Today I thought I’d share a super fun project that I tackled recently – how to make a light table for kids! I’d seen light tables that were crazy expensive online and thought they looked like so much fun to experiment with colors, but we just couldn’t pay a few hundred dollars for one, so I decided to try to make one myself! It turned out great and we’ve had a blast with it!
To start with, I went digging in the basement for something that I could use as the box for our light table. I wanted ours to be fairly small and portable so that we could use it on the floor or at a table and so that I could easily store it when we aren’t using it. I ended up finding an old coffee table tray that was all scratched up. Who knows why I kept it, but I’m sure glad I did! The next step was to spray paint it a metallic silver inside and out so that the inside would help reflect light.
Once the box was painted and dry, I went hunting for lights and a topper for the box. The top piece was a bit tricky, but through a lot of trial and error, I ended up with something that worked wonderfully! I got a piece of plexiglass from Lowes for FREE. I explained what I was attempting to do to a sales associate but told him that I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on it because I didn’t know if my idea would even work! He ended up finding me a scrap piece of plexiglass that he was able to cut to the size I needed! Yay for free stuff!!
In order to make the top opaque, I experimented with different contact papers and even the window frosting sheets. None of these got it opaque enough. I finally found a frosted glass spray paint and sprayed both sides of the plexiglass several times to get a nice thick coat on both sides. This worked like a charm!
I ordered lights that came in four strips from amazon and used electrical tape to secure them in place inside the box at an equal distance apart. I chose these because they turn multiple colors and have a remote for turning them on and off since my lights would be inside the box. I just made sure I put the receiver for the remote at the edge of the box so that the remote could connect to it.
The last step was to secure the top. I wanted it to be secure enough that Noah couldn’t rip it off, but not so secure that I couldn’t get it off if the lights went bad. I ended up just using Scotch double sided tape on the edges of the box and the pressed the plexiglass down really tight on top.
Here’s what the finished box looks like (and an adorable little boy who loves to play with it):
We’ve since gotten a variety of fun objects to use on the light box. Color paddles, color shapes, and even rock slices! I love the color paddles because we can talk about mixing colors as well! Noah’s had a great time with this and he loves pushing the buttons on the remote to change the color of the lights. I’d love to get a set of Magnatiles for it too! Maybe for Christmas.
I hope this inspires you to get creative with materials you have at home! All said and done, this light box cost me $25 for the lights and about $7 for the frosted glass spray paint. I already had the tray, tapes, and silver metallic spray paint. So all in, I’m at $32!