Update: Tweaking my DIY light table

Since my original post on creating my own light table, I have received all kinds of wonderful ideas on how to improve on my plan. I thought I should share the ideas with you so you can decide what will work best for you…

The first suggestion was to paint the inside of my plastic container with a silver paint so to help contain and reflect the light inside the container. I used a plastic primer and then a metallic paint to paint the inside of my plastic container…

The next suggestion was to paint the bottom of the lid of the container with a frost paint. I found a frost paint at Lowes and tried it out…

I also decided to try different types of battery operated lights. These lights are florescent lights from Walmart. They do cost more money but I bought four of them and added batteries…

I actually bought two short and two long (the short ones were cheaper). Here they are inside the box without the lid.

The florescent lights are a little brighter so I laid them on their sides around the edges….

What I really like…

  • I love using battery operated lights so I can set the light box anywhere I want in the room. I can set it on a table or on the floor. I wont leave the lights on too long at a time so I am hoping the batteries will last for awhile.
  • I like that the basket is lite weight and durable.
  • I like that I can store my light table supplies inside the plastic box and put it all away easily.
  • I like the florescent lights better than the button lights for this but I still plan to use my button lights too.
  • I really like that metallic paint  I am thinking it would be fun to use for other ideas down the road. I could make my own play pizza pans:)

What I don’t like…

  • Having to buy so many AA batteries but the payoff of being able to move the light box anywhere I want is worth it to me.
  • The frost paint was a little blotchy in spots but it worked well enough.

I have a few more ideas to share with you on things you can make to explore on top of the light table but it will be a week or so before I can get them all ready to share.   I hope this is helpful to you all as you plan your own light tables. If you have any other suggestions or light table ideas – leave a link below to your light table ideas.  For now – I am happy with how this turned out and plan to introduce it in the classroom very soon.

To see the original light table post, click here!

To see how I made the colorful discs on top of the light table click here!


  1. kat says

    I LOVE your blog! I have been looking for something like this for a long time! I had been searching websites but it turns out I should have been searching blogs! Thank you so much for contributing your knowledge and experiences to help other little kids, I really appreciate it. I can’t tell you how much fun I have had looking though your blog and the links to other great blogs, thank you again!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. says

      Ahhh, that is such a sweet comment Kat – Thank You for taking the time to write me:)

  2. Jean Young says

    In my quest for a cheaper light table I found your site and thank you!! Today I found a $5 clear scrapbook paper plastic storage bin. It’s perfect to have a set. And it’s really shallow and space saving! I did the frosted paint. I was wondering if you felt if the metallic really made a big difference?

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. says

      Well, I do think it helps but I have had others who just used some aluminum foil as well. I think something that either reflects the light or at least keeps light from coming in from the sides of your container.