Light Table Science


I have always wanted to add light tables to my Family Child Care setting. It wasn’t until I had a peek inside of a light table made by Susan Dotson, a mentor and colleague of mine, that I knew I could make one myself. Susan is a professional speaker inspiring many educators in early education. With Susan’s help, I made the light table photographed above.


Light tables provide a variety of fun experiences. One need only visit Pinterest for more exciting ideas. The light table shown here is one with a black light inside.


I chose a larger tote 28″ x 17.5″ x 6″ wanting to provide space for the enjoyment of more than one child. I placed newspaper and tape on the bottom of the tote spray painting the sides with a white paint known to stick to plastic. The whitepaint directs the light from my light strips to the bottom of the tote which becomes the top of my light table.


A hole is drilled into the side of the tote with a spade bit. The light strips (22 inches) are added to the lid using double strip tape. Their cords are gathered and taped together with duct tape. Both are directed through the hole of the tote. The two pieces are united for a completed light box.


When you are out and about shopping, your eyes (like mine) will naturally look for items that refract light.  Refraction is the bending of light as it passes from one substance to another. 


The black light table is made very similar. The tote I chose was 23″x 14.25″ x 6″. The length of the black light is 20″. We went with one light this time attaching it with Velcro strips. To aid the refraction process, we used double sided tape to attach wax paper on 3 sides of the tote.  

Hopefully, the information provided above will motivate you to make your own light tables. One thing is for certain. It is sure to be an illuminating experience!

by Pamela J. Stefanich