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Inspirational Paper Light Modulator

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Picture of Inspirational Paper Light Modulator
In this project, you will learn the steps to turn a single sheet of paper (or cardboard) into a light-modulating piece of art.

"What does a light modulator do exactly!?" You may ask. A light modulator is a sculpture of sorts that is meant to create an interesting pattern of shadows. Modulators make great lamp shades or they can be put on a sunny window to create strange shadows throughout the day.

You don't necessarily need to make your modulator exactly like this one either. The key is to make the modulator relatively intricate so that more light may pass through it to create interesting shadows. Try experimenting with other shapes!

Tools
- Stong paper or thin board (Bristol Board is perfect!)
- Straight-edge
- Pencil
- Red pencil
- Steel straight-edge
- X-Acto knife
- Light Source

Optional Tools
- T-square
- Drafting triangle
- Clear tape
 
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Step 1: Grid your paper

Picture of Grid your paper
Using a straight-edge, create a grid across one entire side of the paper. I chose to use "bristol board" because it is a stronger paper that will hold its shape better after being cut.

The grid can be any size you would like, mine was comprised of .25" squares. It also is much quicker and easier to create the grid using a T-square and a triangle, but it is not necessary. Maybe try making a grid that has variations in size for an even more abstract look!

Step 2: Identify your edges

Picture of Identify your edges
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Using your red pencil and straight edge, trace over the lines that you would like to cut. The only guideline to this step is to make sure that none of your red-lined shapes are closed shapes. One side of the shape should remain attached to the paper so that it will not fall away.

For example, I chose to make squared U shapes nesting inside of each other. One side of the U is left open so that the designs that we eventually cut into the paper remain as part of the paper. To clarify in one other way, U shapes are good; O shapes are not.
Such a simple and cool idea! I suggest trying this with some foil gift-wrap to make the inside surface more reflective.