And… for $5 you can make your own lightbox
Follow my simple instructions to create your very own lightbox.
- foam board (5) – purchased at the dollar store for $1 each
- flat head straight pins (optional)
- knife blade (with new blade)
- ruler or other straight edge (I used the plastic, see-through ruler that quilters use)
- self healing mat (the one quilters use to cut material) (optional)
- white fabric, computer or tissue paper, or cotton napkin
- heavy duty, double sided tape
- clear packing tape
- and, a helping hand
I didn’t cut the foam board because I wanted a large rectangular lightbox. Make your box any size and use my steps to help guide the assembly.
- Remove all the pricing labels from the foam board
- Using a brand new knife blade, carefully cut four sides (top, bottom, left, right) based on your measurements (cutting out the bottom comes later in the process). Make several cuts through the foam board, using a new blade helps to make nice clean cuts. Remember…measure twice, cut once.
- Line the two edges together to form an “L” shape. This is where the extra pair of hands is helpful. I used a basket (the same height as the foam board) as leverage.
- Use straight pins to hold the two pieces together. Push the pins through both boards about every 2-3″, be sure that the pin goes through the foam part of the board.
- Line the edges of the third foam board to the 2nd foam board.
- Repeat step 4.
Be careful when handling and moving the box. It will be strong enough to stand on its own once all the sides are in place.
- Line the edges of the 4th foam board to the first and third foam board, creating a box. Repeat step 4 for both sides. Your light box will resemble an old fashion box kite.
- Use clear packing tape to tape all four sides, overlapping the tape on each side and covering the pin heads. Add extra tape if needed.
- To make the back of the completed box; carefully measure the inside edge to get an exact measurement.
- Cut the foam board and carefully insert the back panel.
- Repeat step 4. I used my knife blade to carefully lift the box frame to insert the back panel.
- Tape all four sides of the back panel with clear packing tape.
You will cut the openings for the light to shine through. There will be an opening on each side (left and right) and on the top. DO NOT CUT OPENING IN THE BACK OR ON THE BOTTOM.
- Illustrated by the dotted lines in the picture, make the following measurements and draw a light pencil line:
- 4-6″ from the back edge
- 2-3″ from each of the sides
- 4-6″ from the front edge
Keep in mind, my lightbox is a rectangle shape and I used a 14″ square cutout for each of the three sides.
- Using a straight edge ruler to guide the cuts and cutout the “cutout”. (I used a see through ruler (used by quilters) to make sure everything lined up) . Use the dotted lines in the picture as a guideline.
- A few pointers:
- Don’t press to hard against the foam board
- Make several passes with the blade to make a clean cut
- If your cut line isn’t perfectly straight … THATS OK! I promise
- Repeat step two for all three sides (left, top, right). DO NOT CUT OPENING IN THE BACK OR ON THE BOTTOM.On the outside of the box, put double sided tape along the parameter of the new cutout.
- Repeat step 4 for the remaining 2 sides.
- Place box to the side.
My box only cost $5 because I shopped my house for the other items I needed. If you don’t have double sided tape but you have spray adhesive or velcro, use what you have.
Back to our instructions:
I used new (from the thrift shop) white napkins to cover the cutouts (I had them forever). Again, use what you have. If you don’t have white fabric, use white printer paper.
- Cut the fabric (or paper) 1-2″ bigger then the cutout.
If you notice in my pictures, I didn’t cut my napkins, they were a little bigger then the recommended 1-2″ but that’s ok. I saved time by not having to cut out the fabric.
- Be sure to iron your material. If your using white paper, just select paper that isn’t wrinkled.
- Using double sided tape, put the tape on the parameter of all four sides of your material.
- Repeat for all three pieces of material.
- Remove the protective tape from the entire box and one side of the material.
Here’s a tip to quickly remove the adhesive tape
7. Remove the protective tape from the side of the fabric and press the fabric into place. If the fabric isn’t perfectly lined up, it’s ok. As long as the cutout is covered, it’s all good. I promise.
8. Remove the protective tape from the bottom edge of the fabric and press into place.
9. Flip the box over so that the side you just put the fabric on, is on the table surface. Running your hands on the inside of the box, firmly press everything in place.
10. Repeat steps 3-7
Step back and revel in your awesomeness. You lightbox is complete.
- Place a lamp, with 100 watt lightbulb on each side of the fabric covered opening.
- Position a lamp with a 100 watt lightbulb over the top opening.
- Take picture from the open end.
Don’t forget to share pictures in our Facebook community
Tweet us @TheTxHomemaker and use hashtag #tthinthecraftroom or #tthlookwhatImade
If you enjoyed this post, subscribe and never miss an update.