I use a lightbox every single day for my foundation paper piecing. While it isn’t necessary, and I paper pieced successfully before I started using one, once I discovered how much easier it was to FPP with a lightbox, I never looked back. Students in my classes almost always leave seeing the value of a lightbox. I wanted to share with you some of the benefits.
I enjoy fussy cutting. When paper piecing, the first section of a template is the easiest to fussy cut because you can use a lightbox to arrange your fabric within the section just the way you want it. I do this all the time! I also design patterns with this in mind, whenever possible.
Sometimes, If I am going to be fussy cutting a number of the same design, I will cut a template of just the fussy-cuttable section, with an added 1/4″ seam allowance and, using the lightbox, position it on my fabric, pin and cut. Then I repeat this process until I have all my fussy cuts ready to paper piece.
A lightbox also allows you to see the piecing lines while placing your fabric. Here, you can see that I have placed the outer triangles for my Tell Me A Story block 1/4″ past the piecing line. You can do this by holding your fabric up to a bright light or window too. But this often results in shifting because it’s hard being accurate in the air!
A common frustration in FPP is discovering that your fabric didn’t completely cover a section until it is too late. If you keep holding your template over the lightbox, you can quickly assess and see that all your seam allowances are covered.
I would say that these are the ways that I use the lightbox the most: fussy cutting, placing my fabric for FPP, and checking my seam allowances. If you want to see how I use a lightbox in action, I encourage you to watch my YouTube videos because I use my lightbox in all of them!
In my images and videos, I am using a Daylight Company Wafer 1 lightbox, sometimes with the cutting mat that they sell to go on top of it. I have an affiliate code for Daylight that I would like to share with you. Use the code “AMY20” for 20% off at the checkout (US or UK.) This code will work for any of their products, including their lights too.
I hope that this has helped you understand why I love using a lightbox for FPP!