How to Make Backlit Frames

Updated July 20, 2017

Backlighting photographs, drawings or other artwork is an attractive way to display your work. The light shines through the paper material and creates an appealing contrast. Digital picture frames are popular, but they can be expensive. You can make your own backlit photo frame at home with the right materials and a few steps.

Disassemble the picture frame. Place a photograph or other piece of paper material that you'd like to display on the frame, front side down.

Glue the electroluminescent panel to the back of the picture frame using the hot glue gun. Make sure that the panel is big enough to touch all sides of the frame so you won't see any empty space when viewing the photo. Ideally, leave an inch of space between the back of the frame and the panel.

Hook up a 12-volt DC-to-AC converter to the panel, letting the cord dangle away from the frame. Attach the back cover of the frame to the frame structure, covering over both the photograph and the panel. Then glue the converter to the exterior part of the back cover.


To switch out photographs more easily, consider using a weaker glue. This will make disassembling the frame easier.

Things You'll Need

  • Electroluminescent panel
  • Hot glue gun
  • 12-volt DC-to-AC converter
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About the Author

Hope Nunzio is a Connecticut native who has been writing Web content since 2008. She specializes in travel content and has been published on AOL Travel and the online travel magazine GoMad Nomad. Nunzio is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy at Wake Forest University.