How to Make a Mini Light Table

Sometimes, in photography or crafts, you need a light table. A light table illuminates an item from below, making it easier to photograph parts that might otherwise appear shaded or dark or helping you to see detailed artwork or film more easily. If you decide to buy a light table, you'll likely discover that they can be pretty expensive to buy. The good news is that they're fairly easy to make. This tutorial will show you how to make a very small one in a matter of minutes.


  1. Image titled Make a Mini Light Table Step 1
    Decide just what size you want to make the light table. If you have glass or Plexiglas, it is a good idea to make the same size. This article used an 8 X 10 (20 - 25cm) a picture frame with a glass insert, easily obtainable from a dollar store.
  2. Image titled Make a Mini Light Table Step 2
    Find a box that matches the size of the frame. Cut the closing flaps off the box.
  3. Image titled Make a Mini Light Table Step 3
    Cut a small hole in the side of your box. It will need to be large enough for your light source to get in.
  4. Image titled Make a Mini Light Table Step 4
    Find some type of reflective material. Suitable materials include Mylar, aluminum foil, whatever you have that reflects well. If you eat potato chips, the inside of those bags are reflective (just be sure to give it a good wash first, to remove the salt). Start lining the box with the reflective material. Be sure to use reflective or transparent tape when sticking it into place.
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    Put the glass from the frame on the top of the box. Turn on the light and it's ready to use.
    • To avoid accidentally knocking the glass off, tape or glue it in place.
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    Experiment with your light table. Find something that is transparent or translucent on the glass and see how the subject appears in your images.


  • You can also spray a light coat of white paint on the glass for a white light table.
  • Alternatively, you can use glue to attach the reflective material to the box. Be sure that it isn't flammable.

Things You'll Need

  • Reflective material (Mylar, aluminum foil, etc)
  • Small box
  • Glass or Plexiglas
  • Light source

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Categories: Featured Articles | Hobbies and Crafts | Photographic DIY