DIY Backlit Photowall

DIY Backlit Photowall

Display your favorite photos in this hanging light box.

5 col

Highlight your family’s best memories by creating this backlit photo box to display your favorite photographs.


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(2) 3 1⁄2- by 1⁄2-inch poplar boards cut to 3 feet long
(2) 3 1⁄2- by 1⁄2-inch poplar boards cut to 5 feet long
Wood glue
1 1⁄2 inch brad nails
Brad gun
Stain (or paint in the color of your choice)
(10) 1⁄2 inch eyehooks
Thin gauge picture hanging wire
Wire cutters
LED white light rope 30 feet long (or holiday lights)
Twist ties or string (optional)
Variety of photos, printed on clear vellum sheets
Sheet of 1/8 inch thick frosted acrylic sheeting
Spray adhesive
1/8-inch wood drill bit
1-inch woodscrews
Picture hangers
Picture-hanging wire
Skill saw


  1. Assemble the wood frame by taking one end of a 3-foot poplar board and create a 90-degree angle, with an end of a 5-foot board. Apply a bead of wood glue where the two boards meet and insert brad nails through the 3-foot board and into the 5-foot board. Continue attaching the remaining two boards to complete the rectangular wood frame
  2. Stain or paint the wood frame. Remember to brush in long strokes along the wood grain. If staining, wipe away any drips with a rag as needed
  3. After the frame has dried, screw in an eyehook at even intervals on the long sides of the frame. (In our case, we placed an eyehook every 4 inches.) This will create a foundation for your lights to attach to
  4. Twist the end of your wire around the first eyehook. Run one long wire through every single eyehook back and forth from one side of the frame to the other. When you reach the last eyehook, pull tight on the wire to make sure it is taut. Twist the end of the wire around the last eyehook to secure it
  5. Weave a string of rope or holiday lights back and forth across the wire. Wrap the lights around the wire as you go, ensuring that the lights will remain in place once the photo light box is hung. Use twist ties or string to tie the lights to the wire, if needed. The string of lights will provide the backlighting for your photo frame
  6. In a well-ventilated area, layout vellum photos as desired on top of a frosted acrylic sheeting surface. Remember the pattern you’ve laid out, or take a picture to reference later
  7. Take each vellum photograph and place them upside-down on a craft surface. Apply spray adhesive to the back of each photograph and let sit for two minutes to allow the adhesive to get tacky. Gently apply the photograph to the frosted acrylic sheeting surface in the pattern you previously laid out
  8. Lay the picture-covered acrylic sheeting on the front of the woodframe (frosted side down). Drill through the acrylic sheeting with an 1/8-inch wood drill bit and into the wood frame. Space the drill holes 8 inches apart along all four sides
  9. Screw 1-inch woodscrews through the acrylic sheeting and into the woodframe at each pre-drilled hole to secure the acrylic sheeting to the frame
  10. Attach picture hangers, 12 inches down from the top, on the back of the photo box with a hammer. Connect the picture hangers with picture-hanging wire by twisting the wire around each picture hanger and leaving 3 inches of slack in the wire for hanging
  11. Locate where on the wall you would like the photo box. Drive two 1 1⁄2-inch nails into the wall (at roughly eye-height) about 8 inches apart. Hang the photo box by hanging the wire over the two nails
  12. Plug in the photo box in a nearby outlet. Tuck the wire behind an end table or piece of furniture to hide

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