DIY Softbox: How to Build a Softbox

Item # X-HT-300613

At Sailrite®, we're all about making how-to videos that help you conquer projects for your home, boat, patio, automobile and more. But we occasionally make videos for projects that we need here at our Indiana headquarters. In 2021, we broke ground on a warehouse and office expansion for our growing business. Part of that expansion included a new video studio where we record our DIY project videos. When the new studio was finished, Project Guy Eric realized it was the perfect opportunity to make a large softbox for the studio — and why not create a how-to video for it as well! In today's video, we'll teach you how to build a softbox for your personal photography or videography needs. Let's get started.

Learn how to build a softbox with our complete how-to video.

A softbox is a light modifier that is used to soften the brightness of a flash. Softboxes are used in film, television and photography. Softboxes reduce harsh shadows in your photos or on camera, balancing the light to create a soft, even light (imagine how harsh a lamp lightbulb is without the lampshade). They help mimic the look of natural light on camera and in your photos. A bigger box will spread and diffuse the light over a larger area; a smaller box will still soften light but focus it more directly into a specific space.

We made two 8-foot by 8-foot softbox wooden frames and then created our fabric panels to cover the frames. The great part about this project is that we show you how to measure your wooden frame and then calculate your fabric amounts and fabric panel dimensions. So if you need softboxes in a different size, you can build the frame the size you need and then follow our video to learn how to measure and sew the panels to your specifications.

This is an easy DIY softbox project that requires simple construction and sewing skills. Even if you've never sewn before, you'll be able to follow along and make your own softbox with professional results. Watch the video below to see how it's done.

How did your softbox project turn out? Share your photos on social using #Sailrite so we can see all your awesome DIY skills! Do you have other project requests or ideas? Leave your suggestions in the comments section below and they might become future Sailrite how-to videos. Happy sewing!

Video Chapters:

  • Intro - 0:00 min.
  • Discussion of Wooden Frame — 0:22 min.
  • Measuring for Black HP Cordura® Fabric — 1:27 min.
  • Sewing Panels Together — 3:06 min.
  • Creating Pleat at Corners — 6:41 min.
  • Stapling Black HP Cordura® to Frame — 12:22 min.
  • Stapling Black Hook Fastener to Edge — 15:26 min.
  • Measuring & Sewing Nylon 200D Optic White Fabric — 16:22 min.
  • Creating Single Hem — 19:25 min.
  • Sewing White Loop Fastener to Edge — 22:11 min.
  • Installing Softbox — 24:05 min.
  • Materials & Tools List — 25:22 min.

Materials List:

  • Cordura® HP Black 60" Fabric #122055
  • Seamstick 3/8" Basting Tape for Canvas (36 yds.) #122064
  • Thread from Sailrite — We used V-69 Polyester on Cordura & V-46 on 200D Nylon
  • 21 Gauge 3/8" (10mm) Staples 10,000/Box (Galvanized) #8010GZ
  • Nylon Black Hook 1" #469100
  • Nylon 200D Optic White 60" Fabric #100134
  • Nylon White Loop 1" #471100
  • Wire Rope Clamp 1/8" (3mm) (Stainless Steel) #120770
  • 7x7 Wire Rope 1/8" x 50' (Stainless Steel) #122698

Tools List:

  • Scribe-All® Water Soluble White Marking Pencil #120681
  • Professional Stainless Steel 10" Scissors #123615
  • Sailrite® Deluxe Fabricator® Sewing Machine Package (110V) #400600
  • Deluxe 5-1/2" Magnetic Sewing Guide #103597
  • Sailrite® Long Nose Upholstery Staple Gun #121411
  • Staple Lifter #120037
  • Clear Acrylic Ruler 6" x 24" #102400
  • Grease Marking Pencil Yellow #111002
  • Tape Measure, Drill & Bits, Chop Saw, Marker, Electrical Wire & Plugs, Lag Eye Screws, Lights

Wood Frame Materials List:

(to make one - 8' x 8' Softbox Frame)

  • 5 each 2" x 4" x 8' Lumber
  • 4 each 2" x 2" x 8' Furring Strip Board Lumber
  • 4 each 1" x 3" x 8' Furring Strip Board
  • 1-1/2" and 3" Wood Screws