DIY lightbox: the personalised decorative lamp

A lightbox is hanging as a lamp above a table that is adorned with various decorative items.
It lights up and looks cool: depending on how you design your lightbox, the lamp can be ideal for the kitchen or other rooms as well.

  • Difficulty
    medium
  • Cost
    42-68 £
  • Duration
    4-5 h

Introduction

Are you tired of looking at plain and boring decorative lighting? Then build your own lamp out of wood that you can personalise just the way you want. The lightbox looks cool and can be built in just a few steps.

Have you heard about our 18-volt system yet? It offers a very wide variety of devices for many uses. The thing that makes the project below so special is that you can use the same rechargeable battery for every part of this project. Simply swap out the battery pack, insert it into a different device that is part of the 18-volt system and continue to the next step.

It should go without saying that your safety is paramount throughout every step of the project, so make sure you take the necessary precautions to protect yourself. You can find everything you need to know about the correct protective clothing you need when using each type of tool in our overview.

You need
Utilities
  • pencil
  • pocket rule
  • protractor
  • g-clamps
  • paint set
  • hammer
  • wood glue
Materials
  • 2 spruce boards, 140 x 400 x 18 mm each
  • 2 spruce boards, 140 x 150 x 18 mm each
  • 2 squared timbers (10 x 10 x 364 mm)/2 squared timbers (10 x 10 x 140 mm)
  • 2 squared timbers (5 x 10 x 364 mm)
  • Plywood boards (364 x 150 x 3 mm)
  • Acrylic sheet (364 x 150 x 3 mm)
  • Furniture lamp
  • Phillips head countersink screws (3 x 16 mm)
  • Wooden dowels (6 x 30 mm)
  • Gloss (PU acrylic paint)
L: Length, W: Width, H: Height, D: Diameter

Let's go - step by step

Step 1 10

Measure and saw the boards

A measurement is being marked on a wooden board.
A wooden board is being shortened using a jigsaw.

You need: Jigsaws, HCS T144D jigsaw blade, pencil, pocket rule, protractor, g-clamps, 2 spruce boards, 140 x 400 x 18 mm each, 2 spruce boards, 140 x 150 x 18 mm each, 2 squared timbers (10 x 10 x 364 mm)/2 squared timbers (10 x 10 x 140 mm), 2 squared timbers (5 x 10 x 364 mm)

The basic frame of your new lightbox is a wooden structure consisting of two short and two long wooden boards.
Using the above measurements (image 1), first measure out the wooden boards and saw them to length with a jigsaw (image 2).

You will also need squared timbers to mount the pane and the rear panel later. Now, measure and saw these pieces to length according to the above measurements.

Step 2 10

Put the structure together and drill the holes

A hole is being drilled into the side of a wooden structure.
In total, you need to drill 4 x 3 holes.

You need: Cordless combi drill, Brad point drill bit, g-clamps, wood glue, Boards sawn to length from step 1

Have you sawn all the boards and timbers? Then line up the boards on your workbench such that they form the structure of the lightbox. Clamp the structure together using G-clamps. You can also use wood glue to stabilise the frame.

Now, drill three equally-spaced holes along the four edges where the boards overlap. Make sure to drill the holes in the middle to the board below so that the boards don’t split.

Step 3 10

Insert, shorten and sand the dowels

Wood glue is being applied to drilled holes.
A wooden dowel is being countersunk into a hole with a hammer.
A protruding dowel is being sanded down.

You need: Multi-sander, G80 sanding paper, g-clamps, hammer, wood glue, Wooden structure from step 2, Wooden dowels (6 x 30 mm)

In this step, you will make your lightbox stable by connecting all the boards of the structure with wooden dowels. First, apply some wood glue to a hole (image 1) and then immediately insert the dowel into the hole. In order to countersunk it, it’s best to use a hammer (image 2). Once the dowel is in place, move on to the next hole – until each one has been taken care of.

Now, sand the dowels again so that the ends are not protruding (image 3).

Step 4 10

Attach the squared timbers

Wood glue is being applied to a long squared timber.
A squared timber is being glued to the inside of a wooden structure.

You need: g-clamps, wood glue, Sawn squared timbers from step 1

In the next step, secure the sawn squared timbers from step 1 on to the structure. To do this, first apply wood glue to the wood (image 1) and glue the pieces to the inner edges of the structure one after the other (see image 2): attach the timbers measuring 10 x 10 mm to the front side of the structure and glue the timbers measuring 5 x 10 mm to the top and bottom on the long rear side.

Then, secure everything with G-clamps.

Step 5 10

Prepare the rear panel

Drill holes are being marked on a piece of plywood.
A hole is being drilled in a piece of plywood.
Holes for the mounting bracket are being drilled into a piece of plywood.

You need: Cordless combi drill, Brad point drill bit, pencil, pocket rule, g-clamps, Plywood boards (364 x 150 x 3 mm)

Your lightbox obviously isn’t complete without a rear panel. To make one, you have to cut a piece plywood in the dimensions listed above.

Markings points for the drill holes in all four corners of the plywood (image 1). You will need these later to secure the rear panel with screws. Measure out 50 mm towards the centre from the short side and 5 mm towards the centre from the long side.
Then, using a 3 mm Brad point drill bit, drill holes at the markings (image 2).

Now, it’s time to drill two more holes in the rear panel for the mounting bracket. First, measure out 60 mm towards the centre from both short sides and 25 mm towards the centre from the long side.
Then, drill the holes using an 8 mm Brad point drill bit (image 3).

Step 6 10

Screw on the socket for the lamp

A lamp fixture is being screwed onto a chipboard.
For the lamp fixture, you can simply use a furniture lamp with plug.

You need: Cordless combi drill, Suitable bit set, pencil, pocket rule, Furniture lamp, Phillips head countersink screws (3 x 16 mm)

Now it’s time to think about the light. In order to make your box shine nicely, you’ll need the right lamp for the job. You’re best to use a furniture lamp with plug.

Now, place the light fixture in the centre against the rear panel and screw the fixture on tightly.

Step 7 10

Paint the structure

A wooden structure is being painted with black varnish.

You need: paint set, Gloss (PU acrylic paint)

Now, paint the structure and the rear panel in the colour of your choice. We’ve gone for a classic black.

Step 8 10

Saw the acrylic sheet

An acrylic sheet is being sawn to length using a jigsaw.
You’ll need a special saw blade to saw the acrylic sheet.

You need: Jigsaws, Jigsaw blade for plastic, marker, pocket rule, g-clamps, Acrylic sheet (364 x 150 x 3 mm)

The front side of the box requires an acrylic sheet. Saw it according to the measurements given above.

To give your lightbox a personal touch, you can customise the sheet by writing on it, for example. If you don’t have the nicest handwriting, you can always order adhesive foil and an appropriately-sized wall tattoo with whatever writing you want and glue it onto the acrylic sheet.

Step 9 10

Saw a hole for the cable to pass through

A small hole for a cable can be seen on the rear side of a wooden box.
Don’t forget to make a small hole that the power cable can pass through later.

You need: Jigsaws, HCS T144D jigsaw blade, pencil, pocket rule, Finished wooden structure, Rear panel with light fixture

The light fixture from step 6 will obviously be inside the box once you’ve completed your lightbox. In order to feed the lamp’s cable through the box, you have to make sure that you have an appropriately-sized hole on the rear side. For our box, we sawed a small groove in the rear side of the structure.

Step 10 10

Install the acrylic sheet and the rear panel

An acrylic sheet is being inserted into a wooden box.
A piece of plywood is being inserted into the rear side of a wooden box.

You need: Cordless combi drill, Suitable bit set, Prepared acrylic sheet from step 8, Rear panel from step 5, Phillips head countersink screws (3 x 16 mm)

You’re nearly done! It’s now time to insert the acrylic sheet into the wooden box. (Image 1).

Once the acrylic sheet has been placed, you can insert the rear panel such that it rests on the squared timber. Use the pre-drilled holes to screw the panel in place. Make sure that the light fixture is intact and that the power cable has been fed through the hole.

The best place for your finished lightbox is hanging on the wall. Drill holes accordingly and use dowels in order to hang the box on the wall.

All you have to do now is screw in the lightbulb and enjoy the nice ambiance.