Trading Spaces carpenter Ty Pennington knows a thing or two about do-it-yourself decorating. Learn how to make these tai-lights at home. For around $15, no less!

How to Make Your Own Tai Lights
  • Using a table saw or compound miter saw, cut a piece of wood 10 inches by 12 inches, 3/4-inch thick.
  • Set the "fence" on the table saw 3/4-inch away from the blade.
  • Raise the blade 3/8-inch high to make a cut 3/8-inch deep.
  • With the long side against the fence, push the wooden piece through the table saw. Then switch and run the other long side through the table saw.
  • Make sure the blade has stopped. Then move the fence another 3/4-inch away from the blade. Make sure the distance or space between the first groove and the edge of the wood is the same as the distance or space between the next grooves, which should be about 3/4 inch.
  • Run both sides through the saw again. Now you should have four grooves. Move the fence away from the blade again until you have another 3/4-inch space between the last groove and the blade.
  • Run both sides through the saw one more time. You should now have six grooves (there on each side) on the "face" of the piece of wood.
  • Find the center on the "back" of the wood. Using a 1-inch hold saw or drill bit, drill down 3/8 inch. Then switch to a 3-inch bit and drill all the way through the board using the 1-inch hole center as your guide.
  • Now push the threaded rod of the two-bulb vertical lamp socket with wire first through the 3/8-inch hole on the "face." Tighten the nut from the back to the threaded rod. Use refrigerator lightbulbs as the light source.
  • Using a utility knife and a straightedge, cut fiberglass panels of "lacrolite" into smaller pieces. Cut clear 12x11 inches. Cut white 9x13 inches. Cut Chinese placemats 6x15 inches. Then slide the panels into the grooves. Clear the panel closest to the bulb, then white, then placemats.

See a demonstration  


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