With winter fast approaching, the amount of light in my kitchen is dwindling.  It is hard to cook a meal and take photos when there is little to no natural light.  As you may or may not know, food photography requires natural light in order to get the mouth watering images that we love.  A flash flattens the image and makes it one dimensional.  So when there is no natural light, you have to make your own.  The easiest way is to use natural light, lighting.  I needed some natural light soft boxes to brighten my kitchen. However purchasing lights for my kitchen would have cost me easily $200.  So I decided to figure out how to make them for myself.  I ended up making three homemade soft boxes for around $28. Not a bad discount.  Plus I used clamp utility lights that allow me to clamp the lights anywhere I need them.  From a cupboard shelf to the back of a chair.  Now I can photograph food at any time of the day or in any room of the house.

Homemade Soft box Continuous Lighting

  • 1 Clamp Utility Light 10″ – Cost $6.86 @ Lowes
  • 1 5500k compact florescent bulb – $1.99 @ Lowes
  • 12 inches square piece Rip Stop Nylon – Cost $5.99 a yard @ Jo-Ann Fabrics, only need about 1/9th
  • 12 inches elastic band – $0.39
  • Magic marker
  • Stapler

To start you need to purchased a clamp light and a 5500k compact florescent light bulb.  Make sure that when the bulb is screwed into the clamp light, that it does not protrude past the edges of the clamp light cone.  If it does, you need to get a bigger clamp light with a deeper cone, or a shorter compact florescent bulb.

Clamp Light and 5500k Florescent Lamp

Next lay out the Rip Stop Nylon and place the cone of the clamp light onto the fabric.  Then using a marker, draw an outline of the clamp light cone onto the fabric.  Make sure to make the outline about 1 inch bigger than the actual size of the cone.

Outline the cone

Trim the Nylon so that it is slightly bigger than the outline.

Next staple one edge of the elastic to the fabric on top of the outline.  Then stretch the elastic and staple it to the fabric following the outline.  Make sure to stretch the elastic as you go around the outline.

Stretch and staple the elastic

When you are done you will have a round piece of rip stop nylon that resembles a shower cap.

Nylon Shower Cap

Stretch the fabric around the cone of the clamp light.

Stretch the fabric around the cone

The nylon with keep the fabric taught and it with further catch the edge of the clamp light keeping the nylon filter attached to the light.

Perfectly stretched and ready to illuminate your pictures

Clamp the light where you need extra light and you have the perfect soft box lighting for little to no money.

Extra Light

It is noted that you need to utilize a compact florescent bulbs for this project as they do not produce the heat of an incandescent bulb.  Plus you can purchase compact florescent bulbs in the required 5500k frequency.

Warning – if you use a standard bulb it will heat up and melt the fabric.  This can cause injury or damage.  Make sure to use a compact florescent bulb.

Rex is an avid griller, barbecuer and bacon enthusiast. He is the Pitmaster for the Rex BBQ competition team. Rex was also featured on the TV show American Grilled. If you have any questions or wish to have Rex decode your favorite dish, click on the ASK REX link in the menu above.

13 Comments

  1. You are so brilliant!! Thank you so much for sharing this!! I needed a compact photography light right away and couldn't even find one to buy. This is a much better and more affordable solution. You really saved the day for me:-)

    • Sunny – Hope these will work out for you. I use two of these to light up my kitchen for photography for this site. They work great.

    • Rebecca – I used a 26 watt CFL bulb which is the equivalent to a 100w bulb. I posted a reply to this a couple of days ago, but it did not take. Sorry about the delay.

  2. designer furniture Reply

    Really a nice solution for kitchen brightens! When in the kitchen have no found natural light that time need to use such kind of light soft boxes. It is exciting and efficient or using. Thanks!

  3. khan lKö?e Reply

    Nice to see your blog, Good info. Keep posting new stuff. Will be visiting this site frequently

  4. If i’m setting up a photobooth (just for fun, not professionally), at my home for a party, would I need one or two of these softbox lights to be enough lighting? It’s in an open room, not enclosed.

  5. I’m unable to find rip stop nylon in my hometown. Would regular nylon work – they would just be used to light a selfie station at a holiday party. Thanks!

    • Rex Reply

      Caraline,

      I am sure that nylon would work. I have not tried it, but it should give you a similar look. I chose rip stop as I didn’t want it to split when I stretched it. If you want you can pick up ripstop nylon by the yard on Amazon. http://amzn.to/2hfgYc4

      Regards,
      Rex

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