Poor Mans Lite-Brite




Introduction: Poor Mans Lite-Brite

This is a small (in my case) Lite-Brite made from a few easy to find parts. The quality of the Lite-Brite depends upon the tools you use and your light source. Good Luck and Have Fun!

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Step 1: Parts

Alright. This is probably the easiest part of this 'ible: Acquiring the proper items necessary!
This cost me 3 bucks as I had all the necessary parts at home except the tubes, but I'll add the approximate price where I live.
This is what you need for the Lite-Brite:

-Scissors or Drill (you should have at least scissors...)
-Tape (optional)
-Cardboard (Free, that's what mail is for)
-Paper the Size of Cardboard (optional and if you do, black construction paper is best) .05 cents for a sheet of paper, maybe?
-Fish Tank Water Tubing (you can get at Wal-Mart, 8 feet was like, 3 bucks
-Light Source (if you live in a home this should be in most every room...)
- Some Time (this is probably the most expensive part of the project... )

For the Tubing, you'll need at least a foot. All it is used for is the pegs and i only used maybe six inches of it, but mine is quite small and didn't need that many pegs.

I know i don't have all of the items in the image, just bear with me.

Step 2: Holey Cardboard!!!!!!!!

This was the longest part for me, I was using a pair of scissors for a drill. If you can, please use a drill with a 1/4 inch bit. This will make the task of putting holes in the cardboard so much easier. It took me about half an hour with the scissors and my hands hurt after that. The small 3" x 2" piece of cardboard took about 24 holes in it. So I'm guessing approximately 2 holes per inch and 4 holes per square inch. This just makes arranging the holes easier and more organized.

Step 3: Tubies!

Now that you've cut the holes (hopefully drilled them...) you'll need to check if the tubing will fit. It should fit snugly in the hole, but still be able to push it in and take it back out quite easily. Just go through each of the holes with the tubing, making sure it fits right and if it doesn't drill it out a little bit until it fits. This took me a while due to the fact that I was using scissors and none of them were really the same size but I finally got it working right.

Step 4: Little Tubies!

Now what you need to do is make the pegs. All you have to do is just cut small pieces of tubing about 1/4 - 1/2 inch long and there you go! MAGICAL GLOWY PEGS! I didn't do this step but you can make them an inch long and cover about half of it with colored tissue paper to get different colors. The reason you want the tubes to be long and not just fit into the hole is so that the light catches on the pegs and illuminates the whole tube, shining through so you can see it.

Step 5: Pegs, Light, GLOWY!

Now you just need a light source, preferably a small one like a flashlight, small lamp, or something you can put the board parallel to. I used a small stage light with LEDs in it. The light wasn't quite the right length of beam though, an actual bulb might have worked better.

Step 6: Options, Options, Options

If you want to add he black paper, you'll need to mark were the holes are on the board onto the paper, then cut a small "X" in it. This way, light won't go through the empty holes, but will catch the tubes on the other side and shine through.

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    5 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Your little light would have worked a bit better if you used a box with a lid on it for the "holey" part, and lined the box itself with something reflective, say, aluminum foil. Put a small hole in the box for your light source to shine in, and let it reflect all over the box until it finally hits the bottoms of your tubing and shines. Additional cost: $0.05 for the foil and glue, if you need it. I like the idea of using the tubes to create a picture with light. Hmm, your cheap lite-brite has inspired me. Thank you!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    This is really cheap but if you were poor you probably could not afford a lite


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Yes you could, there's a free one called the sun... you know, the giant glowy ball in the sky?