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How to Make a Homemade Stained Glass Light Box

Updated April 17, 2017

A stained glass light box is an important tool for viewing and choosing the best colours for any stained glass project. The light box enables you to see how the colours you choose look next to each other in transmitted light. The light box makes it much easier to determine the best combinations of colour, texture, translucence and pattern direction. As you cut and shape the pieces, you can also lay them out on the light box to make sure the final layout looks as planned.

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  1. Measure and mark 1/4 inch from one long edge of each 1-by-6-inch piece of wood.

  2. Screw the four pieces of moulding along the mark 1/4 inch from the edge, onto the appropriately sized 1-by-6-inch boards (the 40-inch moulding to the 40-inch 1-by-6, the 20-inch moulding to the middle of the 28 3/4-inch 1-by-6). This provides a shelf for the glass or plexiglass.

  3. Screw the 1-by-6 boards together at the corners, using the builder's square to make sure the corners are at 90 degrees. Place the short sides inside the long sides when forming the box.

  4. Attach the 2-by-4s to each corner of the short side with screws. Leave 1/4 inch at the top to match the edge of the moulding.

  5. Measure and cut 2-by-4-inch rectangles out of each corner of the 30-by-40-inch plywood to fit around the legs.

  6. Fit the plywood to the bottom of the box formed by the 1-by-6 boards and screw it into place.

  7. Paint the interior of the box white and let it dry.

  8. Attach the light fixtures to the interior of the box, along the bottom. Drill a hole and run the cords out to an on/off switch or power strip affixed to the outside of the box.

  9. Set the glass into place on the shelf formed by the moulding.

  10. Tip

    The glass can be sandblasted on one side to diffuse the light. When choosing glass for stained glass lamps, be aware that the glass looks different when incandescent light is used versus fluorescent light, so plan accordingly.

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Things You'll Need

  • 1-by-6-inch lumber, 40 inches long, 2
  • 1-by-6-inch lumber, 28 3/4 inches long, 2
  • 1/4- or 1/2-inch square moulding, 40 inches long, 2
  • 1/4- or 1/2-inch square moulding, 20 inches long, 2
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Box of 2-inch wood screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Builder's square
  • 2-by-4-inch studs, 39 3/4 inches long, 2
  • Wood saw
  • 1/4-inch plywood, 30-by-40 inches
  • White paint
  • Paintbrush
  • 1/4-inch clear glass or plexiglass, 28 1/2-by-38 1/2 inches
  • 36-inch fluorescent strip lights or incandescent bulb fixtures, 2
  • Drill
  • Power strip

About the Author

Heather Lindsay is a stained glass artist who holds a master's degree in library science, a bachelor's degree in anthropology with a minor in art, and has enjoyed working in special libraries with photograph collections.

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