Pic of my homemade light box for tracing applique
When I did the crayon kitty swap that Red hosted, as I was holding pictures up to the window to trace, I thought -- I need one of those light boxes! But when I looked at prices, it seems they were around $50. I've seen them cheaper since then, but still too much.
I had a piece of plexi glass I got for a couple bucks from the scrap bin at the plexiglass store. I got a shallow tub at a "dollar store" type place for just a couple bucks, and a plug in fluorescent light from Walmart for about $4 ior $5. (They had some that use batteries and don't need cords too, but I went for the cord.)
I took some sharp scissors and bored a hold in the side of the plastic for the cord to go through. I put the light inside, set my plexiglass on top -- and voila! A light box. I used it the other day and it worked fine. I may duct tape the plexiglass to the tub along one side to form a "hinge" of sorts. Also, I noticed the ones you buy have a whitish top, which probably diffuses the light. Mine seemed fine, but if it needs that I can put something like paper or an opaque plastic film over the top to tone the light down.
It may not be the best looking light box out there -- but it sure was inexpensive.