© 2012 Fourtoes Darkbox08

Darkbox suitcase

At the Peoples History Museum event I used a small cupboard in their workspace, for the Manchester Histories Festival at the Town Hall on Saturday I’ll be using this wooden suitcase that I’ve made into a portable darkbox. As soon as I saw it I knew it would be ideal, it really looks the part.

A similar set up could have been purchased from the 1860s….. link

Inside I’ve lined with a black base hopefully to help with developing glass plates and added a few hooks for paper towels and safelights etc
The upper frame is made of 15mm dowel and copper elbow joints from the plumbing section of the local diy shop, these are held in place by some 15mm plastic pipe holders. The dark cloth is a little short but does the job, its recycled out of my van. I guess I can shoot up to half plate in this but wouldn’t want to go any bigger, I’ll be doing quarter plate on Saturday.

You’ll get the idea from the pics…..











  1. Posted March 2, 2012 at 8:56 AM | #

    Ha, that’s great!

  2. Posted September 30, 2014 at 7:04 AM | #

    This is brilliant! Great workmanship and a really nice looking piece of kit.

  3. Posted September 30, 2014 at 8:55 AM | #

    Thanks Gregg, it works a treat for smaller plates and gets used quite a bit when I need a more compact set up.

  4. Posted May 20, 2016 at 4:56 PM | #

    Hi Tony, love this set up! It seems to be a fairly simple alternative to the expensive pre-made dark rooms from wetplatewagon and lund. Now that it’s been a few years since you made this.. would you change anything about the way you designed it? How did you attached the material to the case? Does the case just sit on a surface or do you attach it in some way? Do you add bars or anything to insure the case doesn’t slam shut when you are in the darkbox? Sorry for all of the questions, I am just eager to make my own! Thanks

  5. Posted May 20, 2016 at 7:00 PM | #

    Hi Brooke,

    It still gets used occasionally if I need a smaller set up for demonstrations etc.

    I don’t think I’d change anything.

    The fabric is glued/stapled in place and is light tight when wrapped around the user and tucked in at your waist area.

    The case his held open by a large brass hinge? I’ll see if I can find a pic for you. The type to keep cabinet lids open etc.

    The only problem? I’ve ever had was the weight of the upper section is a little top heavy and sometimes wants to tip back, as I’ve used the thinner half of the suitcase as the base rather than the deeper half. I suppose I could have added feet to balance the rear section once it’s open but I didn’t have the heart to screw something into the outer casing of the suitcase…


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