How to Make Your Own Display Lightbox

Updated February 21, 2017

A light box can be used as a decorative piece to display X-rays, drawings or any other semi-transparent items in a unique way. You can construct your own light box for a lot less than the cost of professional units with items that can be purchased at most home improvement stores. If you would like to build a larger or smaller light box, you can simply adjust the dimensions and change the number of light bulbs in the design.

Measure the dimensions of your sheet of plastic. This will provide the dimensions for your box.

Cut the wood for the sides of the box so that the length is the same as the sides of the plastic. The depth should be at least 5 inches to accommodate the lights. Cut the top and bottom so that they are the same as the top and bottom edges of the plastic minus the thickness of the side pieces.

Cut a thin piece of wood the exact same dimensions as the sheet of plastic. This will act as the bottom of the box.

Assemble the pieces of wood so that the sides overlap the top and bottom to form a squared edge. Hammer two nails through the side pieces and into top and bottom on all four corners, spaced evenly.

Flip the box over and nail the bottom of the box to the edges, using three nails for each side, spaced evenly.

Drill a small hole on one side of the box using the hole-cutting bit and drill to feed the lighting kit wires through.

Feed the lighting kit wires through the hole, add light bulbs to each socket and space the lights evenly throughout the box with each light laying on its side. Use hot glue to secure the light kits to the bottom surface.

Cut some tracing paper to the exact dimensions of the sheet of plastic and use spray adhesive to glue it to one side of the plastic.

Set the plastic sheet on top of the box with the tracing paper side down. Use hot glue to seal the plastic sheet to the box if you wish, or leave it loose in case you need to change bulbs.


Plug the light kits into a power strip with a switch if you wish to turn them all on and off at once.

Things You'll Need

  • Sheet of hard clear plastic
  • Wood
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Light wiring kits
  • Small compact fluorescent light bulbs
  • Tracing paper
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Hole-cutting bit
  • Hot glue gun
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