Matt of YouTube channel DIY Perks has shared a video showing how old televisions and computer monitors can be repurposed to create a natural-looking light source that gives off a similar look to window light.

The 13-minute video walks through the entire process, with Matt taking the time to explain each step of the project and each element involved in upcycling an otherwise faulty display into a cheap, DIY light source.

A screenshot from the video showing the difference the fresnel lens panel makes in preventing light falloff.

One of the key components that makes the light coming from TV and monitor backlights look so natural is a fresnel lens. As Matt explains in the video, these fresnel lenses, combined with additional diffusers, helps to reduce the inverse square law.

The process itself is a bit cumbersome and will vary greatly from one TV/monitor to the next, but the basic principles seem to apply to most displays. You can either choose to re-wire the light source used in the original display or use Matt’s more convenient solution, which is to remove the original light source and put LED light strips in place so wiring and powering the setup is more convenient. Matt even links his preferred LED light strips, which have a decent CRI rating for the most natural-looking light.

A screenshot from the above video showing Matt reinstalling the diffusion panel in one of his upcycled light builds.

Unless you have the tools on hand, it isn’t likely an evening project, but it doesn’t appear to be too difficult either, especially considering similarly-sized light sources will come at a much higher cost than the DIY solution.

Of course, be sure to properly recycle any components not used in the rebuild to minimize waste.