Making a Lightbox for Tracing

Making a Lightbox for Tracing! A lightbox is a tool that helps artists trace their work onto another surface, making it easier and less time-consuming to complete their drawings. This will be helpful for people who are just beginning art projects because they don’t have the skills or knowledge of how to use more complicated tools like reams or t-squares. Making your own lightbox can also save you money on expensive drafting supplies!

A photo lightbox can be a really helpful tool for making detailed tracing easier. They are great for making intricate designs and drawings, and they also help you see the lines on your paper more clearly. This article will walk you through making a lightbox that is both easy to make and cheap!

Everyone loves making crafts, but making them can be really hard if you don’t have the right tools. If you are looking for a lightbox to use when tracing your favorite picture onto paper, this is it! The supplies needed for this project are very simple and easy to find. With these instructions, anyone- even kids- can make their own lightbox in about an hour or so. The materials needed are very simple and it’s a project that any beginner can do! 

Making a lightbox for tracing is an easy task. All you need to do is buy one of those cheap white poster boards, cut it in half lengthwise, and staple some clear plastic on the backside that’s large enough to cover your sketchbook or paper. You’ll also want to get two pieces of cardboard that are just slightly smaller than the poster board so they can fit inside its edges.

I used the following materials to make this project: .

Making a Lightbox for Tracing

Step 1: Materials/Tools/Equipment

Materials Tools Equipment


“Diodes” LED set from Ikea.
24″ x 24″ Sheet metal (Steel)


FlowJet waterjet cutter
Sheet metal bending brake
Spot Welder
Laser Cutter
Powder coat gun and oven


Autodesk Inventor 2012
Computer System
Soldering Iron

Step 2: Design the Box

Design the Box

I started off by designing the box using AutoDesk’s Sheet Metal tools, and when it looked perfect I exported a flat pattern as DXF. This was used for running Flowjet 160 on my 3D printer!


Step 3: Cut the Sheet Metal

Cut the Sheet Metal

I was able to cut the flat pattern for my box with a precision that is nearly impossible by hand. It only took me about two minutes and it looks amazing!


Step 4: Spot Weld Corners

Spot Weld Corners

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to join two pieces of metal, then spot welding is a perfect choice. There’s no need to install any tools or grinders.


Step 5: Paint


I chose to powder coat the metal box within mirror white, in order for it to reflect as much light and give off a beautiful glow. You could use spray paint or even do multiple colors if you wanted!


Step 6: Install LEDs Lights

Install LEDs

The Diode kit comes with really short connectors and really long wires. I chose to shorten the wires by cutting and soldering them. You could also use solderless connectors or just leave them full length.

Step 7: Plug It in and Enjoy

Plug It in and Enjoy 1

Plug it in and enjoy your tracing lightbox.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a tracing lightbox used for?

Lightboxes are extremely useful for artists, designers, and makers of all sorts. They allow you to trace your original subject onto different types of papers with ease!

How does a tracing lightbox work?

A tracing lightbox is a device that shines bright lights through drawings, sketches, and illustrations to make them look like they were professionally done.

How do you use a tracer lightbox?

After you have selected a template picture, place tracing paper over it and begin drawing. The default app is a white screen with brightness control settings that are easy to use for beginners just starting out in 3D modeling apps like SketchUp or Procreate on the MacBook Pro!

What is a lightbox/light table?

It’s hard to believe, but tracing paper is actually a thing of the past. When you were little and wanted your drawing copied for school or at home with no art supplies available; all that was necessary would be some thin sheets of graphite pressed against windows by daylight (or even artificial light). That same effect can still occur using modern-day equivalents like lightboxes and tables- though now there are other options too!