How to build a light table for under $30 for all your light table-ing needs

Step 1: The "Table" part

First I had the wonderful idea of building a light table, then I went about it in the simplest way I knew how. I got a table!
This table was $10 dollars from a reuse center
<p>oh my goodness! I've got a glass top portable table and a round circular light from a broken magnifying light this is a perfect inspiration for me thanks so much for sharing I'm i gonna improvise it a little more and have a light table without spending a dime! </p>
<p>That dog'll hunt. Good job</p>
thank you!! simple &amp; effective
Great job!
You have saved me no joke. My sister's are really big into art and for there birthdays I want to give them all there own light table. I just don't have a ton of money. I have been looking for <a href="http://homecharisma.com" rel="nofollow">gifts under 30 dollars</a> and this is perfect! I can't wait to see there faces when I show them this! Thank you so much keep it up!
I built one using an old Xray light thing I salwaved from a hospital I was demo-ing...
Tip ....<br><br>If you are not handy with saws or just do not have any use a heavy duty plastic storage box or plastic bucket.<br><br>If the sizing is off you can easily heat an old knife over the fire to make holes or cut through the plastic.<br><br>For looks you can simply glue some fancy wrapping paper, wall paper or paper grocery bags over the plastic container just go light on the glue.<br><br>After the paper is applied you could go a step or two further and paint it or add <br>a pen and pencil holder.
batvans, BRILLIANT suggestion for portable light box... i'm about to go dig all of that out of my garage right this second. Thanks for saving me a trip to home depot :)
I made a portable one, it was the top of a scanner ,a cardboard copypaper box ,and a fish tank light fixture.
That is an awesome idea!
instead of frosting, you can purchase a large self healing frosted cutting mat for 20 bucks online. i have one on my homemade table and it is amazing.
this is neat! but instead of a table can u make a portable box? with a light that can be plugged in?
see my post earlier about the portable light table.
Hey. Went to a local computer repair shop, got a free broken scanner, took the guts out, got a small light at Lowes that had a removable cord, installed it in the scanner using florist gum, (you can use any sticky thing that will allow you to remove it if necessary for service), threaded the cord through one of the empty ports, frosted the glass with tracing paper, then put it back together. Cost 8 bucks. If possible get a light with a cord switch so you can turn it off instead of just unplugging it. Hope this helps.
The way to get the corners is with a chisel and hammer. It doesn't take very long. The other way is to round the corners off he plexi glass with a file... or woodblock+sandpaper. This will take longer than the chisel, but you get a rounded corner look that might impress.... someone. :)
&nbsp;No, the way to get the corners is with a<em> jig saw.&nbsp;</em>
I really need to get one of those!
try harbor freight if theres one in your area, or craigslist. they come in handy for tons of stuff.
Really awesome idea. My dad has one of these at his work, except it's kind of those ones that he won't give me. He works for printing and stuff. It's about double the size of the plastic thing you have-no double but double again, quartriple (is that how you spell it? Firefox doesn't agree.). Yeah, it's pretty big, and I want it real bad, but he needs it, so I might try this. Awesome Instructable. +1 rating. (added to favorites)
That sounds kind of amazing. Nothing I ever draw is that big (I smear even 11x14 drawings) but the idea of a twin bed sized table just for arting with lights and what not makes me all tingly.
Hi GraffitiBatman, Try drawing with your whole arm while standing at a table or holding a large pad. It will keep your palms off the paper and give you much cleaner lines (believe it or not! ;). -Adam
ha! Those actually aren't my hands but a friend of mines. You're right though! Palms on the paper both add smudges and nasty hand oils to the paper.
Thanks so much!
Hi Gor! I think you were looking for "quadruple." I hate it when you know something isn't spelled right, but you can't get close enough to see it in the list ;-). My brother and I are thinking about making a larger portable LED-based light table. Maybe I can get an instructable up before summer! -Adam
Cool. If you do, I look forward to seeing it!
What a beauty! Mine is a bit different. I had a broken 32&quot; plasma TV. So I took out the screen out, leaving only the back light. Then, i put it on a synthesizer stand and it is bright enough to go through 6 sheets of letter sized paper.<br />
Wow, NIce work! I love to see broken TV's re-used because there are so many in dumpsters around me.
for people wanting a portable light table, find a drawer from a dresser or something in a dumpster, whatever size you like you can probably find. then find a cheap lamp of some sort, i used a fish tank lamp (again, from a dumpster lol), mounted the lamp inside the drawer and drilled a hole for the power cord, and used a picture frame to secure a small sheet of plexiglass to the top. and yes, the plexiglass and picture frame came from a dumpster too. cost me 85 cents for the screws.<br /> <br /> of course, you can do the exact same thing without dumpster diving, if you are squeamish about such practices you can easily procure the parts by other means.<br />
Hopefully this is a pro dumpster diving audience on instructables. Your idea sounds like it would work quite well!
hmmmm... mebbie if u just made a clear plastic box, drilled a hole in the bottom, and inserted a plug-in light bulb fixture...
That sounds like it would work too! I did it this way to maintain the tables use as a table and give me a large space to work with.
&nbsp;amen - but some of us would like a more permanent fixture.
i really like this design!
Hey replace the white paper with the thing in sid broken cood lights /\/\/\/\/\/\/\\/\/\/\/\/\/\ - plastic """""""""""""""""""" - white stuff /\/\/\/\//\/\\//\/\/\/\/\/ -plastic tada
I think tracing paper would work just as well if not better since it's more translucent.<br />
I did this a couple of years ago, but had my brother do all of the cutting and routing. I tried to buy white plexiglass but couldn't locate any so I taped tracing paper onto the back side of the clear plexi. I found a clamp type lamp to use on the underside of the board. Like minds think alike......
Good choice of light source. I made a portable one in 1996 my sister won't give it back. i should make a new one. The only tools I had to use were hand tools, not the easiest when the saw was a kids saw. Guess you use what you have. Very nice, I like the table you found!
You can also sand the plastic with fine grit sand paper.
White spray paint does the trick much faster and more effectively
You can also buy a spray especially for frosting glass/plastic/acrylic that has many fascinating applications.
When I was a kid, I would just put the papers up to the television screen or a window...seemed to work okay and it was free.
Great info mate, just go a few questions, ive brought a nice little pre made light table which is originally made for negs, but plan on changing the buld to a stronger 1 so i can use it for silk screen. My question is.... This light box i have has frosted glass as does your table but would this not add to the exposure time or does it help in some way? Also whats your exposure time for this table and your bulb wattage please as all this info will help me with my dummy runs. Thanks in advance. Enjoy K
Maybe buying white plastic would be a good idea, then I won't have to frost it, less paper to go up in flames, which I have a problem with.
Ha! That sounds like a good idea to me!
dude you can buy one for much less and without the blood sweat and toil....good job though
All you need is a piece of glass and a light. The glass doesn't have to be frosted because the paper you're working with is opaque. If you have a glass table, just put a lamp under it and presto, it's a light table.
Good job! If you make another one of the tables, you might want to use a jig saw (saber saw) to cut out the middle instead of a circular saw. To make sure you keep the sides perfectly straight (even if you still use a circular saw), clamp a piece of wood to the table and run the saw alongside the piece of wood. If you make sure that the clamps are good and tight, it will make your cuts perfectly straight. When you rout out the lip, stop just short of the corner and take out the wood that remains in the corner with a small chisel and a small hammer. Score the top of the wood table along the lines into the corner first and then chip the wood out slowly, bit by bit. That will give you a nice sharp corner and make your job look even better! But, you did a <strong>great </strong>job for your first time! <strong>Congratulations!!</strong> Tom<br/>
Thats a good idea, i've never used a jig saw (but you know i'd be wiling to try) and I didn't know anyone who had one whereas the circular saw was sitting in the corner purring quite pursuasively. I was actually looking at getting a jig saw for future projects, thanks!
If you do go and try a jig saw, the best way to get started is to drill a hole, one that's big enough to allow your jigsaw blade to fit into it, right by one of the lines you're going to cut along. Then insert the blade into the hole and cut along the line. Just make a small curve when you come to the corner. After you get the piece all cut out then you can go back and trim the stuff out of the corners with the jigsaw. Check out the local library for a book on how to use a jig saw if my directions are confusing. Good luck on your next job!

About This Instructable


500 favorites


More by GraffitiBatman: Under $30 Light Table
Add instructable to: