Make your own Light Box


I am finally happy with my hundredth version of a homemade light box. These things are very expensive, and I kept trying to make something that I’d be satisfied with. After looking at how others do it and gathering lots of tips and ideas, here is my final version of it.

Buy a plastic container. The size depends on you, really. I’d say bigger is better in this case, it will allow you to get into messy activities without having to worry about the spilling too much. Or if you have more than one child, it will give enough room for them to play together. Ideally you should buy a container with a matte lid, but I was never lucky to find one in the size that I wanted. Eventually I gave up and taped parchment paper to the side of the lid that stays inside the container. Tada, it did the trick. Then line the container with foil, it will keep all the light inside, and maybe even help with making it brighter if you use the shiny reflective side of it. Everyone has Christmas lights, so no need to invest in special LED lights, besides, I could never really find the ones that I was happy with, and wasted a lot of money on them. Maybe I just didn’t find the right ones. That’s it. No need to drill holes in the container, because the cord can be used even with the lid closed.

Now, what can you do with it? Pretty much everything, according to this link that gives you some ideas, I will pick a few for you to try:

“Art, using light box covered in clear plastic as easel or table:

Finger paint onto parchment paper with foam paint.
Paint with dark colored pudding
Paint with whipped topping on red or blue transparency.
Use watercolors on parchment paper.
Sprinkle powdered tempera paint on parchment paper; help child spray on water and watch color spread and swirl.
Roll clay into strings and lay out in interesting shapes on light box.
Use Wikki Sticks to make raised line outlines.
Use “Smelly” markers on tissue paper.
Make a necklace using beads and string.

For eating, use the light box as a table:

Juice in a clear cup or bottle will glow and encourage reaching.
Scatter m&ms on the surface (know your audience!)
Scatter cheerios on the surface
Scatter small or large crackers on the surface.
Set a table by having child match place, cup and spoon with a transparent outline of these objects on the light box.
Set plate with slice of bread, container of light colored jelly on a light box, (apricot suggested), help child shift gaze from jelly jar to bread as he or your takes jelly to spread on bread.
Jello in clear container will glow.
Help child mix colored soft drink mix into a clear glass of water and watch the color develop.”

And for more ideas with photos, just go to Pinterest. This is the first board that came up in my search and it looks like fun:


2 thoughts on “Make your own Light Box

  1. What kind of tape did you use to keep the parchment paper up? I used three different kinds and it wouldn’t stick to the paper. So I ended up putting the parchment paper on cling wrap and stretching it on to the cover, worked…but a would rather tape it on my next box.

    • Hi, thanks for asking. I think I had this problem too, and ended up using the thicker transparent kind, the kind you use for shipping. It still wasn’t perfect in the permanent way but it holds it together still. I do need to fix corners once in a while when my kids open and close the lid too much. Let me know if you find the perfect tape and I will include it in the description. And change mine, too. 🙂

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