Introduction: Upcycled: Portable Lightbox

About: Sprite of all trades and master mischief maker. I love to tinker and it shows. STEAM proponent. Open Source lover. LED fanatic. \m/

When the weather is glum, I plunder through the studio and see what parts I can find that want to be reborn. We had a game set that virtually all of the pieces for mysteriously vanished. The box was in decent shape but I really didn't want to replace the game pieces. I stored it for a while and during a monsoon, I decided to use the base for a light box. Here's an upcycled, portable light box that features a rechargeable battery and lasts 2-3 hours on each charge.

Step 1: Materials Needed.

Box base.

Acrylic for top. (I had a remnant piece on hand)


White LED 5mm.

3.6V lithium ion rechargeable battery and charger.

AA sized wired battery holder.

Soldering iron. (You can do this without soldering but it really isn't that hard and good practice.)

White electrical tape.

Hot glue gun.


Step 2: Clean & Paint Box Base.

Wipe down your base and allow to dry before painting. If you have a kiddo, this is a great step for them to help with! My youngest painted two coats using regular white craft paint. Be sure to allow each coat to dry before going to the next.

I wasn't aiming for perfect. We were bored, stuck inside and wanted quick results. You've been there!

Step 3: Wiring Work.

Figure out where on your base you would like the wire ends to go through and mark.Take your wire about 3"-4" from the end (mark it) and place it at one of your marks for the wire end. Place it around the inner perimeter of your base. You want to allow room for a neat corner fit but not much. Mark the end of your wire about 1" from the other hole you've designated for it. Measure another 3"-4" past that mark and cut your wire.

On your wire you have two marks near each end. Measure the distance between the two and figure out how far to space your LED. I went with 3.5" apart.

Mark your wire and strip the sections for your LED.

Twist on your LED. My dad taught me LED polarity by saying, "Long legs are hot." it stuck with me. LED only accept power from one direction. Reversal will not blow it. Overpowering most certainly will.

Solder the LED and cover each set of legs with white electrical tape. If you don't solder, be sure to tape carefully keeping legs separated and a tight wrap.

I chose to go around the sides with my wire but worried I might have a dark spot in the middle. In the end, it worked out great due to the size. You may want to add a wire down the center as well.

Step 4: Test Circuit.

Moment of truth.....see if it powers up! If yes, we are ready to mount it inside the base. Hot glue is your friend but use it sparingly.

Step 5: Measure & Drill for Power Supply.

Find your marks for the wire ends and drill a hole for each. Run the positive wire through one hole to the outside and run the negative end through the other.

On the outside you have each end. The battery holder should be mounted in the middle. I used a few dabs of hot glue. Be sure you have the right wire going to the correct end on your holder!!

Trim some of the excess wire and twist them together, positive to positive and negative to negative. Test your circuit.

Solder these connections and tape.

I left a little extra wire because I want to 3D print a holder that hides the battery and wires. That is still on the, 'To Do' list.

Step 6: Cut Acrylic Top.

I took the top to this game box and placed it on top of the leftover acrylic to cut. Use an utility knife but watch your digits!!

Step 7: Tada!

Put the top on your box and insert the battery. TADA, you have a light box! Make on \m/

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