Built-in Coffee Table Lightbox


[Flyingpuppy] sent us this tip about her cleverly-concealed pull-out lightbox drawer. Her resolution for the new year was to make more art, so she filled this coffee table with art supplies and decided she’d draw while relaxing in front of the television. She also wanted a lightbox nearby, which originally involved hacking the entire tabletop with some acrylic, but she eventually opted for a simpler build: and it’s portable, too! The drawer’s lights are battery-powered, so you can pull the entire thing out of the table and drag it onto your lap, if that makes drawing more comfortable.

[Flyingpuppy] sourced seven inexpensive LED units from her local dollar store, which she mounted to the back of the drawer with some screws. The rest of the drawer was lined with white foam board, the bottom section angled to bounce light up onto the acrylic drawing surface. Because she needs to open the case to manually flip on the lights, she secured the acrylic top magnetically, gluing a magnet to the underside of the foam board and affixing a small piece of steel to the acrylic. A simple tug on the steel bit frees the surface, providing access underneath. Stick around for a video below.

9 thoughts on “Built-in Coffee Table Lightbox

  1. In my (limited) experience with turning drawers upside down for having more working space when i was a kid. be sure the drawers/table is of a certain sturdines/quality, because otherwise you will have a really wobbly/unstable worksurface (at least if drawing directly on it while its just pulled out) and there can also be issues with edges (the drawers bottom not being flush with the side/end-boards of the drawer). Another issue is the angle changing as you pull the drawer out, leaning lower and and lower with the frontend.

    But if you can overcome or live with these issues, this is a very nice idea. and makes for a great “quick to tuck out of the way when visitors drop by” workingspace.

    I can also imagine making the ligthboard part only take up half the drawers depth so that you can still use it as a regular drawer by turning it back to normal, just with less space in it.

    1. On the other hand, drawing and watching tv (or listening tv) at the same time is a 3rd kind of relaxation (after each act individually). And just because it is infront of the tv you dont really _have_ to turn it on ;-) This might just be the thing that makes you turn it off for a while to concentrate on drawing.

      Having to occasional visit from family with small kids myself, I can also imagine parents drawing while the kids are watching tv (while the kids are still the age where you want to surpervise them even when they are seemingly sitting quietly)

    2. Speak for yourself, pcf11. I can watch tv for hours on end but I do get tired of it, however, I’ve gone 30+ hours drawing on countless occasions with nothing more than snack and bathroom breaks. At least for me, there’s nothing more relaxing than putting a pencil to paper.

    1. I had an “old” flatscreen tv die on me and took it appart, inside was series of backlighting tubes and all the support metal and glass-front to make a standalone movable lightbox board – until i dropped something on the thin light tubes and broke the most of them. My point is – if you are replacing a broken flatscreen tv and are not a clumpsy fool like me, you might get yourself a “free” lightboard out of that.

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