Text Box: Build Your Own Inexpensive  
Ultraviolet Viewing Cabinet
Design by Jim Fisher, Creekside Artifacts

Above: Front view showing view port with piping (for comfort) of split plastic tubing.  The tubing has been epoxied to the edges of the plastic view port.  A 6-Watt Blak-Ray UV light source has been attached to the cabinet using 2 Velcro straps. Click on any of the pictures for a better view.

     If you’ve always wanted one of these portable darkrooms for use with your UV light source, but don’t want to pay $175.00 for a commercial version, here is a very economical alternative.  For your investment in $20 worth of common materials and a couple of hours of work you can have a UV viewing cabinet that is easily assembled, very durable, lightweight, and that works great. 



1– Rubbermaid storage bin:   14” x 10” x 7” deep

1– can flat black spray paint

1– package of 1/2” wide x 1/4” thick, foam

     adhesive weather stripping

36” of black 1/4” vinyl tubing

2- Velcro straps (length will vary depending on

     type of UV lamp you have)

14– 1/8” diameter aluminum pop rivets with 1/4”


8– 1/8” aluminum back-up washers

1- Two-Part Epoxy System

1– 4” x 6” piece of black felt

1—plastic container that is suitable for modification and use as a view port (a plastic Nestle’s Quik Mix container for example– be creative here and use what allow comfort and a good viewing field)




utility knife, ruler and straight edge for cutting plastic

power drill with 1/8” bit for making pilot holes for rivets

pop rivet gun

Scissors for cutting weather stripping and felt

Left: Rear view showing access port for UV light source.  The UV access port has been lined with the adhesive foam weather stripping to allow for a light-tight fit.  The Velcro straps have been riveted to the plastic bin top using the back-up washers.

Above Right: Side view showing access port for introducing artifacts.  This port is covered with a flap of felt, which has been riveted to the wall of the bin from the inside (back-up washers used here too).

Above: Top view showing view port and viewing field.  A portion of the bottom of the smaller plastic container has been cut away to create a viewing field.  A matching cut was made through the top of the larger Rubbermaid bin.  Tabs were left in the bottom of the “view port” container to allow the two pieces of plastic to be riveted together.  Foam weather stripping was placed between the bin’s top and the bottom of the plastic view port to create a better fit and to close  gaps through which unwanted light might enter. 

*  NOTE:  suitable safety glasses MUST be used with this UV viewing cabinet– UV radiation can be harmful to eyes

Be sure to coat the interior of the bin and view port with the flat black spray paint—I painted the exterior of the bin and plastic view port for a uniform look.  All of the painting was done after all 3 of the access ports were cut into the bin and the view port was fabricated and ready for installation.