How to Make a Light Box for Tracing

Do you ever wish that your art was a bit more precise? Are you an artist looking for a great solution to transferring drawings, patterns, or designs to paper? If you answered yes, then creating your own lightbox may be the perfect solution for you. A lightbox is an incredible tool that allows artists to trace and reproduce their artwork with ease and accuracy.

Not only does it eliminate unnecessary guesswork when it comes to lines and shapes, but it can also provide a great time-saving option compared to starting from scratch on each piece of work.

How to Make a Light Box for Tracing

In this blog post, we’ll explain how easy it is to make your own lightbox – plus go over some additional tips for getting started! Read on to learn exactly how to make a light box for tracing, and start enjoying effortless art transfers today!

The Functions of Light Box

A light box is a simple tool that utilizes bright, diffused lighting to create an even field of illumination along with the help of a flat glass surface. Artists are able to easily view their original artwork through the glass and trace it directly onto another piece of paper below. Light boxes provide advantages such as:

  • Consistent and adjustable brightness levels for tracing. It will be much easier to accurately trace a design if you can clearly see it with an even layer of light.
  • A larger work surface. By using a lightbox, artists can save time by tracing multiple images simultaneously instead of working on small sections at once.
  • Increased accuracy with complex drawings and patterns. Tracing difficult designs is often much simpler when you have the ability to clearly see the lines and shapes of your artwork.

Required Items to Make a Light Box

In order to make a light box for tracing, you will need the following materials:

  • A transparent sheet of glass or plastic. The size and thickness of the glass or plastic sheets depend on your particular needs; however, they should be large enough to accommodate all of the artwork that you plan to trace.
  • A box frame to hold the glass or plastic sheet in place (e.g., a picture frame). The size of the box frame should correspond with that of your glass/plastic sheet, and it will need to be adjustable.
  • LED light strips or bulbs, are enough to provide a consistent source of light throughout the entire area of your glass/plastic sheet.
  • Electrical tape or a glue gun to adhere the LED lights to your box frame.
  • A power source (e.g., plugging the light strips into a wall socket or using batteries).

10 Steps on How to Make a Light Box for Tracing

Now that you know the advantages of having a lightbox, let’s get started on how to make one! The supplies you’ll need are relatively simple and can be found at any hardware store or online. Here is a brief rundown of the 10 steps to getting started:

Step 1: Assemble the Box

Begin by assembling the box frame, making sure that it fits snugly around your glass/plastic sheet. The size should be adjustable so that you can fit any artwork that you intend to trace.

Begin by Assembling the Box Frame

Step 2: Attach the LEDs

Next, attach the LED light strips or bulbs around the inside of your box frame. Make sure they are spaced evenly and securely attached using either electrical tape or a glue gun.

Step 3: Connect Power Source

Once the LEDs are in place, connect them to a power source. This can be done by plugging them into a wall socket or using batteries. Also, make sure that the power switch is easily accessible.

Step 4: Affix Glass / Plastic Sheet

Now it’s time to affix your glass or plastic sheet to the box frame using either glue or tape. Make sure that it is firmly attached so that it doesn’t move when tracing artwork.

Step 5: Place the Artwork

Find the artwork that you want to trace and place it on top of your glass/plastic sheet. This is usually done with a light adhesive such as tape or glue sticks. Placing a piece of paper under the artwork will also ensure that it stays in place.

Step 6: Adjust Brightness

Turn your light box on and adjust its brightness to a level that is comfortable for you. You can use the power switch or dimmer feature, depending on what type of lights you have installed.

Step 7: Trace Artwork

Now, grab a pencil or pen and begin tracing your artwork. You should be able to clearly see the lines and shapes as they are projected onto the piece of paper below.

Begin Tracing Your Artwork

Step 8: Turn off Light Box

Once you’re done tracing, make sure to turn off your light box. This will help conserve energy and prolong the life of the lights. Turning off the power switch is usually enough, but you can unplug the lights as well if you want to be extra cautious.

Step 9: Remove Artwork

Remove the artwork from your lightbox and admire your traced masterpiece! You should now have a perfect copy of what you originally drew with much more accuracy than before.

Step 10: Store Light Box

When not in use, keep your lightbox stored away in a safe place. This will help to protect it from dust, water, and other hazards that may damage the lights or glass/plastic sheet.

Following these 10 steps, you now know how to make a light box for tracing! It’s an easy and affordable way to get the best results when it comes to transferring artwork from one surface to another. Make sure that you use LEDs with high-quality bulbs so that they are long-lasting and provide an even layer of light.

Make Sure That You Use LEDs

8 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Making a Light Box for Tracing

  1. Not measuring your materials. Before you start to construct your lightbox, it’s important to make sure you have all the necessary pieces and that they fit together. Measure twice, and cut once.
  2. Lacking power outlet near the workstation. Make sure there’s an electrical outlet nearby so you can plug in your lightbox. Otherwise, you’ll need to use an extension cord and that could be unsafe.
  3. Not having enough lighting. You want your tracing surface to be evenly illuminated so it’s easy to see all the details of your project. Make sure you have sufficient light provided from above and below for best results.
  4. Using flimsy materials. It’s important to use durable materials when building your lightbox so it can stand up to regular use. Look for sturdy wood, aluminum, or other strong materials that won’t bend or break easily over time.
  5. Not using proper tools. Make sure you have all the right tools for the job like a drill, saw, hammer, and a screwdriver to assemble your lightbox. If you don’t have the proper tools, it can be difficult and dangerous to build.
  6. Not using the proper lighting source. You’ll need an illuminated light source inside your box for tracing purposes. Consider LED lights or CFL bulbs for bright, even illumination across your surface area.
  7. Ignoring safety precautions when wiring up electricity. Make sure to use appropriate safety measures when wiring up electricity for your lightbox. This could include double-checking the electrical connections and using surge protectors or circuit breakers to reduce the risk of fire hazards.
  8. Not testing it out before use. Before you start tracing, test out your lightbox to make sure all the pieces are working properly and that there aren’t any safety risks. Check the power cord and make sure there aren’t any loose connections that could be dangerous.
Test Out Your Lightbox to Make Sure

Once you’ve built your light box, don’t forget to take regular care of it to ensure it lasts for years to come. Clean off dust or dirt regularly with a damp cloth and check the electrical connections for wear and tear each time you use it. With a little bit of TLC, your light box should remain a reliable tracing tool for years to come.


Creating your own light box for tracing is a great way to bring something unique and creative into your home. The general principle behind the design is simple and straightforward, allowing you to customize its size and color.

It can provide an effective tool for tracing drawings, papercrafts, and other graphical works of art that can be illuminated in a creative fashion. Whether you’re looking to save money on supplies or just seeking to increase your craftsmanship, making a lightbox is a great way to have fun while doing it.

Furthermore, you might even find yourself spending extra time experimenting with different types of lighting to find what works best for your project. Most importantly, you’ll take satisfaction knowing that the light-box was created by your own two hands! Following these tips on how to make a light box for tracing will help you get started on the path to creating a light-box that will last for years to come.

Leave a Comment