I’ve been playing with a new quilting notion in the studio for the last few months and I’m excited to share a little about my experience of working with a lightbox for quilting and embroidery with you.
You know that I’m pretty selective about the tools and notions I bring into my sewing space. I don’t have a large area and my storage space is pretty limited. So, any sewing notion needs to do double duty and be very helpful in getting a job done to warrant entry 😉
Once a new notion enters the studio, I like to put it through the paces so that I can give you insight into how effective it will be in your own quilting practice.
Today I wanted to share more about what a lightbox is, how it applies to quilting, why I wanted one, and share what my experience has been like! You’ll also find out what unexpected project I couldn’t get out of my head once I had my new quilting notion in the studio: lightbox.
This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission.
What exactly is a lightbox?
What is a lightbox?
A lightbox is essentially just that a box that is lite from within. In this case, I’m talking about a thin electrical device that has an ultra-bright light with a layer of clear glass over top making it easy to transfer designs onto paper or fabric.
How does a lightbox work?
The lightbox comes with a plug that plugs into your standard wall outlet.
The light itself is LED which means it doesn’t get hot, it lasts quite a while and it is energy efficient.
What are the benefits of a lightbox?
Instead of having to hold your projects up to a window to transfer your designs, the lightbox makes it easy to replicate the designs on paper or fabric at the comfort of your studio table.
Why would a crafter want a lightbox?
A lightbox helps you transfer motifs from patterns onto paper or fabric.
This is helpful for creative techniques such as fussy cutting for English Paper Piecing (EPP) and Foundation Paper Piecing, and transferring designs for embroidery, crewel, and painting. If you have a design you want to trace onto something else, this is the tool for you!
Why I wanted a lightbox in my quilting studio?
As is often the case, I was on the fence about bringing a lightbox into my quilting studio. I knew that it could be helpful for foundation paper piecing and for tracing patterns, I just questioned how often I’d use the lightbox.
I can’t tell you the number of times the thought “a lightbox would be handy right about now” went through my mind over the last few years.
It happened with sufficient frequency and regularity that I finally decided to try one out.
Why I went with the Day Light Company
I’ve been using my Luminos Table Lamp for a few years now and it has made such a difference in illuminating my sewing area. The dining room table that I stitch at is located at the far end of a rectangular room, directly across from a bank of windows. The natural daylight doesn’t reach effectively to that end of the room, and I always felt like I was stitching in the dark, even when it was daytime.
I partnered with the Daylight team for an unboxing video and even went live to chat about my experience with the Luminos. (I double-checked and, unfortunately, those videos are no longer available ☹.)
Since I love the quality of my light, it was a no-brainer to reach out to my friends at the Daylight Company to see what their different lightbox options were.
What is the Model of the Lightbox?
That was a few months ago and I’ve been playing behind the scenes with their Wafer Lightbox 2. They have a few different sizes to choose from and I went with the medium size. The main reason is that I’ve been working with some larger-scale foundation paper piecing patterns and the lightbox makes it easy to align templates for gluing together and validating that my fabric covers the area in question. If you’ve done any FPPing, you know how important this step is.
What is the Size of the Lightbox Screen?
Plus, the 8.5” x 11” screen size is perfect for transferring embroidery hoop art designs onto fabric. Even with hoops larger than 11”, I can still make it work without having to reposition my design a gazillion times 😉
The largest size would reduce the need for repositioning your templates even more, but it also takes up more real estate on your table and wherever you decide to store the lightbox. So, I thought the medium size was finding that happy medium.
My Experience Working with a Lightbox
The Main Project I had in Mind for the Lightbox
When I thought about uses for the lightbox, the main project I had in mind was for FPPing the Fraser Fir and Larch tree blocks.
It worked its magic for navigating those larger foundation paper piecing templates! Especially when I paired it with the optional cutting mat for trimming my pieces directly on top of the lightbox.
The Unexpected Project I Use the Lightbox for
What I hadn’t anticipated was doing a deep dive into embroidery.
That all started because I couldn’t get the idea of embroidering the Larch tree out of my head and so I finally sat down, drafted the embroidery pattern, and used my lightbox to transfer the pattern onto my fabric.
The Fabric Substrates I’ve Used with the Lightbox
I’ve tried it with a couple of different fabric substrates, namely linen, and cotton and it’s worked like a charm. Even with the thicker linen, the intensity of the lights made it a cinch to transfer the design.
As you can see, embroidery seems to be a new creative exploration captivating my attention 😉.
What I love the most about the lightbox
One of the standout features for me that I use all the time is the dimming option.
It’s super easy, all you have to do is hold the power button and it automatically dims. Let go when you’ve reached your desired dimness.
This feature stands out for me as I have super sensitive eyes. You might have noticed that I always wear sunglasses when I’m outside. Rain or shine I’ve got sunglasses on as my eyes are really sensitive to light. Oddly enough, cloudy days can sometimes be worse than sunny ones.
Pair that with my aging eyes (hello 40’s and the onset of eyeglasses) and I need assistance 😉.
I’m a little surprised just how much enjoyment I’ve been getting out of using my lightbox. It’s not something I use every day, but she’s been handy for working on my FPP and embroidery projects.
Let me know in the comments below if there’s anything else you’d like to know about the lightbox.
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