Introduction: Laser Wall Art

Picture of Laser Wall Art

With a laser and long exposures photography, you can create some works of art on your walls.

A list of items needed.

A tripod for the digital camera.

A digital camera with manual shutter settings that allow BULB or at least 3-5 seconds.
Most cameras have this ability.

A good quality laser like my Wicked laser Classic.
(please note, lasers can be harmful to your vision)
please wear the proper safety glasses when working with any lasers.
For more information related to lasers please visit.
Laser pointer forum
Too purchase a suitable laser, click link below.

Please use my referral number when ordering, just click link, it will take you to the site and order page.
Wicked Laser referral

Step 1: Setting Up Camera.

Picture of Setting Up Camera.

Place digital camera on tripod and position far enough from wall to allow for a wide angle view of the wall you wish to write on.

Now would be a good time to learn where the bulb setting, or manual setting is for your camera.
Most cameras have the setting for manual, look on your selector wheel on the camera for the RED M or red picture of a camera with a hollow circle in the middle.
Those are the 2 basic icons for the manual setting.

Using the shutter speed, set it until you either see BULB light up on the screen, or use a setting like 3,4 or 5 seconds.

Bulb will allow you to shoot as long as the button is pressed, but this poses a problem, because you can't hold the button down while you are trying to write with the laser.
Unless you have a wireless shutter transmitter.
For sake of ease, just find a shutter setting of a few seconds.

Second step is to set the camera to a low enough ISO rating so that the room won't be overexposed during the long exposure.
It helps to have a room that has a dimmer light so you can infinately adjust the rooms ambiant light, but this is not necessary.

Start with an ISO of 100.
If you can also set the digital F/stop, set it to F6.7 or F8
Or anything in that range.
The other settings faster settings like F3 or F3.6 and so forth will just make the image to bright.

Now set your timer, so you can have a few seconds to compose yourself before drawing.

Step 2: Practice Drawing

Picture of Practice Drawing

You can also practice what you want to draw ahead of time.
When writing words, you have to turn on the laser and back off again in between letters, because remember, the camera is picking up the streak of green, and will see everything you do.
In my pictures you can see there are a few different things going on.

Snap the picture and start drawing.
Try to keep an eye on the camera while taking the shot, you can usually see the screen go dark during the exposure, then become visible again when the exposure is complete.

Try a few.

Step 3: I Took 3 Different Images, Due to Shorter Exposures

Picture of I Took 3 Different Images, Due to Shorter Exposures

You can be as elaborate as you want by taking many exposures and stacking them into one final image with special software.
I am using a trial version of Photomatix Pro, but most programs like Photoshop have the ability to align and stack mulitple images.

This is a whole new learning curve, but if you can manage one single exposure, your off to a good start.

Step 4: The Final Product

Picture of The Final Product

Here you can see the final image.

I have found that green lasers work the best, I have tried a Red laser, but the image does not appear on the picture.
Perhaps a higher powered Red laser like the ones from Wicked Lasers would work.
Any of the green lasers will be sufficient.

Posted by Laser Community member:Solaryellow


sencart (author)2011-07-13

That's really cool laser~

joemonkey (author)2010-12-29

please dont order lasers from wicked lasers. they use crafty marketing techniques and are not a very good brand.

Solaryellow (author)joemonkey2010-12-30

Personally i think they are just overpriced
But i have 3 other places for the same thing with less cost.

Tommyhzy (author)2009-11-28

 Hold your laser pointer with your hand, and keep your entire arm straight. Use only your shoulders to draw.

Believe me, this makes it a lot easier to draw straight lines and pretty much everything else.

Turtlepee (author)2008-05-29

I love doing this, but I haven't tried it with a laser yet. I've thought about it. I've found that using one of those keychain LED lights works great. It shows up a bright, light blue. The only problem I have is making the drawings. I can't make anything, because I can't see where I have already drawn.

TX3089 (author)2008-01-09

i had to do the same favor u are gonna do to me lol...
this is alot of fun to do and u can do some great designs with cds or mirrors while the camera is taking the picture = )

StarBlades (author)2007-12-21

wow dude this is so fun hahaha nice!!

Computer Maker 101 (author)2007-11-27

I have a cannon powershot but I can't find the manual exposure time setting. Do you know if it would have it? It has everything else THAT A PROFESSIONAL CAMERA HAS EXCEPT FOR THE LENS (Sorry for the caps)

Most Canon's and Powershot's use the same menu options. Try putting your camera on the 'Tv' setting and the use the right and left buttons to increase of decrease the number at the bottom. The max on my PowerShot A70 is 15". These corresponds to a 15 second long open shutter. Which is how long you will have to 'draw' your image. That being said, remember, that the longer the shutter is open the more ambient light will saturate your image. So if you need 15 seconds to do whatever you want to do make sure the room is super dark. Good luck.

Oh thanks but eventually I found it from the manual. It's really cool. I have awesome pictures.

Another cool thing to do is to, instead of using a laser to draw an image, use a light to flash you face onto the 'film' as an image then move to somewhere else in the frame and flash yourself again. You will have two, or more, you's in the same picture. I'll post some examples if I can find the pictures I took.

here is another cool thing I tried. Take a color changing led fading light and wave it around. It wont see your hand. Look at mine!

allstar (author)2007-12-03

can someone tell me what this is

power (author)2007-12-03's like cooooooool.I didn't know that

FathomBoy91 (author)2007-12-02

This was a no brainer i cant believe i didnt think of it.. lol great instructable

I'd love feedback on mine and best of luck to u
Personal Wicked Laser Light Show

Solaryellow (author)2007-11-29

For those who need to find the info about their camera, you can go here.

Click your camera model.

applesapples95 (author)2007-11-27

is this the type of thing they used for those Sprint commercials?

Sparrow15 (author)applesapples952007-11-27

There's a YouTube video on that. It details the making of those commercials. Yes.

No I think its just animation.

Some of the Sprint commercials are just CGI, but some are taken in manner like this. It is long-exposure drawings that are compiled into one stop-motion animation.

kid123 (author)2007-11-27

to do the exposure, i guess you could just tape the button down (duct tape) and that might work. but there is probably some weired thingy which makes what im saying totally useless... it's worth a shot :P

Solaryellow (author)kid1232007-11-27

On a digital camera it is hard to hold the button down because it is recessed on some cameras. I actually built a cable release which can be used on some digital cameras, a little clunky but it works. Maybe I will post the instructions for that too.

Ora (author)2007-11-25

Good instructable, but in the intro you might want to correct the use of "time lapse".(Stolen from Wikipedia) Time-lapse photography is a cinematography technique whereby each film frame is captured at a rate much slower than it will be played back. When replayed at normal speed, time appears to be moving faster and thus lapsing. What you are doing is using a very long shutter speed allowing the film to capture the entire time the laser is drawing on the wall.

Solaryellow (author)Ora2007-11-26

Thanks Ora, I fixed it. Your right on time lapse, I should have remembered my highschool projects when using that term:)

trooperrick (author)2007-11-24

nice, i cant believe no one posted this before.... you beat me to it.

Actually, I kind of did: here

Still neat T3h, nice art work on your part too. Using time lapse is fun stuff.


oh yeah, but i was thinking more on the lines of lasers....

fair enough =)

FrenchCrawler (author)2007-11-23

Nice, but unfortunately Wicked Lasers are way too expensive for my taste... I'd rather go for one from DealExtreme and mod the momentary button on it. Either spend $99.99 (plus S/H) on a 15mW laser or one for $95.95 (with free shipping) that's 100mW. You could also just buy their less expensive versions on DealExtreme too. I forgot who pointed this site out on Instructables, but they sure do have great deals there.

theRIAA (author)FrenchCrawler2007-11-23


FrenchCrawler (author)theRIAA2007-11-24

Ah ha... it twas you :)

Sorry, the second link should say "$99.95" :)

Westfw said something about the legality of ordering high wattage lasers from out of the country...might want to read up on it before buying one.

Actually, if you order a Wicked Laser and customs take it, you get refunded and an extra $100 from them.....

Wicked Lasers is located in China and they ship worldwide.

Though I'm not sure how to read up on customs...

GorillazMiko (author)2007-11-23

real nice laser. i like your happy face under the words you wrote :)

Solaryellow (author)2007-11-23

I actually paid $80 for this laser from another person who is now selling them online. It was noted that it was most likely the WL classic. Wicked sells top notch stuff, no question about it, but if your budget minded and need something cheaper that is very good, check out Ultralasers. All about having fun and keeping your eyesight at the same time

vcw (author)2007-11-23

Nice laser! How old is it?

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