light box/tracing table

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Project by glen posted 05-04-2013 03:53 PM 2237 views 6 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My sweetheart is an absolutely amazing artist. Drawing, painting, tattooing, sewing – she does it all. In fact, she sewed me up an awesome shop apron, totally custom… So, I was watching her work, which when she draws, especially tattoos, it requires a lot of drawing a rough sketch, then tracing over it with more detail, more detail more tracing, etc… The light where she works kinda sucks though, so we came up with the idea of a tracing table or light box. She wanted it to tilt up to about 15 and 40 degrees too, so I had to figure that out.

The lights are from Lee Valley – strip LED lighting, so there are no heat issues. The body is made of walnut, the top is glass that I frosted.

This is one of those projects that I learned a lot of little things along the way – not so much in techniques, but in construction – and definitely have a new appreciation for Norm making a prototype of each week’s project before making the final. I would definitely do a few things differently if I were to make another version of this. But for now, she loves it and it works great. If anyone’s interested in building one, shoot me a message and I’ll share my “lessons learned”.

Thanks for checking this out!

6 comments so far

View dust4tears's profile


397 posts in 967 days

#1 posted 05-04-2013 04:16 PM

Pimpin’ drawing!

-- Ride hard or go home~

View stefang's profile


13915 posts in 2153 days

#2 posted 05-04-2013 04:32 PM

Great work on this Glen. I like the way you made the angle adjustment and the LED lighting was a brilliant idea too. My light table was one of my earliest woodworking projects and it’s quite ugly compared to yours, but it is a wonderful thing to have, and it beats a computer in my estimation, except perhaps for resizing pictures. A very nice gift for a talented lady!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View glen's profile


144 posts in 1372 days

#3 posted 05-04-2013 05:56 PM

thanks for the kudos, Mike. I got the idea for the angle adjustment from an old homemade lawnchair/recliner that we had growing up. Seems to work…

View foneman's profile


111 posts in 2913 days

#4 posted 05-05-2013 02:21 AM

Hey Glen, I like your idea of using strip lights for the no-heat lighting. Excellent idea!! Is there a benefit to frosting the glass? Your multi-angle setup is one that I may try to copy for making scrollsawing patterns and possibly pyrography patterns in the future.


View glen's profile


144 posts in 1372 days

#5 posted 05-05-2013 05:26 AM

Hey John – the frosting of the glass was to try to diffuse the light, otherwise I thought it might be too concentrated at the edges. Also, those LEDs are pretty bright, so you want to filter them a bit. The spray on frosting I used wasn’t quite opaque enough, so if I were to redo it, I think I would use a white plexiglass as opposed to a frosted glass. You definitely want to try to diffuse the light a bit if you’re going to use the LEDs. I used the Lee Valley 120 led/ft strips – yeah, kinda like staring at the sun!

View foneman's profile


111 posts in 2913 days

#6 posted 05-05-2013 11:23 PM

Thanks Glen for the update on your light box!!! I may see if I can find a piece of white plexiglass or find a piece of clear and sand the bottom side with a random orbit sander..


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