The Story Behind The Build

SO, it all started with a dream… or maybe more of a demand. I (me, Roz here) wanted a photo booth at my wedding. I don’t know what it is but I just adore those beautiful, retro, throw-back photo strips… but who doesn’t?!? I told my dear, sweet, Dominic how much I would love to have a photo booth on our special day, and he was totally on board… until the price estimates. After a swift analysis of prices we decided to make our own. So, here we are. We took a bit, or rather nearly all of the money we had in our Wedding Fund to make The Great Gatsbooth. Like any sensible thing, it started with a design idea that got revised 100,000 times:

Once we nailed down the design, we started building to spec. Just kidding! Seriously, who does that? We dove in and fixed problems on the fly. Here’s the design we came up with after we had already bought paint:

We did eventually make a materials list and some serious design decisions. Front-to-back the entire build process took about two months. Now, with all of the lessons we have learned, we could probably build a second one in a weekend.

So, this was our materials list:

  • 5mm plywood
  • corner braces
  • posterboard (for decals)
  • paint of many makes and models; indoor/outdoor for the box, acrylic for the decals
  • ModPodge
  • Triple Thick spray-on clear coat, and then once that failed, Polyacrylic
  • 6 lightbulb sockets
  • lamp cord
  • mini fans
  • touch screen
  • relay board
  • Raspberry Pi 3 Kit
  • Raspberry Pi camera

and one obscenely expensive dye sublimation printer shipped in a box that cats just can’t get enough of:


All of the software was custom designed by Dominic, meanwhile the painting and gluing was handled by yours truly. I also did some light design-work making photo templates, but that is about where my computer skills top out. Back to painting and gluing for me!

So this is what our house looked like for pretty much 8 weeks:

It’s nice to not have to worry about stepping on a soldering iron in the living room. Safety first! …or at least in the Top 3. For more pictures of our house catching the Maker Madness, check out our gallery.