Introduction: Extremely Quick and Dirty Slide Viewing Table

About: Tall nerd, degree in manufacturing tech. I dabble in everything. Many of my projects in here are pretty old. These days I mainly do 3d printing and run startups- ask me anything!

I was digging around in my stuff and found some old slides and negatives from my family. I didn't have a good way to view them so I made this viewer out of stuff I had laying around. It isn't practical for constant use but it works okay if you only have a small amount of slides to view and don't want to buy or build a high quality viewer.

Step 1: Tools and Materials


  • Knife, scissors, claws, freakin' lasers. (anything suitable for cutting a hole in a cardboard box)

  • Cardboard box, something that is wide and flat like a cereal box works well.
  • White Printer paper
  • A light source. - I had a piece of an old lamp with the cord and the bulb still working so I used that. If nothing else is available, turn your smartphone's flashlight on and use that.

That's it!

Step 2: Build It!

The steps to build this are very simple:

  • Cut a hole In the box. The hole I cut was roughly square and about 6 inches square.
  • Put your light source down on a table.
  • Place the box over the light, with the hole above the light as shown, to diffuse the light.
  • Set the printer paper over the hole. If you don't fear commitment, tape it in place.
  • Turn on the light, and view some old media!

Step 3: Use and Discuss

And it works! I can see the contents of slides and negatives (albeit with the use of a magnifier). The day is saved!

This is intended as an improvised tool, not something to use for an extended period. The light doesn't filter through the paper evenly, which makes the pictures appear blotchy. The light overheats after about ten minutes, and the whole contraption looks ugly. However, it let me view and sort a few boxes of slides, which was all that was needed. If you need a long term solution, there are other excellent examples of DIY light tables on this site. Enjoy, and happy viewing!

Photography Tips and Tricks Contest

Participated in the
Photography Tips and Tricks Contest