Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I'm so happy to have you visit my blog to celebrate Christmas in July.  I hope you have been following along with all the activities.  If not, hop on over to the Unscripted Sketches blog and check out the fun, fun, FUN.  Of course, there are tons of prizes and tons of chances to win!  You are not going to want to miss a day of the celebrations!

I would like to share a bit of my world with you.  One of my  favorite summer activities is playing outside!  My DH and I love to spend time puttering in the yard.  It is a constant work in progress....but it is fun, relaxing and a bit of a workout!

The highlight (at least we think it is) of our yard is our pond.  It was my birthday present from our son a few years ago.  Yes, the hole was dug by hand and yes, I helped!  It does take quite a bit of time to maintain, but it is all worth it!  We have several fish (koi and goldfish) that have grown to monster size.

Our pond in summer

.... in spring

.... and in winter (actually early spring).

Some of the Koi and goldfish

Now while we are on the subject of pictures.....I am sure  many of you struggle with taking a good picture of your projects. In the past, I would snap at least 9 million photos of one card ....outside, inside, in the sun, in the shade....trying to get a good quality photo!

Well, fret no more!  Follow these simple instructions and create an inexpensive light box that will make your world  picture perfect!  If any of my directions are confusing, please e-mail me at ggreener@mymts.net and ask for clarification.

Also, please remember that this is a very rough version.  My real light box is much neater than this!!!

Step One:
Select a sturdy box and cut off the top flaps (Photo #1 and #2)

Photo #1
Photo #2
 Step Two:
Cut out inside panels from three sides of the box.  Make sure to leave at least a 1" border. (Photo #3)

Glue down the bottom flaps. Gluing down the flaps will give you a nice solid and even base to set your card on (Photo #4)

Photo #3
Photo #4

Step Three:  NO PHOTO AVAILABLE but please read!
Paint the inside of the box (the frames and the top & bottom with some white paint.  I used regular latex house paint.  Don't skip this step as you don't want dark colors to cast shadows inside the light box.

Step Four:
Adhere tissue paper or a light weight white cotton to the two sides and the top (this is where the 1" border comes into play).  I initially used tissue paper but found that it tore too easily so I switched to cheap white cotton pillow cases ($4 at Walmart).  I used my husband's hockey sock tape to secure the material to the sides. Seriously, hockey sock tape is the next best thing to Crazy glue! (Photo #5, Photo #6, Photo #7)

Photo #5
Photo #6

Photo #7
*** I left a bit of the top showing in this photo just to give you an idea of this process. Completely cover the top of the box.

Step 5:
Cut a piece of poster board about 1/2 inch narrower than the inside width of the box (Photo #8).

Photo #8
Fit this piece into your box to establish the length you will need.  You want the piece to fit inside the box with a bit of a curve.  Do not crease the paper to fit the box.  Think ski slope.  You may have to play around with the length a bit so that the poster board sits snugly up against the inside front edge (Photo #9).

Tip: I used some scrap paper first to get the dimensions that I needed and then cut the poster board based on those measurements.

Photo #9
Step 6:
This last step will depend on whether or not you have a place to permanently keep the light box (Photo #10 and #11).

Photo #10
Photo #11
I used some old lamp bases (plus a garage sale find or two).  I placed the light box on top of a small filing cabinet, set the lamps on some cardboard boxes (told you this isn't high tech). Our basement is under renovation right now so I was able to secure the top light directly on to the wall..

It is important to have a light source from the front as well.  I use a small table lamp base that I move around manually, depending on which angle I will take the picture.

Tip:  If your card has some dimension to it, you might have to move the front light either from side to side or top to bottom to get rid of the shadow.  Contrary to this, the shadow might also be used to highlight the depth/dimension of your card.

You might also consider setting up your light box on something that is table height or higher to make it easier to photograph your items (much easier on the back!!!)

Step 7:
The key here is the type of light bulb to use!  I used the Sylvannia brand, but there are others.  What is important is that they are:

23 Watt, 120 Volt CFL Daylight bulbs. A daylight bulb provides a 'natural' light' and keeps the colors quite true.

So there you have it!  A few easy steps and you are on your way to stress free (and time saving) photography!

I hope you have enjoyed my spotlight session during our Christmas in July celebrations.

Please come back and visit again soon!


  1. What a truly beautiful garden Geri, what a wonderful place to sit and relax. I just loved all the different photo's for the different seasons. OMG I totally love that light box, I am definately going to try that. What a great idea.
    Merry Christmas in July

  2. Geri, your garden is fab!!!!!! and your pond is amazing! Thanks for the great tutorial too. I've always wanted to make a light box but never quite knew how to do it. I will have to give it a try.. :)

  3. Love your garden...I can see why you love spending time in your yard! Thank you for sharing this tutorial.
    Steph-DT member

  4. Love your pond...thought it was so neat that you still have your Spirograph!

  5. What a great tutorial! Thanks, Geri!!!

  6. Love love your pond, in all the seasons. How nice to sit and relax out there.

    What a great idea for the light box, how creative and fun!! Great job on the tutorial!

    Thanks for sharing and Merry Christmas in July!!

  7. I love your pond and your fish and where you live. I came from Michigan so we have weather and seasons like you and I miss them. I now live in Arizona and will be moving to Austin, Texas in two weeks - desert life for sure. I wish I had these directions for the shadow box back when. I ended up buying a cheap one on line because I wasn't sure how to make one. Thanks for sharing. Jearise in lorbysworld at http://lorbysworld.blogspot.com

  8. Love your pond. The whole scene is wonderful. I could just see setting out there reading and sipping ice tea. Love it. Great tutorial on the light box. Mine is close to that and really makes a difference. Really enjoyed your spot light..

  9. Wow, your yard is amazing. I imagine your family must enjoy spending time there and just unwinding! Thank you for the tutorial on the light box. This is a definite "to do".

  10. What a beautiful pond and garden...that springtime view has me drooling! The light box tutorial is on my list. Thanks for sharing!