SL for Nowt

Living a digital life with empty pockets

Tutorial: Making a private space

(Well, as private as one can get in Second Life…)

One of the things that seems to concern many newbies (especially females) is the lack of privacy in Second Life. There are very few places where one can unpack boxes and try on clothes without other people walking by. Well, I’m afraid that the fact that anyone can use their camera to get into almost any place you might be means that privacy is something of an illusion, but nonetheless there are ways to maintain that illusion a little bit more.

One of those ways is to find a quiet sandbox and create a small, enclosed skybox that you can whiz up several thousand metres into the air, so you can open your boxes and get changed in peace. The higher you go, the less likely you are to be disturbed, although I can’t guarantee that someone won’t get nosey and start poking around. You can take your private skybox as high as you like, although the building limit is 4096m.

Hop behind the cut, where I will take you through a fully-illustrated complete beginners’ tutorial on making just such a private place.

WARNING: This post is image-heavy, and the images are quite large, to allow for the interface to be seen. I have optimised the images as jpegs, which should make them faster to load, but you might want to open the page and then go make a cup of tea while it loads ;)

First, you need to find a quiet sandbox. I suggest following this tutorial at a time when Second Life in general and the sandboxes in particular might not be so busy. So if you can get up early in the morning SLT you’ll find a lot less people at the sandboxes than usual.

I use Kaemi Sandbox. You can also try Skybeam Sandbox. Please be aware that your rezzed items and creations will not stay permanently in any sandbox. They will eventually be auto-returned to you (you’ll find auto-returned items in your inventory’s Lost and Found folder). The auto-return time could be three hours or more, and you’ll usually find it posted either around the sandbox itself or in its description.

I’ve tried to put all the instructive text on the images, to save having to type it all out above them as well. I find this way tends to be much easier to understand. Also, I’ve made this as detailed as I possibly can, so that even a complete novice at building should be able to follow it. So, without further ado, onward!

If it’s not automatically available in the menus of your Second Life viewer of choice, the ‘Tools’ menu is accessible by holding CTRL and 3.

Forgot to put on this next image: you need to left-click the TOP of the platform, since that’s where you want the new platform to be ‘stuck’ to.

If you ensure that ‘Stretch Textures’ is also checked, it will be less hassle later on, with setting texture repeats:

If you didn’t have ‘Stretch Textures’ checked when you made the main walls (and they now look horribly distorted and stretched upwards) then look at the Vertical Texture repeat. You’ll need to set that to one when you set the horizontal ones to four.

Before you’re completely finished, just edit the skybox again, click that Magic Wand button, and uncheck the Copy Selected box. Otherwise, if you started creating more objects, you might end up copying other stuff!

And you’re done! You can now rez this skybox in any sandbox, sit on the cube inside, and set the height to whatever you want, for a private area to open boxes and get changed. Just find a posing stand (sometimes called an adjustment stand) in your inventory and drag out onto the floor of your skybox, and hop on that if you want to stay still while you change and adjust items.

In the next tutorial in this series (already screencapped, but I’m starving and need to cook dinner now!) I’ll show you how to make a photobooth with lighting that you can place inside this skybox, so you can take good-quality pics of yourself for blogging, Flickr, or uploading to help you identify what all those outfits look like!

February 8, 2009 - Posted by | building, hints and tips, second life, tutorials


  1. This is great! I had wondered about this if possible but it certainly is! Thank you!

    Comment by Lilyana Muircastle | February 9, 2009 | Reply

  2. You’re very welcome, Lilyana :) Privacy is, unfortunately, an illusion in Second Life at the moment, but I’ve found that very same illusion can be enhanced so you at least feel you have privacy.

    Comment by Mar | February 9, 2009 | Reply

  3. Crystal Gadgets has an excellent skybox rezzer that does basically the same as you show manually… just drop the box somewhere, then sit on it and the rest is popup-menu driven. It’s usually what I use when going through the spoils of hunts.

    Comment by Matt | February 10, 2009 | Reply

  4. Reuven lLestat of WOndrous Strange has a lovely Moorish skybox for a dollar in her cupid’s arrows hunt thru th end of the month.

    Comment by Seasprite Destiny | February 14, 2009 | Reply

  5. @ Matt – Crystal Gadgets does indeed have a fab free skybox, and I plan to make a post soon about some of the great free gadgets that can be found in and around SL. Thanks for reminding me; it’s been added to my list for that blog post :)

    @ Seasprite – Ooh, thanks for the tip-off! I love Wondrous Strange’s items (bought three bags from the store at Lemania Indigo, which I need to blog about) and I need to finish finding the WS arrows over there!

    Comment by Mar | February 14, 2009 | Reply

  6. at the max of altitude he not return in your inventer ?

    Comment by louis nirvana | March 6, 2009 | Reply

  7. @ Louis, I’m not sure what you’re asking here, but if you rez a skybox at any altitude in a sandbox, it will eventually be returned when the sandbox’s auto-return happens. If you’re asking whether the skybox would be returned if you built it as high as possible (4096m) then I don’t know; I never build that high. Sorry I can’t help any further!

    Comment by Mar | March 6, 2009 | Reply

  8. […] or if you’re feeling industrious you can follow my tutorial for making a private skybox and then repeat it inside the skybox to make a photobooth. Use the ‘cut’ option to cut […]

    Pingback by Hints & Tips: Taking great photos of your avatar « SL for Nowt | March 30, 2009 | Reply

  9. […] What’s to come… Stay tuned for some simple and to the point tutorials on building and scripting questions. I’ll put those up as I stumble upon them, for the next issue I’ll plan to toy around with transparency. Meanwhile, you can go to SL for Nowt’s beginners tutorial on skybox building. […]

    Pingback by What’s to come… « Christiana Lecker's SL Playground | September 8, 2009 | Reply

  10. […] and get changed, hang out with friends in, or even live in (if you don’t mind small spaces!) here. Once you’ve mastered the basics of building in that post, you can create larger […]

    Pingback by Those Little Questions: All About Skyboxes « SL for Nowt | May 12, 2010 | Reply

  11. […] there, find yourself a quiet spot. You can rez your boxes on the ground, or you can follow my Make a Skybox tutorial to create a place you can whiz up into the air for a bit of privacy. It’s entirely […]

    Pingback by Newbie Notes: How to archive things in a box « SL for Nowt | May 23, 2010 | Reply

  12. thanks so much for explaining this, i have been having trouble understanding what to do – but your tutorial helped a lot!

    Comment by Simon | June 3, 2010 | Reply

    • You’re welcome, Simon :)

      Comment by Mar | June 3, 2010 | Reply

  13. Link objects step doesn’t work in V2

    Comment by 1 | September 25, 2011 | Reply

    • 1, the CTRL-L shortcut should still work. This is an old tutorial, and I’m afraid that I simply don’t have the time to re-do all of my tutorials using V2.

      Comment by Mar | September 27, 2011 | Reply

  14. […] in SL, it’s a little place to call our own. Previously, I’ve given you a tutorial to make a very simple little 10m skybox to get changed in (and live in, if you want!) but that method doesn’t give you much leeway […]

    Pingback by Mar’s Guide to: Making a little hideaway for yourself : SL for Nowt | April 7, 2012 | Reply

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