To take a photograph of a still life, as a rule you don't need a big studio an plenty of lighting. All you need is a few lamps or flashes, a good background and an object itself.
In this case an effect of "a studio photo" attains by means of a light box. You can easily improvise it from something that lays in your garage, closet or on the attic. Great number of useless things may become useful in making this device. It depends on your imagination only.
You should start with making a small cubic construction, in other words a box without sides. Lengths of arms may vary depending on your needs and imagination, but usually they are less than meter. Next, you should cover the sides of the box with cloth of color and texture you need.
There a few ways to make a light box:
Method No 1:
1) take a TV, monitor or washer box;
2) cut out big holes in its sides;
3) put color paper or cloth inside - it would be the background;
4) fasten white cloth or tracing paper to the sidings - it is needed to reflect or disperse light. If you are in a hurry, you may cover the box with thin white bed-sheet.
It must be the easiest way. Its advantage is quickness of creation (in case you have a box, scissors and cloth or paper). This construction is easy to take to pieces and lay together and it's more or less compact. But the main advantage that you can attain even scattered light using a faint source of light, a small flash or a lamp. The disadvantage of this construction is that the edges of the box are rather wide and they may cast shadows on the object and may be reflected on glossy surfaces. If you will make the edges too thin, the construction may lose its steadiness. And this kind of box is undurable anyway. Though you can make another one in minutes.
The second method:
1) take thin plastic pipes, wooden sticks or thick wire and fasten them. The way you do it depends on your imagination and the material you use. If you want to make a wooden construction you may nail sticks together, plastic pipes or sticks are fastened with angle bars and glue. Using wire you may tie the angle joints with some other wire. Metal construction may need welding.
2) upholster the construction with cloth or paper.
Advantages of this type of light box construction is its durability and steadiness. Disadvantages - it's hard to make it and take to pieces fast. Though you may invent new box design that will allow you to make your light box in minutes.
It's easy to upholster the construction. Cloth and paper fastens easily with paper-clips, pins, glue or scotch tape. You should cover the whole box, except the side where camera objective will be directed. The other sides would be the lampshades for your camera's flash.
Experimenting with cloth or paper, their texture and thickness and the sources of light you can completely remove shadow from the object or make a picture with light and shade falling on the object.
The box made of wire would fit perfectly for glossy objects. For this kind of shoot you have to cover all sides of the box with opaque material and light is directed through the front side. Sometimes the source of light is set inside the box. Then the front side is covered with cloth or paper with a small hole for the objective. You should do this in order to avoid reflections of camera or objective on the object. If you're taking a macro it's enough to make a hole a bit bigger than the lens diaphragm.
Make the light box and you won't regret it!