I had had my eye on this beautiful light table for years, but had a hard time with both the price tag and the space it would take up in our playroom-less house. So, I moved on from it to a light table “box” from the same company, one that could be easily moved around as needed, or even stored out of the way when necessary. But, the price tag continued to give us pause… Until my handy husband realized he could probably make the same thing himself for a fraction of the price!
So, more than a year ago, he tinkered away and created a beautiful DIY light table box for our younger daughter’s 4th birthday. In fact, we loved his creation so much that he even helped a friend make one for their children, too! And, many, many of you asked for the step-by-step of how to make this yourselves. So, at long last — but hopefully in time for the holiday season — we’ve finally gotten it together for you! Read on to see how you can create your own beautiful light table box for your who family’s enjoyment.
Below are all the materials we used and steps we followed to create our beautiful light table. My husband made up all the steps on his own, based on his limited wood-working experience, so we highly encourage you to iterate on the approach! We bought all of our materials from Home Depot, Amazon, and McMaster-Carr. The McMaster-Carr item (the surface of the table) takes a couple of days to arrive. Any links to Amazon in this post are affiliate links. As an affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you for considering making a purchase through my links! To read my full disclosure CLICK HERE.
Step 1: Buy the Materials
One 1″x3″x8’ common board for the walls
One 24” by 24” plywood base
2 packs wood screws
2 packs corner braces
Optional finish for the top: corner moulding
Felt pads for the base
Command Strips 5 lb. refills
McMaster-Carr — be sure to order this item with enough lead time before you plan to build, as it takes a couple of days to arrive.
Step 2: Make the box
- Build the walls
— Cut two 24″ pieces from the 8′ common board (can be cut at Home Depot)
— Cut two 22 5/8” pieces from the 8′ common board (can be cut at Home Depot)
— Apply wood glue to the short edges and create a box, then connect with wood screws for extra stability.
— Way to improve: Mitered corners
2. Add the lights to the base
— Run the strips back and forth like below. Do the math on spacing, leaving enough space for the corner braces. We forgot but were able to improvise.
3. Affix walls to the base
— Affix walls to base. Use two corner braces 2-3″ from each corner. If the screws poke slightly through the bottom, place the felt pads over them.
— Drill big enough hole for DC connector (for the light plug) to be on outside of box.
4. Attach the semi-clear surface and felt pads
— We used 3M Command Strips to attach the semi-clear surface to the box, in case we needed to gain access in the future into the base where the lights are.
–Place felt pads on the bottom. Cover any screws that might have poked through.
5. Optional: Apply the trim around the edge of the top for a nice finish.
— Apply trim to top with wood glue
— If you are able, this looks better with mitered corners. You can see how we did this with our friends’ light table box, but it’s not necessary if mitering is a skill you don’t have.
–Note: If you add the trim, make sure you have strong glue, otherwise it may fall off (like ours did eventually).
Step 3: Enjoy
Now you’ve got a beautiful, homemade light table box! Throw some magnatiles and watch your children spend hours creating!