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How to Make A Light Box with Adhesive Vinyl

A light box is a unique and trendy room decor, that can be used to display a variety of texts. Buying one can be an option but, making one is easy, fun and enjoyable. In addition to this, making your very own light box allows you to display personalized messages making them much more unique.


This decorative piece can be made 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 different options; a frosted light box or a non-frosted light box.


Two types of finishes:

1. Frosted light box


A frosted light box requires etching the entire surface of the glass we’re using in order to make the “look” possible. It requires permanent pressure sensitive vinyl, that could stand out from the frosted material. This is the option for you if you want to get colorful results that would definitely stand out.


2. Non-frosted Light Box


This is a much simple and minimalistic piece. It requires more materials compared to the frosted light box, and involves the usage of an 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 now decide which one we’d like to make. We have listed the items you’ll be needing to make this craft.



Shadow Box
LED Strip Lights
Cutting Machine
Weeding Tools
Application Tool
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 the standard picture frame that contains extra space behind. This specific frame is needed so we’d have 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 the double sided tape in order to do the job!


We’ll be needing 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 be needing the permanent adhesive vinyl for both of the projects. For frosted glasses, it’ll serve as our signage, and for the non-frosted finish as it is a strong vinyl that can withstand water, and can 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 of course the vinyl with etched finish.


Below we have the steps in order to make our very own non-frosted light box!


Steps in order 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 using the 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 want to see on the light box as the main 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 on 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.


Make sure to use the rubber gloves in order to ensure that there is no direct contact between your skin and the chemical we’re using. We recommend doing this four times with 5-minute long intervals in between each layer in order to allow the cream to truly dry before adding another one.


6. Use running water to wash off the excess etching cream after you’ve finished all of your layers.

7. Peel the permanent adhesive vinyl as quickly as possible.


This needs to be done immediately after you’ve completed your layers, as 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 by.


8. After drying the glass, place it back down alongside the filler wood.

9. Using the LED Strip Lights, start applying them around the area in 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?


On step number 3, start by applying the etched vinyl to the entirety of the glass, using the application tool, start squeegeeing the air bubbles from the middle going outwards. Weed the permanent vinyl as you normally 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 in order to finish our craft! And with that, we should also be finished with our frosted light box.


You can use an industrial adhesive glue in order to secure the filler wood, the filler wood is a piece of the shadow box designed to be smaller than the frame itself and serves as a support to the glass to create a 3D effect, and to prevent it from falling backwards. This way, the filler wood won’t move around as much, and wouldn't damage the LED Strip lights inside.


However if you want to have an interchangeable light box, where you can replace the display glass, we recommend not doing this as using industrial glue would mean that it’s permanently adhered and that it stays there forever.


We hope you had as much fun as we did while 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 the use of 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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You can also check us out at www.craftvinyl.ca for your vinyl needs - with that, we wish you have a safe and happy crafting!