How to Make A Light Box with Adhesive Vinyl
A light box is a unique and trendy room decor that displays a variety of texts. In addition, making your very own light box with Adhesive Vinyl allows you to display personalized messages making them much more unique. Buying one can be an option, but creating one is easy, fun, and enjoyable.
You can have this decorative piece through simple procedures. However, before we proceed to the list of materials we need, we must first decide what type of light box we want. We have two options; a frosted light box or a non-frosted lightbox.
Two types of finishes:
1. Frosted lightbox
A frosted light box requires etching the entire surface of the glass we’re using to make the “look” possible. It requires permanent pressure-sensitive vinyl that could stand out from the frosted material. If you want to get colorful results that would definitely stand out, this is the option for you.
2. Non-frosted Light Box
This one is a much simple and minimalistic piece. It requires more materials compared to the frosted light box and involves the usage of etching cream. It requires the light to truly show off the letters we’ve made and does not provide many color choices.
Now that we have gathered the information, we can decide which one we’d like to make. We have listed the items you’ll need to make this craft.
- Shadow Box
- LED Strip Lights
- Permanent Vinyl
- Cutting Machine
- Weeding Tools
- Application Tool
- Transfer tape
- Rubbing Alcohol
- (Optional) Double-Sided Tape
- (Non-Frosted) Etching Cream
- (Non-Frosted) Q-tips
- (Non-Frosted) Gloves
- (Frosted) Vinyl with Etched Finish
A shadow box is a variety of standard picture frames that contains extra space. This specific frame is needed, so we’d have an area behind the glass, to add the LED strip lights, which makes the “light box effect”.
Most LED strip lights come with an adhesive attached. This is preferable as it would require less work in terms of the application. However, if you’ve obtained strip lights with no adhesive, we can use double-sided tape to do the job!
We’ll need the rubbing alcohol and the towel to wipe the surface of the glass for a much smoother application; this removes any form of dirt or excess oils that can cause problems with the application of the permanent vinyl.
We’ll also need the permanent adhesive vinyl for both projects. For frosted glasses, it’ll serve as our signage, and for the non-frosted finish, it is a strong vinyl that can withstand water and form seals to make crisp lines when using the etching cream.
We’ve also listed the materials we need for both of the finishes we’ve discussed, like the etching cream, q-tips, and the vinyl with an etched finish.
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Below we have the steps to make our very own non-frosted light box!
Steps to make a non-frosted light box:
1. Prepare the shadow box glass
Take the shadow box apart and separate the parts. Using the rubbing alcohol and the towel, start cleaning the area. We also recommend rubbing alcohol on your hands to remove the oils from your skin.
2. Prepare your design
3. Cut and weed
Cut the design you want to apply to the light box. Next, start reverse weeding. This would mean that you’re removing bits and pieces that you would like to see on the light box, as the primary purpose of this vinyl is to create a stencil that the etching cream can follow.
4. Apply the permanent vinyl
Using a transfer tape, pick up the decal and apply it to the area you want it to go. Using the application tool, remove all of the air bubbles.
5. Using the q-tips, you can start picking up etching cream and applying thick layers to the areas you’ve reverse weeded.
Use the rubber gloves to ensure no direct contact between your skin and the chemical we’re using. We recommend doing this four times with 5-minute long intervals between each layer to allow the cream to truly dry before adding another one.
6. Use running water to wash off the excess etching cream after finishing all your layers.
7. Peel the permanent adhesive vinyl as quickly as possible.
This process needs to be done immediately after you’ve completed your layers. Letting the vinyl stay on for too long can allow the adhesive to form a stronger bond, making it much more difficult to remove as seconds pass.
8. After drying the glass, place it back down alongside the filler wood.
9. Using the LED Strip Lights, apply them around the area between the filler wood and the final backing.
We’re finally done with the non-frosted light box. Making a frosted light box is not that different from the procedures we’ve discussed. Let’s go through them, shall we?
Steps to make a frosted light box:
In step number 3, start by applying the etched vinyl to the entirety of the glass. Using the application tool, begin squeegeeing the air bubbles from the middle going outwards. Then weed the permanent vinyl as you usually would to any decal, as we only need to reverse weed when making a non-frosted light box.
From this point on, we can skip to step number 8, where we only need to prepare the shadow box and apply the LED Strip lights to finish our craft! And with that, we should also be finished with our frosted light box.
You can use an industrial adhesive glue to secure the filler wood. The filler wood is a piece of the shadow box designed to be smaller than the frame itself and supports the glass to create a 3D effect and prevent it from falling backward. This way, the filler wood won’t move around as much and wouldn’t damage the LED Strip lights inside.
However, suppose you want to have an interchangeable light box where you can replace the display glass. In that case, we recommend not doing this as using industrial glue would mean it’s permanently adhered and stays there forever.
We hope you had as much fun as we did making this adorable craft! We thank you so much for taking your time and reading through. If you picked up a thing or two from this blog, please don’t hesitate to send it to your friends and family!
If you’ve made a similar craft, or anything with vinyl, don’t hesitate to send us a message through the following social media sites, so we can feature your creations on our page.
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