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Picture of DIY Studio Light Panel

This self-contained "studio light" is a simple portable light made from an $11.00 bathroom vanity fixture. These can be assembled with a few dollars of hardware if you're able to use scrap or pallet wood for this project. See the video for a breakdown on costs and a side-by-side comparison between this light and cheap a CFL "Studio Lighting". I've also included some additional build videos in a few of the steps.

Materials Needed

  • Vanity Wall Light*
  • Combination Clamp
  • 1/4-20 T-Nut
  • LED Bulbs
  • Wire Nuts
  • 1/8" Plywood
  • Wood
  • Glue/Epoxy
  • Paint, Stain or Dye (optional)

*The light I used in my project was purchased at Home Depot and called Thomas Lighting's 3-Light Chrome Vanity Wall light.

Required Tools

  • Hand saw or chop saw
  • Wire strippers
  • Screw drivers
  • Drill
  • Drill bits

Optional Tools

  • Table saw
  • Brad nailer
  • Chisel

Overview

A simple wood frame is made from some strips of wood, and a piece of plywood is use for a backer plate. The fixture is wired up inside the enclosure using wire nuts, and circular clips on the vanity fixture hold the backer plate into place. Check out the video for a brief overview of the build as well as a cost breakdown of the materials.

Step 1: Cut Your Wood

Picture of Cut Your Wood
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Rip Cuts (Optional)

For this project, I used 1" poplar boards (3/4" actual). For the vanity light I selected, a thickness of 1 3/8" was a good size to keep the profile thin yet still all the wires in. If you do not have a table saw, 1" x 2" boards will work fine, your end result will be a little thicker.

Cut to Length

I avoid performing calculations and taking measurements when possible. For this project, I used the fixture itself to mark off my cuts. First I marked off the end pieces by using a straight edge and the short end of the fixture. Then I fit those in and use them to mark where the cuts needed to go on the long pieces.