DIY Lightbox Fabrics

By Prev Info - January 21, 2023

A lightbox displays artwork and paintings with backlit bulbs.

A lightbox is a frame that contains built-in lights that illuminate an art canvas from the back. It can be used to display paintings, prints, silk-screen art, logos or commercial signs. The fabric for lightboxes can be cotton canvas, silk or any other fabric that is thick enough to hide the individual bulbs in the lightbox when they are lit, but thin enough to allow the light to shine through to highlight the artwork or words on the fabric. Prefabricated lightboxes are available with plastic or wooden frames.

Things You'll Need

  •     Canvas or silk screen fabric
  •     Plastic lightbox frame
  •     Canvas tape


  1. Choose a printed or painted fabric to display on the lightbox. Measure the size of the lightbox frame you need. Ensure that the fabric is 4 to 6 inches longer and wider than the frame because the fabric must stretch over the 2- to 4-inch-deep sides of the frame.
  2. Lay the fabric on a flat surface such as a table. Pull the fabric taut so it is completely smooth.
  3. Lay the lightbox frame face-down and centered on top of the fabric. Fold the right side of the fabric over the side of the frame and onto the back.
  4. Attach the folded right side of the fabric to the lightbox frame using the canvas tape. Pull the opposite side of the fabric so it is stretched taught across the front of the lightbox. Attach it securely to the frame. Continue with the top and bottom of the fabric so all four sides are affixed to the lightbox frame.

Tips & Warnings

  1. Lightboxes are available at art supply and commercial advertising stores.
  2. The lightbox can be hung on a wall using a nail and hook or placed upright on a table, shelf or fireplace mantle.
  3. Place the lightbox near a convenient electrical outlet so it can be plugged in.
  4. You can also use a wooden lightbox frame and staple the stretched canvas or fabric to it.
  5. Do not leave a lit lightbox unattended or overnight; the lightbox can become hot due to the lighted electrical bulbs and overheat the fabric, becoming a fire hazard.



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