Can I Make My Own Light Box to View Negatives?
- Making a light box is surprisingly easy. The most important step in making a homemade light box is getting the right materials. Buying a light box from a retail store can cost upward of $300, so the materials used will be the greatest source of savings. You will need particleboard, glass, glass frosting and lights to create your light box. These materials should all be readily available at your local hobby store.
- The glass is perhaps the most important element. It is important to use frosted glass, which will let light though without enabling everything behind it to distract from the picture. The easiest and cheapest way to get frosted glass is to remove the glass from an inexpensive, 5 x 7 or 8 x 10 picture frame. Hobby stores sell spray paint-like glass frosting, which is the cheapest and fastest alternative to etching the glass. Apply this to the glass and allow it to dry while you work on the rest of the light box.
- Make the box to hold the glass and lights out of simple particleboard. You will need to make it large enough to hold the glass from your picture frame. Make the base about one inch larger than the dimensions of the frame, and then add a frame on the top that goes in about an inch to fit around the glass. Add brackets under the frame to hold the glass. You may paint the box black to create a cleaner look for it, but this is optional.
- Install lights along the bottom of the frame in the box. These are available at a hobby or hardware store. Use a lower wattage for these lights so they do not put out too much heat. Use brackets to hold them in place along the frame. Drill a hole in the box, and then thread the cord out through it to plug it in.
Put it All Together
- The glass should be dry by the time the box and lights are complete. Using care not to break the glass, set it into the brackets on the frame. This will complete the light box. It should end up being much less expensive than buying one outright, and it will still maintain all the functionality of a commercially available light box.