How to Make an Artograph Light Tracer

Written by keith allen
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The Artograph Lighttracer is manufactured by the Artograph Company. The device uses light bulbs to provide illumination under a glass top. Artists trace images placed on the glass on a second piece of paper placed on top of the original. Enough light from the Artograph Lighttracer passes through the glass and the two pieces of paper to allow the creation of a pattern. Do-it-yourselfers can build a similar item with basic carpentry tools and skills.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 12-by-16-inch Plexiglas or safety glass
  • 6-foot-long 1-by-6 board
  • 1/4-inch plywood, 17 1/2 by 13 1/2 inches
  • Wood glue
  • 2-inch finishing nails, 12
  • 1-inch finishing nails, 12
  • 3 light sockets and cords
  • 3 compact fluorescent bulbs
  • 6 feet of 1/2-by-1/2-inch board
  • Frosted paper

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  1. 1

    Purchase a piece of 12-by-16-inch Plexiglas or safety glass.

  2. 2

    Build a box framework of 1-by-6-inch boards or 6-inch-wide pieces of plywood. Cut two pieces of 17 1/2 inches and two of 12 inches. Fasten the four pieces into a rectangle by gluing each corner with wood glue and nailing in place with 2-inch finishing nails. The interior of the box should measure the same as the glass piece.

  3. 3

    Cut a piece of 1/4-inch plywood to 17 1/2 by 13 1/2 inches. Nail this to the back of the framework with 1-inch finishing nails to create a box. Nail a 1/2-by-1/2-inch strip of wood around the interior of the box 1/4 inch below the top edge. Paint the interior of the box white.

  4. 4

    Attach three light sockets to the plywood back of the box. Thread the socket's cords through a 1-inch hole drilled in the bottom of one of the sides. Install compact fluorescent lights in the sockets.

  5. 5

    Cover the lights with a frosted paper. Drafting acetate or even waxed paper can be used to diffuse the light. Place the glass on the rails attached to the inside of the box and turn on the lights.

Tips and warnings

  • Test the box before fastening the sockets in place permanently.
  • Use only compact fluorescent lights. Incandescent lights generate heat the box is not equipped to disperse.

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