meeting t-shirts.  Decide to use clear shipping tape to bring both shirts together tautly.  Stand back, cry, pull the rest of the hair on your head out, slurp down a swig of tequila, feel flushed and empowered.  Have someone drive you to buy 4 LED utility lights while mildly buzzed.

Put all of the LED utility lights together (bad mouth a lot), muse about why nothing in this world comes pre-assembled.  Spend 30 minutes hunting down all of your photo props, product, digital camera, power cord, light box, and assembling these all in one spot.  Put one utility light on each side of the box, one in the back, and grab your greyhound/friend/neighbor/baby/baby daddy to hold the 4th light above the box.  Stage picture, gasp in horror that the light box isn’t tall enough for your product.  Place a white pillowcase over the top of the box to diffuse light.  Realize only after getting belly down on the floor to take pictures that the pillowcase is swingin’ too low, draped over your product’s head like a nun’s habit.  Get up, readjust pillowcase.  Back into position (more bad mouthing) to take pictures.  While shooting pictures become cognizant of the brown cardboard skeleton showing up in every frame.  Have a premonition that this might not be one of Martha Stewart’s “good things.”

Am I BLUER from your LED Light Snafu--Photo DON'T!

Am I BLUER due to LED Light Snafu--Photo DON'T!

Pull memory card from camera and skip happily to computer to see your latest Leibovitz knock-offs; heart swelling with pride that you too will be one of the top artsy photographers on Etsy.  Look at pictures.  Quell urge to toss computer, camera, light box, product, yourself, and artistic Etsy photogs out the window.  Realize that LED lights are indeed blue, and make your product look–bluer.  Rip out nose hairs because you finished off head hairs earlier.  Slump over a chair and moan because your pictures will never represent the actual product colors with LED lights.


Actual color of product--taken in natural outdoor light.--Photo DO!

Embrace the tragedy, armed with the knowledge that if you can actually get anyone to purchase your product it will indeed look MUCH better in person than your photographs indicate!  Smile and wait for the positive feedback to roll in, “WOW, had no idea that crap from YOUR hideous pictures would be soooooooo awesome and HIGH quality!  GREAT WORK Fruits of the Bloom (or insert your store name)!”  Chuckle to yourself over the success of your brilliant marketing strategy!

*Photo of Hoboville courtesy of people in urbanisation blog -Thank you for the use of your photo!

***Please double click purple duck images to view and purchase!!***

3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 27, 2009 12:55 pm

    Haha, wow, thanks for the very entertaining post with a very valid point.

    • October 27, 2009 1:09 pm

      Thanks for appreciating the life lessons, Emily! Hopefully people can benefit from my failure, or at least be a little entertained! I never slap things together, I’m a detail-oriented person, but this reminds me why I am…never works to throw something together in a hurry hoping to get a picture taken!


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