How to Make a Light Box for Silk Screening

Written by karen miller
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How to Make a Light Box for Silk Screening
(Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Screen printing is a technique used to make prints from stencils, using a woven mesh, a roller and a substrate. In order to silkscreen, you will need a lightbox to burn a design for your silkscreening project. Plan the frame for your light box and make sure that your frame is big enough to fit the fluorescent bulbs you purchased. Also, consider that the lightbox's size will depend on the size of the print you want to make.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 20-watt fluorescent bulbs
  • 2-by-2
  • Plywood
  • Power saw
  • Hacksaw
  • Sandpaper
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Power drill
  • Electrical cord
  • Glass

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  1. 1

    Use hammer and nails to make a simple wooden frame for the light box, using 2-by-2 wood to assemble the sides. At this moment, you will only have a frame, without the bottom.

  2. 2

    Cut a piece of plywood so it is the same size of the frame. Use a power saw or a hacksaw to cut the plywood. Then treat all the edges with sandpaper.

  3. 3

    Attach the plywood to be the bottom of the box, to the frame you made earlier, using wood glue and short nails.

  4. 4

    Drill a 1/2-inch hole at the bottom of the box, on the side, using a power drill. This hole will be used for the electrical cord of the lamp inside the box.

  5. 5

    Place a few long 20-watt fluorescent light bulbs on the bottom of the box.

  6. 6

    Place a piece of glass onto the wooden frame to cover it completely. Make sure to order the right size of glass so you don’t have to cut it yourself. The glass should not be fixed onto the frame, but rather lightly attached or held into place, between small nails on the wooden frame, just so it doesn’t slide off.

  7. 7

    Plug in the cord to check how the light box looks when illuminated and to test if everything is functioning properly.

Tips and warnings

  • Consider making a simple light box from a common picture frame or a wooden display frame.
  • Be very careful when cutting wood with a power saw or a hacksaw. Follow all carpentry safety precautions.

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