Light Box Sign - Cordless Battery Powered!




Introduction: Light Box Sign - Cordless Battery Powered!

About: I make and create anything that comes to my mind from skateboard hooks to garden rooms. And I footle around with electronics and instruments at night....and I have a passion for reducing waste packaging by m...

It is about time that pricklysauce had a light box sign!

And so I thought I should make one... hard can it be?

In fact it is super easy...and I have a few little tricks up my sleeves....

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Step 1: Get Your Bits Together

All of the MATERIALS, except for the LED strip lights, I had as off cuts in my workshop...

Two kids bike wheels 20" [Actual wheel trim without tyres measures 16.5" across - 420mm]

Length of threaded rod + two nuts+washers to suit - About M8 to fit through wheel hubs

Cardboard 2mm thick - I used 3no. 140mm x 1325mm [shorter lengths taped to length] + 3no. 50mm x 1325mm

Masking tape

12mm ply for backing board + strips for french cleat - Approx.500mm x 500mm

Hot glue

Screws for fixing

Clear perspex for the 420mm diameter circle

Thick paper for stencil

Spray mount glue [temporary fix]

Spray cans - I used two colours 'MTN 94' low pressure cans great for stencils

White paint - emulsion

Black paint - emulsion

LED strip light + transformer + Connector

Ply off cuts for battery holder

1mm thick metal off cuts for battery connectors


General woodworking tools

Some spanners for the bike

Paint brushes

Hot glue gun

Computer + Illustrator - or hand drawn for Logo

Vinyl cutter - or sharp knife

Spring clamps

Two straps for clamping



Step 2: Make a Former

Remove the two wheels from the old kids bike...

...and remove the tyres.

Unbolt and take out the spindles from both wheels...

...and bolt together with some threaded rod.

Step 3: Cardboard Box

The circular walls of the box are made from 2mm thick cardboard.

Cut 140mm wide strips...enough for three times around the wheel former.

Clamp the first strip to the former and tape together with masking tape.

Spread PVA glue on the next strips...clamp and tape in place...

...and repeat for a third time.

Using masking tape,..tape over the edges to bind together.

Use a pair of straps to keep the cardboard in shape until dry... can now remove the wheel former.

Cut three layers of 50mm cardboard strips...

...glue them to the inside down the thickness of the front perspex.

These thinner strips will hold the front perspex in place and hide the glare of the LED strip to the front giving a uniform glow

Step 4: Plastic Circle

Draw out the circle on a clear piece of perspex plastic...

...cut out with a jigsaw..

...and clean up with a sander.

Step 5: Logo Stencil

Decide on your logo image.

I had mine already in Illustrator and only needed to re-size it to fit the light box size.

Cut out a stencil from thick paper...

...either print out and cut by hand...

or use a vinyl cutter machine if you have access to one.

Spray mount the front face of the stencil and stick to the back side of the will be spraying from the back...

...make sure if using text that it is back to front so correct when viewed from the front.

Leave only the image that wants to be masked.

My image is to have white logo on a red background so I left the stencil paper where the white was to be.

Use your coloured spray can to paint the whole of the back of the perspex.

I like to use MTN 94 spray cans as they have a lower pressure nozzle that works well for stenciling, though any spray can will do...just make sure that not too much is applied.

Remove the stencil paper and leave to dry.

Then paint over the whole of the back with the white spray paint.

Looking good!

Step 6: French Cleat

French cleats are a great way for hanging light boxes on a wall.

Easy to make...

...plane a steep angle along a strip of ply...

...cut two pieces to length...

...screw one piece to the back of the light box...

...and the other will be screwed to the wall.

The light box can then just be dropped into place.

I have also cut an access panel into the back panel in case of need to get to the LED light strip in the future.

Step 7: Put It Together

Glue the cardboard sides to the ply base board...I used hot glue though PVA wood glue would work as well.

Paint the inside of the box white to reflect the light...I used some emulsion.

I decided to paint the outside black again with emulsion.

Step 8: Lights...

Drill a hole in the bottom of the box for the leads of the LED strip to poke through.

Remove the backing tape and stick the self adhesive LED light strip tucked in just behind the thin cardboard strip.

Plug in and test that all is working.

Step 9: Power Up!

I wonder?...what if I plugged the battery of my cordless drill into the LED strip...would it work?

WOW fantastic! It did.

With some off cuts of ply make up a simple cradle to hold the battery.

Work out which are the positive and negative terminals of the battery and cut corresponding slots in the cradle.

Cut a couple small strips of metal for the connectors...bend over and drill for a connecting screw.

Give it all a coat of black paint...

...wire it to the LED lights and screw it from the inside to the light box.

Step 10: Transformers!

The battery will only last for about an hour before needing recharging...

...for longer use connect a LED connector into the wiring at the back of the battery cradle for plugging into a LED transformer.

DO NOT plug in a transformer and a battery at the same time.

Step 11: Fit

Choose your most favourite location for your new funky light box are going to want to look at it..a lot!

Fix the French cleat to the wall...

...drop the light box onto the cleat...

...pull the battery off of the drill...

...and plug it into the light box...


Step 12: Enjoy

This was a great project and really easy to build...

...I hope you enjoyed it and will may use some of the techniques to make your own project...

...I am entering this project into the Lights Competition and seeing as the box was made from cardboard into the Cardboard Competion.

If you have enjoyed this project, I would really appreciate your vote..or if you really enjoyed it maybe you will vote in both competions! Many thanks.

This project is part of my YouTube series where I try to make cool and interesting projects.

Please check out my channel if you want to see more of the projects, if not there will be more coming to Instructables soon.

Why not check out what I am up to with

And also catch me on Facebook + Twitter

and now on Instagram!

Cardboard Contest 2017

Participated in the
Cardboard Contest 2017

Lights Contest 2017

Participated in the
Lights Contest 2017

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    2 Discussions


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you Astuces...another light on its way soon, I hope to finish making it this evening...