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Make a Light Box in a Jiffy

Jul 02, 2009
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Begin by gathering the necessary items. All you need is a lamp, a piece of large glass (I took mine from a picture that hangs on my living room wall), a table that has a removable leaf (or two end tables that are the same height) and an extension cord if needed to reach an available outlet.

Have you always wished you had a light box, but don’t want to spend the money or don’t have the space to store one. Well, this tip is for you! There are so many tasks that a light box makes easy–tracing paper patterns, tracing appliqué designs, matching registration marks on patterns printed with pattern drafting software and much more. Once you use one, you’ll be hooked.

All you need to make one is the glass from a large picture frame (the glass can be replaced in the picture when you’re done), either a table that has a removable leaf or two tables that are the same height, a table lamp or other lamp, and an extension cord. 

Remove the leaf from your table, but leave the two sides of the table open (or place two end tables about a foot apart). Take the glass out of the frame and straddle it across the open halves of the table. Remove the lamp’s shade, and place the lamp on the floor underneath the glass using the extension cord (if needed), and turn it on. Voila! Your new light box is finished and ready for use.

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  1. dezzyw July 1st

    Quick, too!

  2. dezzyw July 1st

    Innovative, inexpensive, yet very effective of means for tracing, etc. Thanks!

  3. homeecteacher November 20th

    I love this idea! I make postcards and like someone else I was limited to the daytime when I could hold my tracing up to a sunny window. I had finally made the decision to buy one at Michael's if I could use my 40% off coupon. Glad I saw this first!

  4. dragonmoon November 10th

    Much nicer than what I had been doing (taping the sheets of paper to a sunny window). The thin glass from a photo frame makes me a bit nervous - I think that I'd grab the tempered glass cutting board from the kitchen first.

  5. TeddieSeeley August 24th

    What a wonderful, and innovative idea, and so simple.
    Thank you for sharing.

  6. Tartanfilly July 17th

    I have never used a light box before and I would love to know what it is useful for.

  7. AmyCurrioman July 13th

    This is a great idea! I wish I'd seen this tip, or thought of this before I bought a light box! Alas, I have had one for several years. I will remember this tip, though, for the times that I go to someone's house and they talk about needing a light box!

  8. Rashida July 4th

    An excellent idea. If you're lucky enough to have or to be setting up a sewing area you can take this idea one step further: Instead of buying or building a solid wood work surface, try to get a tempered glass dining table top and mount it on adjustable trestle legs. You get a mar-proof work surface at your preferred working height, and by putting a small lamp under the table you have a large stable light box whenever you need it. (An added bonus is that ambient room light can shine through the table top, so your work area appears brighter.)

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