How to Build a Sand Art Light Box

Things You'll Need

  • 30-inch x 36-inch x 1/2 inch plywood board
  • 30-inch x 2-by-4 inch timber
  • 32-inch x 2-by-4 inch timber
  • 26-inch 2-by-4 inch timber
  • 30-inch x 26-inch sheet of opaque Plexiglas
  • Wood glue
  • Wood screws
  • 2 1/2-inch screws
  • Two lamps
  • Play sand
  • Jigsaw
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure

A sand art light box is a tool for creating beautiful sand drawings over an illuminated opaque window. Drawings are made using fingers, hands or tools to produce lines in sand that is sprinkled over a horizontal, opaque window. The result is a picture defined by the light shinning through the window and sand from beneath.

Glue and screw the two-inch sides of the 30-inch and 32-inch 2-by-4 timbers to the edge of the plywood sheet to form a box.

Cut a 24-inch by 24-inch square hole in the center of the plywood sheet using the jigsaw.

Place the Plexiglas over the hole. Place the 26-inch2-by-4s at each end of the Plexiglas, and screw through the outewidth of the 2-by-4 into the ends of the 26-inch, 2-by-4 to hold in place. The box should now have a three-inch compartment at either side of the Plexiglas window. Use these compartments to hold your drawing tools. Clear silicone caulk can also be applied to hold the Plexiglas more securely.

Stand the box on top of four blocks or anything tall enough to allow two lamps to sit below, and shine their light up through the Plexiglas.

Sprinkle a layer of sand over the Plexiglas, obscuring the light from the lamps. Using your finger, draw a line in the sand, and the light will shine through.


  • Legs can be attached to the underside of the box to make it a permanent table.

    The box and Plexiglas window can be built any size to suit your needs.

    Smaller size wood lengths can be used in substitution of the 2-by-4 lengths used here to reduce the box's overall weight and size.


  • Firmly sit the box onto a substantial base to prevent it from falling.