tracing fun with a light box and how to find ancestor photos

DIY Light box

You can do some amazing things with light boxes! Yesterday on instagram I shared how my son used a light box to trace a photo from our family tree. Don’t have a light box? No problem! I bet you have a glass baking dish. Just grab a battery operated touch light (they sell them at the dollar store) and stick it underneath. Now you have an instant and portable DIY light box. You can sit and trace on the couch, the floor, or anywhere your youthful heart desires!

Lightbox Tips: Try to find a light that is frosted or not LED. These suckers are bright! If you can’t, I suggest you tape the paper to the glass before sticking your child in front of it (which is a good idea regardless of the light you use). This gives it a nice filter so it is bright enough to see, but soft enough to look at. I should have done this before turning on the light – I can still see swirls when I close my eyes. I haven’t tried it yet, but you could also probably use your phone’s flashlight under a baking dish as well!

Tracing tips: Tape your photo to your paper so that if it shifts your lines won’t get messed up.

After tracing this photo, my son decided to watercolor it but my younger daughter prefers to paint her pictures using this method. Fun fact: they independently chose the same person for their art projects; my daughter chose Stanley Pinkerton as a baby and my son chose him in his military uniform. Looking for some family photos? Check out this post for the easiest way to find photos of your ancestors – it’s how my kids chose these photos!

Over on Instagram we had a great discussion about tracing without a lightbox and people gave more tips. If you’re not following along, join us!