Do You Want to Build a Light Box?

Greetings 2024 Pagey Elliott Puzzle Exchange Recipient!

As you now know I designed my exchange puzzles not only to be solved (arguably!) but also to be displayed. While I was only able to build/bring a single display light box for the Strong Museum archive puzzle, I'm writing these build instructions for any of you who fancy creating your own!

Parts list:


Rip a slightly wider than 1/8 inch (Capable of accepting acrylic sheet) x 1/2 inch deep groove down broad face of 2x4, ~1/2 inch from edge.


Cut this board into two identical 8 inch side pieces and two identical 13 inch top/bottom pieces.


Rerip one 13 inch length (top piece) through the earlier groove, producing two pieces roughly 1/2 inch (trim) and 3 inch inch (frame) width. Set 1/2 inch piece aside.


Fit masked acrylic sheet in wood frame, dry clamping to ensure adequate fit/squareness. Predrill pilot holes for 2 inch corner braces.


Remove clamps, apply glue to 2x4 butt joints, reclamp, secure corner braces, and let dry. (Remove acrylic sheet after securing corner braces)


Meanwhile chisel/router out a notch in ~1/2 inch width capable so that it can lay flush against ~3 inch width without interference from acrylic sheet.


Once frame has dried reinsert acrylic sheet and secure trim piece to frame with two counter sunk drywall screws at either end.


Cut aluminum angle into two identical 12-1/2 inch lengths. File rough edges after cutting. Layout and drill two 5/16" holes in each length of aluminum. Attach angle to upper and lower portion of frame with 3/4 inch braces, 8-32x1/2 inch machine screws, and hex nuts. (Holes should be countersunk on inside angle face to ensure screws sit flat). Aluminum angles should be spaced to accommodate float frame centered over acrylic.


Remove all hardware, upper trim piece, and acrylic sheet. Prime, paint, and seal all visible faces of frame and trim piece.


Layout seven rows on plywood/MDF backer with which to attach LED strip. drill 4 sets of holes on either side of each row to accept zip ties. Drill large hole in lower corner capable of passing through LED strip. Notch out sections for keyhole hanger attachment if using.


Secure LED strip to backer board with zip ties, cutting off excess zip tie and LED strip material. Attach backer board to painted frame with finish nails.


Remove masking from acrylic sheet, insert to frame, reattach trim and hardware. Discard 1/4 inch spacer from float frame and place puzzle between both panes of glass (should fit perfectly). Slide from into light box rails, light, and enjoy!