Like I said...it is crude. It's a box that I've removed the top and front panels from. I lined the interior walls with the matte side of some poster board (matte surfaces reflect more light!) and stretched a cheap cotton curtain across the top. The curtain diffuses the light (avoids a lot of the shine!) that will come down from the top, it was something I had in the house and would never use again, I bet you can find something similar. A real light box would have diffusing sides as well and light coming in from all directions, for someone who was inclined that could be done with a homemade PVC frame...I'm just sayin' :) I'll probably do that soon lol Still gotta make some nice covers for my tables :(
I use 3 lights, all lights that I already had, all florescent. I put them as close to the curtain as I can so I get as much light as possible from them.
Now you need props!
I sponged some paint onto a piece of poster board to use as my background, although I see now that the paint doesn't really show up. I position it so I don't have any edge of the box in my photos, you only see that piece of poster board. And you might want something to display you item on, that's a personal choice. If you do and you also pose for those one or two interesting shots, plan on spending some time playing with angles. Every item will have an angle it looks best from, so you have to find it.
My camera is not expensive! And it has a big scratch on the lens to boot, I actually have to shoot around that! I use mostly auto settings on my camera. The exception being the white balance and exposure. I reset my white balance every time I take pics. If you notice your color is not quite right, get out your manual, you need to set your white balance manually, you will not be disappointed. The exposure, this is something I am really still playing with, I still have to edit my pics on the computer for that :( It is so easy when you're taking the pic to think the lighting is good, but in truth, it rarely is. Just play around with it, take the same pic with different levels of exposure then look at them on your computer, see which one really makes the piece pop....and which ones just look kind of dull. If you find you have to adjust exposure on your computer, be careful not to overdue that and try adding some contrast at the same time.
These are the things that really transformed my pics. One thing I was really stuck on using was a dark background. In my opinion it helped make the pieces pop because my pieces were dark....wrong! Wrong, wrong, wrong. A lighter background and good lighting are what make my new photos really pop. That and some totally awesome posing lol I hope this helps just one person. I know it was terribly frustrating for me to get from there to here, and time consuming! But it was worth it and will be for you, too.