How to Make a Light Box for Crafts

    by Laura Jensel

    About the Author

    Laura Jensel has been a full-time freelance writer for over six years. Her articles and craft projects have appeared in local and national publications, including Disney's FamilyFun Magazine. She also holds a B.A. in Psychology.


    A light box is an essential tool for many crafters, used primarily for tracing designs. Hundreds of models of light boxes are available commercially, and there are companies that offer custom light-box-building services. You can make a functional, practical light box inexpensively using things you already have in the house. There is no building or constructing in this project, just putting components together. The light box takes five minutes or less to complete and is small enough to store away in a craft room or closet when you're not using it.

    Things You'll Need

    • Shoe box
    • Picture frame slightly larger than the shoe box
    • Battery-powered touch light
    • Painter's tape, masking tape or duct tape

    Carefully remove the glass from the picture frame, then clean both sides with glass cleaner and a soft cloth or paper towel. When both sides are clean, carefully wrap each edge with painter's tape.

    Place the touch light inside the shoe box. If you like, you can anchor the light with a ring of painter's tape (sticky side out, of course). Do not use glue, since the battery case is on the bottom of the light. Leave the shoe box lid off. This project works best with a shoe box that has a light-colored interior.

    Set the tape-wrapped glass on top of the shoe box.

    Tear two six-inch pieces of painter's tape and secure the short ends of the glass to the short ends of the shoe box so the glass--which is your work surface--will not move.

    Peel up one of the secured ends of the glass, touch the light to turn it on, and re-secure the glass.

    • Quilters may need a larger light box for larger scale designs. If you have a dining room table that can accept leaves, open out the table, place a lamp underneath, and cover the opening with quarter-inch-thick Plexiglas,available at home improvement centers. Secure the Plexiglas to the table with painter's tape -- not masking tape or duct tape, which could damage your table.
    • Take great care when handling or cleaning the glass in this project. The edges are sharp and can cut skin. The painter's tape over the edges will protect you as you assemble the light box and as you use it for crafting.