The minute I started seeing blog entries about light boxes, I thought A & J would love one. There began my search on my most suitable options. I knew that purchasing one already made was not in my budget. After a month of looking around the web and looking for suggestions, I opted to construct my own. I laugh at the word construct because I don’t even own a saw, so how was I going to actually build this thing?
After deciding that I was going to build a light box, the first thing I chose was the size. I searched to see what were standard sizes of acrylic pieces in my local hardware store, because I figured that would be the hardest thing for me to find. I did find some clear acrylic pieces that were 18″ x 24″ x 1/8″, though I knew I would need something frosted, (later to learn that white translucent is what I needed).
I took the advice of one of my friends who is a designer and contacted a local plastic shop. When I mentioned I was making a light box, the gentleman knew exactly what I was talking about and also recommended that the translucent white would work better than the frosted acrylic. The piece they custom cut for me was 18″ x 24″ x 3/16″. The price difference was minimal for something sturdier. I also didn’t have to worry about the added cost of trying to frost my clear acrylic to make it suitable for my light box. Total cost for the acrylic piece was $15.
Once I knew the size I was going to make, I also picked out my lights. I opted for 2 – 22 inch fluorescent lights available at my local hardware store (I chose the brightest ones I could find that were reasonably priced). The lights do need to be plugged in, which is suitable in our situation. Total cost for the lights was $30. So there you have it….the 2 things that were actually purchased for the light box were a grand total of $45. I used wood that we had in our garage from recent projects (which were completed by my dad on a visit). As for a saw, I borrowed that from my brother-in-law who seems to have a collection of them, for which I am very grateful.
I assembled the box and used pieces of 1″ x 2″ on the inner top of the box to make a ledge for my piece of acrylic to sit on. I secured my lights to the inside bottom of the box.
Like my daughter A would say “voila!” a light box.
We had so much fun as a family sitting around the light box and drawing out a Christmas city scene with our dry erase markers.
At first I was intimidated by the construction process. Though, if J or A had an idea, I would never want them to be to intimidated to try something they hadn’t tried before. I suppose they were my motivation behind this light box in more ways than one.
I knew it would bring them hours of fun learning. Just another example of nurturing young minds.