Foam Core Homemade SoftBox

Instructions, drawings and photos of a homemade softbox

Here’s a great way to learn full length indoor portraiture without spending hundreds of dollars.

The Softbox I tried to imitate

For the record, the cheapest 36″ x 48″ softbox I could find for my Photoflex Starlight was a Westcott Box-3 ( This softbox is designed mainly for strobes and my Starlite is a hot light, but several calls to Westcott tech support put my mind at ease about the heat not being a problem. This softbox is available for $150 at Adorama ( – you have to call to get that price).

The Foamcore Homemade Softbox – How It’s Built

I used laminated foamcore for the box structure. The inside walls are laminated white which gives off a really smooth bounce.

The four sides were taped together with clear packing tape which is holding very well. I taped every seam from the inside and the outside. Some suggest hot glue, but that seems like it would take too long. Black duct tape would have been great as well.

The trickiest part was the back. I had to think up a way to attach it to my speedring (I did already have a speedring for my X-Small Photoflex Silverdome softbox). The speedring has the typical holes drilled for softboxes to connect. I simply cut the back hole out in the pattern of a tic-tac-toe board and folded the tabs up. Next, I used the shafts of two ball point pens to connect the box to the speedring.

Here are photos of the box and the connection (the stop sign on the back is something that was printed on the board I used – haha).

Photo of homemade softboxPhoto of homemade softbox

Photo of homemade softboxPhoto of homemade softbox

What did it cost

Well, I got the foamcore for free from work because it was slighly bent and being thrown out. However, I researched the costs. Here is what it should cost:

  1. Foamcore, (3) 40″x60″ sheets and one smaller sheet for the back – $45
  2. Tape – $2
  3. (2) Ball Point Pens – $1
  4. Nylon diffuser material – $15
  5. Velcro – $10 (I used Elastic – $5)

Total project cost – Total project cost – $68

Softbox Dimensions:

Foamcore homemade softbox dimensions

I’ve added the baffle for diffusion, I decided to use elastic instead of velcro because it was cheaper. I simply cut a rectangle slightly larger than the outer box opening and sewed elastic around the edge. The baffle slips over the opening easily. I haven’t noticed any hotspots yet – if I do, I will add an inner baffle.

Photo of homemade softboxPhoto of homemade softbox

For a more professional look, I spray painted the whole box black on the outside.

Here are a couple of photos taken using this box:

Portrait taken with my foamcore homemade softboxPortrait taken with my foamcore homemade softbox

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