Have you ever looked at what light tables cost? They are outrageously priced and I decided that I didn't do enough work that could use one to justify the cost. It would come in handy but I thought of a way to use what I have.
I taped the applique layout to a 12"x12" ruler and layed it over my two sewing machines with a small gooseneck lamp under it turned facing up. It works just fine! I have a piece of plexiglass that is actually for a picture frame but that will be good for larger pieces like 24"x24" center medallions. I can lay it on the dining room table and proped up on something with the light under it.