Light Box

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Learn how to construct a light box by following simple figures and instructions. This guide includes tips on how to assemble a light box; related activities are featured in separate resources. Learners can assist in the building process.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - adult

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • standard cardboard file box and lid
  • clear 60 watt light bulb with single vertical filament or vertical v-shaped filament
  • extension cord with flat-sided outlet that can be glued to box lid
  • plug-in light socket
  • blank sheet of overhead transparency material, 8.5 in x 11 in
  • 2 brass fasteners
  • rubber band
  • hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • utility knife
  • scissors
  • masking tape
  • 4 in x 6 in card


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Technology
      • Construction
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Light and Optics


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Rathjen, Don


  • All rights reserved, Exploratorium, 2003