How To Make A Light Box



As promised from my article, The Easiest Way to Make Money, I am going to show you how to make a simple photography light box. Most people will find having a  light box useful for photographing items for eBay, blogging, taking stock of their personal inventory for insurance records or to enhance their photography hobby. For my son, who made me the light box, it was originally an assignment at school. I encourage you to find the items below in your home and re-use them. If you don’t have something on the list you can improvise. For example, instead of tissue paper, use an old thin sheet that isn’t useful for bedding anymore.

What you will need:

  • A large cardboard box (mine was approx 24″x 24″ x 22″)
  • Shipping or duct Tape
  • White tissue paper or white fabric (like an old sheet)
  • X-Acto knife (a.k.a. box cutter)
  • 2 Daylight bulbs —(see tips below for specifics)
  • 2 utility lamps w/ clamp bottoms
    (we bought lights like these)
  • matte poster board or something similar that is approx twice the length of your box (needs to be able to curve without creasing)
  • pen or pencil
  • right angle ruler or just a large ruler

supplies for a light box


The first thing you need to do is measure and mark a 2 inch border on the edges of 3 sides of the box.

light box directions

Proceed by cutting out the the marked sides with your box cutter. Be careful.

instructions for light box

Next cut off the box flaps.

box for light box

Cut your poster board to match the width of your box, but wait to cut the length. When you’re happy with the fit, insert poster board backdrop. It will stay in place due to the tight fit. If not, staple the poster board to the box. You will have a seamless background now. This sounds complicated and confusing but it’s not.

making a light box with poster board

Now tape the tissue paper to the outside of the 3 box openings. (trim to fit if needed)

tissue paper for light box

Next find some random household objects to attach your utility lights to. We used small ice buckets filled with random junk like sunblock that were laying around. Place one on each side of the box. If you happen to have a third light to use on the top of the box that would be great. It’s not necessary though. We just happened to have a ceiling one above our pool table where we set up. It worked out perfectly.


You officially have a working light box!

diy light box



  • You can use regular table lamps instead of utility lights as long as you change the bulbs out to be the right kind.Light bulbs will make all the difference with your light box color. You want clean white.  After 3 trips to Home Depot you might want to take our advice. we bought bulbs similar to these
  • Be sure the bottom surface of your objects is always clean.
  • You can change out the white poster board for black or other colors.
  • Use chairs to hold the utility lights.
  • You can move the lights closer and further to the box to adjust lightening.
  • Do not leave lights on unattended. The tissue paper can get hot!
Special thanks to my “Macgyver” son for making me this super cool light box!

How to Plan a Staycation

Make your room feel like a five star resort!

Make your room feel like a five star resort!

Whether you’re looking to lay low or you’ve had to cinch your financial belt,  a staycation is the perfect solution for you. What is a staycation? A vacation spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions. I will be highlighting the latter. Just like you would spend time and energy researching hotels, airlines, etc…staycations require planning and budgeting as well. Here are my tried and true suggestions for having a successful and fun staycation:

  1. Plan and budget your itinerary  — Simple enough, plan a budget and stick to it. When you know what your funds are,  go get a guidebook from your local bookstore or find websites that share things to do in your area. I live in San Diego and Sunset magazine had a great article on top hiking spots. (relaxing and free) Go on a picnic. We did and loved it! We live just 45 minutes from one of the most famous beaches, Coronado. Do we ever go there? No! So of course, that went on our San Diego staycation itinerary. We live an hour from Disneyland. That didn’t make our list but it was an option to consider. Write out a list ahead so you aren’t trying to figure things out the week of your staycation. That will only make it stressful and less enjoyable.
  2. Treat your home like a hotel — This might be the most important rule to make your vacation feel real. If your budget allows, hire a housekeeper at the beginning and end of your staycation. This will help you resist temptation to clean on your staycation. Invest in new sheets or pillows, fancy soaps and crisp white towels. We put a mini fridge in our bedroom filled with waters and bubbly. On our dresser, we had fresh flowers, a coffee maker and snacks. Since we have a pool, I put out books, sunblock and towels. It’s these small details that are easy to implement that make it feel like you’re staying in a special hotel. Gather your local take out and delivery restaurant menus so they can be on hand. It’s as good as room service! Eat in your bed just like you would at the hotel.
  3. View it like a real vacation — This means get the time off from work and let friends and family know you will be on vacation. Mark your calendar no differently than if you had non-refundable plane tickets purchased. If you don’t do this, you risk treating it too casually and it may never take place. This might be hard, but resist doing any household chores. Remember you’re on vacation so limit your phone and computer use.
  4. Splurge — Since you’re saving so much by staying home for your vacation, splurge where you can. We went to a few local eateries that we had been wanting to try. I also stocked the house with a few bottles of wine that normally is out of our budget. This would have been a splurge but we happened to have gift cards to use. Go get a couples massage! That was a fabulous part of our staycation!
  5. Take photos — Whether you use your Smartphone or camera, take photos! We took pictures everywhere just like we would on a vacation far away. It makes you look at your local area with a whole new perspective, as well as capture priceless moments together. As an added bonus, create a mini photo album or slide show at the end.


  • If you have children,  hire a sitter and go out for a special dinner.
  • It’s all in the details…for instance add umbrellas to your drinks or fill your house with fresh flowers.
  • Have music playing throughout the house or in the yard. (Pandora is your friend here)
  • Hit local happy hours to save money while still getting to go out.
  • Take turns cooking a meal for each other and then make a meal together. My husband and I love making dinner together.
  • Use gift cards that have been piling up. We had Starbucks, a dinner certificate and massages that we cashed in!
  • Hit your local farmers market or swap meet to pick up fresh produce and staycation souvenirs.
For more  activity ideas check out my date night ideas post.

Music That Melts

Today I’m sharing my latest repurposing project that’s perfect for your next party! Take old records and melt them down to bowls. They not only look groovy, but are very functional. My sister made these for her son’s graduation party recently. His party theme was the Beatles, so these were the perfect accessory. The process to make them is very easy too!



How to get your groove on:

  • fill them with snacks and candy (be sure they’re wrapped food items for safety)
  • a great storage for t.v. remotes
  • loose change anyone?
  • “where did I put my keys?”…a thing of the past
  •  place your small gift or gift card (think iTunes) in the bowl and wrap with cellophane

If you don’t have any unwanted records laying around in your attic, you can pick them up for next to nothing at a garage sale or thrift store. Have fun and don’t forget to crank your tunes!

Magnetic Wine Cork Planters

cork magnet succulent planters

This latest creation has been made by a modern day Martha, my sister, Colleen. Well, she’s a lot more hip than her, but you get the idea.

It all started when she gave a friend of ours a bottle of wine for their 25th wedding anniversary. She wanted them to be able to have a little memento from the evening. After the bottle was empty, I sneaked the cork in my purse(it’s not stealing, because she got it back!). From there my sister worked her brilliance! The couple she was making it for love two things in life, wine and gardening. (yes in that order, jk!) That’s when she remembered being inspired by a photo from Piccsy. A mini cork succulent planter magnet. Does it get any cuter? I don’t think so! It’s sentimental, compact, practical, green and stylish.


  • Corks made from cork not plastic
  • Magnets
  • Potting soil
  • Very small succulent cuttings
  • Puncher
  • Paring knife
  • Glue gun
  • Succulents


How to:

    1. CAREFULLY, hollow out the center of a wine cork with the puncher and knife until you’ve hollowed it out halfway.
    2.  Glue magnet onto cork.
    3.  Fill the hole with potting soil and add the succulent.
    4.  Use an eyedropper to water.
    5. Put on your fridge and enjoy!

WARNING: This might not be a craft for a child or a clumsy adult!



  • Perfect for:
  • Hostess gifts
  • Special occasions
  • Wine lovers
  • Green lovers
  • Me
  • Thank you gifts
  • Green thumb friends
  • really, anyone!


Letter Love

I love monograms. Today I’m sharing a few diy projects that I’ll be making on my next rainy day. (I’m afraid that might this weekend!) I hope they inspire you to get your letter on!

Diy Monogram Mugs by Design Moms. She got this idea when she spotted some mugs at Anthropologie. She shows you how to turn this it into a perfect gift with Happy Hot Cocoa inside.








Diy Monogrammed Cork Letters from Green is Universal. Now this is my kind of project. Corks and a glue gun. It doesn’t get more rainy day fun than this!

cork letters







Initial Necklaces by Design Dazzle. I love the modern, custom vibe of these letter necklaces. I think it would be cool to have a poem, sentiment, or even birth stats as the backdrop. Add a small white feather charm and a chunky chain to give it a more flair.

Page 1 of 3123