How to make a shadow light box for still life


For photographers and painters working on still lift subjects, light control is an important concept.  Even more for artists because you need consistent light over a long period of time.

For photographers, studio lights can be used but with flashes and strobes you can’t always pre-visualize what the light effects will be.

So one solution is to build a light box or shadow box to control the light.  The shadow box or light box always the artist to control the background behind the still life as well as light coming in from above and or from the side.

Often the light source from the top is adjusted by moving a slit of light to achieve the lighting desired.  Some designs allow one to adjust one or two sidewalls to control light. You can also drape fabric over the shadow box’s back wall for more interest.

A shadow box or light box can be as simple as a cardboard box or more sturdy and permanently made out of wood.  Even out of wood the shadow box can be an inexpensive and easy to build project and a great addition to any painting studio or photography studio.

My DIY Shadow Box Project


So I went to Home Depot and picked up some MDF, had the Home Depot guy cut it for me to size, some hinges and paint.  I built my shadow box and painted in an afternoon.  Now my RISD bound son has a still life shadow box for his bedroom/studio/disaster area.


1/2 inch 2×2 foot MDF – $5.95

75 Watt PVC Clamp Lamp $11.97

Two continues hinges $11.94

Chalked Charcoal Paint – one quart – $16.98

Other Still Life Light box Builds