Wednesday, March 26, 2014

DIY Tabletop Light Box {3 Simple Steps!}

(This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.)

So I've been wanting this Table Top Light Box for ages...


Unfortunately, the price tag has been a bit prohibitive... We have a larger DIY light table made from an Underbed Storage Box that works pretty good -- we followed the general directions for the spray paint method over at Teach Preschool for the first light box... my son plays with it nearly everyday!


A few tips on making a larger version w/ spray paint:
  1. The plastic primer is NOT optional - you must use it in order for the other paint to stick to the plastic.
  2. Scuff & clean the surface of the plastic bin with sandpaper before priming! We learned this the hard way actually... even with the primer, we had blotches of paint flake off -- especially places where my son put heavy items or tried to sit/stand on the bin :(
  3. Buy a big enough light for inside - we used a corded 18-Inch Fluorescent Light from the hardware store - it works pretty well! the smaller battery operated lights didn't seem to give off enough light for the price (+ the cost of batteries!) 
So... on to our DIY table top light box!

The other day I saw these 12"x12" plastic Scrapbook Paper Boxes at our local craft store for 40% off & I thought -- "Whoa! That would make a great mini-light box!" i.e. half the size of that tabletop box above... but for a fraction of the cost! I went ahead and purchased the plastic container and a set of White LED Lights. Since I used a 50% off coupon for the lights, the bulk of the materials for our table top light box cost less than $20!


I used a quick method for this version of a light box - also based on info over at Teach Preschool! Just 3 easy steps and your little one will be enjoying their very own light box in no time!

You need: 
A 12"x12" clear plastic Scrapbook Paper Box
A string of 50-100 White LED Lights
Aluminum foil
Wax paper or Parchment paper
Clear tape

1. Cut a piece of wax paper or parchment paper to fit inside the BOTTOM of the box. Then tape around the edges to hold it in place.


2. Cover the inside of the box (i.e. the top & sides) with aluminum foil & tape the edges to keep in place - make sure the shiny side faces inside the box for the light to reflect off of!


3. Arrange the LED lights on the LID of the box in a 'coil' of sorts & tape the cord down. You can drill a hole in the box for the cord if you want.


4. Then you're ready to go!


Overall, this quick method took about 20 minutes total & the result was pretty good! While I think that I prefer the 'spray paint' method mentioned above, this method allows for me to use the plastic box for something else later if my son completely loses interest in the light box (which is highly unlikely!)


I'd love to hear about your own DIY light box and light table ideas... please share!

Project Motherhood

4 comments:

  1. This is genius. I love how easy it is and the kids will love it even more. Thanks for sharing #tbtlinkup

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    1. Thanks for checking it out - my 3 year old loves it!

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  2. Oh my gosh, I am so glad I came across this over at Sun Scholars blog hop! I just recently learned about light tables/boxes and thought, "What a unique and fun idea!" I would have NEVER thought to make it myself. Duh! Fairly simple too. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. That looks great! I have all the materials on hand, so I'm going to give it a try. I think my daughter would love it!

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