Lite Brite, Making things with Light

Lite Brite, Making things with Light


Thinking back to when I was a young kid I realized that I was jealous of a lot of the toys that my older brother had. Whether it was his slot car race track or his train table I would hover over his shoulder begging him for a turn. Well that all changed, for a few days at least when I got a Lite Brite for my birthday. I was mesmerized by the illumination of those little translucent colored pegs, and though the black paper had little white dots to instruct where to place those pegs for certain pre-made images I always felt like I made a masterpiece.

One day after school my mother called my brother and I into the back room where my Lite Brite was set up. When we walked through the door my brother & I noticed that there was another Lite Brite next to mine.She had seen how much I enjoyed mine and how my brother would beg me for a turn and so she got him one. The Lite Brite he got was used, I think a 70’s model with a bag full of mixed pegs and a huge stack of black peg paper.The funny thing was that I used mine for years after that day but my brother got tired of his after only 2 or 3 days. And that was the only time I knew of my brother being envious of something I had.


I grew up in western New York in the late 70's early-mid 80's playing with my Star Wars and Fisher Price adventure people. I have to say it was a good time.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. we used to spell out our band name on it…that was a band made up of 12 year olds i might add.

  2. Tommy I’m sure it was very effective though.

  3. I had a lite brite going back further than I can remember (at least back to the age of 4 or 5, minimum). Since that would have been around 1980, I can guarantee mine was a 70s model. I burned through the papers like crazy, but they were expensive, so I usually wound up using construction paper as a substitute. Construction paper was about 1/4~1/2 of an inch shorter though, so it was difficult getting it to stay in place. I usually wound up putting one peg in the holder where it’s supposed to go & on the other side I would have to just stick it in a regular hole. I also remember thinking “whyTF is purple ‘V’ ??”. Then of course there was the issue of sorting out the pegs after you used them. 99.9% of the time I would just dump them in a pile and pick out the color I needed as I needed it, though once in a while my mother would sit there & sort out all the different colors for me (which would last until my next pic ;) .)
    At one point the bulb burned out. Instead of getting a proper replacement buld, somebody took 2 nightlight bulbs & wedged them into the socket in a V formation. It actually worked, but it melted the plastic a bit where the bulbs were too close, and left dangerous gaps to stick a finger.

  4. The Lite Brite also made a very convincing Starship “screen” for when one was pretending to be on the bridge of the Enterprise. I would do my best to imitate the screens from Wrath of Khan…couple that while playing Activision’s Starmaster and you were good to go. :)

  5. Drahken I forgot about the construction paper being to small, I did the same thing in the corners. Also, I always mixed them up as well.
    Vic, Make it So….. oops, wrong era.

  6. Found my old Lite Brite clearing out the house.
    In its original box. Loose pegs tumbling about inside.
    Still taped up. Haven’t opened it yet. Just brought it here.
    Moved it from the closet to make space for non-Lite-Brite stuff.
    A few pegs fell from the cracks.

    There are Lite-Brite pegs on my floor.

    I am not insane.
    But this is very cool.

  7. Oh man, I loved my Lite Brite! What I loved even more: dropping all those pegs down the vents. My dad was not impressed.

  8. So cool to see that commercial again! I remember that jungle well.
    That was a great toy – very simple but really cool.

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