Light Box Buffet

Learn how to create a lighted shelving unit from an old headboard and rice paper.


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Materials and Tools:

chop saw
power drill
nail gun
flat file drawer
1x6 oak boards
rice paper
fluorescent light fixtures


1. Using a chop saw, cut the headboard legs flush with the bottom support.

2. Cut every other upright post using a jigsaw, and then remove the loose pieces. Be careful not to damage the pieces as they will be used later in the project.

3. Cut rice paper to fit directly behind the headboard. Staple the rice paper to the back of the headboard.

4. On the chop saw, cut four of the upright posts that we removed to 17 inches in length and four to 13-1/2 inches. Cut 10 small pieces from the remains to fit in between the headboard posts, perpendicularly.

5. Glue and screw the 10 small post pieces in between the headboard posts, alternating the height in a "brick-like" fashion.

6. On the chop saw, cut three shelves out of oak 1 x 6 that are 40-1/2 inches wide. Glue and nail the first shelf perpendicular to the bottom of the headboard).

7. Glue and nail four of the 17 inches upright posts to the bottom shelf. Mount two directly to the headboard and the other two flush with the ends of the shelf—about two inches from the front.

8. Set the next shelf on top of these supports, and then nail them in place.

9. Glue and nail the four 13-1/2 inch posts to the new middle shelf. Again, attach two of the posts directly to the headboard. The other two can be placed flush with the outside edges and front of the shelf.

10. Glue and nail the top shelf to the headboard and post supports.

11. Using a screwdriver, remove the handle of the salvaged drawer. Using a putty knife, pry off the front drawer face.

12. Use a power sander to remove the old paint from the drawer.

13. Find equal placement for three 18 inch florescent lights, mark the mounting holes, and then pre-drill them. Wire the lights, and then attach with bolts through the pre-drilled holes.

14. Staple and glue 3/4 inch hook-and-loop tape to the perimeter of the connecting edge of the shelf. Do the same to the mating surface of the headboard.

15. Sand and stain all wood to match the dark color of the headboard. Apply a polyurethane finish.

Project Cost:

Headboard: $10
Rice paper: $10
Light fixtures: $20
Wood and materials: $15

Total: $55

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