I’m alive!…and a black box!

Tap…

Tap…

Tap…

Is this thing on?  Hello…earth to bloggers…oh hey!  How’s it going! 

Long time, no write. 

I know, I’ve been lazy and negligent in writing and I hate myself for it.  Well, not hate…that’s harsh.  I’m saddened and disappointed in myself that I’ve abandoned something I really enjoyed doing.  Writing about cards and the Redsk…Washington Football Team!  The first place Washington Football Team!  At least at the time I’m writing this post.

Anyways.

Blogging.

Man, I’ve been busy.  Really busy.  Busy with work.  Busy with family.  Busy with home projects.  Busy with organizing my collection and creating a bit of a “brand” for myself.  I know, kinda douchey, right?  Maybe not social media influencer douchey, but hey…it was a fun process to come up with an identity for my hobby.  Do you like the new logo?  I think it’s pretty cool and am really proud of it.  Earlier this year I did a couple of sketches and attempted to work on something in inDesign and realized I couldn’t accomplish what I wanted to see, so I reached out to a freelancer graphic designer for help and he pulled together a great image.  I’m really happy with the overall look, so happy in fact I’ve proposed it to the WFT as their new logo and name for the team.  It’s a crazy longshot, I know, but you know…

“you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Michael Jordan via Wayne Gretzky via Michael Scott.

Organizing, yes.  I’ve done lots of that and am super excited to share what I’ve done with our basement…I love it deeply, my beautiful wife though…she has some different thoughts.  The common phrase is “when do you stop”, my common response is, “whatta you mean? They make new ones each day of every year, pfffffttttt.”  She’s a patient woman and I’m incredibly lucky to have her in my life, but yeah, she could do without the small rectangular photos of men everywhere. 

More on the organizing another day. Today, I’m excited to share a quick post of how I have taken photos of my cards that I’m happy with.  I’m picky.  Very picky.  Don’t like most things and tend to be reticent to try new things, I like steady and familiar but more importantly, quality.  I just wasn’t happy with the card scans I was getting each time I sat down to document my collection.  They were pixely or too dark or not shiny enough or something, it was always something.  So I did some digging around on the ‘gram and noticed a few folks had some really nice photos and well thought out layouts for their cards…which I loved.   I reached out to a couple of them to find out their secrets and they came back with the same results…a photo box!  That was it!  I needed a photo box!  I dug around amazon and on my google machine for some options to buy and then realized…I should just make it. 

It’s crazy simple. 

It’s a box…

…that you take photos in…

IT’S A PHOTO BOX!

I did some sketching as I’m tend to do, made a gotta gettit list for Blick Art Supplies and got to makin’!  Now, before I get to any process here…I want to temper expectations.  This isn’t anything glamorous or spectacular, but it works exceptionally well for me I think the photos capture what I’d hope them to.

Here we go!

The shopping list:

  • Foamcore – 1/2″ Black.  I went with black over white mostly due to my preference to lean towards darker colors over brighter ones…plus (see next item)
  • Hardboard – 12” x 16” Dark Gray.  This was the real reason I went with black foamcore.  I couldn’t find a durable white surface with this kind of rigidity and durability.
  • LED Lights – one 6’ strip of LED lights.  I wanted the brightness of the LED’s and felt like it would be a great way to pop the colors on the cards.  Also, it allowed for a greater balance of light around the box.
  • Black Tape – 1” thick black tape.  Mostly for the corners, but also for packaging and other items you’ll see in future posts.
  • Foam Core Cutter – Fancy handle shaped cutter.  This is a must if your going to cut a lot of foam cure, which I have and which you will see in future posts.  I spent many nights in architecture studio cutting foam core and not getting a nice consistent straight line…so this is a must for me.  I’d use an x-acto knife, but they blades flex a bit and it’s a challenge to get them square…I’m picky remember?
  • Straight edge – well actually it’s a big ass ruler from home depot.  Helpful in cutting large sheets of foam core, plus it has a nice weight to it.
  • Pencil – for making marks…duh.
  • iPhone – this was really just to document the process for now, I didn’t buy one just to make a box.

Next the crafting:

  • My ultimate goal was to make the box large enough so I could capture one card or ten, or maybe a poster or maybe something else that’s oddly sized…I don’t know…I’m attempting to plan for the future.  How does one plan for the unknown!?
  • Here are the sizes and quantities:
    • 2 – 8”x16” for the long sides
    • 2 – 8”x13” for the short sides
    • 1 – 13”x17” for the top
    • 5 – 8”x10” shims (this was a minor change that I do not regret)
  • Now that the pieces are all cut, time to put this bad boy together.  The hardboard size was the driving factor for the shape, as that needed to fit snug with the inside of the box…not too snug so it’s a struggle to move in and out as wanted…but you know, snug.
  • I was going to tape the sides and leave it, but felt that I should tape and glue them to help keep it in tact a little better, so the four corners are glued and the tape is pressed pretty tightly to the edges and corners.
  • Next, the lights.  This was a little trickier than I thought…I wanted a 90degree corner for the lights, but they apparently don’t bend that way.  I ended up with a 2” or so radius which I’m happy with.  The LED lights had tape on the back, so just peel and apply.
  • Now the peep hole.  Gotta have a peep hole!  This could have been planned a little better as well, but it works.  It really depends on your phone camera.  I have an iPhone and wanted the items to be centered as much as possible in the hardboard.  I mad the cuts prior to really figuring out where the lenses were on the phone…so the hole is larger than I had hoped.  There is some light leak, but nothing significant.  I guess I can address this in the near future.
  • Lastly, put it all together and drop a card in.  I have a few older/used mag holders that I use a dummy holders for the cards.  They tend to get a little scratched over time so those get changed when needed.  I’ve made a couple tick marks with that fancy little pencil of mine so I can quickly swap cards in and out for photographing.

So yeah, that’s it!

I’ve got a great system set up and have been taking tons of photos over the past few months.  In my opinion, this process is faster (for me, at least) than scanning.  There is some time management with uploading the files and getting them where I want them, but I know a card is (mostly) square when I’ve taken a photo and I can see the output immediately.  I like it and it works well for me. 

I’m certain I will still use my scanner for some things and I’ve definitely taken and used photos without the box that I’m really happy with as well, but for the most part, this will be my path to documenting my cards.

Let me know what you think and what you do to document your cards?  I’m always super excited to hear how people maintain their collections.  Love to hear what is important to other hobbyists and collectors.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it!

-Cardboard Hogs

7 responses to “I’m alive!…and a black box!

  1. Welcome back. That box is cool. I’m guessing it does a much better job of showing off foil cards from the 90’s like Fleer Metal and shiny cards like refractors… than my scanner. My issue is my lack of building skills and ultimately space.

    By the way… your Washington team is the scariest 6-7 team around. I’m so stressed about this Sunday’s game b/c you guys stand between the Seahawks and any chance they have for finishing in first place in the NFC West.

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