I have  wanted a lightbox for years, I live in a small flat and don't have the space to store a large lightbox. I decided to build a photo/tracing lightbox into my Ikea coffee table. I picked up all of the equipment on ebay and put the whole lot together in a couple of hours. The table is an Ikea 'Lack' and cost about £5, they come in many different colours. 

Step 1: Choosing Correct Acrylic

-Ideally I would have made the top from one single thick sheet of acrylic with a routed out step around it's edge. However to do this I would need a router and a acrylic cutting router head... which I don't have. Instead I ordered two sheets of Acrylic. One 8mm thick transparent  sheet and one 3mm thick Opal coloured sheet. I had the clear sheet cut slightly smaller (which the acrylic company did free of charge).
-Lack table top measures 550x550mm
-Clear Acrylic 8mm 480x480mm
-Opal 3mm Acrylic 500x500mm 
-I purchased these materials on Ebay from trentplastics.co.uk, they gave me cheap combined postage and next day delivery. 
<p>What is the function of the 8mm Clear Acrylic? Would the table look bad without it?</p><p>There happens to be a plastics and rubber shop in my city, so I can get it cheap. I'm just wondering if it's necessary.</p><p>Thanks.</p>
<p>I chose a different table color, used reclaimed plexiglass from a scrapyard instead of new clear acrylic (still used new white acrylic for the top layer), and used a string of RGB LEDs on the inside off that came with its own remote so you can change the color as you like - the receiver for the LEDs is in the middle of the light field, and it can easily receive the signal from the remote when you point the remote at the table top.</p>
<p>love the light box table :-) I inherited Mums very large light box but it's so big it takes up all the table space :-( but after seeing what you did with your table I thought I would go the other way and turn my light box into a table :-) and this way it will be easy to use and usable all the time without taking up space on my desk :-) </p><p>Thanks for the Instructable :-) once I have my workshop finished I will work on that project next :-)</p>
<p>Sounds like an excellent idea! Be sure to share your project when it's finished. I would love to see it. </p>
<p>I will :-) I have been looking for just the right logs to turn into legs for it :-) live in the outback of Australia so thought I would keep it close to natural :-)</p>
<p>Hello :) Nice Instructable. I was wondering about the power adapter you're using. It's 12Vbut how many amps does it output? I mean, the 5 m LED strip needs 1,5 amps if I'm not mistaken, and a 12V adapter would output max 1 amp, no? Does it still work for you using the adapter on the pictures?</p>
<p>Hi Jomanidk,<br>I'm afraid I know literally nothing about electronics. I bought the adapter from the same place that supplied the LED strips. I'd take a photo of the transformer but it's all sealed inside the table. I used some similar LED strips to light the footwells of an old van I had years ago and they were hooked up to the car battery which was also 12V. <br>It definitely works though! Lol </p>
<p>Thank you so much...my new lightbox is exactly what I needed and looks good as well.My husband made it for me.</p>
<p>It looks spot on Mezzz! Well done on your build</p>
<p>I might be missing something really obvious but why are two sheets needed?<br><br>Why not one sheet just fully set into the table top?</p>
<p>Depending on the thickness of the sheet you might find it doesnt provide enough stability near the middle of the table!</p>
<p>Hi RobP16,</p><p>There are a few answers to your question...<br><br>1. I wanted to attain a decent thickness for stability. (TimW82 is correct) Two sheets of thinner material was also cheaper than one very thick sheet.</p><p>2. The second sheet is slightly larger which overlaps and hides the rough edges of the whole that I cut into the table. <br><br>I used a clear acrylic for the lower sheet because it was cheaper than the opaque sort. <br><br>Hope that answers your questions :) </p>
<p>I made it but used two sheets of 4mm frosted perspex to disperse the light even more and hide the visibility of the led lights. Also I cut out the exact shape and made a frame to sit inside the table to hold the sheets, this and using counter sink screws allowed the table to remain completely flat, without any sheets protruding.</p><p>Also used remote control colour changing LED's, the infrared signal passes through the perspex no problem so all the wiring can remain inside the table.</p>
<p>Now this is a pro build! Well done TimW82! Thanks for sharing the pictures. Your improvements are excellent. </p>
Is that surface good for dry erase by chance?
<p>Absolutely! As long as the surface remains unscratched it would be easy to clean. I'm a teacher and we often use dry wipe markers directly on the school table tops as they wipe of anything laminated. </p>
<p>Hey i made it! Thanks a lot for the idea! In addition I paint some part of the table to green with spray paint (cause i really don't like &quot;ikea white&quot;) </p>
<p>Wow! Thanks for sharing! The green really pops. Well done!</p>
<p>:O) Can't download---</p>
<p>Very nice job Mr Chutney. For those that don't want to use a boxcutter to cut the table a Dremel with their circular saw blade will make the job much easier :)</p>
<p>I forgot to add that I would most likely try to use JB Weld to forgo the use of screws in the corner with the recessed application. I am thinking the use of Plexiglass / Acrylic as the top sheet if you are using the table as an end table would result in scratches. Maybe a clear glass top and the frosted acrylic underneath might be better?? Just a thought :)</p>
I just spent the afternoon making one of these out of a white table. <br> <br>I think painting it white inside is a must. I used 2 tester pots from b and q as i didn't want to buy a brush or pot of paint. Each tester pot (50ml) did one coat. I gave it two coats. <br> <br>The hardest part was the drilling of the Perspex. I think I would go slightly bigger on the Perspex (maybe add 5/10mm all round to both sheets) as I found the fixings were very close to the edge of the clear Perspex, and so one corner broke off a little (makes no difference as it doesn't move on the plane as its sat in a recess so that fixing is only holding the clear one down). <br> <br>The only changes I made were... <br> <br>1. using washers under the fixings (I still used the dome screws like you as I liked the look of them) but I wanted to spread the load a little! <br> <br>2. I didn't like the hanging cable connector, so instead drilled a hole the size of the connector just off one of the leg supports, so that I could just poke it through a little and then glue the rest of the connector to the leg support so that it was solid. <br> <br>Got the LEDs and power cable from eBay. &pound;12. <br> <br>Paint pots from b and q. &pound;2.20. <br> <br>Perspex from Trent plastics. &pound;29. <br> <br>Table. Free. <br> <br>So &pound;45 total. Not bad for a light box that size! <br> <br>All in all, was a good instructable, Thanks! <br>
<p>Instead of painting the inside white I suggest using aluminum foil (shiny side up) next time. This will reflect the light even better and make the end result brighter.</p><p>But do note that aluminum foil is conductive, so make sure there is no short in the strip, for example by placing masking tape between the foil and the strip.</p>
Fantastic! <br>Congratulations on the build, would be fantastic to see a picture! I like the sound of your power cable modification. I would especially like to see what that looks like. I had considered at one point making the Perspex the same size as the whole top of the table and just glueing it down on top, I ended up deciding against this as I wasn't sure if the Perspex would be cut perfectly square. Id like to see someone do this with a white table as the light box would almost be entirely hidden. SO MANY POSSIBILITIES!
<p>Curious if there is another option for the white on top? Plastic? May sound weird...but...using a sheet of tissue paper under the clear acrylic? hmmm..</p><p>Making this for my classroom...</p>
<p>Hmm that wouldn't make for a very neat uniform light since tissue paper (and every normal paper) has dark and light spots. Hold it to the sun, and you can see these spots.</p>
<p>NOTE: Counter sinking the screw holes will actually prevent the acrylic from cracking when you tighten down the fasteners. Although it has aesthetic benefits, it is the correct functional solution to prevent damaging the plastic and is generally recommended when fastening hard plastics like acrylic. Great tutorial.</p>
<p>We made it! And it can change colors :)</p><p>Thanks for sharing this!</p>
<p>What did you end up using for your lights? It looks great!</p>
Thanks, we used a LED strip, comes with a remote to change colors.<br><br>Not exactly this model, but you get the idea:<br><br>http://www.ebay.com/itm/ABI-300-LED-RGB-Color-Changing-Light-Strip-Kit-w-IR-Remote-5M-16FT-Waterproof-/361105966094
<p>This kit comes easy to install right...no extra needed to get the lights going? </p>
<p>Wow!<br>That looks absolutely brilliant, what a creative touch you've added. </p>
<p>This IKEA furniture hack is dope!</p>
<p>Started making my own table and only need led lights and wanted to check which is best to use 3528 or 5050.</p>
<p>Hi there Christopher,<br>I think I used 3528 I think... No doubt both would work. here's the link to the ones I used...<br><a href="http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/5M-500CM-SMD-300-LED-STRIP-LIGHT-COOL-COLD-WHITE-DC-12V-/250874787743?ssPageName=ADME:L:OC:GB:3160" rel="nofollow">http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/5M-500CM-SMD-300-LED-STR...</a><br></p>
<p>A friend told me about electroluminiscent panels. It looks like it would have been a good alternative to LEDs: it would be simpler (no cutting required), with a more homogeneous lighting, and probably cheaper.</p><p>What I don't know if EL panels are bright enough, and if they can change colors as well.</p><p>What do you think?</p>
<p>Hi Jameiniesta,<br>I've never heard of EL panels before. Just spent some time researching them and they look absolutely brilliant. They seem to be very cheap for small sizes however once you begin to reach about A3 size they cost about &pound;60-&pound;70. I'd love to see one in action. I would love to see how bright they are... I also couldn't determine whether or not they generate heat? <br>The technology behind them is fascinating. Thanks for bringing them to my attention. <br>Cheers!</p>
<p>finished mine and it's great for making my art. my cat seems to enjoy it, too.</p>
<p>AH HA! Fantastic Sarah! I am an enormous cat fan so this makes me very happy. The table looks brilliant! </p>
<p>Wow, and I was just about to throw out my old lack table... Not any more :D</p>
<p>This went right on my &quot;to-do-next-weekend-list&quot; ^^</p>
I just made this on my days off with the white coloured lack table. Very easy to do and is very funtional. Most plastic stores will sell translucent white acrylic for relatively cheap. I wired up a rocker on/off switch and installed it on the side of the table top. Thanks for thinking of this.
<p>Excellent to hear about your success Mdhold! I have a little flip switch just begging to be fitted into my table but as yet i haven't found the time. Hope your table is still going strong!</p>
<p>This exaclty what we were looking for at our preeschool!!!! We begin this project tomorrow, we will let you know how they came out, we need to do 4. Thanks so much, just one question, why do you need two acrylic sheets, the clear one and the opal? </p>
<p>Hello there Lucyvigax, <br>I hope that your building process is going well! I used 2 separate sheets of acrylic for a few reasons... I wanted to be able to hide the roughly cut aperture (made for the first sheet) by overlapping it with a larger second sheet. From what I recall it was also much cheaper for me to buy 5mm clear acrylic than buying both sheets in opal. The thickness of both sheets combined also makes the surface much stronger and less likely to flex. <br>Hopefully that answers your questions, let me know how you get on! </p>
This is just awesome. Already commented on another lack light hack that I have to make one for lightbox purposes. Then I found your instructable! I have to give this a try!
Beautiful. I'll add this to my "to-make" list. <br /> <br />
This is awesome. Definitely going to be the final fate of my current lack table. <br> <br>Could i ask you how much both sheets of plastic combined cost you in the end?
I got mine from the same place and paid ~&pound;29 delivered.

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