Christmas Light Boxes





Introduction: Christmas Light Boxes

About: Retired, doing art work now. Great. Have the time and the money to spend doing what I want to do.

Having made some of these earlier, I decided to add a few more for the Christmas season.  These light boxes, or signs are easy to make, very low cost (the only thing I have to buy is the lights).  Lights used are mini-incandescent lamps that are low watt, low heat regular Christmas lights.  If purchased at the end of the season, strings can be had for as low as $1.00 each! No "wiring" is required, just use the lamp strings as purchased.  Be aware, that these lights should not be left on unattended.

Step 1: First Cut Acrylic or Glass for the Front of the Sign

I have a lot of picture frame acrylic and glass that is no longer used for pictures, so I use this instead of buying some new material. To cut acrylic, a special tool is available, but can be cut by scoring with a craft knife or box cutter and snapping on the line. For glass, a glass cutter is needed.

Step 2: Decide on Message for Signs

I chose "Noel, and Blue Christmas" for these two lightboxes.  They are printed out on regular bond in the font and point size selected. Next, I glue the words to a piece of cardstock. Then, the letters or words are cut out as though it were a stencil.  These words are then glued to the piece of acrylic or glass faceplate.

Step 3: Make Boxes for Signs

To make the boxes, I use the faceplate as a pattern, and out line that on a piece of regular corrugatged cardboard.  Then, for the sides of the box, I add about 1 and 1/4 to 2 inches for each side.  Cut out as shown, fold sides up and tape into place. I add a one half inch strip of cut cardboard to the inside top edges for support for the faceplate.

Step 4: Make Light Board for Sign

This is simply a piece of cardboard cut to fit inside the box. I drill 3/8in. holes for each lamp, insert the lamps in these holes, then tie the lamp down with plastic covered wire that is used in floral and gardening projects.  A hole is cut in the right bottom of the box so that the wire can be routed out the back and not interfere with the face plate.

Step 5: Using Duct Tape, Secure Faceplate to Box

With lights installed, cut strips of duct tape in the color of your choice. I use black or brown since I have that on hand.  This makes a "picture frame" for the light box, and secures the faceplate in place. These should last for years as they are only turned on for the holidays. Lights are now ready to go!



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    26 Discussions

    Really cool! well do you think that'd do outside? How would one go about weather proofing it i wonder...?

    Do you use any kind of diffuser between the xmas lights and the words?  It seems there is something - otherwise you would see the lights right through where the words are.

    3 replies

    Yes, there are diffusers in place. I have used colored paper, white paper, painted glass, some frosted plastic sheet material that is no longer available, etc.  Many things work, it's just a matter of your preference.  I would like to get some colored acrylic and or colored sheet plastic, but it's not that easy to find.  Thanks for your interest. Cman

    You can find flexible colored plastic sheeting at most florist shops. It is about the same weight as 2 sheets of regular paper for your computer printer, but a little stronger. I used some in dark blue to make a "Sky" backdrop for our Christmas Village scene a few years ago. It can be had in sizes large enough to cover a 4' sheet of pegboard, and is pretty inexpensive. I used some twinkling lights that had 'mustard seed size bulbs (Wal-Mart wedding stuff). I stuck the bulbs thru ther pegboard, then covered the pegboard with the colored sheeting. sett he light controller to a "sparkling" setting, and it was perfect!

    i made a massive one of these for my school musical it was actioned for quite a big price too. i think i might make a much smaller one for my girlfriend for Christmas with her initials

    Sorry if I was a little vague in my previous comment.. Overhead sheets are letter sized plastic sheets used to make overhead projector prints.  You may find them in a office supply store, or ask at your local highschool where you could find some.

    2 replies

    Never thought of that, may be worth a shot. I wonder how permanent the ink would be?

    Well.. If you use good ink (ie original or good quality cartridges), it should last fine.. The sheets are made to withstand heat, as the overhead projectors use pretty bright and hot lights..

    A tip for getting colored plastic:  Buy some inkjet printable overhead sheets.  They are basically letter sized plastic sheets that you can print on with a regular color inkjet printer.  That way you can print color patterns as well as solid colors to add to the effects..

    Why do you need that?  I just go by name, and you can too. If you have microsoft, those fonts are standard, pretty much.  If you can't find them by name, they are not on your comp.  You can download other fonts, or those as well. Sorry I can't help you with that. Cman