- 1 Paint your wood. Once dry, cut the wood into equally sized rectangles that will ultimately be drilled together to make a box. Don’t forget to leave a hole in one of the rectangles that should be approximately the size of your light socket.
- 2 Once you’ve drilled the wood pieces together into your free-standing box, line the inside of the box with aluminum tape. This will reflect the light.
- 3 Place your light socket into the hole you’ve created in the wood and secure it with a light bulb, tightly screwed into the other side.
- 4 Cut the plastic frame to fit your box and glue it in place.
- 5 Cut acetate into rectangle shapes and add letters to them. We recommend making the entire alphabet x 2.
- 6 Cut corrugated plastic as wide as your plexiglass to create a ledge to hold your letters.
- 7 Add the letters to the ledge and put your lightbox on display around the house! Safety first! Never leave your lightbox on for prolonged periods, or unattended. Bulbs can become warm and where there’s heat, there’s always the potential for flames.
The Sci Behind the DIY
More than just fun for the whole family, this lightbox is a trippy trick that harnesses optical power. You see, objects that can be seen by you, but don’t produce their own light, reflect light – that’s how you’re able to see them. The sides of this box reflect light. Specifically, polished metal surfaces reflect light much like the silver layer on the backside of a glass mirror.
Reflection involves two rays: an incoming (incident ray) and an outgoing (reflected ray). Like a camera lens, your eye is designed to focus light, ultimately making your very important message to the kiddos very visible…and very science-savvy.