Introduction: Doctor Who Time Crack in the Universe Wall Light

Picture of Doctor Who Time Crack in the Universe Wall Light

If building a TARDIS is too intimidating for you, how about the next best thing, having a crack in time and space appear in your own room? This instructable will show you how to make a reasonable facsimile without unleashing the powerful forces contained within. Ok, that could only happen if you knew the real name of Doctor Who.

Special Note: I was fortunate to be selected to receive from Instructables a Tech Box full of goodies for use in making my next instructables. The contents were a smorgasboard assortment of high tech gear to include a Samsung Tab 4 Android tablet, GoPro Hero 3+ Silver Edition with flex clamp, RGB LED lightstrip, car power inverter, solar battery charger and some maker essentials - personal laser engraved maker notebook, portable speakers, memory card, giant clamp, leatherman tool, keylight, waterproof pouch, paracord and Duck tape. The goal was to see what I could do with this magic box of secret ingredients. This will be the first of a few instructables that will feature items from the Tech Box. Maybe this is how to be like an Artist in Residence without actually being there. And like they do on public broadcast show and tells, Thanks to the fine folks at Instructables and the generosity and support of Ford Motor Company, Go Further.

Step 1: Foundation Materials...

Picture of Foundation Materials...

The video in this instructable was filmed using the GoPro Hero 3+ action cam. The GoPro app installed on the Samsung Tab 4 Android tablet serves as the wireless remote control and live viewer.

To build the time crack you will need:

A piece of sheetrock/drywall a bit larger than the desired size of the time crack. I had a leftover strip of drywall from house repair projects 4 ft x 1 ft.

For the frame that goes around the perimeter of the drywall piece, I had some 1 x 2 furring strips, note that dimensioned lumber is actually smaller so you have 3/4 inch by 1 1/2 inch stock. You can use larger sized lumber but it is not a structural bearing piece and would not be necessary.

1 5/8th inch drywall screws or nails

For the drywall process,

Drywall taping knife

Paper drywall tape

Joint compound, lightweight or regular mix

For cutting the shape,

Utility knife or drywall saw. There are some specialty hand held routers to zip through the job.

White glue


RGB LED remote controlled light strip, I am using the TaoTronics 5050 RGB 300 LED strip light (TT-SL007)

I used the entire 4 meter strip that was on the spool. If you have some electronics knowledge and soldering skills, you can modify most LED strips to cut out and use smaller segments. You can also chain on additional units since there are connectors at both ends of the strip. As you can see, they are extremely bright..

oh, Sonic screwdriver not included...that prop was done at the last minute by hotgluing some pen barrels of defunct pens and a magic marker cap to a flashlight.

Step 2: Framing 101...

Picture of Framing 101...

A time crack in the universe can appear anywhere in time and space or anywhere on your wall.

I didn't have a wall that I could cut into so I decided to build a new section of wall to play with. This one can hang in front of any existing wall.

Of course, if you are planning to modify a wall, consult a professional to determine if it is load bearing and make the appropriate modifications and reinforcements as necessary. Also, be cautious of any hidden pipes or wiring that may be behind the wall.

Essentially, sheetrock or drywall is a building material in sheet form that you secure to a frame to make a rigid wall.

Take the piece of drywall and build a frame around the edges. Cut pieces to fit the perimeter of your board. Stand the pieces on edge so that there is more depth to the box you are creating. Since the wood below is thin, you may get a few popped screws where the brittle edge breaks if the screw is driven too deep. If the screw is driven at an angle you can miss the wood too. Just back out the screw and try again. Don't worry too much as the drywall tape and compound will cover that up. Sink the screws a little below the surface of the drywall so that you can fill the dimple with some joint compound later on

The distance between studs or wood supports is usually 16 inches on center so our section of wall should hold up without needing addtional reinforcement.

Step 3: Sheetrock 101...

Picture of Sheetrock 101...

Sheetrock or drywall or plasterboard is a rigid building product that is reconstituted gypsum mineral rock dust sandwiched between paper facing.

Drywall joint compound or "mud" is that wet mix we use to fill in any gaps and to smooth the appearance of our final product.

Paper or fiber mesh tape is embedded with joint compound over joints or corners to minimize cracks where expansion and contraction occurs.

You can use drywall tape folded to give a nice sharp edge.

Fill most of the void with joint compound.

"Butter up" or spread joint compound on the tape so it will be like a layer of glue.

Apply to the piece and smooth with the drywall knife or rigid blade spatula. You will press out excess drywall compound.

The other technique of just pressing the drywall tape into the compound sometimes results in unadhered spots if there was not enough joint compound under the tape in the first place.

Get everything stuck down and add more joint compound to cover all. Spread evenly. Get the feel of the drywall knife and feather out the joint compound to make a flat smooth surface.

You can get it fairly smooth on the first try. Don't work it too much.

Wait for it to dry overnight and then lightly sand or scrape the big bumps with your drywall knife.

Give it a smooth second finish coat.

Step 4: Things Are Starting to Crack...

Picture of Things Are Starting to Crack...

Sketch out the time crack on the wall section.

Refer to the many images found on the internet.

You can use a utility knife of a special pointed serrated drywall saw to carve out the time crack.

This drywall saw is also called a jab saw/knife since you jab it into the drywall to start the hole anywhere in your drywall.

The serrated hardened edge is to wear away at the rock hard material.

Cut out the time crack in sections. Peel and break away any paper that gets torn out with the chunks of drywall.

After the crack opening is cut, I went over the entire edge with white glue. This helps seal the drywall there and reinforces the brittle cut edge. The glue also helps retain that rough texture of the cut giving it some character.

Step 5: Prime and Paint...

Picture of Prime and Paint...

A raw or new paper drywall surface will soak up paint like a sponge. That is why you need to prime it with some kind of primer or paint to seal the surface so you don't waste a lot of the final finish color paint.

Primer dries quickly so you can give it one or two coats.

I painted the inside with white primer too. That will actually help reflect the brightness of the light inside the wall section.

When the primer is dry, paint to match the wall color that you are hanging the time crack on.

Step 6: Let There Be Light...

Picture of Let There Be Light...

Attach the LED strip to the interior wall of the time crack.

Lay out the LED strip to see where it would need to be positioned. There is a small power coupler module and the IR receiver to place. The LED strip wound around the interior twice.

Since this was a prototype, I wasn't ready to really stick the LED strip down with the attached adhesive tape on the back of the LED strip itself. I pre-drilled and installed several small screw eyes around the inside of the frame. I then used nylon tie-wraps to corral the LED strip. I kept the tie-wrap loops loose so I could drape the LED strip closer to match the time crack shape.

I positioned the IR receptor by wedging it in at the end of the time crack. It was secured on the back with Duck tape.

I found the wall studs in my wall to install two screws level with each other. The time crack can be hung right on them since it has an open back.You can make this with a back but the light leakage from the frame works well for the additional ambient glow.

Plug it in and find one of the light patterns that you like. Since it does cycle through different colors, this would not be true to the TV show but is spectacular none the less. It will strobe on a single color selection. You can adjust color, brightness and speed of the flash or fade.

And in keeping thoughts on where this can go, maybe add a sensor for when a person approaches to activate the lights. Go further...


SherylinRM (author)2016-07-15

Ok so excuse me if I appear stupid but....

Is the crack hollow or is there a window over it or what?

Thank you :)

caitlinsdad (author)SherylinRM2016-07-16

There is nothing that covers the crack or hole in the wall. You could even put your hand in the crack and pull out something from behind hidden in the wall. The lights are so bright the effect that it literally floods out of the gap appearing to be solid white or some kind of surface.

This is so simple to make, try to put a bright light, preferably LED bulb, behind a cracked piece of sheetrock, plywood, or a real crack in the wall. Good luck.

SherylinRM (author)caitlinsdad2016-07-17

Ah ok. Makes it much simpler to make for sure

Thanks for the quick reply :)

buck2217 (author)2015-07-01

Are you TRYING to destroy the Universe!!!!! STOP

caitlinsdad (author)buck22172015-07-02

Mankind is already doing a good job of that. Maybe a bag of hydraulic cement might work to fix it.

jjkimball (author)2014-12-27

Made this for my boys for Christmas. Thank you for your inspiration! It made their Christmas Epic.

caitlinsdad (author)jjkimball2014-12-27

Fantastic! Now go post some pics of the build.

creative_creations (author)2014-11-28

Wow! You've got my vote!

makendo (author)2014-11-21

Cool. And free tech box!? You must have wound those clamps pretty tight... :)

caitlinsdad (author)makendo2014-11-21

Nah, they had to twist my arm to accept it. Seems they made an offer I couldn't refuse...

chiwing (author)2014-11-19


Ah, so cool! I could love this in my room!

Without the mess of heavy construction, you could make this in a window blackout or shower curtain version or put it on hospital room divider curtains.

tomhv9 (author)2014-11-17

love it :)

caitlinsdad (author)tomhv92014-11-17

thanks, you could make an interactive version with stuff from your touch led canvas instructable.

tomhv9 (author)caitlinsdad2014-11-17

how about brighter as you approach and slightly fluctuate in brightness in normal operation

tomhv9 (author)tomhv92014-11-17

potentially, how would you have it react?

Ayush Sharma (author)2014-11-17


caitlinsdad (author)Ayush Sharma2014-11-17

Thanks. You could rig up your led bed headboard instructable to do the same thing.

Ayush Sharma (author)caitlinsdad2014-11-17

Really! I will implement this idea when my shipping of PIC's and RGB Leds and Attiny's Arrive! Really waiting for "At tiny85" to Shrink the projects i have made :p

caitlinsdad (author)Ayush Sharma2014-11-17

look into adafruit's Gemma and Trinket projects which are attiny85 based. There are some cool things to do paired up with their neopixels LEDs.

Ayush Sharma (author)caitlinsdad2014-11-17

Oh Thanks! Sure, It will give me some kind of idea for my next project :D

nima0003 (author)2014-11-16

Nice I love the M12! I own one myself. ;-)

caitlinsdad (author)nima00032014-11-17

Thanks, it gets me out of a jam most of the time. The sonic one was out of stock at the store. Besides, shipping charges from Gallifrey would have been outrageous.

Ayush Sharma (author)2014-11-17


allie.fauer (author)2014-11-16

I love Doctor Who! Your project made me happy, and fear for our planet all at the same time!

caitlinsdad (author)allie.fauer2014-11-16

Save yourself...Run!!!

neo71665 (author)2014-11-16

love it. Might have to copy it for my son

caitlinsdad (author)neo716652014-11-16

Oh no, cracks are starting to appear all over the planet...

ChrysN (author)2014-11-16

That looks amazing, I love it!

caitlinsdad (author)ChrysN2014-11-16

Thanks, it is kinda

Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey...Stuff

Wired_Mist (author)2014-11-16

That's awesome :D Can I have an Inter-dimensional crack in my house too?? Nice job capturing the whole Dr, Who vibe, I bought it right away !

caitlinsdad (author)Wired_Mist2014-11-16

Thanks, the only way to make one materialize is to DIY.

About This Instructable




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