Bored with the lamp in the corner? Had enough of the light on your dresser? If you really want your decor to shine, the light cube is a great alternative to everyday lamps. And if you make it yourself, you can also add a bit of your own craftsmanship. Difficult? Not at all, with our tips you can easily make your own light box using pre-cut acrylic sheets. All the pleasure of making it yourself and guaranteed success!
Step 1: Decide on the dimensions
How big will your light box be? That depends on the space you have. As a minimum size, we’re keeping to a cube of 30 x 30 x 30 centimetres. Of course, we’re making a perfectly proportioned cube shaped box, and for that we need to count. We’ll leave the underside of the cube open so that it’s easy to replace the bulb in the light cube. That means we need 5 sheets of acrylic, we’re opting for 5 millimetres thick acrylic sheets. You need to include that thickness when calculating the width and height, otherwise your lamp will never be a perfect cube. You need two short and two longer side walls: the short side walls are placed between the longer side walls. These shorter side walls must be 2 .5 millimetres narrower than the longer side walls, since the thickness of the longer side walls is added to the shorter side wall. So you come back to 30 centimetres width! This also applies to the height of all four side walls, which you order 5 millimetres shorter, because the thickness of the top plate must be added.
For a cube of 30 x 30 x 30 centimetres, you need to order 2 sidewalls of 29 x 29.5 centimetres, 2 sidewalls of 30 x 29.5 centimetres and the top plate of 30 x 30 centimetres.
Step 2: Decide on the colour and order the material
Acrylic sheets are available in different shades and colours. You could choose frosted acrylic, which gives a nice, even distribution of light, or you could opt for crystal clear plexiglass for a high-tech look. Remember, however, that all the glued connections are clearly visible in crystal clear acrylic sheet, so working very neatly is essential (but of course, not impossible). Finally, acrylic is available in several colours; this is particularly effective if you want to make several light cubes. Every corner of the room a different colour! Please note that coloured acrylic sheets are only available in the 3 millimetres sheet thickness. You have to set this off against the sizes. For a cube of 30 x 30 x 30 centimetres, you need to order 2 side walls of 29.4 x 29.7 centimetres and 2 side walls of 30 x 29.7 centimetres. The lampholder is also made from 5 millimetre thick acrylic. For this, you’ll need a strip of 29 .7 centimetre and two short strips of 7 x 7 centimetres. Oh yes, don’t forget to order the acrylic adhesive you require as well!
Step 3: Good preparation leads to a perfect result!
To make a perfectly shaped light cube, you only need a few simple tools. A block hook is essential and a few bookends also come in handy. To begin with, you take a short and a long side wall. From both pieces, remove the foil on one side, these sides will be on the inside. Lay the long side wall flat on your workbench (or table) and apply the Acrifix adhesive to the end of the side wall.
NB(1): Always wear rubber gloves when gluing and ensure adequate ventilation.
NB(2): The glue is very runny, so first practice spreading the glue on a piece of cardboard!
Then place the top piece (with the glue) on the long side wall, and using the book support and the block hook, position the short side wall perfectly perpendicular to the long side wall. Let it stand for 20 minutes, during which time the adhesive will harden. The bonding of acrylic is a kind of welding process, both parts melt together and cannot be disassembled without breaking. Take your time to place both sides perfectly.
While the first adhesive bond is curing, drill a hole for the cable in the second short sidewall. The borehole comes exactly in the middle, at the bottom. Stick a piece of masking tape on the spot where you mark the hole and drill. The centre point of the borehole is 15 millimetres from the edge. If you drill closer to the edge, there is a chance that the hole will tear. Drill the hole first with a 3 millimetre drill bit, followed by a 5 millimetre drill. When drilling, lay the plate on a piece of wood which the drill can run into.
After the first side wall has been glued, place the second short side wall. You glue this onto the long side in the same way. Only when this second glued connection has hardened, place the second long side wall on top of the whole.
Finally, you can set the cube down on all four sides. Now you can apply the top plate. Place the Acrifix on the ends of the cube and place the top plate. Don’t forget to remove the foil on one side! Using the masking tape, hold the top plate in place. If you want, you can place a weight on the top plate during curing.
Step 4: Making and positioning the lamp holder
We’ll make the lamp holder from the narrow strips. This lamp holder will be suitable for a standard lamp fitting, in which you can fit a range of different light bulbs. For this, we first drill a 45-millimetre hole in the middle of the long strip (29 x 7 cm). To begin with, we’ll stick a few strips of wide masking tape on one side of the strip. Exactly in the middle, draw the borehole, and drill a 5 millimetre hole here.
Using a round-hole saw and a drill, we cut the fitting hole. Keep the speed of the drill low and let the saw do the work. To prevent the acrylic from melting, occasionally spray some water on the plate with a plant spray.
After drilling, remove the foil from the long strip and the two short strips (7 x 7 cm). On the end faces of the short strips, apply the Acrifix glue and stick the long strip on to it. With the aid of the block hook and / or book support, you can ensure a perfectly angled connection. While the adhesive hardens, you can connect the fitting and the cord. After curing, you can mount the fitting in the lamp holder, the fitting is clamped on the long strip with a swivel.
Because the long strip of the lamp holder is the same size as the interior of the cube, the lamp holder stands securely in the cube. You only have to screw the light bulb of your choice into the socket and place the lamp holder in the cube. Et voila: your homemade light cube is ready!
Most of the requirements for gluing acrylic sheets can be found in our webshop:
• Acrylic sheet for the side walls, size to be determined
• Acrylic sheet for the lamp holder
• Acrifix acrylic adhesive
• Rubber gloves
• Block hook or hooks
• Right-angle support, e.g. one or more bookends
• Roll of wide masking tape
• HSS drill bits 3 and 5 millimetres
• Round hole saw
• Plant spray with water