I have tried building my own light box out of a big cardboard box. It was bulky and in the way, and the lighting was a huge hassle. I got eco-friendly light bulbs that would look like real daylight, I got 4 plug-in clip-on lamps, I got extension cords to plug in all my clip-on lamps, blah blah blah. The receipts had really big numbers on them. It was a hot mess (literally - those lamps heat up quick!).
I have tried building my own light box out of pvc pipe and sheets. First of all, just so ya know, you do not need a 2ft square light box.* :) That's too big! I tried sheer sheets, white sheets, a white shower curtain, all cut to size and attached to my huge pvc pipe frame with zip-ties. Again the project turned out to be expensive, bulky, and didn't improve my photographs.
|Taken Outside (and yes it was cold)|
So wouldn't you know it, big surprise, sometimes the best solution is the simplest solution. On overcast days I take photographs outside. I have a table, and I tape a sheet of gray matte paper to the banister as a backdrop. Done.
On any other day I am inside next to a window. With my gray sheet of paper taped to a trash can on top of a table. On inside days I also make use of a mirror propped up to give some reflected light and/or a sheet of sheer tissue paper taped to the window to diffuse direct or bright sunlight.
So there you have it. A surprisingly simple photography set-up = paper + tape. Mirror is optional.