Diana Probst, Cambridge Artist

Building a Light Box: Part 1

As an artist, you may very well be penniless, or like me you may want to save money. For this project you will need a few things:

  • A frame
  • A light source
  • A flat surface that lets through light

The Frame

In my case, I chose to build the box. You could also use an orange box and fill in the edges from another orange box, which saves a lot of money on the build.

I took an A3 sheet of paper as my aim, to make an aperture 420*297mm. This does not need to be exact, but should be a bit larger than needed if possible, so that you can rest a piece of paper on the surface of the box and have it not overlapping. With 18mm pine, that made the base 456*333. I then had short planks cut to length for the sides.

The Wiring

I used pre-wired fluorescent bars, with one adaptor for three of them. I screwed the adaptor to the side of the box and chiselled out a channel for its lead. Then when I assembled the box I had the wire going through with a small hole, for minimal light leakage. The three bars cost mumble pounds each, and were by far the most expensive component. You could easily use an incandescent bulb or fitting if you had a large enough space, but they put out a huge amount of heat. Not being a qualified electrician, I took the off-the-shelf solution, and it works.

The surface

For the surface I chose to use light-diffusing perspex, and phoned around for the cheapest option. I had to have it pre-cut. It will be held on a rebate strip glued and screwed into the box.

The end result?

As I type the body of the box is still drying. The rebate strips have not yet been cut.