Introduction: Pallet Tracing Light Box

About: Working with silver, wood, glass, FX makeup and many other materials in a crafty sense has been amplified by being taught how to conduct basic mechanics, home renovations and other 'hands-on' activities from a…

My mate wanted a light box for her drawing & as we were shopping one day & realising how pricey they were, I decided to take the challenge to make her one myself!

I took photos during the process but it was more for my own record (before I found this awesome site), so I apologise for the lack of detail in this Instructable & hope it gives enough of an idea on how to construct your own :)

This can be used for both a drawing light box and a super cool light in any room (I even had it set to disco, check out the video)

Step 1: Things I Used

The Box:

- Pallet wood

- LED strip lighting (I bought mine from eBay for about $28AUD for 1.2m - was a brilliant deal!) - this includes the lighting strips AND the power supply (AND a remote control!). I mention this because they're mostly sold separately

- 8mm white perspex, cut to size (I got a local factory to cut me a piece about A3 size & they only charged me $10AUD, great guys!)

- Screws (various sized timber screws) & PVA glue

- a piece of MDF (backing board)


- PVC or Leather material

- Foam/Filler/Padding

- brass tacks (for timber)

- staple gun, small nails


- Hammer

- Hand Saw, Jig Saw and/or Bench Saw

- Chisel (or a router if you're lucky enough)

- Drill (with drill & screwdriver bits)

- Sandpaper or Sander

Step 2: Set It Up

The idea is to create a rebate for your perspex to sit into so;

1. Measure your perspex & cut your pallet wood to length to suit the frame to hold it, keeping in mind your finish. You can either cut it straight or on an angle depending on the join you want to create.

2. Cut your rebate with room for your perspex to sit with allowance for material (an extra 5-10mm or so). You can either do this using a router or you can hand chisel like I did (not out of love, but for lack of tools!)

3. Once your frame is prepared, you can assemble it with PVA glue and screws

Step 3: Make It Happen

This is where it comes together. Now in my case, the pallet wood was not wide enough to begin with to provide the depth of box I needed to ensure the light dispersion was going to be optimum, so I had to make & attach another basic frame to the existing one.

1. Ensure your box is essentially going to suit your needs by testing it out before you proceed. As in my pics, I checked out how the light would look & if everything fit together ok to hold the light in (being LED's I wanted to make sure I had the best strength possible as they might not be considered as bright as other types of lighting..

2. Affix the second layer of the box, if applicable

3. Cut your backing board to fit but don't attach it yet

Now you're ready for the finishing

Step 4: Finish It Off

1. Cut pieces of padding to the size of each of the sides (see pic) and affix with PVA glue - wait to dry

2. Cut your material to size (if you want to cover it! you may just want to leave it rustic); overlap the material stretched over the padding so that both ends (vertically) wrap around to the inside about half way down the other side (meaning plenty of room to affix the material without worrying about it ever showing the edges)

3. Once you've cut the sizes, begin to carefully affix the material as if you're wrapping a present; you have to keep in mind the final look of the excess material so it's best to plan before putting the final nail in. I used small nails to affix the material on the inside of the frame, I did both short ends before doing both long ones to ensure consistency. I finished mine off also, with brass tack that I gently hammered into the timber to add to support and finish.

*keep the perspex handy too, to ensure you keep an eye on it's fit!

4. After the frame is fully covered, you can now affix the strip lighting. I had strip lighting with an adhesive backing, but I wanted to give it an extra 'stick' so I used some glue to stick it down. I attached it as far to the bottom inside as I could and ensured it was evenly wrapped around the inside of the frame. This was due to the light dispersion (if you play around with this in the set up phase you'll know what I mean). Also keep in mind where the power supply will go & ensure it doesn't cast a shadow onto your perspex.

5. Fit the perspex into the top frame. Mine fit in without room to spare, I didn't need to affix it in any way other than to gently tap it in with the hammer; however you could run a thin bead of glue on the very edge of the inside of the perspex before placing it in & then wait for it to dry.

6. Affix the power supply to the inside of the box frame.

7. Cur or sand a groove for the power cord to sit neatly out of the box bottom once it's placed on a flat surface (you don't want to break the wires in the power cord by squishing them)

8. Affix the bottom/backing board of the box & finish it off with either a light sand or a coat of paint or varnish!

Power it up & enjoy!!!!