Photo booths at wedding receptions are at once old-fashioned and modern, harking back to the vintage coin-operated booths found in arcades but also seizing on the current obsession with snapping self-portraits.

The photo strips they deliver make great personalized wedding favors, or the pictures can be assembled into a creative guest book for the bride and groom.

If you're willing to forgo some of the frills and focus on the fun, it's possible to put together your own photo booth with little more than a cardboard refrigerator box, an iPad mounted on a tripod and a bit of creativity.

There are numerous inexpensive or free apps that replicate the photo booth experience - I like Pocketbooth - and allow users to post pictures to social media or print them using an AirPrint-enabled printer.

But if you don't want to deal with the hassle of a printer and paper, just save the pictures to your iPad. Guests will still enjoy snapping pics, and you can print out the best strips later and include them in thank you notes.

A few coats of spray paint can transform a cardboard box into a trendy chalkboard surface that can be embellished with lettering, garlands and other decorations.


cardboard refrigerator box

box cutter

ruler, pencil

chalkboard spray paint

wooden dowel

fabric for curtain

tripod with iPad mount


small chair or stool

photo booth app, such as Pocketbooth

optional: AirPrint enabled printer, photo paper

chalk or chalk ink markers

small wooden dowels

adhesive-backed hook-and-loop tape


1. Cut top and bottom flaps off the box so you are left with a tall, narrow box open on both ends.

2. Measure and cut a door-shaped opening on one side of the box, leaving a small lip at the bottom for stability. This will be the front of the booth.

3. Set up the tripod on one side of the booth, with the iPad attached to it, positioned so the screen is held vertically and flat against the box. Figure out the correct position based on the height at which guests will be sitting. Trace around the screen on the box, and cut out the rectangular shape so the screen shows through to the inside.

4. Spray paint the outside of the box with chalkboard paint.

5. If desired, paint the inside of the box another color, or decorate it with paper or fabric.

6. Cut two holes in the sides of the box close to the top front corners and insert a dowel so the curtain can hang over the doorway.

7. Decorate other sides of the box with chalk lettering and other embellishments. (For example: write "Pick a Prop," "Strike a Pose" and other instructions.) Props such as moustaches, glasses and hats can be cut of cardstock and glued to wooden dowels. Stick a strip of adhesive-backed hook-and-loop tape to the box, and wrap a bit around the dowels so they can be stuck to the side of the box.

8. To help users, print up instructions to post inside the box. (For example, "If screen is blank, press 'home' button, tap Pocketbooth icon to open the app.")