Friday, August 11, 2017

How to make a simple lightbox

Hi everybody, I'm Carol.  I'm going to show you how to make a simple light box today using Proxxon tools.    These are just the best little tools!

This was an easy project to make.  It is a simple light box.  So, what is a lightbox?  Well let me tell you.   Have you ever needed to copy a pattern, maybe from a photo of some previous work you've done and want to do again but really don't want to take the time and effort to redraw it?  Have you ever tried to hold the picture to the window and try to trace it from that awkward position or worse yet have to use carbon paper?  This lightbox is truly a crafter's friend.  You can literally place any picture or pattern, no matter how dark or light onto the Plexiglas top, slap you paper on top and see it as clearly as if you were looking at the picture.  Trace away.   I have placed 140 Lb watercolor paper over my pattern and was able to see it clear enough to draw all the details. 

The light source I bought from a hardware store.  It was intended to be mounted on a bathroom or kitchen ceiling.  It has extremely bright LED lights, but the cover is flimsy and fragile, hence the need for a box. 

Supplies needed:

Light source. 
Electric wire with plug for outlet   (a switch in line is nice but not necessary)

1 x 4 x 64" pine board  (actual measurement 3/4 x 4 x 64)
cut (2) 16 " lengths and (2) 15" pieces for the sides.

1/4" plywood sheet cut to 16 x 16"

1/4"  plexiglass sheet cut to 15 1/2 x 15 1/2"

Electric drill with 3/8' drill bit

Wood glue

Wood screws

Here is a picture of the light source I chose to use

The first thing I did was cut all the pieces to size as indicated above.   The Proxxon table saw did a really fine job of cutting that heavy Plexiglas

Be sure to put a hole in one of the sides that you will need to run your wire through.  Slide the wire through the hole and connect it to the wires of the light.  Note, I put a knot in the wire on the inside of the box so that if it gets pulled on it won't disconnect where the wires are joined.  Be sure to wrap the connections with electrical tape and or wire nuts to prevent short circuits.  I used both, just because.  Better safe than sorry. 

Now comes the nifty part.  I measured down from the tops of the board sides about 1/2" and made a reference line on all 4 sides.  I made another line 1/4 down from that.   I used the cutting blade on my Proxxon delta sander to cut on the lines about 1/4" deep.  I popped the wood out with a screwdriver leaving a 1/4 wide   and 1/4" deep groove on all four sides.  This is where the Plexiglas will sit.  It takes a little patience but works well. 

Next I inserted the Plexiglas into the slots on all 4 sides then glued the edges of the 15" boards to the face of the 16 " boards and clamped them square.   After this dried I predrilled some screw holes with my rotary tool and secured the sides with wood screws for added strength. 

I put on the bottom with glue and screws.   Everything gets sanded using my proxxon delta sander.   This tool is so versatile!  Getting into the cracks and corners is a breeze.  No more splinters for me, ever!

I painted it all white then added some green and yellow around the edges just for fun.  I like those colors.  Check out the video to see this light box in action. 


Misty said...

Carol this is so much better than the small ones you can purchase at art supplies and less to make than the larger ones. I am impressed with the fact that the light is so strong it can work through the heavy watercolor paper. I have some original painting I can reduce the size and use the pattern or part of the pattern for a gourd. I would no have to redraw the image. I love the idea of saving time when trying to mass produce craft items in order to bring inventory up to par. Thanks for sharing this with us. Misty Orlove

Nell T said...

Carol, this is a great project, that is very useful. The pictures and instructions are easy to follow.
Thanks for this great project, Nell

Carol Wulf said...

Thanks Nell. I enjoyed making it.

Barbara Moore said...

A very useful project Carol. And really makes duplication of a picture quite easy to do. Good tutorial!

Betty said...

I agree with Barbara it is a very good tutorial I am going to make one just as soon as me and Len get back to doing are wood work

Crystal Bowen said...

Loved all the tips and pictures, thank you so much..

Insane Artist said...

Very make it look so easy. I want one!!

Brenda N said...

This is a great idea. Would really come in handy. Very creative

Steph Ackerman said...

Love this!

Dorothy said...

Hey Carole, I watched this one about the light table before, but my message didn't go through. I now know how to do it. That looks like a neat light table. Good luck on your venture. Dorothy