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DIY – Light Tent :: Metal Monkey Exotics

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DIY – Light Tent

How to make a light tent.

My sincerest apologies to anyone that took the time and effort to make the last humongous, pain in the butt, light tent. This is a new version, and improving on the faults from the last tent; most notably the non existent top lamp grip. I have used all of the same PVC tubing from my last model, so no need to spend any more money than you have to. There are a few new items to pick up, here's the new list if starting from scratch.

Shopping list:

3- ½” x 5 ft of PVC pipe (or reuse the old PVC)
4- ½” PVC tees 4- ½” Street Elbows
1- ½” PVC cross piece PVC cement
5 yards of muslin cloth (36" wide)
Safety pins or clips 1 (or 3)
11" work shop lamps w/ 3- 100 watt "daylight" fluorescent bulbs
Carpenters Square
Sharp saw,
Permanent marker,

Backdrop list:
3 screws white poster board
screwdriver and a hole punch.

Cutting the PVC to size

Using a saw, cut your PVC tubing to size. These are the measurements I am using, but by all means, cater to your size needs. If you want a shorter tent, a taller tent, wider, what ever you’d like. I’m using this size as it fits great on our table in the snake room. 6x 21” These will be used for the legs, and for 2 sides of the frame. 2x 12” The front length of the frame 1x 25” The back length of the frame assembling the front middle lamp grip With our two short 12" pieces, we are going to cement the PVC cross piece into the middle to give the lamp something to grip instead of twisting around and falling into the muslin on top. You’ll most likely want to cement this to stop the cross from twisting under the weight of the lamp.

Making the frame legs Cement the street elbows to the 4x 21” lengths of PVC for the legs.

Your going to cement the street elbows to the tees, but the tricky part is making them as perpendicular and as square as possible to keep the legs all sitting straight. This is where a carpenter’s square or some good eye balling comes into play.

For example:

Setting the street elbows on a flat hard surface, you’ll have an easier time of putting the tee on square.

IMPORTANT!!!! You’ll have to reverse the direction that the tee is facing to make sure you have two opposite facing sides for the frame. If you were to look into the street corner piece itself, you’ll have the tee sticking out to either the left or right. Make sure you get this step right! Like so!

Assembling the frame The front length of PVC with the lamp grip The 25” PVC tube as the back length of frame The 2x 21” as the short sides of the frame


You’ll want the front lamp grip piece to be angled to hold the lamp up. Mine is angled roughly at 45 degrees.

Muslin Now like before, I didn’t measure my 5 yards of muslin. I wrap, clip it on and cut!


Optional backdrop holder


I hope this was easy to understand, and takes care of some space issues from the last design. You can still use 3 lamps, although I lost 2 somewhere in a move. The one lamp on top seems to work pretty good anyways. And now for some neat pictures just taken this evening in the new light tent. (On white poster board, make sure you set the white balance!)


Nothing like seeing a nice ghost showing her true colors!


Thanks for looking! (And always feel free to ask me or give me any suggestions!)

:: Connie

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